building signage design

3 Innovative Building Signage Design Solutions for Branded Placemaking

Published on: July 23, 2019

When you consider branding a commercial building, what’s the first thing you think of? Some people immediately envision the lobby—a gleaming, well-lit example of heavy branding in a visitor-friendly space. Others might consider the interior decor of the office floors. Characteristics like colorful meeting room furniture, bold supergraphics, or quirky conference room signs make a corporate environment unique to your company. 

We’ve got interior office branding covered. But by focusing so much attention on interior design, many companies forget about exterior branding. At the last possible moment, they slap a corporate logo on the side of a building and call it good. 

What if you were to put the same amount of effort into branding the exterior of your corporate complex? With strategic monumental signage and wayfinding design, you have the opportunity to immerse visitors in your brand from the moment they set foot on your property. 

3 Examples of High-Impact Building Signage Design

Ideally, you want employees and clients alike to feel like they’re stepping into another world when they cross the threshold onto your company’s turf. Exterior graphics and messaging begin the all-encompassing brand experience that continues into your office interior design. It all starts with how you’re claiming space and announcing your company’s presence to the outside world.  

The following examples show how exceptional exterior building signage design can begin this cohesive brand experience and help your property truly stand out from the crowd.  

1. Rosewood Commons

building signage design

Before the old AT&T business park in Pleasanton, CA was converted into Rosewood Commons, the property felt a bit generic. Multiple office buildings that looked relatively alike were named according to their address numbers and stood quietly together without much of an identity. When the complex shifted to a vibrant multi-use development, owners executed a bold building signage design that transformed the exterior environment to match the property’s fresh identity.

Rosewood Commons employed a dynamic duo of supergraphics and monument architectural signage, both of which exemplified the impact of large-scale design. The huge, colorful numerals identifying each building made wayfinding simpler and infused the complex with a sense of fun. Definitely not what you’d expect to see at the average office park. 

Most importantly, this branded signage program helped make the Rosewood Commons buildings more marketable and differentiated the property from other corporate complexes in the Pleasanton area. Tenants like Gap Inc, Farmers Insurance, and Cisco were attracted by the complex’ new visual identity and chose Rosewood Commons as a unique place to do business. 

2. Veeva Systems 

building signage design

When Veeva Systems purchased office space in Pleasanton’s Hacienda Business Park, another major tech destination in the Bay Area, the company was prepped and ready for major growth. Veeva secured an entire 141,000 square-foot office building with the intention of establishing their new Bay Area headquarters and the team immediately started looking for unique ways to brand the building’s exterior. 

Veeva settled on a custom corporate signage program which featured a massive logo centered above the main entrance to the building. This logo was unique in one major way—the sign dipped below the curtain wall over the parapet, and the design was slightly outside the City of Pleasanton’s building codes. Most companies wouldn’t get approval for a graphic like this. Due to good relationships between expert signage consultants and the governing authorities of Hacienda Business Park and the City of Pleasanton, Veeva managed to bring this impactful design to life. 

This innovative building signage design was created to go above and beyond traditional expectations. The signage helped brand the Veeva office as a truly innovative place to work and established a visual precedent for out-of-the-box thinking. There’s a difference between installing a logo on the side of a building and using a logo to make a statement—and Veeva capitalized on the latter. 

3. Cadence

building signage design

Cadence also pulled off a successful multi-building rebrand through creative building signage design. Their headquarters in the North San Jose Innovation District needed new identification signage for multiple office buildings, updated vehicular and pedestrian wayfinding signs, and retrofitted monuments to reflect a refreshed visual identity. All exterior signage elements were designed with a crisp red-and-white color scheme and featured Cadence’s characteristic macron symbol in a mix of interesting variations.

Cadence took a 360-degree approach to branding by integrating these visual elements in the interior of their buildings as well. The Innovation Center, a newly-acquired building, was one of the first Silicon Valley facilities designed to include in-house amenities like cafes and coffee shops. Cadence highlighted this innovation by amping up the branded graphics and signage for the Innovation Center and continuing the branding elements from the exterior signage program. 

Cadence’s San Jose headquarters is the perfect example of how to create a holistic brand identity through creative building signage design. The project created consistency from the monument signage to the interior lobby branding and the graphics in the cafeteria, highlighting the dynamic work environment that the Cadence community strives to create. 

Don’t Be Afraid To Think Outside The Box

Innovations in exterior building signage design tend to be big, bold, and loud. These graphics differ from everything you’d normally see in the standard office environment—and that’s exactly what they’re designed to do. Don’t be afraid to explore beyond what’s already been done in corporate spaces in your industry. If your company wants to take the lead with creative office branding, you need to be comfortable thinking outside the box. 

One of the best ways to open your mind to creative design is to partner with an innovative environmental branding team. Some signage consultants work with prefabricated elements to implement very standard exterior and interior branding programs. Others have portfolios full of projects that break the corporate mold. You deserve to work with designers who are excited about getting creative with environmental design. By partnering with the right firm, you’ll end up with high-impact building signage design that transforms your company’s public face for the better. 


The designers at GNU Group thrive on creating innovative corporate environments through building signage design. The projects above come from our full portfolio of design solutions, and we’re always working on something new for corporate clients in the Bay Area and beyond. Curious to see what we can come up with for your next corporate rebrand? Connect with our team today.