Team Profile - Production Design
Meet Some of Our Creative Minds Behind the Signs.
Blending creativity and precision is a delicate balance the Production Designers at ASI strike every day.
Describe what the Production Design department does at ASI?
There are two major aspects of this team's work: To design creative concepts and to prepare signage concepts for production. Everything the team does is custom designed for the client. The team works so closely with production that they are able to actively value engineer every design to make sure the client has the best materials at the best prices while maintaining the visual integrity of the design.
The designers interpret everything from photographs to rough sketches to architectural plans and translate them into very precise drawings with specifications so that the production team knows thicknesses, sizes, exactly where to cut and drill holes, what materials and colors to use, and what the sign should say. "I've always loved architecture and art, so this role is a perfect blend of the two," says Ashley LaRue, Graphic Designer.
The designers also stretch their creative legs and come up with their own unique designs. Donor walls are one area where the designers get really creative. "Some clients show us an empty space and give us the freedom to fill it with something new and distinctive. And we can do that for them," says Eugene Peart, Director of Design.
What is challenging about your role?
"Attempting to draw a complicated design that's never been done before and make sure it can be built into something tangible is a challenge," says Ashley.
"We are constantly learning different ways to produce products," says Eugene. We frequently have face-to-face meetings with Production to discuss the correct process to make it happen. We are very good about working together to come up with a solution and pushing our own capabilities."
What is rewarding about your role?
The team agrees that seeing their designs come to life and delight the customers is the best. "Seeing a completed project up on the walls or outside of a business while you are out and about with friends and family and being able to say, 'Hey we did that!' It doesn't matter if I worked on it personally or not, just recognizing our product out there for the world to see is a rewarding experience," Designer Anna Panada says.
Ashley worked on the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital's signage and it was a lot of hard work to get the designer's concepts to work for production. "Now every time I see a news highlight or UIHC commercial on TV, I can't help but smile and think about how I played a small role in creating such an amazing facility," says Ashley.
Donor walls are also a favorite among the team. Assistant Director of Design Terri Leedom loves the challenge of working on donor walls which are constantly changing from year to year. "It's like putting together a giant puzzle," Terri says.
Where do you find inspiration?
With the internet at their fingertips, ideas are just a Google search away. Anna often looks to Pinterest for idea starters. But the team finds inspiration everywhere. "When I'm out and about in the world, I take photos of cool stuff, even if it's not signage. If it looks really cool, I try to think of way to use the design on a sign," says Terri.
What's the most important thing about your department?
The designers in this department have an eye for detail and a collaborative spirit. Production designers work with both the sales teams to understand the clients' goals and the production experts to figure out the best ways to produce the desired look.
Boutique hotels come back to life with restorations and community minded people. Our sign team looks at a few of these hotels we've partnered on and share design intent and the importance of following ADA Guidelines for historic renovations of public spaces.
It’s the heart and soul of our sign business. Raised text and braille signage is where we got our start. Inclusion and accessibility is as much, or more, important as it was in 1985 when we started building signs in a garage.
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