If you’re new to the wide, wondrous world of signage then you may not know what the term “architectural signage” means. But if you’re in charge of or concerned with the building or maintenance of one or more edifices, architectural signage is probably very important to you. Even if you don’t know it yet. This article will define architectural signage and go on to discuss some of the trends within architectural signage today.
What is Architectural Signage?
The meaning of the term “architectural signage” is like a Schrödinger’s Cat of semantics: it is both straightforward and nuanced. First, what do those words means?
Architecture = Buildings
Signage = Signage
And there you have it. Architectural signage means building signs. See, that wasn’t so hard was it? But wait, you ask, doesn’t “architectural signage” have any meaning beyond just “building signs”. Well, first, good question, and second, yes, it does. And this is where we have to get more nuanced.
“Architectural signage” is mostly used to refer to a specific type of signage. It doesn’t just mean any old sign on a building. It means a type of sign that identifies that building, categorizes that building, marks that building’s place within a larger system of buildings, gives directional information, or acts as a memorial/plaque/dedication to a founder/benefactor/notable person.
When Do We Use Architectural Signage?
So, architectural signage doesn’t usually refer to signage indicating shop names and the like. We typically use the architectural signage when discussing campuses, government buildings, and office buildings. Any type of signage that identifies a building by name can be considered to be architectural signage. So, while the bubble font above the awning that spells out “Joe’s Ice Cream Parlor” is identifying the business and not the building, the signage on the buildings at the University of Houston typically do identify the buildings themselves.
What are Some Trends in Architectural Signage?
Now that we have a good idea of what architectural signage is and isn’t, what makes architectural signage good or bad? What are the current trends in architectural signage?
To be fair, this one might be less of a trend and more of a rule for good architectural signage. Uniformity is key. You might not think this is a big deal, but can you imagine walking around a campus and all the architectural signs have completely different fonts and sizes? It would be jarring. And you never want different typefaces and styles on the same building.
- Form Following Function
To say that sparseness or minimalism is currently on trend in architectural signage would not exactly be accurate. There is still room for flair and panache. But what is true is that most recognize that the function of signage –to identify something and convey information– is paramount. You can have the most beautiful architectural signage in the world, but what good is it if it’s illegible?
Another trend is not wasting money. You need to hire respected professionals to make your architectural signage lest you want to have to re-do it every few years.
- Code Compliance
The last trend is not running afoul of the law. Again, working with a respected signage company will help to ensure that your architectural signage remains in compliance with all relevant OSHA and ADA regulations.
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