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Project Spotlight - Pierce College Lakewood Science Dome

Tanner Otis
July 12, 2019 at 8:59 AM

Company Overview:

pierce-college-logoPierce College Science Dome
9401 Farwest Dr SW
Lakewood, WA 98498

Project Overview:

While working with Pierce College on a rebrand for their entrance signage, they came to us with a new sign idea. They were looking for an updated monument sign to show the way to their Science Dome. We've done quite a few signs for them in the past that looked great but for this one they wanted to get a little more creative and play off the science theme a bit. Pierce College provided us with some conceptual art and our design team ran with it from there to elevate it from concept to eye-catching and effective signage. 

This sign is a double faced illuminated monument sign with a channel topper for the larger planet. The planets are push-thru to allow for a haloing effect when lit. The lettering "Science Dome", "In the Rainier Building", and the arrow are backed with plex while the other letters are vinyl. Lastly, the stars are routed through at varying sizes to allow the light to pass through.  Here's a look at the sign drawings:

pierce-college-science-dome-sign-drawing

Over the years, we have done a lot of work with the Pierce College team including revamping their entrance signage as well as improving the wayfinding signage across their two campuses in Lakewood and Puyallup. The result of those projects led to the trust and creative freedom to get a little out of this world with the design and concept behind this sign. But the further you push the envelope on creativity the more challenges arise. Here are a few of the hurdles that we had to overcome to ensure this concept was brought to life with the same quality and effectiveness as all of the previous signs we've completed for Pierce College.

Design Challenges & Creative Solutions:

The ability to bring the concept of the sign to life was the biggest challenge with this project. It wasn't necessarily the colors and graphical design of it but rather the element of depth that needed to be addressed through creative lighting. We didn't want the lighting to wash out the planets so we had to make sure we had enough light coming through to make it glow while not to taking away from the details of each planet. Also, for the stars, we wanted them to look like small crisp lights in the background rather then being the focal point of the sign. 

To achieve the look we wanted for the planets we knew we needed to create a haloing effect instead of having the light fully shine through and dilute the details of the planet. We accomplished this by doing a push-thru technique and backing them with clear acrylic so that the light could pass through easier on the edges of each planet. Then we used vinyl and digitally printed overlays to soften the light coming through the face of the planet to maintain the details and color for each one. 

As for the stars, we wanted to make sure they were the backdrop of the sign and didn't create a framing effect. To do this we had to go as close to the edge of the sign as possible so that it didn't look like there was a thick black frame surrounding the sign.  We also backed the stars with some thick white acrylic in order to achieve the crisp glow we were looking for. The stars were tricky to maintain a look of just enough subtleness to not detract from the content of the sign while also standing out enough to catch a viewers eye. Now that you have a little better idea of what went into the sign, here's a look at the final result!

Sign Pictures - Pierce College Science Dome

pierce-college-science-dome-sign-2
pierce-college-science-dome-sign-1
pierce-college-science-dome-sign-3
pierce-college-science-dome-sign-4

Final Result:

Our design and fabrication teams really had to strap on their creative caps for this one but when it was all said and done we brought a long time customer's fun concept to life. We always welcome these challenges and really enjoy the process of working through each phase of the process. Not only were we able to put our skills to the test, but Pierce College ended up with a one of a kind sign that will be shining bright on their campus for years to come! The creative gates are now open with them and we can't wait for their next sign idea!

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