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Architectural Lettering In Our Modern Age

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  • Morris Timlen
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      Article Title:

      Architectural Lettering In Our Modern Age

      Article Description:

      In these days of discount stores, we are most familiar with the
      lettering we can buy at the store, which can be glued to any
      surface. But unless you are an architect, few people think about
      architectural lettering as a modern-day method of adding
      information to a landmark.

      Additional Article Information:

      945 Words; formatted to 65 Characters per Line
      Distribution Date and Time: 2008-11-11 12:12:00

      Written By: Morris Timlen
      Copyright: 2008
      Contact Email: mailto:morris.timlen@...

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      Architectural Lettering In Our Modern Age
      Copyright (c) 2008 Morris Timlen
      Bronze Plaques Blog

      In these days of discount stores, we are most familiar with the
      lettering we can buy at the store, which can be glued to any
      surface. But unless you are an architect, few people think about
      architectural lettering as a modern-day method of adding
      information to a landmark.

      The Historical Past

      Through centuries of historical architecture, architectural
      letting has always been an integral part of a buildings' design.
      It wasn't until the modern generation where people began to put
      less focus on aesthetic beauty in design and more focus on the
      functional use of the space, within specific budget parameters.

      As sheet metal began to replace brick on a storefront, the ornate
      architectural lettering of yesteryear started to pass away. As
      neon began to replace signs on the main streets of America,
      old-world beauty and function began to be replaced by glitz and

      According to the American Institute of Graphic Arts,
      architectural lettering began to disappear from buildings
      immediately after WWII, with the rise of the International Style
      of architecture.

      Famous Architectural Lettering On Buildings

      Probably the most famous architectural lettering in the world is
      the words "New York Stock Exchange", carved into the marble
      above the doorway of this world-renowned building at the corner
      of Wall and Broad Street.

      But, architectural lettering is not limited to Wall Street in
      NYC. Most post offices, court houses, and other government
      buildings in small towns across America, if built before the
      1960's and built in the style of the Greek Acropolis, will have
      architectural lettering on the outside of the building, above the
      Greek-inspired pillars at the front of the building (see:
      http://www.architecturestockphotos.com/slides/ADT1173.jpg and

      The New Style Of Signage And Architectural Lettering

      Prior to WWII, the signage was engraved directly into the
      building. Since WWII, the physical location of the business
      became more transient, and businesses began renting office and
      retail space, rather than constructing their own buildings.

      But, businesses still need to tell their customers where they are
      located and what the name of their business is.

      In modern day, most of us tend to think about signage in terms of
      the plastic, backlit type signs as used by McDonald's, Burger
      King, and Wal-Mart.

      Other companies that offer a bit more permanence prefer to
      utilize the modern-style of architectural lettering that is often
      preferred by hospitals, banks, major corporations, and
      municipalities around the country. (Examples:
      http://socalbronze.com/images/bronze1b.jpg and

      Many Styles Of Signage Lettering

      Whether used indoor or outdoor, a lot of variety can be brought
      into the decision on how to present a message to one's potential
      and existing customers.

      Plastic, neon, acrylic, aluminum, bronze, brass, zinc, and
      stainless steel can be used outside or inside a building. Indoor
      signage can also use glass and wood lettering.

      Architects, building managers and marketers understand the
      importance of using signage inside and outside of a building, but
      more importantly, they understand the importance of making the
      signage match the style and prominence of the building to which
      the signage is affixed.

      The Graphics Designer

      A graphics designer is nearly as important as the choice of
      materials used in the architectural signage. A graphics designer,
      who understands the implementation of architectural lettering,
      can put together the right fonts, font sizes, font spacing, and
      coloration mixtures, to ensure that an architectural sign not
      only tells the story that it needs to tell, but also does so with
      style and elegance.

      Think back to the IBM logo. The logo tells the story of the IBM
      in its styling, and it was so potent that we all remember the way
      it looks and the business it represents. That is one of the
      benefits of finding and hiring a good logo designer (graphics

      With the best display of your company name in your company's
      signage, your business name can stand out and still tell the
      message of your business. Your choice in a graphics designer will
      ensure that your message is told in a way that best represents
      your business.

      A Difference In Style

      Consider the signage of McDonald's restaurants. Its red message
      board and yellow "M" is known around the world. A great logo
      and signage design has that kind of power - the power to help
      your company to be recognized as a "stand out" in a sea of
      commercial signs.

      Of course, the McDonald's signage is one that is pressed from
      one sheet of plastic to be displayed at thousands of worldwide
      locations. Its thousands of signs are mass-produced, just as its
      billions of hamburgers served have been made. The important point
      to make here is that even McDonald's customers realize that
      their signage is mass-produced.

      When architectural lettering is used in signage, a business has
      the opportunity to show its company as having more depth than a
      cookie-cutter business model. Not only does architectural
      lettering bring a three dimensional effect to one's signage, but
      consumers see it as an indication that the business may bring
      more commitment to its customer service than what has come to be
      expected from cookie cutter type businesses.

      Forget The Can Of Paint

      When it is time to put a sign in front of your business, please
      forget the can of paint. Yes, a can of paint might be cheaper,
      but a can of paint and a hand-painted sign might leave your
      potential customers' with a sense of unease about the permanence
      of your business.

      Architectural lettering will permit you to design a sign that
      exhibits class, style and permanence in the minds of consumers,
      and if you take the time to explore the possibility, you might
      just find that it is not nearly as expensive as you might

      Morris Timlen maintains the Bronze Plaques Blog,
      which specializes in the study of the history and style
      of commercial signs, and the many materials used in
      architectural lettering, including bronze, plastic, neon,
      acrylic, aluminum, brass, zinc, stainless steel, wood
      and glass. If you are in need of commercial signage
      for your business, please visit Morris's website for more
      information: http://www.bronzeplaquesblog.com/

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