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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Seeing Is Believing: 3 Benefits of Prototypes

Prototypes are key to sign design.

They allow us to cre­ate a form out of a con­cept so that every­one who is involved in the process can give feed­back, then nec­es­sary adjust­ments can be made before the final ver­sion is produced.

We’re wrap­ping up the pro­to­type phase for a 106”(h) x 176”(w) x 7”(d) logo sign, that installs on glass, for a large sta­di­um ren­o­va­tion which inspired us to share 3 ben­e­fits of prototyping.

1. Eval­u­at­ing design and materials.

Design and spec­i­fied mate­ri­als may look real­ly cool on paper or online, but may not always work in the built world’ for the spe­cif­ic appli­ca­tion you need them for. This is why test­ing is important.

In our case, illu­mi­nat­ed laser fiber” wire was spec­i­fied to achieve an illu­mi­nat­ed yel­low line of col­or to fill the dou­ble-sided logo for a sign. The laser fiber is essen­tial­ly a long string of clear wire that illu­mi­nates. To achieve the look the wire would need to be wrapped back and forth across the interior/​middle of the sign. By wrap­ping the fiber back and forth the lines would not run straight which was not the design intent.

Through this process, we also learned that the fiber could not be obstruct­ed or kinked” because the illu­mi­na­tion would be degrad­ed. It was just too many chances to take for the life of this sign.

Ver­sion 1 Pro­to­type size is 24”(h) x 24”(w) x 7”(w) alu­minum box with rout­ed logos on both sides that eas­i­ly opened up for modifications. 

The final solution.

To achieve the illu­mi­nat­ed lines, we’re using laser etched acrylic that is edge illu­mi­nat­ed to achieve the lined look with clear acrylic (opaque­ness still being deter­mined) over the top to pro­tect the laser etch lines and help with illu­mi­na­tion. Dur­ing this process, it was also deter­mined that a sin­gle faced sign (logo only on one side) would be more effec­tive due to frost­ed glass at the install site and to avoid hav­ing the logo reversed. Last­ly, by using RGB LEDs the per­fect yel­low, PMS116C, can be achieved.

Ver­sion 2 Pro­to­type, also 24”x24”x7” has a sin­gle faced rout­ed design, etched acrylic, and edge illu­mi­na­tion using RGB LEDs from Prin­ci­pal LED.

By test­ing the design and mate­ri­als it is allow­ing us to move for­ward to pro­duc­tion with a clear plan. 

2. Effi­cient pric­ing. Always respect the budget!

It’s no sur­prise that cre­at­ing an effec­tive pro­to­type with approved design and mate­ri­als makes the pric­ing super efficient. 

Cor­rect mate­ri­als can all be ordered in accu­rate quan­ti­ties because we KNOW they will work. Pro­duc­tion time is reduced because of the clear meth­ods achieved dur­ing the pro­to­type process. 

The final solution:

We actu­al­ly saved the uni­ver­si­ty 11% using our pro­to­typed design rather than the orig­i­nal design. How­ev­er, we have not put this into final pro­duc­tion yet. This sign is to be installed mid-summer.

Over­all, the cost of pro­to­typ­ing (for the man­u­fac­tur­er espe­cial­ly) far out­weighs the costs asso­ci­at­ed with large-scale mis­takes and client dissatisfaction.

3. Hap­py Customers.

In the end, clients just want their sign to look fan­tas­tic, pay a fair price, and be low main­te­nance. Involv­ing the client on the pro­to­typ­ing process helps achieve buy-in on the design and mate­ri­als, appre­ci­a­tion of the vendor’s exper­tise, and no sur­pris­es dur­ing pro­duc­tion or delivery.

The final solution:

To be continued…

*We’ll update with pho­tos of the final prod­uct once installed. Stay tuned.

Have a ques­tion about pro­to­typ­ing or sig­nage in gen­er­al? Shoot us an email

Have a spe­cif­ic ques­tion for the design­er on this project? Email Nick Nel­son.