interior signage systems

Choosing Among Interior Signage Systems: What Are the Critical ‘Must-Haves’?

Published on: August 6, 2019

The renovation of a newly-purchased commercial building is nearing completion, but have you dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s? If you are like some developers, you’re facing a big uh-oh. Environmental graphics and signage design has been left to the last minute. And now you need to choose among the interior signage systems—quick. 

But we all know that hasty decisions rarely turn out well. It’s tempting to just slap some logos up and call it a day, especially when you’ve reached the end of your project budget. Or, you could panic and pay up to outsource the project for custom design, but who knows if it will cover all the bases you need? 

There are virtually millions of options available to you in choosing interior signage systems. Regardless of which route you take, certain interior signage system features cannot be skimped on. 

​3 Critical Must-haves in Interior Signage Systems

Being able to control costs while effectively highlighting a brand is a delicate balancing act in creating interior signage systems. Pre-engineered solutions may be easy to obtain, but they’re not the best for building brand recognition. Conversely, custom corporate signage is excellent for branding but may cost more in the short term. 

Regardless of what you select, you must ensure that your program includes three must-have elements so the program remains viable for the long term: 


interior signage systems

Office interior branding is what gives your office space personality. It expresses your company’s values and helps build confidence in your brand for employees and visitors alike. It instills a sense of belonging and value. 

When Kaiser Permanente underwent a recent rebranding, they approached the project with an understanding of the value of consistent branding. With locations across eight states, they aimed to bring their external marketing into each location. Cohesive branding for environmental graphics, signage, and wayfinding brought patients and visitors alike the same familiar brand message that they’ve grown to trust over the years. 


It’s important that your sign program be able to grow as quickly as your business to maintain a strong, branded corporate culture. It’s also crucial for managing your budget, as you’ll want something that’s predictable and affordable for years to come. To ensure that branding is consistent both within and across your properties as your company grows, it needs to be incorporated into your interior signage early on. 

Kaiser also smartly planned for future growth by implementing Sign Standards during their broad rebranding effort. These standards set the design, fabrication, and installation requirements for all signage both for current and future locations. As a result, Kaiser can maintain leverage purchasing power and maintain a handle on future costs. 


Not many companies have the budget for an entirely customized signage program and that’s why your interior signage solution should include the ability for some flexibility. A Sign Profile Analysis™  helps you understand your sign investment prior to the start of any new program. The consultant reviews current signage assets and identifies opportunities for either improvement or additions to develop a comprehensive report. 

This is particularly beneficial for cost control, as it shows how existing signage can be enhanced with minimal investment. For example, existing pre-engineered sign systems can be customized by adding accent pieces, colors, layers of materials and more. This reduces the cost of custom signage while allowing you to still showcase your brand identity.

The size of your overall signage project, as well as the complexity, will help guide you to the best possible options for your facility and budget. In establishing elements of your interior signage system, your design firms should be able to offer three categories of signs to choose from:

Type Pros Cons
Pre-engineered: Signs are mass-produced either in part or in whole for use by any business or entity.   Premade signs are both cost-effective and rapid to roll out as they’re based on standard sizes and materials. Overall, creating a sign system from this is simpler when it comes to project management, as signage is easy to source and scale. Without custom elements, a pre-engineered signage system may appear generic and lack effective brand identity. Adding new signs in the future may be a challenge if older designs are retired and no longer available.
Custom: Signs are specifically created for the entity making the purchase. Custom corporate signage is easier to integrate with the current built environment. Businesses can also enjoy unlimited choices when it comes to material, finish level and more. Finally, and most importantly, custom signs communicate the brand identity effectively. Custom signage is more expensive as the signs are made to order. There is also a longer turnaround time, typically taking 6 to 8 weeks for delivery. Using all custom signage may be difficult to scale for future growth—unless you have Sign Standards™ in place.
Hybrid: A mixture of custom and pre-engineered signs are used to create a unique overall design. Using both custom and pre-engineered signs blends cost control with flexibility. Essentially, users get the best of both worlds. This option requires the most project management and preparation to determine which signs will be pre-engineered and where custom options are needed.

An example of a pre-engineered sign system with a custom 3-form backer panel.

Taking a Consultative Approach to Interior Sign Systems

Working with an expert partner to design and install interior sign systems offers a lot of benefits as this gives you an expert review of the existing sign program and see how it can be revised. Ideally, the design firm that you choose for an interior signage system will be well versed in the use of both pre-engineered, hybrid,  and custom options. This way, you can control costs and create a final product that meets your goals. By taking a strategic and proactive approach at the beginning of the project, you can create an interior signage system that fits your environment and builds on your brand.

GNU Group offers our proprietary Sign Standards AdvantageTM and Sign Profile AnalysisTM programs so you can fully understand the scope of your project prior to any changes to your interior signage systems and plan for future growth. We handle everything from the initial review to the acquisition and installation of new signage solutions to create fully scalable, cost-effective programs. For more information, connect with our team.