Have a question that’s not answered here? Please contact APCO’s corporate headquarters at 877.988.2726 or . Or, contact your local APCO Representative directly.

1. How do I get started?  Should I choose "Test Drive" or "Create an Account"?
2. What are PROJECTS and CONCEPTS.
3. Managing your DesignStudio account.
4. How do I print a PDF overview of my sign design concept?
5. What are the primary differences between the three sign systems, Arcadia, FullView and Accord 15? Why would I choose to design a program with one system vs. another?
6. There are many sign types I will need for my project which are not included within the PDF overview created by the DesignStudio. How to I obtain details and drawings for those sign types?
7. I need to use a font that is not shown as an option within the DesignStudio.
8. I’ve worked with the FullView and Accord 15 systems before and know they feature frames with multiple edge shape options. How do I specify a particular edge shape for Accord 15 and FullView frames within the DesignStudio?
9. I don’t want custom backer shapes for my signs. Can I still use the DesignStudio?
10. What is Elements 2?
11. What are the materials used to make the signs I’m designing? Are they eco-friendly?
12. How do I obtain pricing for the signs I’ve designed?
13. Can I incorporate custom PMS colors and/or laminates into my designs?
14. Why should I register and create a DesignStudio account? Why not just use the Test Drive feature?
15. In the PDF overview I’ve created, within certain sign types there are features and finishes I would like to change. Is that possible? 16. Are there CSI Specifications available for the Accord 15, Arcadia and FullView systems featuring the Elements 2 decorative options?
17. What is the “Snap Shot” tool on the DesignStudio dashboard?
18. What is the purpose of the Wall Finish Selector?
19. Why do some of the 12 Steps of the DesignStudio process not work? Sometimes I see a message that reads “This step is not applicable for this product type.” Why is this?
20. What is the Contrast Calculator?
21. Some of the colors withn the DesignStudio don’t match the actual colors in my APCO color chart or Wilsonart® and Formica® swatches. Why is that?
22. I have noticed a lot of aluminum sign frames of the Accord 15, FullView and Arcadia systems are produced with a satin anodized finish. Why is that?

1. How do I get started?  Should I choose "Test Drive" or "Create an Account"?


    Test Drive
    This is a quick and easy way to begin using the DesignStudio. Simply click on "Test Drive" and then select one of the five modular system options to begin the design process. With the Test Drive option, you are able to utilize all of the design features of the DesignStudio and can even print and save your concepts as .pdf files. The only feature not available is the ability to store and manage your projects and concepts within the DesignStudio database.

    Register and Create an Account
    By registering and creating a DesignStudio account, you will be able to store and manage your concepts and projects within the DesignStudio database. In addition, you will receive automatic notices of future updates and/or enhancements to the Design Studio application.

2. What are PROJECTS and CONCEPTS.


    The DesignStudio enables you to create multiple projects and also multiple concepts within each project. For example:
         Project 1: Mercy Hospital Signage
              Concept A: Arcadia System with Wood Finishes
              Concept B: Arcadia System with Stone Finishes
              Concept C: FullView System with Wood Finishes
         Project 2: Apex Corporation Signage
              Concept A: System with Warm Finishes A
              Concept B: System with Warm Finishes B
              Concept C: System with Cool Finishes A
              Concept D: System with Cool Finishes B

    Projects
    After setting up an account by entering your email address and creating a password, you will see a screen enabling you to Create a New Project:
    1. First, name your project and enter any optional notes*
    2. Next, click on "CREATE PROJECT"

    Concepts
    After creating a project, you will then Create a Concept within that project:
    1. Name your concept and enter any optional notes*
    2. Click on "CREATE CONCEPT"

    After creating your Concept, you will then select from the (5) modular system options to begin the design process.

    *VERY IMPORTANT! Do not incorporate any punctuation or symbols (i.e. *,-, #, :, etc.) within the names you create for your Projects or Concepts as these may cause conflicts within your DesignStudio database.

3. Managing your DesignStudio account.


    Once you've registered and created an account, after you log in to the application you will see the "MY PROJECTS" screen.. To open an existing project, click on the project and then click "OPEN". To delete an existing project, click on the project and then click "DELETE". To create a new project, name the project within the window on the left side of the screen and click "CREATE PROJECT".

    If you open an existing project, you will see the "MY CONCEPTS" screen. To open an existing concept, click on the concept and then click "OPEN". To delete an existing concept, click on the concept and then click "DELETE". To create a new concept, name the concept within the window on the left side of the screen and click "CREATE CONCEPT".

4. How do I print a PDF overview of my sign design concept?


    The exact steps may vary slightly depending upon what type and version of operating system you are using. However, following are the general steps necessary:

    Select the "Print PDF Overview" button at the bottom/right of the DesignStudio dashboard.



