Dedication Signage: Adding to the Experience of Remembering

Dedication signage is a growing area of the signage industry as more and more organizations place importance on the experience of remembering our shared past. Dedication signage can be oriented around the significance of a specific site, the history of a community, the contributions of an individual to society or can take on the appearance of an outdoor, interpretive museum. Whatever the purpose, dedication signage is all about reconstructing the past and making it present and alive to people now.

Dedication plaques and signage which commemorate the significance of a specific site or honor a person who contributed to a certain community provide a permanent and lasting way to mark these important historical points of memory. These can be as simple as plaques on park benches or in front of a memorial tree which was planted to mark the occasion of commemoration. Or these sites can be more elaborate structures which memorialize multiple characters or widely-significant historical events.

The history of a community can also appear in dedication signage with a particular community group or institution being honoured for its impact on the lasting culture of that area. Groups such as community leagues, post-secondary institutions or other agencies may have been instrumental in developing a neighbourhood’s identity and that should not go unnoticed. Founding members or boards might be named in public spaces constructed for this explicit purpose, or plaques which offer identifying information about place significance to these groups might govern one’s navigation through an area.

Outdoor interpretive museums which are dedicated by municipal or even provincial authorities are another use for dedication signage. Places that are not readily obvious as being important for the community to remember can honour significant people, dedicate buildings or parks, and can create a lasting tribute through the creation of a multiple-plaque narrative that instructs visitors about these places and how to move through them. This shaping of the environment to be socially significant directly affects how people will use a space and the respect imparted to it. Reflection is often encouraged in these places and, as such, the act of remembering creates its own memories in turn. Invoking emotion or nostalgia are very real outcomes of well-designed dedication signs and areas.

There are a wide variety of materials that can be used to fill the purposes of dedication signage. Most often, bronze plaques seem to be the main choice for patrons because of their durability and the tone of legacy that this medium seems to impart. Modern dedication signage, particularly larger memorials, tend to combine a number of material elements and can also include imagery such as etchings, relief portraits and more.

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Custom Metal Letters for Address Signs

Our homes are the centerpieces of our lives and we spend a lot of time, energy and money making sure that we invest quality materials in them so they last as long as possible while remaining stylish and expressive of who we are. As homeowners, we want to ensure that our dollar goes as far as possible but one point that we may overlook is the quality of our metal address signs. We might make sure we get high quality siding or brick work for our homes, but then only invest in cookie cutter letters to display our home numbers. More often than not, these generic numbers are only masquerading as solid metal and are more likely to peel after a single wet weather season.

Solid metal address letters or numbers withstand the test of time and all variants of extreme weather. They are made for wear and tear, exhibiting a durability that impostors simply cannot mimic. Rather than replace cheaper versions year after year and let their poor quality take down the visual appeal of your home, why not invest in quality custom metal address letters only once?

Even if you’ve owned your own home for a while, custom house numbers can be a quick and efficient way to add a little flair to the appearance of your home without the high cost of outdoor renovations or touch-ups. It’s amazing how quickly the curb appeal of a home increases with the simple addition of unique address plates or number design.

The beauty of making this investment with Behrends Group is that you benefit from individual consultation with our design team to take your vision to the next level – your address letters will not simply display your house number but will be an integral part of its overall look and can set an example for the culture of your neighbourhood and community. Different typographies, materials, finishes, sizes and methods of installation ensure that your final product will be uniquely yours: elegant and fresh, graceful and lasting.

Since your actual address is unlikely to change anytime soon, why should your address letters change year after year? Pick something permanent and lasting, and with custom metal letters, let our team put the finishing touches on your house that will make it feel like you are coming home every time you see them.

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The Diverse Client Base of Behrends Group

A lot of people think that a foundry and signage consultancy which has the prestige and experience of Behrends Group would likely only work with larger businesses or corporations but that is simply not true! A large volume of clients serviced have typically been individuals seeking out address signs or smaller projects that we have built our business on. We love working with homeowners, small businesses, large organizations and corporations alike – and we definitely have something for everyone.

The diversity of our clients is matched only by the diversity of products we can offer them – something that being a custom signage business offers us! Because we aren’t using factory formed letters or plaques, we get to customize our offerings to suit your needs, whatever they may be.

Here are some of the ways that a diverse group of people can benefit from what we have to offer:

Consultation:  At Behrends, the first step in any project is learning what our client needs and wants. Exceeding your expectations is where we excel and a large part of this is determining what those expectations are. When initiating a project with Behrends, you are assigned a member of our talented team of consultants depending on your particular needs. These are skilled individuals who are happy to meet with you to learn about your vision, offer insights, and develop a plan for bringing your ideas to fruition.

Design: With full-time designers, you are in capable hands to move from consultation to designing your vision.  Our designers are creative, proficient and adept with the best design technology to give you the latest in signage possibilities. Our team is experienced in executing the highest possible standards for design, developing 3D renderings so you can determine how the signage will fit into your space, and, ultimately, making beautiful, innovative two-dimensional designs into your three-dimensional reality.

Fabrication: Manufacturing is where Behrends Group has built a real legacy. Our production techniques are unparalleled in the industry and with the use of exceptional materials and hands-on artisanal style labour, we have truly set ourselves apart. Every project has the best of technology behind it, as well as the human touch and eye for perfection.  Our fabrication staff has a combined experience of at least 205 years – something that can only happen when you have long-standing employees that work hard to make incredible designs into signage that exceeds expectations every time.

At Behrends Group, we don’t just get you a sign and expect you to have the time or patience to deal with it! Our approach is to offer assistance working with consultants and designers to see your dream become a reality, build and execute that vision, and install the final product to your tastes and desires. We are an idea-to-install company and we take pride in offering our professional services every step of the way.

