corporate signage solutions

Which Custom Corporate Signage Solutions Are the Most Cost-Effective?

Published on: June 11, 2019

Corporate signage solutions tend to be an afterthought in the process of building and designing new workspaces. Companies often forget about signage until the very last minute, then someone scrambles to find a signage and graphic design consultant to step in to complete the branded wayfinding program. This all-too-common scenario often leads to paying too much for signage services—or paying too little upfront and needing to expand the scope of the project as time goes on.  

Imagine that you have a corporate office opening in six months, and nobody’s planned signage for the site or the interior. You don’t have the bandwidth or the budget to implement a full-scale signage solution internally, but you need signage implemented now and you need it to be cost-effective. If you’re not familiar with everything that goes into a corporate signage program, it would be difficult to judge how much to spend.

By understanding the factors that drive up signage costs and partnering with a budget-conscious design firm, you can mitigate these challenges and implement a program that’s functional, well-designed, and highly cost-effective.

Understanding the Cost of Corporate Signage Solutions

Corporate signage systems are extensive by nature. Until you’ve implemented a new program from scratch, you might not realize how many different types of signs it takes to fully navigate a corporate complex– or how much each of these signs will cost. In essence, however, it all comes down to quantity and materials.


Begin your sign count with exterior signs for site identification, vehicular wayfinding, and pedestrian orientation. These are all necessary to get people in the door. Inside, four types of signs provide crucial information for employees and visitors alike:

The more of each sign you need, the more your signage program will cost. However, this is not a place you want to cut back. By implementing the full quantity of necessary signs, you’ll ensure that your wayfinding program is fully functional and creates a positive user experience.


After quantity, the most expensive element of a signage system is materiality. This is where you can exercise budgetary restraint. The challenge is that materials used for exterior and interior signs usually follow the character of the existing environment. High-end hospitality spaces, for instance, often require more sophisticated materials to match their atmosphere.

A good design firm will be able to provide you with a range of cost options for your architectural signage program, featuring differently priced materials. You don’t have to purchase completely custom signs if your budget doesn’t allow for it. The right partner will be equally comfortable designing a program around pre-engineered sign systems to help you keep costs low.

Reduce Signage Costs By Eliminating Scope Creep

Scope creep is another common culprit of increased signage costs. As a client, you might agree to a competitively-priced interior wayfinding program, but then realize along the way you also need exterior identification signs. Or branded environmental graphics for your main lobby. Or a paper insert solution for each of your 20 conference room signs.

As you can imagine, it’s incredibly easy for corporate signage programs to outgrow their initial budgetary constraints—especially if you’re working with a firm that doesn’t prioritize keeping costs within budget.

Savvy clients can prevent scope creep by maintaining careful budget awareness from initial bids all the way through project completion. Prioritize bids from firms that take a comprehensive approach to projects. Look for companies that include detailed pricing breakdowns of comparable projects, especially those that are willing to openly discuss their approach to adding services. In the end, this may mean selecting a bid that’s higher in price—but you’ll know that it’s significantly cheaper than a lower bid price that grows exponentially over the life of the project.

Make Future Additions More Cost-Effective

A mutually-beneficial consultant relationship also matters because, for most companies, signage isn’t just a one-time cost. Any time you add an additional wing or facility, you’ll need to expand your signage program seamlessly to include the new property. Some companies reinvent the wheel every time they add real estate, hiring a signage consultant for the new location and beginning the design process all over again. There’s a much easier solution.

To lower costs and save time, establish a set of sign standards with your signage program. This is a comprehensive document that details the dimensions, materials, placement, and other specifications for every sign type in your system. When your company expands into new real estate, you’ll minimize time and costs on design—focusing primarily on the programming, wayfinding strategy, and overall implementation of your sign program.

Sign standards are the perfect solution for large corporations who wish to reduce costs on future signage projects. LinkedIn is one example of a corporation that’s using sign standards to great effect. They began with a cohesive internal signage program across their properties in New York, San Francisco, Sunnyvale, and Santa Barbara. As the company expanded, they enlisted the help of a signage consultant to develop sign standards for wayfinding, code, and identification elements across all of their international locations.

corporate signage solutions

Sign standards identify all your sign types, sizing, materials and more—saving time and costs while ensuring brand consistency across sites.

Sign standards are ideal for entities with large real estate holdings that want to cost-effectively implement consistent office branding across a growing number of locations. If you’re looking to cut costs in the long run, you definitely want to consider establishing a system of sign standards when you invest in today’s signage project.  

Reduce Signage Costs By Hiring the Right Consultant

When it comes time to budget for architectural signage, you can plan to keep costs low by setting reasonable limits on the quality of signage materials you purchase. You can guard against scope creep by insisting on transparent and comprehensive pricing. And you can establish sign standards that will help save money on future projects. The success of all of these endeavors rests on the partnership you build with an experienced and budget-conscious signage design firm.

Even if you’re down to the wire, you should take the time to closely evaluate the companies on your short list according to their budgeting approach. Ask how they plan to bring cost savings to your signage project. The most cost-effective signage programs are those that are built on a trust-driven consultant-client relationship. Finding the right signage consultant could be the most cost-effective decision of your entire project.  

GNU Group is a full-scale design firm with over 30 years of experience designing corporate signage solutions. We ensure that every consultation is comprehensive and use our proprietary Sign Standards Advantage™ program save you future costs. It’s one of the many ways we set ourselves apart from other signage design consultants. Connect with our team to discover our cost-effective vision for your next corporate signage project.