    Once the print menu appears on your screen, select "Adobe PDF" as the printer. When done, click "OK"

    You will then be able to customize the name and designate the save-to location of your PDF overview. When ready, select "Save" and your overview will be created. Your Adobe PDF print settings can be set so that saved documents automatically appear on your screen. If this is not the case with your computer, you will find your newly created PDF overview at the location/drive you designated.



    Your PDF overview will print in a vertical orientation as shown below (left). To view in a landscape orientation, simply use the "Rotate" tool within your Adobe Acrobat menu as shown below (right).




5. What are the primary differences between the three sign systems, Arcadia, FullView and Accord 15? Why would I choose to design a program with one system vs. another?


    All three are high quality, modular systems that provide solutions for all types of interior signs and have been proven effective in facilities around the world. All three offer solutions for user updatability and ADA compliance and are made in the USA, with aluminum extrusions containing 50% post-consumer recycled content. However, there are characteristics unique to each product that may help with your design decisions:

    • Arcadia
      Arcadia is a curved-face system consisting of extruded aluminum frames and a wide range of display/insert options and materials, including large format digitally printed graphics. A common display option is a digitally printed insert protected by a removable, non-glare lens. Inserts are removed from the frames by use of a suction cup tool. Arcadia is APCO’s most eco-friendly solution as the aluminum frames feature 50% post-consumer recycled content. The “Arcadia with Divider” option features a 1/4"(h) decorative acrylic divider within certain sign types of a system. Learn more about Arcadia.

    • Accord 15
      Accord 15 is sometimes considered more of a “traditional”, multi-component modular system, consisting of a wide range of extruded aluminum and injection molded components. Accord 15 offers a well-engineered solution for every interior sign type but is especially ideal for multi-insert directional signs and directories and offers extensive laser printed paper insert options. Accord 15 frames are offered in four standard profiles (Square/ThinLine, Radius, Contour and Bevel) and are aesthetically compatible with the frames of APCO’s FullView system allowing signs from both lines to be incorporated within the same program. The “Accord with Divider” option features a 15mm (9/16”) square, radius or bevel aluminum decorative bar within certain sign types of a system. Learn more about Accord 15.

    • FullView
      FullView is a low-profile vandal resistant system ideal for digitally printed graphics and a host of other sign insert options. Frames feature extruded aluminum edge profiles, a composite aluminum core and are a sleek .420” thick. A greener option is available featuring a natural fiber composite core with 50% recycled content. FullView offers five edge profile options (Square, Radius, Bevel, Contour and Contour Ribbed) thus making it aesthetically compatible with the Accord 15 system. Learn more about FullView.

6. There are many sign types I will need for my project which are not included within the PDF overview created by the DesignStudio. How to I obtain details and drawings for those sign types?


    Not a problem! APCO products are comprehensive, with solutions for all sign types. The primary purpose of the DesignStudio is to facilitate the conceptual design process at the very early stages of a project. If you need color drawings of additional sign types for your program of if you need to customize one of the standard DesignStudio sign types in any way, please contact your APCO Representative. APCO’s Drawing & Design Department will be able to accommodate your specific needs.

7. I need to use a font that is not shown as an option within the DesignStudio.


    As the DesignStudio is primarily a tool for early conceptual design, the font options are only those that are most commonly used within sign programs. Once your project advances within the conceptual stage, your APCO Representative can provide more detailed sign drawings incorporating your particular fonts along with other custom requests.

8. I’ve worked with the FullView and Accord 15 systems before and know they feature frames with multiple edge shape options. How do I specify a particular edge shape for Accord 15 and FullView frames within the DesignStudio?


    To minimize complexity in what can already be an overwhelming process for many, the DesignStudio does not incorporate a selection step for Frame Shape, rather focusing more on colors, finishes and backer shapes. As your program advances through the conceptual stages, your APCO Representative can assist you in obtaining more detailed color drawings featuring a particular frame shape or profile. You may find the frame profile options either within the Elements 2, Accord 15 or FullView online Technical Information Sections.

9. I don’t want custom backer shapes for my signs. Can I still use the DesignStudio?


    Certainly! Within each of the DesignStudio system options, Step 1 of the design process (Choose Backer Shape) contains a “No Backer” option at the very bottom.

10. What is Elements 2?


    Elements 2 is a range of decorative shapes, materials and finishes that are compatible with APCO’s three primary interior systems, Accord 15, FullView and Arcadia. More detailed information regarding the Elements 2 materials and finishes is available within the online download section at http://www.apcosigns.com/elements2.html.

11. What are the materials used to make the signs I’m designing? Are they eco-friendly?


    The materials going into the signs you’re designing can vary greatly depending upon the modular system and finishes selected. The following links will provide more information about APCO's environmetal policy. Elements 2 laminate backers feature SiennaCore, a natural fiber composite material with 50% recycled content, produced using paper and pulpwood from FSC certified sources. SiennaCore is a thermoset composite, thus ensuring that decorative laminates will not curl, warp or delaminate.

