Oh synergy, the beloved word among upper management types in 2015. Before the nauseating overuse of the word it had a meaning though. “The interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.” to be exact. Is it truly possible in the realm of business though? Beyond average business transactions, can it happen in signage?
I am very happy to report that it is in fact possible and I have not only witnessed it, I am currently part of it! I currently have a client that did the right thing. They called before they had a design, they introduced me to their designers and together we are working on signage. TOGETHER!! It may seem as though I am getting too excited for something that may happen in your everyday lives, but in signage it’s a rarity.
What happens instead of synergy? One of two things in my experience.
Scenario 1: “Our new branding looks fantastic on letterhead. We’d like new signage to reflect the brand change.” One of my versions of hell. The other involves the Canadiens winning Stanley Cups every year. Moving on! While branding may be beautiful on letterhead and exactly what you are looking for, it doesn’t always work in signage. The colours may be wrong/custom, the font may be almost illegible, it may have curves and cut outs all raising the price of your signage. Or it may only orient in one direction and the wall goes the other way, giving you a sign that is way too small.
Scenario 2: “I’d like to order a new sign. I don’t know what I’d like the design to look like, but Bob has some ideas.” “I wanted it to be gold, but Sally wanted it black. What do you think?” “Bob is wrong with the gold…” This is where I start to zone out. You can’t have too many cooks in the kitchen and while I love coming up with a signage solution, there needs to be one decision maker. This client also wants the signs on the wall in 2 weeks after 6 months of back and forth about what everyone including their aunt thinks the sign should look like.
It isn’t just my clients I have these issues with, I even complain about my wife’s logo. She sat down with a designer and had a great logo made just for her that can never be signage. Great for a business card & website, but she’s never getting a high rise sign with it. I begged her to think it through as she never knows when she’ll need it 40 stories high, but she’s relatively sure it’s going to stay on cards. Think big to be big.
Here’s the takeaway from rambling Sign Guy, signs are like braces. You need to work with your dentist and orthodontist to get the perfect smile, not one and then months later the other. Do the same with signs and get designers to call us, or better yet let us all get in a room together and hammer it all out. I should probably find a better time to write these other than midnight.