Round About: Helping a Pediatrics Center Build an Identity

A new monument sign helps a pediatrics center reinforce its message.

The mission of Redbud Pediatrics in Wichita, Kansas is to coordinate and provide quality care based on the needs of the children visiting their facility. The medical center was opening up a brand-new clinic, which meant there was going to be the need for a new identity sign strategically to be placed in their parking lot perpendicular to two busy streets.

Catering to kids, Redbud Pediatrics knew that they wanted their new identity sign to look inviting and colorful. They also wanted it to incorporate some of the architectural elements of their new location, as well as the clinic’s visual branding, to ensure that it would stand out and immediately be recognized.

Thanks to the work of full-service TriMark Signs (also of Wichita) and foam-core wholesale supplier Signs By Benchmark of Watertown, South Dakota, Redbud Pediatrics now has a dynamic-looking, multi-dimensional sign that does its intended job extremely well.

However it took some major design rework and engineering ingenuity early on to make this sign a healthy reality.

TriMark Signs fabricates and installs interior and exterior signage of all types, and they had worked with Redbud Pediatrics on its signage needs for the past decade. So it made obvious sense that the shop would be brought onboard this project.

However, according to Tyler McFadden, the TriMark Signs sales representative overseeing this project, the multiple sign design ideas that the Redbud Pediatrics graphic designer initially provided to him were going to be nearly impossible to replicate. The designs were more artistic-based than engineering-based.

“There was just zero chance to fabricate anything that they were wanting us to do,” says McFadden. “What they brought us was ideas, and then we just had to figure out how to turn that into a sign. None of their ideas had anything to do with practicality as far as sign building goes.”

Blueprints called for the finished sign to incorporate the Redbud Pediatrics recognizable visual branding.

The final selection featured an overall round design, approximately six feet in diameter and two feet deep. The sign appears to have layers of various finishes, one replicating the building siding and another featuring a custom design embossed into the expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam core.

The rounded EPS foam core Redbud Pediatrics portion of this identity monument sign measures 73-11/16 inches wide and 71-1/4 inches tall. It features raised lettering as well as a raised logo (a baby bluebird wearing a stethoscope). The carved sections jut out at different dimensions—nine, twelve, eighteen, and twenty-four inches, respectively.

Meanwhile the distinctive branding colors associated with the Redbud Pediatrics brand swirl around the bluebird and clinic name in various rounded sizes.

Raised lettering and a raised bluebird were router-carved out of the EPS foam.

Fortunately TriMark has had a partnership with Signs By Benchmark ever since 2017, and they realized the company’s EPS foam core material would be ideal here, given the sign’s shapes and geometries. “It wasn’t something that could be made out of aluminum,” says McFadden. “It was just so artsy and couldn’t have been fabricated out of anything else. It had to be a formed thing. [Benchmark] makes molds, and they fill it with foam so that it’s just one solid piece.

“The sign was so intricate and had grooves cut out of it everywhere.”

McFadden provided Signs By Benchmark with 2-D vector drawings of the front and side views with a ton of specs and explanations.

CNC routers were employed to carve out the designs from multiple pieces of one-pound-density EPS foam core. Closer inspection shows that Signs By Benchmark routed the heart details featured on the top rounded pattern into the face of the circular foam piece.

The completed sign boasts four striking colors with a stucco finish and foam lettering. Signs By Benchmark painted the entire sign. Multiple PANTONE® paint colors were used here: Orange PMS 7417c, Blue PMS 2985c, Yellow PMS 129c, Gray PMS 425c, and White.

Signs By Benchmark adhered the multiple routed sections together before encapsulating the entire sign with their signature polyurea hard coat to provide the desired durability and longevity.

Signs By Benchmark used a CNC router to create the heart designs that are featured on the top rounded pattern into the face of the circular EPS foam.

Signs By Benchmark shipped the entire sign to TriMark as one single piece. One thing that McFadden likes about the EPS foam core signs is that they are simple and require no welding.

On-site installation of the Redbud Pediatrics EPS foam core sign only took an hour-and-a-half to perform. TriMark Signs started by first making sure the footing size and depth complied with the local sign code. They then used their bucket truck to guide the monument sign into place.

“[The sign] has a steel pole in it that goes down into a pier that’s filled with concrete, as you would find with a typical monument or pylon sign,” explains McFadden. “And then, inside of that Benchmark sign, they leave a hole where they slide a five-inch-diameter PVC tube into it. We fill that tube with expanding foam as it’s slid over it. It sets up in about twenty minutes, and it’s solid as a rock.”

According to TriMark Signs, the Redbud Pediatrics staff love the finished sign—especially the design and the colors. They even found it “refreshing” that the sign company was able to capture their individuality through the signage.

—Jeff Wooten