Signs of the Times - May 2017 - 32
letters at The County Hotel in Newcastle upon Tyne. Built in 1874, the
Victorian structure sits just opposite
the city's main train station. Its
original letters had been affixed to
the building's stone façade with
wrought-iron rails. When it became
part of a chain, it was subject to
the new brand's "standard signage,"
Nattrass said. And when the hotel
changed hands yet again, the new
owners wanted the new lettering to
be true to the original.
have to be expensive," Lancaster
said. "It's just creativity in how you
use them. If you can find [reclaimed
wood] in crates for your vegetables
delivered to fruit stores, it costs nothing.
You put it on a wall and suddenly it
Beyond materials, the primary challenge posed by hotels is not so different from that in any signage project:
timing, timing, timing. For example,
hotel wayfinding signage may not
be difficult to produce, but large
quantities of wayfinding can be a
challenge to install, particularly with
SIGNS OF THE TIMES
"If they want you to do the room
plaques and you've got a hotel with
300, 400 rooms, you're going to be
doing a lot of walking around," said
Still, these projects can net healthy
profits. Lancaster said that hotel signage need not stop with the venue
itself; affiliated restaurants are often
in need of signage themselves, along
with printed graphics, like menus.
But beware underbidding on these
projects, as layers of approvals required by developers, designers,
general managers and the like can
That was the case for Nattrass when
he installed illuminated channel
The trouble was, there was some
disagreement about the letters' placement. Each existing railing had a
small, wrought-iron detail exactly in
its center. Nattrass knew it wouldn't
work to space the words "County"
and "Hotel" with the detail in the
middle, but that was exactly what
the client wanted. "We had to advise
them without being too forceful
and telling them, 'This won't work,'
basically," he said. "It was to do with
the fact that the building is a perfect
mirror of itself and [with] the one
word being longer than the other ...
We had to center the sign on the railing and then split the difference from
the center of the building. And we had