apartment complex signs

Top 3 Essential Elements of Apartment Complex Signs For Best Design and Value

Published on: December 10, 2019

The requirements for effective apartment complex signs are different from any other kinds of commercial signage. While it’s still important that they are visible, branded, easy to maintain, and cost-effective, there are also other components to consider. These signs need to reflect the culture of the community. Apartment complex signs will also serve to advertise the property, so they must present a brand identity that resonates with prospective tenants as well. 

However, the marketing message needs to be a subtle one. Otherwise, the property will feel like a commercial instead of a home to both audiences. Striking the right balance between branded design and value for apartment complex signs isn’t easy but there are some tried and true elements that offer superior results. 

Combining the Key Elements of Apartment Complex Signs 

apartment signage design

Today, urban apartments can include both residential and commercial spaces. It’s not unusual for modern apartment communities to host restaurants, boutiques, grocery stores, gyms and more. Something is needed to tie all these disparate spaces together while creating a sense of place where residents can feel at home. That’s where branded apartment signage comes in. 

When it comes to striking all the right chords with apartment signage design, it can help to emulate the successes of others. Avalon at Dublin Station, a California Bay Area mixed-use apartment community, provides a great example with their comprehensive sign program that hits all the crucial aspects of effective apartment complex signs.

1. Visibility 

Avalon at Dublin Station is situated near a key public transportation hub where broad visibility is important for both attracting the attention of commuters—or, potential tenants—and designating the community as a valued place to call home. As such, its signage serves both as advertising and as wayfinding. Large monument signage highlights the major entrances of the community and multiple wayfinding signs are used to mark key decision-making points, including a central directory that provides the layout of the complex and its amenities. So, whether someone is just passing through the transportation center or they are heading home after a commute, clear architectural signage demarcates the boundaries of the community to create a sense of place and direction. 

2. Appropriate branding 

Avalon attracts professionals who work in the city center and their branded signage reflects that upscale standard of living. Taking a note from the marketing collateral, which offers “class without the extravagance,” the community’s signage is appropriately subtle and elegant. The signs all share a dark blue and white color scheme featuring a fleur-de-lis styled logo. Classic Serif font is used for primary information on signage while San serif font is used for additional information and subtitles. This perfectly resonates, not only with the marketing efforts but also with the refined interior design and amenities that the community offers residents. 

3. Ease of maintenance 

It’s no secret that apartment communities require a lot of upkeep and maintenance to remain fresh for each cycle of new residents—and that’s why it’s important to simplify where you can. The base material on all of Avalon’s major signs is aluminum, which is easy to clean and resists damage from the elements. Monument signs also make use of a stone veneer, which matches the building itself and ensures long term durability. By smartly choosing signage materials, Avalon can plan for less maintenance time and costs for years to come while still looking like new for residents. 

In addition to achieving each of these important elements of effective apartment complex signs, Avalon was able to efficiently manage costs and eliminate the risk of scope creep. Their whole sign design program began with a comprehensive audit of the site and the needs of their tenant community. This proprietary audit, called Sign Profile Analysis™ (SPA), allowed Avalon to make key budget allocation decisions like spending more on high-profile branded signs while selecting more utilitarian solutions for less visible areas. 

Simplifying the Development of Apartment Complex Sign Programs 

apartment complex signs

With a SPA in hand and an expert signage design partner at their side, Avalon knew upfront what the costs of their sign program would be and, just as important, could effectively communicate their comprehensive plan to local leaders for approval. The reduced approval time, in turn, decreases project development costs. As a result, Avalon was able to implement a best-in-class sign program that hits all the marks for residents. 

To achieve these same results, you need a signage design firm that can provide end-to-end turn-key design and project management for fabrication and even installation. After all, don’t just want visible signs that are appropriately branded and low-maintenance. You need a signage partner that gets the project completed on time and within budget. 


GNU Group can create a program for apartment complex signs that reflects the unique culture of your community meeting all the best practices. Our proprietary Sign Profile Analysis is the first step to creating a comprehensive, branded program that fits your property. To learn more, connect with our team.