Signage Design – Making the process easy!

 In Blog

If you could see what your signage would look like on your building or car before paying to get it manufactured. How much easier would this make giving approval to the project?

A good graphic design studio makes the process for a client simple. Most people cannot visualise, put a white canvas in front of them and they don’t know where to start. The same can be said for signage on a car or building, it is hard to know what you want or like until you see it. This is why we never do signage concepts without mocking up the design on the object first.

Most clients will ask for a design which is based on what they have seen before, the reason for this is simple. They cannot visualise doing anything different therefore go for what they know. When we challenge them to try something different they will quite often get worried, and ask “But what if it doesn’t look any good?” Our reply is always “We’ll mock it up in photoshop to make sure we know what it will look like before we commit to getting any signage manufactured”.

This will quite often amaze our clients, they for the most part are not aware we can simply mock it up in the computer. And when we mean mock-up we mean make it look like it is real. To do this you need great photoshop knowledge and a keen skill in visualising how a non-existent sign design would actually look on that building or car.

Mocking up signage can range from very simple to completely complicated. Building angles, car curves and 3D objects all pose certain problems. If it was easy then everyone could do it, right? We thrive on the challenge and enjoy presenting our concepts to our clients just to see their reaction.

This blog is not a “how to” it is more a “how we approach the conceptual presentation of our signage designs”. When we rebrand a business, this will nearly always involve some sort of signage component. Many of our clients will go direct to a sign-writer to get signage designed by them, most of the time this is because of cost. They perceive Brown Ink to be too expensive, funnily for most of these projects we don’t even get the opportunity to quote the signage. For our clients who do value our design knowledge they find our process seamless and easy because we remove the guess work from the equation.


Step 1:
We find a photo of the car our client wants to get the signage on, Google is a good place to search. If we can’t find a photo we take one or two ourselves or get our client to take some photos.

Step 2:
Once we understand the brief and also the budget, we design to both. This mock-up was the concept we presented to our client Geelong Monitoring Services.

The finished completed REAL product.


C-Tech Ute before our conceptual mock-up.

C-Tech Ute with our signage mock-up.

Totally Amped Ford Ranger before our conceptual mock-up.

Totally Amped Ford Ranger with our conceptual mock-up.


There are many aspects to building signage which can be missed. Is the sign going to be large enough to be seen? Can the sign be read from the road? How much information is going to be too much? What would our building look like in a different colour? What our the best positions for our signage?

These are all very relevant and important questions, each question can also be answered simply by doing some conceptual mock-ups to see what will work best. Our experience will tell us even before we start the conceptual process what will best for the position of signs. What the mock-ups do is tell us without any doubt what the sign content will look like competing against the facade of the building, roof and trees in the area.

It is far cheaper for you to pay for a design studio to mock-up a number of signage concepts instead of picking a concept and hoping it will work well on the building. What it the signage is installed and you don’t like it? You don’t need that kind of stress and with the knowledge and technology we have at our fingertips there really is no excuse for not getting a conceptual mock-up.

In fact with every signage project we quote we include the conceptual mock-up component as a non negotiable. Even with all our knowledge we still want to see what the design will look like on the building or car. We don’t want to take the risk of getting it wrong either.

The Sectrol Security building before our conceptual mock-up.

The Sectrol Security building with our conceptual mock-up.

The Sectrol Security building before our conceptual mock-up.

The Sectrol Security building with our conceptual mock-up.

The Revamped building before we added signage and changed the colour.

We not only add the signage but we can change the colour of the building as well.

Blue Box Cool Rooms before the mock-up.

Blue Box Cool Rooms after the mock-up, we even used this photo on their website until the real signage was completed and we were able to take new photos. Very handy!

Surfcoast Wholefoods before opening with no signage.

We would’ve loved Surfcoast Wholefoods to use real timber for their signage, but when this became cost prohibitive we recommend the digital timber look.!

Surfcoast Wholefoods front entrance.

Surfcoast Wholefoods front entrance with mocked-up signage.

Surfcoast Wholefoods street side.

Surfcoast Wholefoods street side with mocked-up signage.

The completed REAL signage photography.

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