One of the most important decisions any business makes is the design of its signage. Often the first representation of a company and brand that potential customers see, signs create in the mind an instant identity that sets the tone for everything to follow.
For business owners in Cobb County and beyond, Image360 Kennesaw provides a leading option for local signs and displays. If you’ve driven around the area, you’ve seen their work, which includes projects with construction firm Brasfield & Gorrie, Mount Paran Christian School, the logistics company Vanderlande, Japan-based manufacturer Hitachi, and web design company EY Studios.
“We work very closely with small- to medium-sized businesses,” says Cheryl Barre, who co-owns the business with her husband, Mark. “We get to work with business owners to help them bring their vision to life.”
Image360 Kennesaw utilizes great designs and the latest technology to create dynamic displays across metro Atlanta. It’s a business the owners enjoy, and one that allows them to utilize their strengths as well.
The Barres got into the business after working in separate careers for decades and then deciding they wanted to own a business together. The pair met while pursuing MBAs at the University of Virginia, and has long-dreamed of being their own bosses.
Cheryl’s undergraduate degree is in architecture and she has a background in marketing, so she was drawn in by the design aspect of a sign business. Mark is a past president of the Kennesaw Business Association and learned about Image360 through a contact from the group. The pair are longtime Cobb residents, having moved here in the early 1990s. Mark’s previous work includes sales and marketing roles with Crystal Springs Bottled Water and Equifax, and later a stint in the executive suite industry.
The Barres are involved in many local organizations, including the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, Cobb Executive Women, the Atlanta Alzheimer’s Association, Cobb County YMCA, the Boys & Girls Clubs and Kennesaw State University, among others.
As member of the Alliance Franchise Brands network, Image360 Kennesaw counts five employees — two graphic designers, two production and installation professionals, and an office manager — plus Mark and Cheryl. The team loves creating custom work for local businesses, and has a combined total of 60 years of experience in signs and visual communications. In January 2018, the company acquired Signs By Tomorrow Atlanta North and moved to a larger office space with state-of-the-art equipment. Image360 Kennesaw also was a finalist for the Kennesaw Business of the Year Award in 2017, which likely owes from the close relationship it builds with its clients.
“We talk with our customers to find out what they want, then measure the space, figure out what budget they’re working with, and then we’ll go back and send them ideas,” says Cheryl. “Typically it’s about a two-month process, but it depends on the scope of the work.”
Along with creating exterior and interior signage, monument signs, and building signs, the company has branched out into experiential graphic design. This includes elements such as wall murals, environmental graphics, art reproductions, and other visuals that help business owners bring their brand to life. Image360 Kennesaw doesn’t stop there; it also creates architectural signage, dimensional signage, vehicle graphics, acrylic displays, wayfinding signs, warehouse signage, construction site signage, window graphics, and custom banners.
The company has created unique experiential designs for brands, including Tiny Bubbles Tea Bar in Marietta, Georgia Trade School in Acworth, and a local Veterans Affairs medical clinic.
At the VA medical clinic, Image360 Kennesaw helped create an environment that was warm and welcoming for veterans. This included war murals, color photos, inspirational signage with quotes, and directionals to show patients where to go. The signs are designed to reflect each individual business. At Tiny Bubbles, the signage is fun and bright. At Georgia Trade School, which specializes in welding, there’s a more rustic, vintage style. Mark and Cheryl’s philosophy is that even directories and wayfinding signs can be incorporated into an overall design aesthetic rather than simply serving as a functional necessary evil.
Another consistent client has been Brasfield & Gorrie, a construction firm with a regional headquarters near SunTrust Park in Cobb County. “We pride ourselves on our customer service,” says Cheryl. She describes Brasfield & Gorrie’s style as sleek and contemporary, with a color scheme largely consisting of blacks, grays and whites.
Image360 Kennesaw created 30 different wall displays for Brasfield & Gorrie’s offices. As a larger business, B&G created much of its own design work, but still worked closely with Mark and Cheryl throughout the process. “They did a great job. They were patient and flexible, listened to our ideas, and helped us come up with some great things to look at,” says Chris Mann, a project manager with Brasfield & Gorrie. “They executed well and it was an all-around great experience.”
B&G’s leadership shared ideas back and forth with Image360 Kennesaw to create the best product possible. As a larger project, the process took a little over six months, says Mann, which included a lot of consulting work before developing the final designs.
“We have probably 12 or 13 locations with some type of lettering or branding throughout the building,” says Mann. “Image360 Kennesaw helped us develop the execution for that. We had multiple designs and applications for each location.”
Along with the large-scale signage, Image360 created the safety stickers, which are worn by every person on a jobsite. The stickers help Brasfield & Gorrie track each employee and ensure that they have gone through safety orientation prior to working on a specific project.
Mann says his company will definitely be working with Image360 Kennesaw again. “We’ve already talked with them about working on some other applications,” he says. “It was cost-effective, but the designs were awesome.”
When working with a new customer, Image360 Kennesaw typically begins by consulting with the business on what they’re looking for. Sometimes it’s a simple sign for the lobby or exterior signage, and sometimes it’s more complex. There are the basic questions to consider, such as how big the sign should be, followed by the larger question of what kind of style will work best.
“So much of what we do is custom,” says Cheryl. “It’s not repetitive, and that’s something we both had a strong interest in. Working with small business owners is always exciting.”