Working with a signage company – a guide for creative agencies and designers

A key priority for creative agencies and in-house designers when briefing any type of signage project is accuracy of implementation. Finding a team that you can trust to manage the whole project lifecycle and take away any headaches is fundamental. We regularly work with designers to bring their design vision to life and make sure the end-product is a faithful interpretation of the brief. Here we outline our tried and tested process:

1. Understanding the design brief
Interpreting a design and manufacturing it in three dimensional format is a specific discipline. The first step is to fully understand the brief; the type of signage needed, suitable material options and how it could be manufactured to the standard required. This discussion can help our experts advise on any potential colour or material issues. For a designer, it’s often useful to see samples of the different materials and finishes available, look at brand colour schemes and view similar projects.

2. Budget consultancy
Based on the brief, the project manager can make recommendations for the signage solution and advise on the budget. Technical knowledge is needed to either select the highest quality materials, or suggest more cost-effective alternatives to suit the budget, while keeping to the designer’s vision.

3. Concept and specification
At this stage, we outline how the elements of the project will be fabricated to meet the design intent. A 3D graphic visualisation allows designers to view proximity, heights, colour schemes and all necessary details and helps to flag up any tweaks needed in the design. It can also be used as a basis for a planning permission application if required. Next, the materials are selected with structural integrity, cost or longevity in mind and a quotation will be generated with detail of the size and material selected itemised.

4. Site visit
Sometimes we’re sent a set of design sketches or initial graphics, but a site visit gives a true feel for the project, potential limitations or opportunities, and sparks ideas about formats and materials. During the visit, we’ll assess exact requirements, taking the target audience into account. The assessment will cover potential signage locations, substrates and ground conditions for posts and footings and accurate measurements to confirm signage dimensions.

The surrounding environment is also an important consideration as site location can be diverse; it’s important to consider elements like anti-graffiti finishes in a city centre, durability in a busy public space or wind-loading calculations on an exposed rural site. If signs are being fitted at height and specialist equipment is needed, a technical survey will highlight any issues like accessibility, power supply, terrain, vehicle access and the structure of the building supporting the sign. This is an opportunity to scan the area for underground services and cables so we can advise the install team about potential hazards. We also consider flora and fauna and ensure we protect the environment where possible when installing.

5. Design and prototyping
Accurate interpretation of the design is something we’re fastidious about and we often create prototypes to make sure the designer or client is happy. Sometimes brand colours look different depending on the substrate, so we test this to ensure accuracy. In a recent customer survey, 92% of respondents said we met the requirements of their brief ‘extremely clearly’ or ‘very clearly’: getting the design right through prototyping is key to this.

6. Approval
A final PDF visual for client approval is always sent before the manufacturing process begins. These drawings contain dimensions, materials and sometimes an annotated image of the installation location. Once approved, the job will be issued, and the manufacturing begins in line with any timescales identified.

7. Manufacturing
We manufacture a large amount of our projects in-house, using our state-of-the-art printing EFI VUTEk LX3 Pro printer and computer numerical controlled routing machines, which are operated by highly trained staff. Some projects require outsourcing to specialists, and we have a wide network of trusted suppliers to cherry-pick from if that’s the case.

8. Installation
Ensuring every project is installed safely, securely and will stand the test of time is paramount. Install teams operate in multiple environments; on a construction site, at height, in public spaces or on waterfronts. A risk assessment is always carried out and a method statement provided for approval, which is read and signed by the installation team. 

On completion, we create a picture database as evidence of every installation, which ensures consistency across multiples sites or if identical signage is needed. We can arrange professional photography to share if required for the designer’s portfolio or marketing materials.  Removal and disposal of any temporary signage is also possible.

When we work with designers, our priority is helping them deliver the project smoothly for the end client. We can work as part of your team or as a stand-alone preferred supplier. If you have a signage or wayfinding project you’d like to talk to us about, please contact Joanna Goodchild at [email protected] or call 01252 336 000.

A winning team: Reade Signs helps promote football’s National League sponsor’s new HQ

Vanarama HQ branding and signage

Reade Signs were recently signed up by the sponsor of the England National Football League to promote their new corporate headquarters.

Established in 2008, commercial vehicle leasing company Vanarama outgrew their original premises and recently moved into larger headquarters in Hemel Hempstead. They wanted to make an impact with a big refurbishment programme to let everyone know they’d arrived, so they asked Reade Signs to create the signage for their new HQ.

