Sign & Digital Graphics

November '15

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • November 2015 • 69 Make certain to use easily read fonts with contrasting colored background. Again, check local codes to make sure your ideas will be expectable. Design a sign that is modular so future changes and expansion is not a problem. A site survey is always a good idea so placement of the signs can be functional," he says. Material Aging Issues Bar thinks one the biggest chal- lenges lies with the materials being used. "Natural materials age in a more static way but are harder to work with and harder to shape. Synthetics are an option because they are very easy to shape but the elements can very quickly make these unattractive. Seeing what happens with natural material the challenge is to bring the same type of aging reaction with material that is easier to form. Very similar to choosing a good background before taking a picture in the world of photography with this challenge choos- ing the right material is key for incorpo- rating it into the design," he concludes. Taking a Test Drive Gehshan says that prototyping is another important key when working on large outdoor products. "It is very important to 'test drive' a design solu- tion, whether in temporary or permanent materials. For example, at the University of Chicago we tested all the key sign types. First a local fabricator made mock- ups that the design team viewed in place; these helped us confirm legibility, colors, sign size, placement options and overall appearance in the landscape." She adds that after the bid was awarded, the fabricator made prototypes in the final materials. "These provided an opportunity to check the sign detailing. The stone and glass gateways were also tested in mockup form; it was especially important to confirm the appearance and scale inexpensively before the gateways were constructed. Collaboration with the fabricator greatly enhanced the effective- ness of these activities." Other things to consider are keeping within city and state guidelines. "For all exterior projects we must comply with ADA and common sense guidelines for height (to bottom of the sign), protrusion (how far the sign panel extends from the post), placement (preferably away from foot traffic such as in a planting bed), type sizes and type contrast level. For exterior vehicular signs the MUTCD (Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices) rules for cap heights, font choice, reflectivity and the number of sign messages are pri- mary," she adds. Freeman says that with any project you need to approach the project through the eye of a first time visitor to the facility. (Image courtesy of Howard Industries) Wayfinding is 50 percent art and 50 percent science; and there are no wrong answers, only wrong turns if a project is executed poorly.

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