Custom signs come in all shapes and sizes, whether it’s a hanging sign above a door downtown, or channel letters on a big box store in the suburbs. But one type of sign that a lot of people never think of as a custom sign, is the building awning.
Sometimes referred to as canopies, these special custom signs are often more noticeable and visible than regular business signs found around town. That’s because most other signs can get lost in the visual clutter of a strip mall’s sign, or among the billboards and other signs along the road.
But an awning is a different matter entirely. It is an architectural feature that adds to a building’s design. These custom signs provide a professional appearance and add a touch of class to a building’s face, as well as provide comfort in the summer by keeping the sun’s heat out. Anyone who has had a west-facing window knows what a blessing their awnings can be on a long August afternoon. They can also be used to give a store a vintage look, using traditional colors and design, such as red and white stripes over an ice cream store.
These custom signs are made of a light, rigid structure, usually made out of steel or aluminum tubing, and has a fabric or vinyl cover stretched tightly over it. The awning is then placed over windows, doors, sidewalks, decks, or even as rain shelters. A vinyl awning is lighter, easier to clean, and allows more light penetration. The fabric covers are heavier, a little more durable, and can block more light.
Restaurants can use their awnings as a way to add outdoor seating. On a nice spring or summer day, patrons can sit outside and dine al fresco under the awning’s shade. These can also serve as custom signs, with the restaurant’s name on it in a couple of places. But avoid going overboard with the design factors. These are meant to be simple, elegant additions, so a lot of colors and graphics can detract from the awning’s good looks.
Awnings usually take three to four weeks to complete, and often require a city permit before installation. Remember, these are custom signs, so a local government may have special permits for both signs and architectural features. That means awnings could fall under a special category that requires more than one permit, or its own type of permit. Check with a local custom sign maker to ask about permit requirements. Many of them will help obtain permits for customers.
Awnings can last up to ten years, depending on how they are maintained and cared for, just like all other custom signs. If they are cleaned and maintained, awnings can have a longer life. But once the awning has served its purpose, the frame can be easily reskinned, and a new awning put in its place.
For more information on awnings, awning graphics, and other custom signage, visit our website. You can also find a local SIGNARAMA store to help you with your new awning by visiting our online store locator.