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SIGN DESIGN STANDARDS

thompson sign design
Elevation and section coloured in Illustrator.
vinyl sign layout drawing
Sign letter dimensioned layout for fabrication.
Every building needs a standards package to control interior and exterior signage.
New tenants are sometimes lost when confronting their signage needs.  They can rely on the building management’s sign design standard packages to design and fabricate signage for their project.   The illustration you see is one such package for the Thompson Residences condominiums, at 55 Stewart Street, Toronto.  It is of my firm’s street window signage.
Question’s can be:
  • How high are the letters allowed to be?  One inch of cap height is 50 feet of minimum visibility. These are about 1 1/2 inches high, or 50-75 feet of visibility, good for pedestrians at close sidewalk range.
  • Where and how big are the sign areas, and where are they?  A dotted line on the drawings should surround these areas so you can layout and order your letters.
  • What areas are to be kept sign free?  Otherwise, the building can look cluttered.
  • What can the sign be made of?  The sign shown is vinyl, the least expensive option. 
  • Is it illuminated somehow at night?  The sign shown has a low-level small LED strip, commonly available in computer stores for about 20 dollars, and in many changeable colors. Internally illuminated signage, like neon, may not be permitted in residential streets, due to light pollution standards. Some low-level light at night is a public service, as it helps with the safety and walkability of city streets. “Lights on” at night also means the odds of a break-in are reduced. Thieves prefer to rob dark stores.
  • What colors can I use?  That’s a logo branding issue, but branding should have anticipated the availability of the restricted number of signage colors.  The most visible color is white. Vinyl has a limited number of colors.
  • What background colors can I use for the blinds?  That is important for the choice of letter coloring. There should be sufficient contrast, but that could be achieved through subtle lighting, not colors.  The standard was custom white blinds, but they were so expensive, I used a white gridded Japanese folding screen, and draped white curtain and rod from Umbra, to respond to the different window heights. Control of view is also important as my architectural office must be private, not public. Your situation could be completely different. 
  • Are the letters on the front of the glass, or reversed on the back of the glass?  Yes, you can order vinyl reversed. Window washers and the elements don’t destroy the letters when they are inside the glass. The glass over the letters can make them slightly darker, an improvement on the overall unity of the group of stores, but owners often default to what is brighter is better. That doesn’t necessarily work as a group of stores.
  • How will the building owners review it?  There may be an application submission to go through. Showing the lettering layout as a printed page can work if the sign fabricator is standard for consistency. Most sign manufacturers can give a letter sample. Once you ordered the letters it’s too late to change them. 
  • What company am I supposed to use to make and install the sign? Most buildings have approved suppliers for these items.
 
To answer these questions, we can provide a package to guide your new owners or tenants.  We have designed large and small signage in Toronto, New York, and in many North American cities.
Why architects?
Larger street signage is controlled by the city in a sign permit. This will require a qualified designer with insurance. Additionally, the design and technology of signage is complex, needing design expertise sometimes beyond the sign suppliers’ product offerings. The simple common sign design is a combination of branding, marketing, graphic design, industrial design, architecture, and sometimes structural engineering. It is a good idea if trees and shrubs don’t bock the sign face, and that sign face is lit at night if needed.
The small business tenant budget for signage is usually small, some under $100 dollars for vinyl, and the cost of custom signage can be high. It takes skill to get quality out of a low budget with high standards. The sign standard package gives you that assurance by setting up the details beforehand.
Notwithstanding the system, if a store owner wants to spend on custom design, then a separate approval and exception can be granted if acceptable.
A mistake with signage, and we all know what an ugly sign looks like, can damage all the expensive efforts toward the curb appeal for your residence or business. 
Think of as sign as a tattoo on your face. The sign needs to be well designed, illuminated, and integrated into the overall architectural design to do its job of bringing people to you.
EA sign day
Day street view of office facade.
EA office front night view
Night street view of office facade.

Sign supplier contact and pricing

ORCHID SIGNS

Sales: Bahman Daliri   Phone: 416-977-2550  Email: orchid@orchidsigns.com  Web: www.orchidsigns.com

Description: Reverse or direct applied vinyl lettering. Cost:  Small single color vinyl sign installed $250.00 including tax. as of May 8, 2021. More complex designs available at a higher fee.

REPRODUX 

Sales: Jason Miles  Phone: 416-862-2584 x 2325  Email: JMiles@reprodux.com  Address: 636 King street West. Toronto ON M5V 1M7  Web: reprodux.com

Description: Rear of glass decal for complex printed signs. Perfect for door view slot.  Cost: Call Sales for quote.

Door Decal
A printed decal is a way of posting information and managing view through this view slot in an entry door.
Michael's Bespoke custom signage and landscape
Custom signage design day.
Michael's Bespoke custom signage and landscape night
Custom signage design night.