Dental Practice Signage – Planning Ahead
1. WHEN DO I START MY SIGNAGE PROJECT?
Plan your dental practice signage design project as early as possible. Once your brand name and logo has been created, you can then proceed to designing concepts of how your identity will appear on a shop fascia or building façade. Avoid leaving your signage project to the last minute. You may have already instructed an architect, interior designer or a building contractor but your dental practice signage project will need to be coordinated at the same time. Electrical cables, support structures and surface preparation requires careful consideration. The whole process can consume many weeks or even months of work and involves design, surveys, planning applications, manufacturing and installation. Many dentists leave their signage project until the building and refurbishment work is near completion. They then end up being disappointed when they find out the costs for signage which could look amazing but there is very little left in the budget.
View some examples of dental practice signage >
2. WHY USE A BRAND DESIGNER?
It is not simply a case of putting your logo on a sheet of metal and you will not get the ‘wow’ factor from a signage manufacturer designing your signs. An expert graphic designer will consider all aspects of your brand and how best to portray it. Every building facade, shop fascia, window and forecourt is different and your designer will also use their experience to consider obstacles. These may be south facing windows, trees, traffic or a lack of street illumination.
Avoid using an architect or an interior designer to create your signage designs. Your branding is the icing on the cake and a powerful marketing tool that will advertise your dental practice to pay for your investment. Hiring a brand designer may add to your budgets but they can turn an adequate project into a stunning work of art. How much is your dental brand worth to you and do you want your practice to stand out and be seen?
Find out more about creating a powerful dental brand here >
3. DO I NEED SIGNS INSIDE?
Many dental practices have limited advertising opportunity on the exterior of a building. This can be due to the practice being situated in a conservation area, on the first floor above a shop or because the practice is within a medical centre or polyclinic. Internal dental practice signage is just as important as external signs. You can create a memorable brand by including bespoke wallpaper effects, illuminated wall signs, directional signage and bespoke door signs. You can even include branding inside the surgery and advertise different services to help up sell cosmetic dental treatments. A brand designer will identify areas that can help inform the patient throughout their whole journey as well as create impact to leave them with a fulfilling experience that they can talk about with their friends and families.
Look at some internal dental practice signage designs here >
4. IS A SURVEY NECESSARY?
Surveys are critical. Attention to detail will help to avoid mistakes during the design and manufacturing process. A survey of the dental practice before the building or refurbishment work begins and a second survey near completion before instructing the manufacturers to proceed is essential. There are so many alterations that occur during the building works. These alterations may include lowering ceilings, the repositioning of steel beams or drain pipes being re-routed. Oversights can also occur such as exterior shutter boxes being forgotten about or air-con units not included in the original scheme.
5. WHO CAN MANUFACTURE DENTAL PRACTICE SIGNAGE?
There are many sign companies and they all provide different solutions that vary according to their manufacturing capabilities. Most high street chains have limited machinery to create large format metal fabrication for shop facias. They are likely to only offer solutions they can produce in house. This may not be the best option for your requirements. The same goes for larger manufacturers and production companies who only supply and fit limited material options. Your brand designer can advise you of the most appropriate material for each sign and source options for you to choose from. Some design companies will manage the whole process for you including design, manufacturing and installation. It’ll cost more but it is worth it leaving you with time to focus on other projects that require your expertise.
6. DO I NEED PLANNING PERMISSION?
Any change or alteration to the exterior fabrication of the building will require approval by the local authority. This includes signs on the building as well as freestanding signs that are position within the site boundaries. Planning applications can be submitted by anyone in charge of your project but the process can be time consuming and detailed. Be prepared for refusal. It is not guaranteed that you will be granted approval on the first submission. Sign companies are unlikely to involve themselves but architects are experienced in dealing with planning officers. They they can liaise with your brand designer to acquire the necessary detailed drawings to send together with the application. Allow up to six to eight weeks for planning permission and budget for extra architectural and design management fees for extra detailed drawings that need to be submitted.
7. WHAT SHOULD I INCLUDE ON MY SIGNS?
Every sign has a purpose. Therefore you should consider its location and what it needs to communicate. It is also worth bearing in mind that every sign is an opportunity to advertise your brand. After all, you want it to attract attention and signify a gentle reminder of where the patient is. For example, many dentists install basic door signs without branding or do not consider directional signage throughout the practice. There are many ways to communicate information through your dental practice signage and a brand or graphic designer can advise you accordingly. Try to use your logo, your brand name, telephone number or web address in the right places.
8. WHICH MATERIALS DO I CHOOSE?
There is a vast selection of different materials ranging from low cost vinyl to polished brass. Almost any shape can be made from any material these days. Remember, signage production companies tend to only offer the material that their machinery can manufacture and some products only provide materials in a limited range of colours. It is important to ask for choices of different material options and to consider its longevity. For instance, vinyl can be cost effective to use but the cheaper products can be brittle in strong sunlight or discolour quickly.
9. HOW MUCH WILL MY SIGNAGE COST?
Dental practice signage design, planning, manufacturing and installation can be timely and an expensive project. Before you commit to instructing builders, architects and ordering soft furnishings you should factor in and budget for your signage. Remember, your branding is the icing on the cake and if designed and planned well, it will get your dental practice noticed and remarked upon. A patient is not going to remember the Rolls Royce of dental chairs or an expensive dental drill. Consider what is necessary to budget for and what your patients expect of your brand.
Your signage can last well over ten years if you look after it and so it is important to evaluate the overall cost of the signs with the benefits that it serves for your business. There are not many marketing opportunities where you could advertise your practice from less than £5 per day to hundreds or even thousands of potential patients every day.
Find out more about creating a powerful dental brand here >
10. HOW DO I LOOK AFTER MY SIGNS?
After installation, it is wise to ask your manufacturer about caring for your dental signs. Most signs do not require maintenance and you can avoid changing light bulbs regularly by opting for LEDs lights that last for many years. It is recommended that external signs are cleaned once a month as road traffic and varying weather conditions can cause dirt and grit to build up. Your manufacturer will advise you how to clean your signs and often sell specialist products that will help to protect certain materials such as stainless steel against surface corrosion. Watch out for window cleaners or tradesmen carrying out small building repairs as they are the main cause for breakages or general wear and tear of signs. Be sure they protect the signs and do not lean ladders against them.
Take a look at some examples of dental practice signage here >
If you would like to find out more, please visit www.design4dentists.com
or call Alex Nicolaou our Brand & Design Director on 01923 609770
Brand & Design Director