When Selecting Architectural Signage, One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Eyeglasses on Eye Chart


When considering purchase of a product, besides deciding the specifics of what is desired one must also consider the appropriate degree of specialization and expertise required. Some products are commodities while others benefit from customization to fit the purchaser’s particular needs.

In most instances office supplies are commodities. Pens, writing pads, ink-jet printer cartridges and the like are the same whether you purchase them from one office supply company or another, your local pharmacy or a discount retailer. If you know the brands and specific products you want they are going to be identical regardless of where you purchase them.

Commodities Don’t Provide The Same Quality and Options As Customized Products

Architectural signage is more like eyeglasses that you purchase at an optical shop after visiting an eye doctor. Sure you can go to your local pharmacy and find reading glasses on a rack. They come in different styles and with different strength lenses and they are really inexpensive. You try-on different frames and select one with a style you like and with which you can read. They won’t have your perfect prescription but they are good enough for you to keep an extra pair in your office or on the nightstand next to your bed at home. Your vision won’t be perfect but you will be able to read better with than without them.

However, if you really want quality eyewear that fits comfortably, provides the best vision available then you visit your ophthalmologist or optometrist to get your correct prescription as well as to check for eye diseases. You then take the prescription to an optician where you select a stylish frame from a wide selection (not just the three or four that you find at the pharmacy) and the correct size frame is ordered that fits just right. The optician will take the prescription from your eye doctor’s exam and have lenses custom made for the frames you select. Both distance and near vision can be corrected and if applicable, astigmatism, which is a common optical defect that causes blurriness, will also be addressed. Various alternatives are available for corrected distance and reading in the same pair of glasses from bifocals to no-line bifocals. Different coatings are available for the lenses that can cut down on glare and reflection and there are also many different types of sunglass lenses available as well.

You Get What You Pay For

Obviously the glasses that one has custom made by an optical shop are much more expensive than the cheap throwaway reading glasses that you can pick up at your pharmacy. But they are of far superior quality and the prescription in each lens is customized to optimize each eye’s visual acuity.

Sure there is signage available that is akin to reading eyeglasses from your pharmacy. Your local office supply store has signs that communicate open, closed, no smoking, restrooms, will return (with hour and minute hands on a clock face that can be set), exit, private, store hours, etc. But such signs are commodities. One style fits all and no guidance is given on how best to utilize them. The office supply store signage may come in one or two styles but the style isn’t optimized to augment the design of your facility. No assistance is provided in selecting the ideal placement of signage, local signage codes or ADA requirements. You are on your own, sometimes trying to make a square peg fit in a round hole. Customized signs obviously aren’t available off the shelf.

Architectural signage is more like the custom eyewear you have made at an optical shop after visiting your eye doctor. When purchasing quality eyewear you seek out a doctor and an optical shop based upon the quality of eye care and glasses that they provide. You have a level of comfort after selecting the right professionals. You are confident that they will identify you unique needs and help you find the right solution to achieve optimal eyesight while sporting a fashionable pair of eyeglasses that enhances your appearance.

Seeking the Right Architectural Signage Professional Is Crucial

Just as you carefully seek out specialists for eye care, when seeking architectural signage you want to select a professional that will understand your specific needs. With eye care you are concerned with the health of your eyes, custom fit, optimal vision and style. With architectural signage you are concerned with wayfinding, branding, meeting building and ADA requirements and design. You want a professional that will propose a solution that is stylish and not only compliments the design of your facility but actually enhances it in much the way that stylish eyewear enhances ones appearance.

It is critical that when you seek an architectural signage professional that you should find an expert that understands the complexities of wayfinding, ADA requirements and local signage regulations. Obviously you also want a professional who can propose a solution that enhances your building’s design and builds your brand. Just as eye doctors and optical shops are not the same, neither are architectural signage professionals.  When purchasing architectural signage you are purchasing a solution, not just a product.


John Selig
Marketing Manager

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