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Design a sign package AKA Sign Criteria

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by OADesign, Oct 14, 2013.

  1. OADesign

    OADesign Active Member

    Jan 27, 2006
    Hi All,

    I have an opportunity to create a sign package for one of our property management clients.
    And I had it in my head that I have done this before; get the allowed spec from the city, get ideas from client on general looks and ideas and build from there.

    BUT, this client gave me a sample from another property and wow! boy did I miss the mark, or maybe I was just tripping and I am remembering something that I never actually did. Or wanted to do but never got the bid. All of the above are plausible and possible lol.

    In any case, can anyone offer some guidance on how to build a sign criteria package? Or at least shoot me some additional search terms to use?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  2. OADesign

    OADesign Active Member

    Jan 27, 2006
    morning bump
  3. eahicks

    eahicks Magna Cum Laude - School of Hard Knocks

    Apr 17, 2012
    Confused....creating a sign package or sign criteria? Two different things I would think.
  4. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

    Jun 7, 2006
    How about a little guidance from you from which we could start ??

    What did you present to them and if you could show it, it would be nice..... and post up the sample of what the customer gave you. Otherwise, we're more lost than you are at this point.:wink:
  5. OADesign

    OADesign Active Member

    Jan 27, 2006
    Thanks for your replies so far.
    I guess in my circle, they are one in the same (sign package/criteria). But I spoke with my estimator and I guess I am the only one standing in that circle. lol.

    So the thing is, I cant/wont spend the time to put this multi-page doc into a format to post online for all to see. But the gist of it is this; It outlines types of signs allowed/disallowed on the property (illuminated channel letters, monument signs and the insert panels, outdoor signs etc). It describes the minimum and maximum letter height of the letters for outdoor signs etc. It also give details about maximum area of window graphics.

    So guess I was close in my original thought. Its just that this job will requires many more types of signs and variations of each. What I did in the past was for a significantly smaller location (single unit).
    Is this is enough detail to help you guys help me?

  6. Moze

    Moze Precision Sign Services

    Feb 27, 2012
    Dallas, TX
    Typical reference:

    Sign Package: The actual physical signs being installed at a location.

    Sign criteria: The guidelines specifying allowable sizes, colors, types, etc.
  7. fresh

    fresh Very Active Member

    May 16, 2011
    Isn't most of this usually defined by the municipality / local sign ordinances?
  8. J Hill Designs

    J Hill Designs Major Contributor

    Sep 24, 2004
    yes, but additional info/speccing may be needed - return color allowance, etc etc etc etc
  9. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

    Jun 7, 2006
    Some guidelines might be spelled out by the local authorities, but usually when working on a large area of land, one gets a blanket permit. Many times larger areas of private property need to follow certain laws, but are granted all kinds of variances and can do pretty much anything, as long as it's legal. U/L, building permits and insurances are still required, but many times sign sizes and colors are of no concern. That's why these malls, shopping centers, hospitals and huge apartment complexes have such a variety of signs. They still fit within a written code for the locals, but it's been altered by the owner getting permission to go big.

    We're doing a nice job right now, which under any other circumstances, these signs would not be allowed next door or across the street, but the owner of the land has such a large area, the township guy said, anything you do inside is of no concern of ours. I heard the guy tell the owner. We used to do an outlet center here n Reading and the amount of signs they got was tremendous, but we never had to get permits. They had a blanket permit which allowed pretty much anything. We made tons of money in that place before it went belly up.
  10. Rick

    Rick Certified Enneadecagon Designer

    Apr 17, 2003
    Valle Vista
    I've done quite a few, especially in Orange County,
    the one suggestion is:

    Quite a few of the cities I have dealt with have an
    application for a sign criteria. They will spell out the
    guidelines they require. Occasionally they will even
    supply a sample criteria to use as a template.

    They have all the legal requirements and what the
    property management requires and the process and steps
    to get a sign up in that particular center.

    You probably need all the elevations of the center to
    mark off where signs can go, a plan of the center,
    and the monument/id wayfinding where logos/business
    names will go.

    It can be quite an undertaking, especially when you are
    dealing with the client, then the city... I would do a search
    of sign programs/criteria in the city you are submitting too.
  11. iSign

    iSign Major Contributor

    Nov 29, 2003
    Kahului, Maui
    The federal govt says if you are 21, you can buy beer... but states can impose further restrictions, like no alcohol sales in New Mexico on Sunday, or no alcohol after 11pm in Hawaii... States can't say "alcohol is allowed for 16 yr olds" because that violates federal law, but states CAN enforce greater restrictions...

    Similarily, The Maui County sign ordinance may say a business 50 ft from the road, with a 100' frontage, is allowed 32 sq. ft of signage, consisting of any one of a plethora of illuminated or non illuminated building signs, ground signs etc etc... BUT, my landlord may say, to comply with commercial lease requirements at 355 Hukilike St, tenants MUST follow the Kahului Business Center's "comprehensive sign plan", which could state "channel letters only" for example, or "non illuminated flat signs only" (followed by a complex document with dimensions, paint finishes, installation methods & locations etc)

    In Maui, any multi-tenant building owner is required to get a comprehensive sign plan approved by the County.
    Even in places where this may not be a requirement, a sign criteria package is often a document designed to facilitate some aesthetic continuity, so the building as a whole can retain a cohesive look among the many different tenant signs.

    Is this along the lines of what your client requires?

    The only other similar document would be a request for proposal on providing a sign package, (producing & installing actual signs) where the determinations are made as to what is needed, and to the overall look, and maybe down to actual material call-ouits & approved layouts.

    I've had clients want to get a "bid" for a big idea they have, with NO data of any kind, and there is an assumption that I will fill in all the blanks for the opportunity to bid. In this case I tell them competitive bidding requires the client decide on apples, OR oranges in advance. I would not "give" them a sign criteria package, as my bid, but if some foolish competitor has done this, show me & I'll bid the same thing. Otherwise, I've been able to sell consulting services, drafting up a sign criteria document, as a prerequisite to anyone being able to bid.

    This has worked well for me, to later bid on the project, with the knowledge that I would already understand the criteria better than my competition, AND have all the vector layouts on my computer. I can afford to bid a bit lower, but I also have my foot in the door, if the business relationship has been good, even coming in slightly higher, I've been allocated work as the high bidder sometimes in this scenario.

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