How to Choose The Right Custom Canopy Design

Improving Curb Appeal & The Rise in Custom Canopies

Because of their practicality, functionality, and pleasant appearance, aluminum canopy systems have become a staple for commercial applications. With so many custom options these days, designing and installing canopies has become the go-to way to improve curb appeal: Canopies are excellent design elements that soften the look of a commercial property, add color, help break up the eye from other design elements, and are a novel way to mount signage for mixed-use buildings which generally don’t offer much wall space for branding.

Custom Canopy Design Best Practices: Selecting the Right Shape

There are four types of canopies that can be designed for commercial properties: Custom-shaped canopies—which are either concave or convex in shape—arched canopies, rounded-front canopies, and contour-shape canopies. Each is used for a very specific application and it’s best not to stray too far from expert opinion here.

So, to make things a bit easier for you, we’ll review the best uses for each, their benefits, and why. Let’s get started.

Custom-Shaped Canopies

These custom-fabricated canopies, which are intended to soften the appearance of and add more character to properties, can be incorporated into any project with a little creativity and know-how. For instance, concave canopies are best used for inside corners of buildings to soften the sharpness of an inside corner. The primary advantage here is aesthetics, but that comes with a price—so not all instances call for this unless you’re looking for something different to please a tasteful client. On the other hand, the primary purpose of convex canopies on outside corners is to allow more clearance in tight areas. Rounded corners, instead of 90-degree corners, always allow for more space in any type of canopy or jobsite condition.

Contour-Shape Canopies

Contour-shape canopies are exactly as they sound: They are custom-fabricated canopies that contour to the shape of the building to which it will attach. For example, if a building has a round wall, the canopy will compliment the shape and follow the lines of the building to make the canopy fit naturally into the architecture. This is one of the many custom capabilities DCI Signs & Awnings, and any other top-notch sun control solutions manufacturer, will offer to make sure the original design concept of a building is upheld.

Arched Canopies & Rounded-Front Canopies

Electing to install an arched canopy or rounded-front canopy should be considered on a case-by-case basis. These types of canopies are used in commercial and retail applications 90 percent of the time, but they also are commonly found at institutions such as schools or hospitals. They are rarely used in residential applications.

As a typical rule, arched and rounded-front canopies should be used sparingly on only certain parts of buildings or certain areas of a property to help differentiate key architectural elements such as an entrance.

For instance, canopies used throughout a property may have an 8-inch fascia with a 2 to 3-foot projection. A canopy at an entrance, however, should have a 12-inch fascia with a 4 to 5-foot projection. This helps differentiate this area of importance from other windows and doors with smaller canopies above them. The larger canopy also provides more protection from elements such as rain and snow.

Arched canopies are also primarily used for aesthetic purposes. Installing arched canopies in a shopping center on the corners of the property and on its tower are not only a great way to draw attention to these specific design elements and areas of importance, but they also also break up other design elements such as straight canopies that likely line the walls of the entire property. This design choice adds color, dimension, and interest.

Top Takeaways

What we’ve discussed above is a great starting point when determining which canopy system is best for your project, but it truly comes down to specifics—what the property owner wants and the design intent. What colors should be included or considered? Is this for a modern building? A more traditional one?

Another factor to keep in mind is that a good design package will include all three sun control systems—canopies, sunshades, and awnings of varying sizes, shapes, and colors—to take a property to the next level.

With these best practices in mind, your next architectural project will undoubtedly be a crowd-pleaser.

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