Do you know anyone with an empty wall in their lobby or reception area? I’d like to meet them.
Interior design elements such as lobby signage can set the tone for the whole company, making an office feel interesting, joyful, or dull. First impressions count, and one of the first aspects a customer will pay attention to - and ultimately judge you on - is the interior of the space they have just walked into. If it's drab and dated or bland and bare it can feel unwelcoming and disorientating.
I find lobby or reception signage to be one of the most creative, fun and rewarding solutions we offer our clients. It transforms a blank space to something familiar and warm. These transformations give us some of my most satisfying before and after shots. I’ll walk you through how we help our clients to decide on the best solution for them.
Let’s start with size. I read about an interior design principle that says your picture should be 60 percent of the width of the wall. So I always start with this. I find it’s effective to get out your measuring tape at this point — find the length of the wall, then calculate 60 percent. Set your tape at the 60 percent of the width length, centre it against the wall, and stand back. Now, have a good look — should it be more or less? Usually the wall will tell you right away.
Once you have the width, then the height can be calculated based on the proportions for your logo in your brand standards. I usually tweak sizing a little at this stage too - either up or down, depending on that width to height ratio.
Now we have the rough dimensions of our sign, we can talk about the best solution. I’ll share with you my good, better, best approach.
A good lobby sign solution is one made from printed and cut wall vinyl. I always try to protect the vinyl with an over-laminate so I usually include it as well. The lobby sign can be cut to any shape depending on the logo - squares, rectangles, ovals. We do a lot of graphics that are cut to the shape of the letters or logo themselves — so essentially a die cut with no background. This technique works very well if here is high contrast between the colours of the wall and of the logo and letters. We’ll activate the adhesive on the wall vinyl and install this two dimensional solution flush on the wall.
Another good solution could be of cut letters and logos using aluminium composite (or dibond). Aluminium composite material is readily available in ? or ¼ inch thickness .With our CNC router, we can easily cut it to form a company’s letters and logo. It comes in lovely black or white or brushed steel finishes which create a sleek monochromatic look. It’s easy enough though to add any colour or colours by printing graphics on vinyl and applying this to the face of your cut letters and logo. We’ll install this relatively flat sign solution flush to the wall with high bond tape.
A better lobby sign would be one that is comprised of a panel as well as the vinyl graphics. The panel can be clear, white, black or maybe even brushed silver. Usually we work with !/8 if an inch or ¼ inch thickness for this solution. The panel can be cut in the shape of an oval, square, rectangle - whatever works best. We will try to always round the corners on these panels for safety reasons.Then, it’s decorated with our printed and cut graphics. This solution is then mounted to the wall using standoffs. These lovely little pieces of hardware will space the sign off the wall and give the whole solution a bit of depth. We usually work with standoffs that are .75 inches wide, brushed silver, and will stand the sign off the wall by about an inch.
The best lobby sign solution uses dimensional letters - with or without a panel. The dimensional letters bring some additional depth to your solution. They add a touch of elegance that make this solution quite a show stopper. Dimensional letters can be made from metal, wood, acrylic or even foam board. This material is usually ½ inch or more thick. It can be black, white or clear in colour, depending what the client wants the sides of their letters to look like. We’ll use our CNC router to cut the shape of the letters or logo from the material. The face of the letters can be left as is, or decorated with printed vinyl to achieve any colour. These letters and logo can be mounted directly on the wall, or on a panel with standoffs. We’ll use double sided high bond tape for this— once applied, those letters are not going to move!
So there you have it — that’s the good, better, best approach.
I should add that you can also add in illumination to your lobby signage — there are a number of options available, from spotlights, to goosenecks, to halo-lit letters. The cost can jump significantly when you illuminate your lobby signage. Relatively speaking, we do far less illuminated sign solutions than not.
We create all of these solutions in house — from printing and laminating, to cutting and even routering. Installation too, we prefer to complete all of the installations ourselves. Installation can be a bit of an art and a science - every wall has slightly different aspects — an electrical outlet, the shadow of a bulkhead, some interesting moulding. Dan will engage the client during the installation to walk through any of these nuances with them so they can make the best decisions for their solution and guide the end result to success. It’s an important conversation that selfishly, we enjoy having with our clients.
This ‘in house capability’ gives us a great deal of flexibility in what we can create, and also allows us to be quite speedy when it comes to the design, production and installation. I also believe it helps us to deliver a better experience and better quality sign solution for our clients. And that’s everything, isn’t it?
I’m a visual thinker when it comes to sign solutions. I like to see a picture of a solution, then I can really decide whether it will work. I’m grateful everyday for the skill of our graphic designer. I’ll give her a photo of a blank wall and ask her to show me a vinyl sign, or a panel sign, or dimensional letters. And she does. By cleverly using some techniques available in Adobe Illustrator, she’ll give me a photo mock-up that helps me to understand what the solution could look like in that space. It’s a great tool to have.
Now it’s up to the client — we’ve built out a couple of solutions, costed them out and created mock-ups. Now they are equipped to make the decision on which is the best sign solution for them.
And that is how it’s done -that is how we help our clients to select their best lobby signage.
If you have an empty wall in your lobby, I’d love to meet you! There is so much we can do to create a lovely sign solution for you!
Emma and Dan