Podcast | Designing for Sign Management and Maintenance

Podcast Dawn Diamond


What you will learn

With wayfinding and knowledge of the ADA, management and maintenance design is a core competency and leading responsibility of the environmental graphic designer. Clients demand that design work hold up to the elements, and that a cleaning and replacement system is incorporated into the overall design work. This course begins with an overview of the leading environmental issues that can affect your designs, and establishes a planning and design structure for all design work. The focus is on both interior and exterior maintenance and management issues and establishing a maintenance and management template for a variety of interior and exterior projects. Case studies include Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall and the New Orleans Sign System.

This philosophy of designing for management and maintenance is oriented around treating a system as an ongoing project and not just a one-time static system. Designers need to consider issues not just in the short-term but also over the life of the project and incorporate solutions to those issues in their systems. The designer has an ethical responsibility to provide recommendations for the management and maintenance of a project from the replacement or removal of signs, cleaning and upkeep, repairs and planning and system expansion.

Dawn Diamond speaks about her involvement in urban signage projects, specifically the New Orleans Sign System. She brings valuable insight on urban projects and the considerations for creating signs that will last and programs to ensure that they do. Maintenance and management are as important as the initial design and implementation of the project, so it is important for designers to keep that in mind when planning their projects.  


  • Developing a maintenance and management plan
  • System for replacement or removal of signs, ongoing cleaning and upkeep of signs and ongoing planning and system expansion
  • How will ongoing financing be developed?
  • Different kinds of environmental concerns to be addressed
  • Long-term vs short term projects
  • Considerations for management and maintenance based on sign longevity (environmental fears., design and planning, materials, changeability, cleaning, replacement, management, expansion, etc.)
  • Picking the right materials for your project
  • Considerations for changeability of different types of signs
  • How management and maintenance considerations can affect design decisions


Questions Answered

  • At what point do we document management and maintenance? Some of it is inherent to the design and is documented with materials, but is this something that would also come in after fabrication control? Is it separate from the design intent documentation?
  • Do designers have responsibility after a fabricator comes in?
  • Is it important to delineate the client’s responsibilities in the ongoing management and implementation?


Course Materials

  • This course contains 3 podcasts, with 3 accompanying PDF presentations.



  • Approximately 54 minutes



  • Dawn Diamond, Douglas Group


Presented November 21, 2003

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