Architectural Signage is one of the most challenging assignments in the sign industry because its success depends on carefully picked materials, cutting edge design and precision craftsmanship.

It’s important to know the needs that differ amongst indoor versus outdoor signage, like durability, lighting, regulations and installation which can aid your business in overpowering the countless architectural signage obstacles faced. It’s equally important to communicate with your customers. Most often problems faced with customers are timing and cost. Be sure to discuss realistic expectations every step of the way by using photos, illustrations and specs that will only help out in the end.

1. Architectural V. Electric Signage

Architectural signage would be better for you if you are detail-oriented and prepared to do a lot of paperwork and documentation. Architectural signage definitely requires a lot more attention to detail than electric signage.

2. Challenges of Precision and Durability

Understanding the details and planning for potential obstacles that lie in the future are very important when creating quality architectural signage. These challenges are different depending on if you are creating indoor or outdoor signage.

While weather conditions are a big challenge for exterior signage, these signs aren’t required to be as precise like interior signs are.

While interior signs are in air conditioned environments, exterior signs go through strong weather conditions such as humidity, heat, cold, and sunlight. This causes facilities to choose sign materials that are fade- resistant.

3. How Lighting Impacts Display

It’s important to comprehend the impact in which ambient lighting has on signs made. Fade resistant materials are also important to protect both indoor and outdoor architectural signage.

Interior signs receive the same amount of light all the time, and you can control, shape and mold that lighting however you choose. Whereas outside, the lighting at 8 a.m. is different than 8 p.m. June is different than January, and that’s where it becomes interesting.

If you work with shiny surfaces, you have to be concerned with the reflections of the sunlight off the ground and the sky because they will affect how the sign looks as the season and weather changes.

4. Special Considerations in the Design Phase

The main focus customers have in the design phase, is the actual “look” of the sign. Challenges in the design phase include coming up with a look that the customer wants and helped the customer choose materials while staying within their budgets. In the design phase, it’s mandatory to choose materials that’ll prepare them for any special requirements, like mounting, lighting, or curved walls.

Other special obstacles to consider may include how some signs are to be installed on curved walls. In this scenario, the logo has to be manufactured to be pre-rolled so that the actual letter forms would then follow the curvature of the wall.

5. Regulatory Requirements Vs. The Customer

The remaining two obstacles for the architectural sign maker, after materials are chosen, the design is done and the sign is ready to be displayed includes regulations and installation. At this point, the challenge is much more about convincing the customer why you have to meet the specs.

Many of our clients don’t think certain regulations apply to them, but they most definitely do. The biggest obstacle of all regulations is getting clients to deal with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA.)

6. Opposing Installation Challenges

GDS Signs also has to deal with installation issues like as encountering underground utilities like phone and power and fiber optic networks. Special permits definitely slow down the installation process as well.

In terms of interior signage, the challenges are altogether different. Other than ADA, there are usually little to none regulations and the obstacle is location. Interior architectural signage is installed on a wall usually and sometimes there isn’t a wall behind the reception desk.

It is common that companies like putting their logo where it is visible as soon as you get off an elevator, staircase or behind a receptionist desk.

Creating signs can be a challenge when a client calls us in after they have already built out the space with colored and texturized walls, distracting lighting or patterned wallpaper. This is where our team at GDS Architectural Signage Solutions gets creative and digs out our problem-solving skills.

These are just a few of the many challenges we face as an architectural signage company. If you want to learn more about what we do, current industry news, or pictures of current projects, please follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. You can e-mail us at or call us at (888) 437- 9993. We look forward to designing your next interior or exterior architectural sign project soon!