Blue 201 ADA Room Sign

5 Trends That Will Drive Success in 2020 for the Signage Industry


Sign Builder Illustrated Voices 2020: ADA

At Nova Polymers, because of our focus on education and our continued development of innovative materials, we constantly interact with a variety of stakeholders from the sign industry. We decided to ask Experiential Designers at SEGD, sign makers at The International Sign Association and some leading Architects what trends the industry should be aware of as we forge into 2020. Here are the 5 trends they consider will drive success in the next decade.

1. Digital Printing is Hot!

Blue 201 ADA Room Sign

Sign by Preferred Fabricator: Park Place Sign Systems

Walk around any tradeshow or tour any public building and you will see digitally printing everywhere. Building owners are thrilled to use their branding and updated designs with the use of digital printing on custom wall coverings, flooring, window decor, and of course – signage. Sign makers have embraced digital printing with the latest and greatest flat bed printers, resulting in aesthetically-pleasing ADA compliant signs that are subsurface printed to coordinate with the building design. Add a new décor color, patterns, logos, etc to also assist with Wayfinding. These subtle additions to the sign design add to a customer and/or employee experience within the built environment.

2. Biophilic Design

Biophilic Design ADA Sign

Signs by Preferred Fabricator: Acorn Sign Graphics

Biophilic Design is essentially “bringing nature in”, incorporating natural light, natural materials, nature views, etc. into the built environment. Interior Designers and Architects have embraced biophilic design within the built environment over several years and this trend will continue into 2020 and beyond. New and renovated buildings incorporate large windows to expose natural light, updated vibrant and warmer tones, greenery, and different wood species. With these natural design elements, interior signage including ADA compliant, wayfinding, and donor recognition signs will use natural materials to ensure excellent décor coordination. Sign materials with bamboo leaves, woodgrain laminates, updated 2020 colors, clear PETG are ideal for biophilic designed buildings.

3. Colors & Engineered Woods

Nova Polymers Specifications

Sign by Poblocki Sign Company

Whether it’s at home or within the built environment, consumers and building owners are more daring with colors and patterns today. Neutrals are still popular yet we all have embraced painting walls the latest trendy colors, using engineered wood for flooring, and using surfaces in areas of our buildings that are not the norm (flooring on walls, flooring on ceilings, etc.). Designers use updated colors in carpet, upholstery, and décor. To ensure a building “flows”, designers expect the interior signage to work with the entire design project. Offering laminate one-piece ADA compliant signs, or those painted with the newly launched “2020 color of the year” is a huge hit.

2020 Colors of the year

4. Durable and Sustainable Signage

Durable Interior signs or “One-Piece” signage is a need for most building owners. We’ve all seen signs that have been vandalized and replacement costs are not ideal for anyone. Designers and Architects specify signs that are not only made from durable sustainable materials, but also are produced with little-to-no waste and harmful chemicals. Don’t be fooled by certain sign processes that appear to be durable but either fail in the field or have extreme waste factors and involve harmful chemicals/materials. In addition, energy consumption for certain printers and long-running CNC machines can be alarming. Know your products from raw materials, complete manufacturing, to the finished product.

5. Partnering and Acquisitions

One of the most important trends in 2018 and still trending into 2020 is something you may already be doing. Partnering is knowing how local companies can complement your business. This way you can refer a customer to another company that does work you don’t, or even coordinate some jobs with the work of another company. Partnering can be especially important because many signage companies produce only a limited range of sign types.
We are also seeing sign distributors and sign shops starting to merge. This is due to multiple reasons and at times, the initial “partnering” leads to this outcome. Our parents taught us to “never burn a bridge” and in today’s business world with mergers and acquisitions, you never know which signage company you’ll be working with in the future. They may become a great supplier to you, partner, or co-owner.

Article originally published in the December 2019 edition of Sign Builder Illustrated, pages 26 and 27

Kelly BoederBy Kelly Boeder
Director of Sales and Education
Nova Polymers

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