How Do You Stand Out and Blend in at the Same Time?

October 2014- Branding- Our Approach to Selling Signs Part 3 headerOur Approach to Selling Signs

Part 3: Environment

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Environmental graphic design is a unique field within our industry – sign designers, landscapers, engineers, architects, welders, painters, masons, carpenters, installers – that collaborate to create amazing sign projects that work in generating business while blending in with the environment. Well-designed signs have the power to move people to appreciate a business and even change a person’s behavior. A person previously prone to passing a certain business is suddenly inspired to turn in!

So how do you stand out and blend in at the same time? Decisions, decisions…

It’s not too hard to stand out. I’ve met a few marketing consultants who are occasional fish-tie wearers when they need a gimmick to be remembered.  And we too have actually built a huge bass fish sign for a commercial client wanting to make a statement at the entrance to their development, so I’m not knocking the big fish idea. It’s just that generally speaking, most people aren’t so flashy and usually for good reason. The hard part is coming up with good sign solutions that blend corporate statements into surrounding environments.

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A business site has to secure a strong, competitive position in order to prevail. Your building location, and how you promote it, is crucial to the ultimate success of your business. Signs make lasting impressions that work; whether they are positive or negative is up to you.

You just can’t just throw any old sign system together and expect results. A sign purchase is important and should be well-planned. I recommend working with a reputable, established sign company whose project managers understand your unique site branding and advertising goals and the many variables working against you in reaching them.

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Here are some basic questions your sign consultant needs to ask specifically about your site:

  • What fits best with the building or neighborhood?

    Are elements of the building’s architecture reflected in signage design and embellishments?
        -Colors: Historic, Colonial, Architectural, Natural?
        -Building Materials: Brick, Stone, Concrete, Stucco, Painted Metal?
        -Pitch of roof: Flat, Peaked, Slanted, Domed?
        -Special Features: Columns, Quoins, Cornices, Window Design Elements

  • What fits best in both daytime and nighttime viewing? 

    What type of lighting will work best for consistent 24-hour branding?
        -Spot Lighting?
        -Day/Night Films?
        -Dimensional Letters and Shadowing Factors?
        -Reflective Films?
        -Back-Lighting Options?
        -Digital Signage Options?

  • What works throughout all seasons?
  • What does code recommend and allow?


Mark Hackley, Account Executive  (804) 796-9443

Society of Environmental Graphic Design (SEGD)

Our Approach to Selling Signs, Part 1: Deciding What’s Right

Our Approach to Selling Signs, Part 2: Budget


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