Signage affects the overall appearance of our street. If it isn't installed well, it could hinder and also jeopardise the safety of others. Thus, there are regulations to obey and a need to register your signage with the relevant government agencies or getting approval from the building management.
Every country has its own set of rules regarding the display of signs.
Here in Singapore, we had some requirements to meet too. Which government agency approved the display of outdoor signs in Singapore? How and when should we apply for approval? In this blog, we will answer these questions.
The first approval to seek, of course, is from the building's management or the premise owner. Below are some of the other agencies' approvals that you might need to seek.
Signboard On A Conserved Building
We need to get URA approval to put up signboard at a conserved building. The role of the URA is to protect the building and preserve history. To get the approval, we basically need to show that:
1. Your signboard doesn't change the overall outer feel of the building. In other words, your signboard design shall blend in with the building design and not the other way round.
2. Your signboard doesn't spoil the wall. Some drilling is, of course, allowed.
3. Your signboard got to look presentable.
Signs And Banners At Orchard Road
For signs or banners that are tied to the lamp posts or any poles along Orchard Road, we will need to get approval from the Orchard Road Business Association (ORBA). You may reach them at info@orchardroad.
Building And Construction Authority (BCA)
BCA oversees many areas in the building and construction sector in Singapore, including safety and the display of outdoor signs. Some may wonder why BCA is getting involved in such a trivial matter as hanging signs. The reason for BCA's involvement is to prevent the proliferation of unsightly signs.
When Will We Need BCA Approval?
1. Your banner size is larger than 10m2 (supported by rods and bars) or 30m2 tied to a building directly.
We will need a Professional Engineer to certify the safety of hanging these large banners. After which submit the result (PE cert) to BCA for approval. This Professional Engineers will be engaged by you*, not the government.
*Signboard manufacturer will be able to help you obtain the PE cert.
2. The total area of your signboard or a series of signboards is more than 5 m2.
Mostly, a signboard won't exceed 3m2, so most business owners won't be affected by this restriction. After hanging your main signboard, you are still left with 2m2 advertising space to hang a few advertising signs without having to apply for BCA approval. As long as it didn't exceed 5m2, we would not need to seek approval from BCA.
There are exemptions. If you are representing a religious body, a government-aided school, a hospital, clinic, nursing home, or other charitable organisation, you may exceed that 5m2 area limitation without seeking approval.
And these rules only applies to outdoor signs. You won't need to seek BCA apporval if your signs are only visible from inside the building and not from the street.
Apply For BCA Advertising License
You will have to submit technical drawings, a mock-up photo of the place with your signs, and a location map of the signs to BCA.
It is not always necessary to obtain all the agency approvals or certifications. It depends on your circumstances.
If there is a need to seek approval from various agencies, BCA should be the last agency to approach. The reason for this is that you will need to pay for the BCA license. Imagine after paying for the license but fail to obtain approval from other agencies, you still won't be able allowed to hang up your signs. That would be a waste of money.
You can apply for a BCA license here.
How To Come Out With Corporate Colours?
First, ask yourself what your company's image is. In other words, your company's branding. Check out my post on branding. This might help you to determine that.
We can begin matching colors to your company image once we know what it is. The company image can be fun, relaxed, robust, firm, healthy, natural, and so on.
Green: Nature, Healthy, Environmental Friendly
Yellow: Joy, Sunshine
Red: Energy, Passion, Love, Strength
Blue: Harmony, Unity, Trust, Ocean, Sky
By looking at the above colour characteristics, I guess you can tell how they are derived.
Our brains relate colours to what we see in our everyday life and retain this information These information will be auto-retrieved when we need them. A kind of fast retrieval of our memory for instant use.
I do not like to go deep into this "brainy stuff" about why our brains behave in certain ways. That will be a whole new topic belonging to Neuroscience. And such a topic seems too heavy to digest. Ok, at least for me to explain in words.
In short, we relate colours to what we see in our daily life. For example, when we see blue colours, our brain immediately associates them with sky and water.
Social Conscious On Colours
Colour characteristics are created by all of us: our culture, our beliefs and our daily life. So, in one culture, a color may be considered unlucky, while in another, it may be perfectly acceptable.
