~ By Steve Aust
A Virginia sign fabricator imparts a classic style on lifestyle centers
2.0 Design (Mechanicsville, VA) has designed signs for 14 years. The practice recently began offering design services for other shops that wish to outsource such work, as well as consulting services for end users and fabricators that wanted to reduce energy consumption or earn LEED points. Much of the shop's work comprises custom, architectural signage and store-ID and wayfinding systems for retail and mixed-use properties, but architectural signage represents an increasingly significant part of the company's work.
2.0 Design produced a 16-sign campaign for Kansas City's Zona rosa lifestyle center, a 500,000-sq.-ft., mixed-use development developed by Steiner & Associates.
Referencing EGD provider CommArts' (Boulder, CO) design intent, 2.0 developed the program using corel's CorelDraw and Photo-Paint. The unique campaign features a diverse complement of freestanding directories with integral LCD screens; building-mounted, aluminum-plate ID signs; and building-IDs that integrate with a building's facade. The shop designed the aluminum-plate panels, which are secured to the supporting walls by epoxy studs. The LCD screens presented a challenge because the temperature-sensitive displays required heating and cooling units for each directory and an interior "chimney" to aid airflow.
The 2.0 Design team created a rendering for a new monument and tenant-sign program for Cary Court, a shopping institution that first opened in Richmond, VA in 1938. The monument sign features art deco typestyle and architectural features reminiscent of Cary Court's debut. 2.0 also spec'd tenant signage reminiscent of its era. All tenant signs were developed as stainless-steel raceways that feature exposed neon, piping and sharp lines associated with art deco architecture.
Although 2.0 will bid on such design services, company president David Goodwin said he prefers to be hired directly by the client or general contractor: "As a bidder, it's your job to bastardize specs to make a project as cheap as possible, which isn't always in the client's best interest. I'd rather be a team member who works with a client rather than against him."
2.0 created another conceptual rendering for Plaza 42, a Philadelphia-area strip mall. Working from site plans and photographs, Goodwin created a hand sketch, then developed a 2-D rendering using Corel Draw and a 3-D template using Ray Dream modeling software.
For most design-only projects, the company charges a flat fee, which the customer prefers, versus an hourly rate that could incur a heftier price tag should contingencies arise. Of course, developing conceptual drawings leaves designers free to experiment with a broad array of ideas.
"With retail, the goal is to excite and invite, so a concept has to engage with bold colors, typestyles and lighting," Goodwin said.