Understanding signage value engineering in brand transition projects

Understanding signage value engineering in brand transition projects


Tuesday, July 1, 2014 | Philip Guiliano

Signage Value Engineering is the process of identifying, from both a business and a technical perspective, the best approach to transitioning signage from old brand identity to new. Minimizing costs while maximizing function and brand impact are the ultimate objectives of Signage Value Engineering. Since the manufacture and installation are usually the most costly components of a rebranding budget, your organization’s approach to replacing old with new should rely on proven best practices and should receive focused attention.

These initial costs, however, are not the only thing to consider. The ongoing maintenance requirements of your new signage program must also be considered before committing to a signage strategy. Signage Value Engineering takes into account all these factors and is key to cost-effective decisions for both the initial transition as well as the ongoing operational plan.

Decision Making Criteria from Business and Technical Perspectives

From a ‘good business’ standpoint, an ideal signage approach:

  1. Supports corporate branding objectives and optimizes brand impact by achieving consistent, elevated brand expression across all signage applications, and;
  2. Minimizes the total costs associated with the signage over an extended period, including installation and maintenance costs, rather than focusing solely on production costs.

From a technical, or functional standpoint, the new signage system should:

  1. Be modular and flexible
  2. Address both aesthetics and functionality
  3. Take into account international variations regarding electrical components, assembly techniques, installation requirements, and import limitations on sign components.

Understand and Calculate Total Cost of Ownership

Signage Value Engineering utilizes the concept of Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) by calculating production and installation costs along with estimated maintenance costs. All too often, the lowest production bid can seem appealing but can carry prohibitive maintenance costs, thereby obviating the benefit of the production phase savings. Ensuring you calculate the true TCO will ensure you don’t learn this lesson too late.

Five Phases of Signage Value Engineering

BrandActive identifies five activities that define the process of developing new signage systems for our clients: 1) discovery, 2) design, 3) production, 4) installation, and 5) maintenance. Each step has a distinct purpose and value, and informs the step that follows. Signage Value Engineering considers the costs and improvements associated with each phase, rather than focusing solely on production costs, which provides a complete picture of the situation.

Utilize Expert Knowledge and Tools to Ensure Success

In a previous blog article we explained why a “like-for-like” signage solution is rarely the best option. BrandActive’s SignHub software enables a visual documentation of the size, type, and placement of each signage element for all affected locations. SignHub delivers a detailed analysis of a project’s signage options so our clients and their stakeholders can make quick, informed decisions.


A brand transition is a unique opportunity to create a cohesive and cost-effective signage solution that achieves an organization’s financial, technical, functional, and brand impact objectives. Given the considerable financial investment made in new signage systems, it’s important to look very carefully at TCO and best practices of Signage Value Engineering. BrandActive has helped clients reduce their spend on signage transitions by 10-30%, often resulting in millions of dollars in savings. Contact us while in the preliminary planning stages of your next rebranding effort.

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