Veronica Spencer
Engineer, Designer, and Maker

IDEA Lab Sign


IDEA Lab Sign

Autodesk and Georgia Tech collaborated to renovate a beautiful new hands-on lab space to foster the Mechanical Engineering program's Creative Decisions and Design curriculum. This sign was commissioned to capture the new aesthetic and spirit of the space for the grand opening on March 28th, 2018.


A excerpt of the build process is shown in this video. Cutting, routing, staining, and other preparations for the sign was a weekend-long process.

A quick edit of all of the footage taken while building the sign over the first weekend in Spring Break! Special thanks to Robert Garbee, Bruce Barkley, and Paul Cilino for making this come to life!

A Blank Canvas

The renovated space - designed by HLG studios - features a wide open fabrication shop and an integrated classroom environment. The color palette - a refined take on the Georgia Tech palette - and the deliberate tool arrangement work together to create an atmosphere of trendy and sophisticated workspace. The navy accent wall is visible from outside of the lab, and it was chosen as the installation spot for the sign.


Initial ideas explored the possibility of signage dominating the entirety of the accent wall. Feedback from Autodesk representatives pushed the design to a more compact format, taking up roughly a 1/3 of the area. 

The lightbulb symbol was identified early on, and grew to be the focal point of the design, with "idea" coming to represent the filament, or the crux, of the idea.

Towards the end of the design process, the placement and hierarchy of the sponsorship note and the acronym meaning were explored.

Transition to Final Design

From the final approved design on the left, a number of changes had to be made for manufacturing purposes. Rather than keep the floating components - which would have been a mounting nightmare - a wooden slab was incorporated. The wood also served as a color break between the aluminum portions of the sign, and the angle on the left served to balance the sign.

Due to the unpredictable nature of the rope lighting, the mounting needed to occur after main fabrication to properly align the cursive lettering.

I drew from the existing aesthetic of the space and decided on material choices early on. Rough wood, polished concrete, and aluminum were immediately chosen as the basis of material choice for the sign.


Special thanks to:

Robert Garbee, for setting up the CNC router job

Paul Cilino, for helping me prepare mounting hardware

Bruce Barkley, who mounted the sign to the wall and did the final finish on the metal portion