We recognised that the new signage had to express more than Vanarama’s branding, which they’d been successfully promoting through their sponsorship of the English National Football League. They wanted to publicise their new headquarters.

Our brief was to turn a tired, unattractive and unwelcoming building into a bright new office headquarters that would feel welcoming not only to customers but to staff and suppliers too.

Vanarama HQ branding and signage

We had an immediate rapport with our client because we shared a common passion in football. Aldershot FC plays in the National League and Reade Signs sponsors the South Stand at Aldershot’s Football Ground; we were also ball sponsors at an Aldershot home match in March.

So we felt we were really able to deliver a creative solution to announce Vanarama’s arrival in their new home. That’s not to say, though, that we didn’t face a few challenges on the way.

The challenge: backlit to black?

Vanarama HQ branding and signage

Our clients operate long hours, seven days a week, so illuminated signage was a must. However black lettering features heavily within their logo and this is always difficult to light up.

Our team has years of experience in sourcing the best materials and we found a specialist acrylic that appears black in daylight but changes colour, in this case to white, when illuminated.

And we used rimless letters to ensure a crisp, clean look both by day and night, ensuring the whole face is illuminated.

Making a monolithic impact

Vanarama HQ branding and signage

Vanarama also wanted to make a big statement with a five metre high monolith. Such a large structure required planning permission and structural engineering drawings for the foundations, as well as a detailed electrical plan.

Reade Signs has installed many monoliths in varying locations, from shopping centres and business parks to university campuses, and we are able to advise all of our customers how to use them to make the biggest impact for their brand.

We’re also able to apply for all the necessary planning permissions as part of our project management service, taking care of all the details and difficulties so our customers don’t have to worry about any of it.

In this instance, the monolith had to be built in several sections at our factory, but this lets our client update their messaging quickly and cheaply. We were even able to make a design feature of the jointing, lighting that up, too.

Vanarama HQ branding and signage

In addition, Vanarama also has a back-illuminated bus shelter-sized poster case on both sides of the monolith allowing them to promote special offers, show when they are recruiting or even to congratulate the League winners at the end of the football season!

Find out how Reade Signs can put you on the map

If you want to put your new commercial premises on the map with some bold and welcoming branding for your customers and staff, then Reade Signs are the ideal signing for your team.

If you’d like more information and advice about how you can best display your brand, then contact us, email [email protected] or ring 01252 336000.

Adaptability and flexibility: key considerations when rolling out a rebrand across multiple premises

Merityre Tyre Specialist branding roll-out

Consistent brand is important for any business, especially when that business has premises spread over a wide geographical area.

Merityre Tyre Specialist branding roll-out

And it’s made more complicated if you want a modern, unifying look for a variety of different premises types and shopfronts.

This was the challenge Reade Signs faced when car tyre specialists Merityre asked us to rebrand most of their 21 sites across southern England.

We needed to take the newly adopted brand style that Merityre had implemented in 2012 and apply it as part of a rolling update plan for their designated branches, taking into account any local restrictions or conditions.

Applying a rebrand, step by step

Merityre Tyre Specialist branding roll-out

Our first step was to survey every branch, to take measurements, photographs and to check any access issues.

We then had to visualise the new brand, with its bright, yellow theme, into the survey pictures and make any necessary changes for the client to approve.

Once we had approval, the next step was to get the designs through the planning permission process. This needed a lot of background work by us to make sure that both our clients and the local authorities were happy.

Once everything was in place, we could move on to the next phase, the actual production and installation of all the signage. We had to source a single stock of self-coloured aluminium composite material (ACM) to guarantee consistency of the “Merityre yellow” branding across all locations.

Once we produced and labelled the signage, we had to coordinate the installation of every sign with the individual branch managers to minimise any disruption to their daily operation.

Finally, the products were despatched with installers on a pre-planned route to reduce travel time between sites. This helps keep costs down for us and our clients.

Flexibility and an adaptable design concept are key to rebranding success

Merityre Tyre Specialist branding roll-out

This is an ongoing project and since the initial rebrand and installation there have been further challenges as the Merityre portfolio of sites expands; but it’s important that a concept is easily adapted to new uses.

For example, we had to produce an update of the signage at Merityre’s Abingdon branch in a way that retained period features.

And at Farnham we couldn’t sink supporting posts for a 3-metre high monolith because of underground services. So we came up with another solution. We improvised by using an existing concrete bollard with enough core strength for us to fix our timber onto it.

