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  • Doug Cook

A New Sign

About ready to fall apart, our first sign will be restored and mounted on our new office as additional signage.

One of the benefits of starting a practice is the opportunity to design your own sign.  We did just that in 1992.

Twenty years pass and now the sign shows it’s age.  In addition to weathering the sign was just too small for drive-by traffic to notice.  The fonts were too small, the color faded and the wood framing was falling apart.

Consider that a future potential patient probably has blurred vision, there was no way this sign could deliver it’s message. A new sign was needed.

I used 3D modeling software SketchUp originally developed by Google to create a 3D mockup of our vision for a new sign.  This tool allows one to visualize and easily change parameters and explore it’s shape, size and color from different perspectives.  In the design I worked to incorporate concepts involving the geometry of the golden rectangle (illustrated below) and incorporated its ratio of 1:1.618 in the layout and dimensions of  many of its design elements.  This helped to create an aesthetic balance pleasing to the eye.

The design can be described as a monument sign –  a black slab onto which our lettering and graphics shine from 1/2″ acrylic graphics pushed through aluminum panels that make up the sides of the slab.  Monument signs are often built on the ground with a brickwork foundation supporting and surrounding it.  We wanted ours elevated to help it stand out.  We envisioned a grid like tower that was offset to visually pull the attention of the viewer towards it.

While creative in concept, this made for a more challenging engineering fabrication compared to most signs that use a simple pole mount placed in the center. I approached several sign makers in our area.  Metro Sign rose to the challenge.  Researching some of their work revealed they create custom signage without cornering their customers into a cookie cutter template.  The company president, Jess, appreciated the look of our design and focused his company’s talents to engineering a structure to make this concept a reality.

I took a look inside the sign when during it’s installation.  The inside was well thought out – engineered and fabricated with welded steel square tubing for strength against Oklahoma’s weather.  The tower welded with square tubing supports the sign with a gridwork of bracing leading down into a cemented base underground.

Inside an LED array of lights sit adjacent to each graphic element.  LED lighting is gaining ground as the reliable choice given its 20,000 hour life rating and incredible efficiency.  Power costs are estimated to be one-fourth or less when compared to traditional halogen or fluorescent lighting in a typical sign.

In the animation below, you can see how our sign went from a concept model to reality.

Practice management experts say that investing in one’s sign offers the quickest return on investment when compared to other forms of media exposure such as yellow pages, newspapers or billboards.

Our name is visible from a much further distance – an important asset for an optometrist.  Coupled with an easy to remember phone number a new patient has all they need to set up their appointment.

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