    Elements 2 solid color backers, as a standard, are polyurethane coated acrylic, but upon request, SiennaCore can be substituted for the acrylic to present a greener solution.

    Elements 2 translucent backers, as a standard*, are architectural resin panels by Lumicor®. Custom materials may be available upon request on a project-specific basis.

    * Translucent Cool Frost finish is frosted acrylic unless otherwise specified.

12. How do I obtain pricing for the signs I’ve designed?


    For pricing, simply contact your APCO Representative. You will need to provide the sign concept you have designed along with quantities for each particular sign type. If additional and/or customized sign types are needed, your APCO Representative can help you with those needs.

13. Can I incorporate custom PMS colors and/or laminates into my designs?


    If you need to incorporate a color or laminate that is not included within the standard DesignStudio selections, complete your design concept leaving those particular finishes “blank” and contact your APCO Representative with details regarding what finishes are needed. APCO’s Drawing & Design Department will then be able to complete the conceptual drawings for you.

14. Why should I register and create a DesignStudio account? Why not just use the Test Drive feature?


    There is certainly no problem in using the test drive feature indefinitely. However, by registering and creating a DesignStudio account, you will be able to name, save and return to concepts as needed in the future. Creating an account will also facilitate communication with your APCO Representative regarding pricing, any needed customization of the designs, etc. And lastly, by creating an account, you will be assured of receiving email notification of any future updates or modifications to the DesignStudio application. We will not share your email address with anyone, ever.

15. In the PDF overview I’ve created, within certain sign types there are features and finishes I would like to change. Is that possible?


    Absolutely! Contact and provide your concept to your APCO Representative, detailing all desired modifications. Your Representative will then work with APCO’s Drawing & Design Department to customize your drawings as needed to suit your particular project’s needs.

16. Are there CSI Specifications available for the Accord 15, Arcadia and FullView systems featuring the Elements 2 decorative options?

17. What is the “Snap Shot” tool on the DesignStudio dashboard?


    The Snap Shot tool allows you to quickly create a low-resolution PDF image of the one sign being designed within the dashboard window before creating the entire high-resolution PDF system overview.


18. What is the purpose of the Wall Finish Selector?


    How a sign appears in its environment can be affected greatly by the surrounding wall color, but many times wall color is not factored into the initial signage design. The DesignStudio Wall Finish Selector is a tool that enables you to incorporate a wide range of various wall colors and finishes into the design process, thus better visualizing how the design will appear once installed. The solid color wall finishes within the DesignStudio are based upon a range of Sherwin Williams’ standards, but as with any RGB colors, please keep in mind these are only approximate matches. The intent is to provide a general idea of how compatible certain color combinations may be. Before a design progresses to the final stages, obtaining actual color chips and/or a sign sample is highly recommended.


19. Why do some of the 12 Steps of the DesignStudio process not work? Sometimes I see a message that reads “This step is not applicable for this product type.” Why is this?


    The DesignStudio can be used to create designs for three separate and distinct modular sign systems: Arcadia, Accord 15 and FullView. Because one of these systems may have a design element which is not part of the other two systems, that particular step of the design process may not be applicable for two of the three systems.

    There are two other design selections that will impact whether or not one or more of the steps will be applicable:
    1. If you choose a sign design with only (1) decorative backer shape, then Step 3 of the design process, “Choose Backer (B) Color”, will not apply to that particular design.
    2. Second: If you choose either the Accord 15 System without a Divider, the Arcadia System without a Divider or the FullView System as your modular product, then Step 8 of the design process, “Choose Decorative Divider Color”, will not apply.


20. What is the Contrast Calculator?


    The contrast calculator is a tool that allows you to determine the contrast between the text color and the insert background color of your sign. ADA guidelines recommend a contrast ratio of 70% or greater for optimal sign legibility.


21. Some of the colors withn the DesignStudio don’t match the actual colors in my APCO color chart or Wilsonart® and Formica® swatches. Why is that?


    Simply due to the nature of RGB colors, the RGB values used for the color simulations in the DesignStudio menus will display differently on different monitors based on the color settings, brightness & contrast, etc. of each particular monitor. Colors are simulated as closely as possible. As your project progresses through the conceptual stage and if color is critical, please contact your APCO Representative to request a physical color sample.

22. I have noticed a lot of aluminum sign frames of the Accord 15, FullView and Arcadia systems are produced with a satin anodized finish. Why is that?


    Beyond being a popular finish for aesthetic reasons, anodized finishes offer maximum durability and often withstand wear and tear better than any painted finish. APCO aluminum sign frames can of course be painted virtually any finish, but we always recommend an anodized finish whenever possible, using the sign insert components and backers to incorporate different colors and finishes into the design. In addition to satin anodized, APCO’s FullView system also offers aluminum frames in a bronze anodized finish for a warmer look.