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Behrends and the Arts Community

Behrends Group has had a long-standing connection to local art communities and as time goes on, this connection only grows stronger. Artisans in our right, we are proud to uplift and commemorate the work of other arts organizations and groups in our municipality. Using our talents in design and craftsmanship make this process all the more rewarding. Our artisan work contributes to the overall arts culture of our community and is the perfect combination of creative spirit and cooperative efforts.

Behrends has been able to craft achievement walls which commemorate the valuable contributions of artists in our community, as well as donor walls which strive to recognize the important role that patrons play in supporting the arts as well. These commemorative designs are beautifully crafted and serve as their own installations, reflecting the beauty of the work that the artist-patron relationship brings into the world.

At Behrends Group, we not only have our own team of highly talented designers and craftspeople who bring artistic visions to life. We also work directly with artists in the community and make their sculptures and installation pieces through lasting custom metals. Examples such as the McMaster memorial sculpture or the birds which adorn the Fallen Soldiers memorial showcase how we collaborate with high-profile members of the arts community to bring their work to life. Our lasting metals and exceptional experience with foundry techniques mean that their painstaking work is preserved perfectly the first time, every time.

We also support the arts in more subtle ways, including designing and fabricating the signage which adorns buildings that house important arts venues for music and theatre. An exquisite example of this is the new Citadel Theatre Marquee sign which operates as a visual point of reference in the Edmonton downtown arts core. Passersby are drawn in by the custom design work and recognize the high-quality of theatre production that exists inside the building, simply based on the presence and prestige afforded by their signage.

There are many ways that Behrends Group is connected to the arts community as such: not only are we artisans and designers with decades of experience shared between our entire team, we also bring the visions of other artists to life, recognize their patrons and adorn arts houses to engage their audiences as well. At Behrends Group, we are all about the arts and you should be too!

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Emotionally Intelligent Signage: How it works and why you should use it

 

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Every day we encounter signs telling us what to do in public spaces. How to act, how to use the space, and above all, what not to do. No smoking, pick up after your dog, line up here. Signs like these are so ubiquitous that we often don’t even notice them. Sometimes, however, we encounter a variation on a typical rules and regulations sign that stands out and maybe even makes us smile. “If we see you smoking, we will assume you are on fire and react accordingly.” “Children play here, please pick up after your dog.” “Don’t worry – This line moves really quickly.”
Author Daniel H. Pink calls signs like these “emotionally intelligent signage”, and says that signs that consider and use readers’ emotional reactions are more likely to inspire compliance than their more blunt (or bland) and authoritarian counterparts. Emotionally intelligent signage acts in two main ways: by demonstrating empathy, and by encouraging empathy. Both approaches consider the viewer’s position and circumstance. “Don’t worry – This line moves really quickly”, for example, acknowledges and allays a viewer’s potential stress and frustration at the sight of a long line up, while at the same time asking them to stand in line in the appropriate place for service. “Children play here, please pick up after your dog”, on the other hand, plays on the viewer’s empathy. Both kinds of signs give the viewer context for the rule and an emotional reason to comply. Humour is another tool used by emotionally intelligent signage. “If we see you smoking, we will assume you are on fire and react accordingly” communicates the message that this is a no smoking area in a memorable way, without nagging.
Emotionally intelligent signage may take some extra words and more creativity than “No smoking”, but it has the added benefit of contributing to a positive environment that fosters positive emotions. Emotionally intelligent signage shows respect for the viewer by empathizing with their circumstances and needs. Milwaukee’s international airport has placed a sign over the benches after the security line identifying it as the “Recombobulation Area”, a humorous and empathetic acknowledgement of the “discombobulating” reality of airport security. Emotionally intelligent signage also shows respect for the viewer by providing reason and context for the rules it is asking the viewer to follow, and it fosters respect and positive interactions among the users of a space by encouraging empathy and reminding viewers that certain rules are in place for the mutual benefit of the users. “Drive like your kids live here” promotes empathy for the parents and children who want to live and play safely in a neighbourhood, and reminds the driver of their responsibility to drive safely. Use of emotional signage in public spaces stimulates individuals’ natural empathy and mindfulness of others, while raising rates of compliance and reducing the stress and frustration of being told what to do. Emotionally intelligent signage is more effective signage, and it may be good for society too.

Behrends and Marvel X-Men: The Plaque that Graced the Silver Screen

X-Men Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters

If you are a fan of the X-Men franchise of comic books and films, you know that with the release of X-Men:The Apocalypse and Deadpool this year, as well as two more films planned for release in 2017, the interest and love of the series is only increasing. What you might not know is that Behrends Group contributed to the making of the first film back in 2000 by creating the plaque that adorned the wall of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters.

According to the films, the Xavier School was founded by Professor Charles Xavier for the purposes of training young mutants to control their powers as well as normalizing their presence in the human world. The main spirit behind the school was the safeguarding of innocent mutants from human oppression and to create an atmosphere conducive to peaceful coexistence.

The plaque was commissioned by Springwood Productions – the organization responsible for the making of the film. Two prototypical plaques were created with different finishes as the production company was unsure of which one would end up as the final prop for the film. Any quick search will yield images of the plaque chosen to appear in the film, and while many companies have claimed that they can make similar replicas of it, only Behrends produced the original.

In fact, Behrends still owns the original polymer used to create the plaque mould and the original drawings used when creating the design. The plaque has become an icon of the X-Men franchise, particularly as it helped start off the series and receives a prominent space in the first film. Anyone familiar with the quality and style of traditional bronze plaques from Behrends Group recognizes the work and craftsmanship of our foundry immediately. Behrends Group is proud to have played a small part in this cinematic legacy.

Xavier's School for gifted youngsters