When signage goes above and beyond its basic “job description” and becomes an architectural element, we refer to it as functional signage, or more informally, specialty signage.
Awnings, vestibules and enclosures are obvious examples, but they have some surprising benefits. For example, they can help manage heating and cooling demands, among other things. And while most developers understand how branding can be incorporated into exterior facades, when it comes to interior design we often find our team working alongside architects to bring their vision to reality by identifying specialty materials or new fabrication techniques in order to fit the sign and design into difficult spaces.
Retractable screens, unique seating areas and decorative or branded panels are some other projects we’ve worked on recently that are examples of signage going “above and beyond” what’s traditionally been considered its main role.
Awnings, Enclosures and Vestibules
Awnings, enclosures and vestibules are extremely versatile and functional branding elements. Often restaurateurs and retailers look to awnings first as an improvement to their building facade or to enhance customer service (adding comfortable outdoor seating options or protection from the elements at valet parking station, for example) and they are pleased to find just how much their business benefits from the advertising and enhanced visibility.
Beyond the marketing advantages, awnings and other types of enclosures offer, these improvements also provide very practical operational enhancements. The installation at the Park Plaza location of MJ O’Connor’s, for example, also lights the sidewalk for patrons – enhancing safety and making the entrance especially inviting.
A covered entryway means less water, snow, and dirt tracked into your business – this helps keep floors cleaner and safer.
Awnings, covered entryways and vestibules can provide significant energy savings – keeping cold breezes from directly entering a building in the winter, and blocking much of the sun’s heat in the summer, reducing cooling costs and increasing comfort.
Signs Serving Special Purposes
We often work with clients to design, create and install signage that serves unique purposes. Much of it is intended to commemorate people or events – and each one is unique.
Sometimes signs are designed to encourage or reward specific behavior. The New Balance Fountain signage project we worked on a few years ago is one that’s particularly memorable, as the fountain and footprints were created to encourage runners, walkers (and their dogs) to stop and refresh.
Retractable Screens, Decorative Panels, Dividers and other Functional Signage
Some projects call for functional signage that significantly blurs the line between function, architectural structure, and traditional signage jobs like advertising or branding. Retractable screens are one example, as they expand the ways interior spaces can be used. Interior panels that are more than room identifiers or show the way (functional wayfinding) are also examples – but they’re not the only ones.
The decorative panels in LPP’s corporate headquarters, for example, are functional, too, as they create a special seating area. Room identifiers in the modern interior architecture of East Boston Library also serve to section off special places.
The one thing all of these functional signage projects have in common is their uniqueness, and that’s precisely why we enjoy them so much. We know not everyone thinks about signage all day, every day – but we do, and we’d love to help take your signage to new places, too.