Design and Visual Communications
Experiential Sign Design, Wayfinding & Graphic Design

Visual Communications Exceptional at Donor Recognition and Donor Recognition Signature Walls

By Cheryl Long O’Donnell, Visual Communications


Foundations, from Hospitals to Educational Facilities to Religious Institutions, have found a wonderful way to honor their donors is to recognize them on a ‘donor recognition display’.  Unlike a standard signage program, and definitely a far distance from the standard ‘tree of life’ from the past, these new donor walls have become art. This facility ‘jewelry’ is often the decorative art piece in a lobby or high traffic area of a campus.  Materials are endless and are often made of metals, glass and other more artistic substrates.

Each Donor Recognition wall is a unique signature to those committed to the growth of their favored recipient.  Some of the larger donors are applied more permanently to the architecture.  Others displayed on a simplified wall or art piece.  A key identifying the hierarchy of giving levels is evident as well.

Visual Communications (VCI), an environmental graphic design industry leader, has created several artistic solutions for donor recognition in the past few years.  Gethsemane Lutheran Church is one of those designs presented as a piece of art.  The design itself was inspired by the cross design in the church sanctuary.  A cut metal tree with fluid design ‘echos’ became the ‘Giving Tree’ of the facility.  Within these echoes, a hierarchy of metal panels with donor names is updated as donors are added.  Located on a solid brick wall, the interplay of textures and sheens creates a beautiful, lasting piece of art.

Recently VCI designed a donor recognition display for the LifeWorks Community Campaign. The tiles are slumped, organic glass figures of birds, butterflies, leaves and flowers created by the clients of LifeWorks, a nonprofit fostering the lives of people with disabilities. The figures are attached to four (4) metal ‘waves’, complemented by  vision ‘words’ and logo. This has created an entryway focal point and beautiful art piece for their new Apple Valley Minnesota offices.

When working with the HealthEast St. Joseph’s Hospital addition, VCI had several levels of donor recognition to accomplish.  There was a Capital Campaign, an Employee Campaign, naming rights of areas and finally a Legacy program for future donors.  All of these unique designs needed to fit within the space of their new entrance lobby.  A combination of metals, curved glass and cable suspension systems created a ‘donor area’ unlike most.  The staging was the most important part of the plan.  All of the recognition pieces needed to stand on their own, but also could not compete.  All are equally important for the HealthEast Care System.  With this in mind, a quiet area was chosen so that donors can peruse the listings in a contemplative setting.

Signage designers, led by the VCI team, are at the forefront of donor recognition design and implementation, oftentimes creating complementary designs and materials to the facilities’ architectural signage packages. Donor recognition need not be a boring list of names. Our team at VCI believes unique design can reveal creative solutions for the future. A beautiful art piece is a much softer and soothing element that can accomplish recognition and harbor design at the same time.

Visit VCI online or call us at (651) 644-4494 to discuss how Visual Communications can help find your way!

Richard Lang Principal at Visual Communications, Inc.

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