Skyline sign design

Skyline signs: in brief
Skyline signs are confident identifiers, nighttime beacons and local landmarks. With more advanced lighting technologies and controls, there are more options than ever for sign design and dynamic displays. These signs offer a huge branding benefit and are points of pride for clients and their communities.

CG has developed large-scale signs for many different building types and a wide variety of needs. CG is also experienced at managing the agency review process, since local codes directly affect the size, placement and brightness of the signs.

Integrating the signs
Skyline signs must display a client’s logo or logotype in approved configurations and colors. However the signs must also complement the architecture and be carefully integrated into the facade design. Letter materials should relate to the metal finishes and materials palette of the building. Physical conflicts with roofs, windows or features such as HVAC louvers are common and must be resolved.

Sizing the client logo or logotype so it is legible but not overly dominant on the building is important. Legibility also depends on the heights of neighboring buildings; brand visibility can be challenging in dense urban areas. Medical districts, in particular, often have several names (i.e. medical school, children’s hospital, research center and patient facilities) to display from multiple vantage points. For existing buildings sight lines to signage are easily verified. For new buildings the sight lines can be checked with both site observations and computer models.

Color and lighting
There are many options for color and lighting. Letters can be front lit or back lit, or the letter background can be lit instead, so letters show in relief at night. LED internal lighting is extremely bright so dimmers must be specified; the resulting light level can then be adjusted to the desired brightness. Letters can be bright or emanate a soft glow, as appropriate. Translucent films inside the letters can also diffuse and modulate the light. Achieving the precise colors of a client logo, both day and night, can be a challenge. Some colors, such as blue, are not visible at night. In these cases a dual-color letter muct be specified to ensure 24/7 legibility.

Public review
Local government agencies and neighborhood groups customarily review skyline signs during the design process; size, color, light levels and placement are all subject to public input. Once approved fabricators provide sealed engineering documents based on CG’s design intent drawings, and in consultation with the architects and building engineers. Crane installation is common and, in urban areas, necessitates road closures and police escorts.