Considerations for your rebranding

There is a lot more to rebranding than choosing colours for your exciting new logo:

  • Consistency: Will your branding stand out against a variety of backgrounds?
  • Adaptability: Can the concept be adapted to different premises with different constraints?
  • Planning considerations: Early engagement with planning authorities makes success more likely.
  • Construction challenges: Do you have a Plan B?

“Reade Signs proved instrumental in the seamless roll-out of our rebrand…their knowledge and attention to detail was second to none and we felt we were in expert hands from beginning to end. The signage across our branches stands as testament – it looks absolutely fantastic and we are so pleased with the finished result” – Dene Arnold, Merityre General Manager

If you’d like more information and advice about how you can best display your brand, then please contact us, email [email protected] or ring 01252 336000.

Reade Signs – Applying Knowledge. Creating Visions. Delivering Value.

Looking for inspiration to take more exercise? Easy… try signage!

CYC:D Fitness Studio branding

CYC:D (Pronounced as psyched), is a new concept in fitness. A modern, stylish and inspiring boutique fitness studio with its first opening in Haslemere, Surrey, delivered by Reade Signs.

The ethos behind CYC:D is simple yet very effective in today’s very crowded and competitive fitness market. The class schedule is designed to fit into a busy lifestyle, the booking process is super simple. No contracts, the best equipment, the best instructors and super cool music tracks. A unique combination of complementary group workouts providing a fitness experience which challenges the norms.

So our brief? CYC:D asked us how do we communicate our individuality to our customers and make them want to keep coming back for more?

CYC:D Fitness Studio branding

Challenge one – CYC:D had put as much thought into the design of the studio as their offer. With very specific ideas, we were on hand to advise how those designs could be adapted for the public environment and adhere to health and safety legislation. A signage specialist like Reade Signs will be able to interpret such a brief and bring those concepts to life. This project included custom made neons behind acrylic panels for safety, stand-off lettering, and printed and cut vinyl to name but a few. Expensive bespoke illuminated light boxes were on the customer wish list and we designed and commissioned alternatives that created the same effect, at a fraction of the cost. Our team were also able to suggest further opportunities for branding in the shower and washrooms that hadn’t been considered and saved money over alternatives such as traditional tiling.

Challenge two – Create a brick-effect wall finish in the main gym, but we want it 3D and you can’t fix into the already sound proofed walls. For all the specialist bespoke signage elements required, Reade Signs sourced all products using their extensive network of reliable connections developed over 35 years in business, providing a one-stop shop solution to the customer. The brick effect panels we recommended gave a fantastic finish to the studio and required minimal fixing to preserve the noise barrier. CYC:D were delighted with the result.

Challenge three – Well to be fair it wasn’t really a challenge for us. CYC:D had a strict launch day and like all our customers, expect us to work with their timetable and around their other suppliers. In this particular case, the studio was already live and working whilst the interior and exterior signage was to be fitted. Reade Signs took charge of the project coordination, working closely with all parties involved to ensure each aspect of the project ran smoothly. The customer was fully informed of the process from start to finish and was delighted with the final product, which was installed and completed ahead of the launch day deadline. We provided full consultancy from the beginning with a designated Project Manager, tailoring the signage to the customer’s needs and visions with the best use of materials to achieve this. The most important bit? The excellent feedback and reviews CYC:D have received since opening. It’s truly an inspiring environment – so working out feels like fun. So we’ve delivered their mission – CYC:D is about more than just the workouts, it’s a lifestyle and a journey. We are delighted to have played our part.

[Reade Signs] ensured everything was ready to go for our opening and were mindful of working around our customers when we had opened. Installation was quick and expertly handled and we are extremely pleased with the quality of the signs. We would not hesitate to use them again“.

Faye Walton, CYC:D Director.

Reade Signs – Applying Knowledge. Creating Visions. Delivering Value.

CYC:D Fitness Studio branding

Walk through our offices, showroom and production area online!

Reade Signs branding and signage

Have you ever wondered what Reade Signs HQ looks like? We can now offer you an online tour after our recent 360 degree photography.

Following investment into our rebranded offices and showroom in May this year, our Marketing Agency Fruitful Marketing Ltd recommended 360 degree photography to showcase our investment on our website and on Google Maps.

On a bright summer morning James Taylor from Tayco360 came to our headquarters to take internal and external shots using his 360 degree camera.

Anyone can now go on a virtual 360 degree trip by selecting ‘see inside’ when searching Reade Signs on Google or on our website. Please do take the tour by clicking on the image above and see our new brand in action!

Reade Signs branding and signage Reade Signs branding and signage Reade Signs branding and signage