What Architects Need To Know About Awning Designs

Awning designs can sometimes be deceptive. At first glance they may all appear the same, but in fact there are differences, some minor and some significant. With every awning, the quality factor is certainly more than “skin deep.”

Understanding the strengths and limitations of various awning designs can facilitate an architect’s work. Knowing what’s available and which materials or performance features to spec allows you be the most creative while still ensuring your awnings are secure and durable just as designed.

Start with a clear definition of the awning’s role.
Knowing what you expect the awning to accomplish will help pinpoint the best awning designs for any given project. You may want it to:

  • Enhance branding.
  • Increase visibility to passersby or motorists.
  • Clearly identify the building’s entrance.
  • Protect visitors or customers from the elements.
  • Expand sales area to capture outdoor space seasonally or year round.

Most awning designs provide multiple benefits.

Next identify functional requirements.


  • Size and shape — how the awning can and should blend or contrast with the rest of the building.
  • Stationary versus remote or manual retraction capability.
  • Free-standing or attached placement. If you’re adding an awning to an existing building, it must be able to support the awning securely.
  • Seasonal or permanent installation.
  • Desired lifespan – temporary, a few years, many years.
  • Local building codes or other restrictions.
  • Probable cleaning frequency, which can affect your materials choices.

Finally, the fun part.
Awning designs are there for everyone to see, and an awning is an important architectural element. Fortunately there are plenty of options that offer high performance and also allow you to display your architectural artistry.

A top-quality awning manufacturer will be able to produce virtually anything you want. You can incorporate small, large or all-over graphics, logos, thematic or even custom colors. You can choose from a variety of fabrics or metals to create a unique look, whether you’re going for dramatic impact or simply protection from the rain.

Understanding all your functional and appearance options will point you toward awning designs that let your creativity shine and meet all your project’s defined goals.

Photo Credit: Will Scullin via Flickr

Commercial Awnings