The new and replacement roadside sign designs for Carfraemill

Roadside sign design for Carfraemill

Monday 19 June 2017

Designs for the replacement signs shown on the right, and the new, smaller signs on the left

Carfraemill wanted to update their hotel signage following a rebrand and commissioned me to produce the design. The first phase of this project was to replace the existing roadside signage which are sited beside each of the three main approach roads, and to create some new, smaller signs which would mark the venue boundary.

The signs needed to work in two distinct ways – to attract passing custom, and to help people who are specifically looking for the venue to recognise and locate it.

Key considerations

It was important to achieve a sign design which worked in terms of wayfinding. But it was also important to achieve brand recognition by creating consistency between the visual elements of the road signs and Carfraemill’s other materials – both online and offline.

The signs would need to:

  • be clear for motorists to read at speeds of up to 60mph
  • communicate what Carfraemill offers in as few words as possible
  • apply the Carfraemill branding in a way that aids recognition of the venue
  • fit within 2.16m2 the maximum surface area stipulated by the planning regulations.

Sign design solution

Carfraemill is an old coaching inn with a modern identity and Ruth was keen to communicate the fact by achieving a different aesthetic to standard industrial-looking road signs. With this in mind I began the design process by looking at possible construction methods and materials.

In finding the best solution it was necessary to balance multiple considerations – choosing materials that would communicate the right message about the character of the venue and stand up to the harsh weather conditions without degrading; identifying a printing solution for Carfraemill’s brand orange which would reproduce the colour accurately, and in a way which would not fade; and, of course, a solution which would work within the project budget.

The project was punctuated throughout with prototyping and testing of solutions. I tested a range of similar shades of orange using various printing methods on various substrates in order to achieve the closest possible match. But we also produced a series of full scale paper proofs at various stages of the project in order to test type size and weight for legibility in situ.

The Carfraemill logo uses two weights of the Celias typeface – regular and light. The strapline which is sometimes used is set in Roble Alt light. This provided the typeface choice for the sign. However, given that the signs would need to be readable from a distance, and when passed at speed, I felt the very light weights in the type might be a problem.

In order to make the text easier to read at a distance I increased the text weight for the logo on the signage

Increasing the text weight in Carfraemill’s logo in order to make the sign easier to read at a distance

Fortunately, Celias and Roble Alt are both available in a good range of heavier weights. This meant I was able to increase the weight of all the type elements, and still maintain the differentiation within ‘Carfraemill’.

Although the strapline is not used on the sign, using the same typeface – Roble Alt – for the ‘Eat Stay Gather’ message, and for the directional text helps to create consistency of branding between the sign and Carfraemill’s other materials.

Using a dark grey for the background helped to differentiate Carfraemill signs from other road signs. It is also more practical in terms of showing the dirt, given the signs are placed near main roads and trees.

Text in both white and Carfraemill’s brand orange work against the grey background, but the white text stands out more than the orange. It was possible to use this difference to create a hierarchy of information by presenting the brand name and directional information in white, and the ‘C’ icon and ‘eat stay gather’ message in orange.

The white text stands out more on the roadside signs than the orange text, allowing a hierarchy of information to be created

With all the constituent parts of the sign now ready it was simply a question of adjusting the proportions of the sign in order to arrive at a size and shape which allowed for the content to be displayed at the largest size possible, while keeping within the maximum surface area permitted by the planning restrictions.

Need help with signage?

To chat about how I could help you to extend your branding across a range of signage, please send me a message.

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Photograph of Sarah Cowan

Hello! I’m Sarah, an independent typographic designer, helping businesses to communicate their unique selling points through printed marketing and communications.

I’ve been sharing my knowledge about design, typography, marketing, branding and printing since 2014. I hope you enjoy reading my blog.

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Sarah Cowan