I find the most bizarre association is to link colours with gender. Why blue is for man and pink is for women? I can't find any evidence to support this association. But I guess we'll have to submit to the social norm once more. I hate social pressure to influence what i like. And I paid a price for being unique. Ok, perhaps being "rebellious". Though this "rebellious" thingy is still in me, I have learned to follow the general public, especially in term of arts. My philosophy: Arts serve larger audiences with more "likes", serve a larger purpose.
But to consider every culture's beliefs during colour selection will be too much work to do and might end up fulfilling nothing. Select your desired colours and stick to the characteristics which you have given to them.
We can use the color wheel to aid us in our decision-making. For your reference, I have a simple colour wheel for your reference. There are, of course, more colours available. With more colours, the larger the wheel will be.
Selection Tactics With Colour Wheels
The neighbouring colours on the wheels work well with each other. Colors that are farthest apart (opposite in the color wheel) have a high level of contrast, making each color stand out.
There is no standard number of colours required for a logo. In general, 1 - 3 colours are usually applied to a logo.
Match a few sets of colours and then choose your top choice from these sets.
Below Are Some Selection Tactics:
Pantone Colour Chart
If you are more particular in colour selection, I recommend using the Pantone chart to further assist you to making your colour choice.
USING COLOURS GRADIENT
Colour gradients are the blending of 2 or more colours gradually.
These effects are not commonly found in signboards as it is hard to achieve by spray painting. There are spray paint artists who can do the job well. But it is not that easy to find these artists.
Sign makers will rather persuade you to use flat colors.
However, since large format printing industry matured in the 1990s, we can now print gradients. Since then, colour gradients have become the new trend in sign making.
Compare the letter 'S' below, which will you prefer?
Click here to see example of colour gradients being applied in signage.
Many businesses hire designer or brand consultant to design their logo. The design looks great on computer screen as well as printed on paper. However, when it comes to signboard creation, this logo may not be as impressive as it seems to be or may even be cosy to construct one.
Usually, designers or brand consultants present their clients with a few logo options. This is where most companies make the mistake, they didn't consider the signboard style. Their selection criteria will be based solely on appearance; some may consider branding as well, but not the signboard style. Wasn't it too late to think about the type of signboard after the logo was approved? So, seek advice from a sign expert.
There are many design principles to obey to create a great design. These principles are not secret recipes. They are all taught in schools. But how to apply them, will depend on the designer's apperception. It will take years of practice for a designer to truly master the arts.
Some are born more inclined to be artistic. However, through years of learning and practicing, designing skills can be cultivated for anyone.
Some might think of using Microsoft Office to create their own design. Indeed, using Microsoft Office can help us save some costs from hiring a professional. However, this is not advisable as this office softwares are not meant for creating logos. They are used for office tasks such as making presentations for meetings, organising records and documentation, and so on. These programs generate low resolution images.
In other words, we can not use these files to print large images or we will get a burry image. The images produced by this office software will look pretty good when printed on A4 paper. But not so when printed in a larger size.
A signboard typically measures 2m in length. Consider making these logos 20 times larger; these logos will be *pixelated (many square boxes within the logo and there will be zig-zag edges). The end result is a blurry sign.
Even for an entrance signboard*, the average size is 600 x 800mm. It is still a few times larger than A4. We simply cannot enlarge an A4 image and hope that it will still look good. It won't work, the image will be blurry. We need high-resolution images so that we can expand them, without sacrificing the image quality. This is why we require design software such as Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw, and others, which generate high-resolution images.
Buying Designing Software
Should we purchase this design softwares? There are free trial versions that last between one and two weeks. The question is whether you will be able to complete your design by then. Chances are NO. There are plenty of alterations before a design matures. There shall be a few versions before we can finalise the design.
As for purchasing these softwares, some of them are sold only on a monthly subscription basis. These monthly subscription fees range between SG $30 and SG $40. How many months do you intend to subscribe to?
Some software providers do offer one-time purchases. It could cost around SG $200. Besides pricing, there are two other factors to consider before purchasing these softwares.
1. Do you know how to use them?
2. Are you able to make use of the functions in the software to assist you in designing? If not, then it is a kind of waste to purchase these softwares.
Just Need A Simple Design
Just need simple wording stating the company name? That sounds easy to design. But NO, every stroke of the letter is design. Unless we're using the font library's standard font styles, if not the designer will have to draw every stroke.
If you are fine with using the font styles found in the font library, then just make your selection among the long list of fonts.
