Signage Terminology Made Simple: C to E

There is nothing worse than an industry so full of complicated jargon that both clients and contractors have difficulty navigating its vocabulary just to get the job done. Signage and graphic design are both no exception to this so we have decided to compile some important “words” to help everyone navigate the industry a little easier. When you want professional help, starting with the group that defines the terms of the industry (in practice and in writing) is the best place to start. And, Behrends Group is doing just that.

Sign Terminology

Cast Metal – Casting metal simply means the pouring of liquid metal into a waiting mold. This mold is a hollowed cavity that is made in the shape of your desired vision. The metal is then allowed to cool which lets it solidify. The solidified component of the metal is technically known as the casting which is then either ejected (removed) or broken out of the mold to finish the entire process. There are many different materials used for molding, depending on the desired outcome. At Behrends, we use a variety of different types, but rely heavily on sand casting as it is the most popular in the industry and is, by far the simplest. When a technique has been around for centuries, why mess with it?

Channel Letters – Channel letters are a type of signage that involves a three-dimensional, individual structure for each letter, usually with separate illumination if the sign is lit. This makes the signage very visible and tends to be the norm for a lot of franchise businesses, though other organizations will use them as well. The channel itself is usually made from sheet metal, typically non-rusting aluminum, and it can form either the back (in the case of a standard channel letter) or the front (in the case of a reverse-lit channel letter). LED lights or neon gas tubes can be added to the channel to make it shine.

Copy – This term refers to a form of editing in signage that is not dissimilar to what is found in the field of writing. It is the work that a designer does in order to improve how things are formatted, the style they are using, and (of course) checking the accuracy of the text. It does not necessarily entail altering what has been written but can include edits to the final look of something, particularly its layout, typeface and spacing. However, it can also involve double-checking grammar, any terminology used, and whether or not the piece fits the overall style of the client.

Corporate Identity Signage – Signage is one of the best ways to develop corporate identity cohesion throughout your built space to make a lasting impression on people using these environments. There are few more effective methods of developing brand memory in individuals than by having them experience your corporate identity in physical space, and one of the best ways to ensure this happens is through visual cues in the environment, like quality custom signage. From typeface and colour to style and size, these are the elements that express an organization’s identity, projecting qualities such as dynamism, pride, integrity or professionalism.

Custom Fabrication –Metal fabrication can include stock components and pieces that a shop produces to fit typical needs. However, when non-standard metal parts are required, custom fabrication becomes an important way that we offer solutions for you. Custom fabrication refers to the creation of pieces specifically for your project. This involves careful design and execution of your vision through the medium of your choice. It offers more flexibility and freedom in terms of the look of your final product, what materials it is made from, installation and other customizable components. With top-of-the-line equipment and decades of experience, the team at Behrends can produce quality custom metal work beyond your expectations.

Cut Metal – Cut metal signage is exactly what it sounds like! We use precision cutting tools (lasers?) to custom-cut virtually anything you can think of, from company logos to graphic fonts and much more.  The look of cut metal can be bold and modern, or laid-back and rustic according to your needs. It should be noted too that the end-result is bold and brilliant, without breaking the bank. The economical nature of cut metal combined with its wide versatility makes cut metal an excellent choice for various signage needs.

Digital Media (Content Management)– Digital media is an excellent addition to your signage needs and is particularly common with recognition walls, for wayfinding and other areas of signage that might need to be regularly updated. Digital media screens can be incorporated seamlessly into the look of your display and are easily updateable with timely content to keep your display relevant and fresh. With digital media comes the need for content management and this requires precision and innovation. Using the WonderSign solution, we take the time to learn your needs and develop an excellent communicative relationship to make the managing of your content easy and efficient. Using cloud-based digital media distribution, there is no hassle when it comes to changing things up on a regular basis, whether it be to add donors to a recognition wall, change office names on a directory, add historical anecdotes or whatever other content desires you need filled. Digital signage, interactive kiosks, screens and tablets are all available to customize the look and feel of your display.

Dimensional Letters – These letters are individual and formed out of a variety of materials. While they are three-dimensional (hence the name!) and add depth to your signage, they are not the same as channel letters in that they are generally not illuminated and tend to be used for offices and interior applications. That is not to say that they are not durable enough to be used for certain exterior purposes, however, they are more typically used inside. They are a classy and professional option, particularly for businesses, medical clinics and similar institutions.

Directory – Directory signage is part of the entire wayfinding system and helps assist visitors in finding their way to specific areas of a building. These areas can include offices, washrooms, elevators, specific floors, stairs and so forth. It includes directional, informational and identification details that promote ease of navigation and minimize confusion.

Donor Recognition System– Donor recognition walls are a growing trend for non-profit, non-governmental and governmental organizations alike. When funding or volunteer labour for a project comes from external donors, particularly in the launching of a project, it has become customary to designate prominent space in offices and facilities as a way to show gratitude. These walls tend to be a stylistic opportunity to recognize those important to the organization while being a beautiful addition to the environment. These systems must be attractive, engaging, technologically advanced and professional – qualities that your brand emulates in order to inspire confidence in your donors, from the past and in the future. They often include digital media and can easily be updated frequently to suit your organization’s needs and growing list of supporters.

Entrance Features – Entrance features refer to signage and sculptural elements that are at the front of properties, neighbourhoods or subdivisions. They offer information to visitors to orient them, but are also beautiful and welcoming. It confers a certain status on an area to have a stylish entrance sign that is both visible and functional, and offers a sense of arrival that is innovative and expressive.