What is a Building Without a Sign?

From the earliest days of architecture, structures were emblazoned with some form of building signs which confirmed its identity and/or its purpose. Sculptures were used to tell stories and carvings projected slogans and quotations. As civilization evolved and commerce (business) became an element of daily life, buildings began to be occupied by not only governments but also businesses large and small.

As business evolved over the centuries, many buildings came to serve as icons for their occupants.  Take for example the Wrigley Building in downtown Chicago. Originally commissioned by William Wrigley Jr. to serve as the headquarters of the Wrigley Company over 100 years ago, this building serves as an icon to a company that still thrives today. A simple sign plaque is all that is necessary to identify the building to the few passersby that are unfamiliar with the company and/or the building.

Wrigley Building Signs

Few businesses have ever had the luxury of the Wrigley company, to be able to retain the same building or to associate it with their brand. Think back to the old western movies popular in the U.S. for so many decades. There were always building signs atop simply stating, for example Saloon, or Doctor, or Sheriff. But what if there happened to be two saloons, or three saloons? With competition, these early entrepreneurs had to find ways to differentiate themselves to attract and retain customers.

Fast forward to the 21st century and business and commerce has never been more complicated. Companies must develop and maintain their brand at a high level, not only to attract customers but to attract and maintain employees, investors, suppliers and more. Larger and/or more complex structures may require a broad range of signs to contribute to wayfinding, safety, individual tenants, offices, etc. A business may have an array of building signs identifying the structure itself, individual tenant brands, etc. Imagine, for example, Highmark Stadium in Buffalo, NY. The sign inventory for this incredibly popular stadium numbers in the many hundreds. Large digital message centers serve as televisions helping patrons watch the action, replays and the ads that help pay for everything. Large custom channel letter and logo signs tell everyone within view of the stadium that it is sponsored by Highmark Health. Smaller building signs highlight other sponsors and countless other signs help people find their seat, a snack or a beverage.

A business doesn’t have to house an NFL team like Highmark Stadium, or project a brand across an entire city skyline the way M&T Bank’s Seneca One building sign shines across Buffalo and Lake Erie. A simple restaurant like Santora’s Pizza Pub & Grill uses their brand new 3D logo on building signage and digital message centers alike.

Signage project services by flexlume at highmark stadium

Whether it be simple cut metal lettering or complex halo-lit lettering and logos, channel letters or a cabinet sign, it inexorably ties your brand to that building. Ensuring that signage complements the architecture of that building while projecting and enhancing your brand is a job that requires expertise and experience. Do it well and your brand can endure like Wrigley. Do it poorly…well you know that outcome…


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