But then, wasn't that be too simple? Ok, at least avoid font styles that are commonly used for writing, such as Calibri, Arial, and Times New Roman. These are Microsoft's default font styles, making them far too common.
How To Self-Create Logo For Signs Making?
You can still create your draft using Microsoft Words, Paint or even a sketch on a piece of paper. After which, send your draft to the designing firm.
Designing firm charge high for concept design. Seem you have already draft the ideas, designing fees will be significantly lower, as they will not have to come out with a whole new design concept.
There are no "miracle" resolution converter softwares. In fact, the design firm must redraw the entire logo based on your draft.
They will have to redraw your concepts in high resolution.
This version is also known as a "workable" file, which means that any future resizing and editing can be done without redrawing everything.
Without a "workable" file, the signs maker won't be able to resize the design to match accordingly to match the actual physical environment. This is the main reason why some experience difficulties in engaging signs makers.
Sign Makers are handymen who are skilled at creating artifacts. However, because graphic design is not their forte, they will most likely reject your jobs unless you provide them with a "workable" file.
Some of them are very good at using these design softwares, but they still prefer their clients to provide them with the design. The reason for this is that they specialize in sign making rather than graphic design, and they are concerned that they will not be able to meet your requirements. Furthermore, graphic design is time-consuming, draining off their time for all other production work.
As for the design firms, not all of them will like to provide these "convert" or "recreate" services. They will rather offer you a full new design package. Because this is where they can make a name for themselves and make more money.
Bosimi Design & Creation does have these recreation services.
Pride In Your Creation
Apart from saving money, self-creating your design gives you a sense of ownership. This developed self-esteem will be a significant boost to one's confidence in establishing their company, which is especially important for new startups.
Never doubt your ability to be creative. Everyone has their own unique way of presenting ideas. So nothing shall really hinder your way in getting a good logo.
1. Simplicity is the best
Overwhelming with details, will make the design confusing. The focus point had to be clear. Furthermore, a complicated design might create an oppressive feeling. No one likes to be stressed out. A simple design will be much easier to digest.
A simple design does not necessarily imply a lack of information. There's nothing wrong with leaving some white space in your design.
With creativity, we can have a unique design rather than a common one. That will really need to think out of earth into the vast universal of infinity.
Expression is how ideas are presented out.
4. Public Acceptance
As long as the vast majority of the public accepts and likes their work, they are considered to be successful. Being too artistic, where only a few will appreciate their works, will be hard to generate any monetary value. It's kind of a shallow mindset to tie art with monetary. But we live in reality, we need money to survive. Perhaps I shall rephrase it in another way that may sound more noble: Arts serve larger audiences with more "likes", serve a larger purpose.
We enjoy being in groups. So, in order to be a part of the group, we will look out for similarities as a form of group identity. Imagine you are with your friends, and they come up with an idea that you don't really agree with. Will you go against the crowd or will you just follow them despite the fact that you don't like the idea? Perhaps you will say you will be firm. But did you even give in before and how many times?
Conformity is also known as peer pressure. So, when many people around you claim a particular product is good, you tend to be influenced. This is why Facebook "likes" are so important. We can be creative, but I would advise you not to try your luck challenging social norms.
Be conservative, Be safe.
With the company name as the logo, will be a direct approach to gain publicity. There is no need to include the business entity such as Pte Ltd, LLP, etc.
Example: Benson Restaurant, ABC Tuition, Orange, etc... I made-up these company names just for illustration. But will you know what Orange does? Therefore, getting the right company name is extremely important.
Core Principles In Logo Design
2. Bringing out the company's brand
3. Adaptable to a variety of sign-making styles
Positioning Of Company Name With Logo
1. Company name within (in the middle) of the logo
2. Company name near or at the bottom of the logo
3. Company name beside the logo; on the right side of logo
4. Company name is the logo itself
Check the example images below for company name and logo placement.
There are, of course, other ways to present your company name and logo. Above are the commonly found ways. I will recommend following them as they are already proven to be accepted by the public.
Design Example: Amanda Maid Agency
Using my maid agency as example (Read earlier post, I was citing a maid agency as example), we had chosen blue as our corporate colours, which symbolise water for cleaning.
Look (above image), I have got a real simple design, a plain wording as logo. It doesn't really mean that we need to have some unique shapes or lines to be classified as a logo. I did select my font style from the standard library. Can you guess the name of the chosen font style?