Archive for the ‘Signs in the News’ Category

Costa Mesa May Impose More Business Sign Limitations

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

costa-mesa-welcomeCity leaders in Costa Mesa are discussing proposals to employ more limits and regulations for business signage. This, not surprisingly, has angered the business community. Small and mid-sized businesses, in particular, have balked at the idea of new limits that could decrease their ability to drive traffic to their doors. According to reports, disagreements about business signs in Costa Mesa have been an ongoing issue.

Signs Are Too Big

The mayor of Costa Mesa has stated that many monument-size signs around the city are simply too big. Short of calling them eyesores, the mayor believes these large signs are not attractive. The mayor and city council, for instance, think it’s time to revisit their sign regulations and to design some new rules for business signs. While the changes would be more restrictive, it’s still uncertain as to how restrictive the new rules may be. The council is still discussing various proposals. Some of the council is bothered by the fact that some businesses have multiple signs. One proposal would limit not only the size of a sign (in proportion to the size of the business property), but also the number of signs that could be posted.

Laurel Business Owners Take Umbrage with Sign Removal Along I-95

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

I-95It’s hard enough to get people to see a sign for your business off the highway, but business owners along I-95 in Laurel, Maryland have been especially concerned by the potential removal of signs that direct drivers to “food, lodging, and tourism” options they benefited from. State Highway Administration (SHA) officials have gotten more than an ear-full over the course of several months of back-and-forth between them, politicians and local business owners. The talks started back in November 2013, when the owners learned that part of the Intercounty Connector construction along northbound I-95 (at exits 33A and 33B) would include removal of service-specific signs during its final phases. Beyond the typical “gas, food, lodging”, these signs were site-specific and logoed, boosting crucial traffic to Laurel or Burtonsville businesses.

The current construction will combine Contee Road and the ICC into one exit, diverting drivers along a side road for each. Southbound signs will remain in place, but northbound ones would be phased out, due to lack of space. For small towns like Laurel, these roadside signs mean the difference between drivers pulling over there or down the road. Consequently, Sen. Rosapepe asked SHA engineers to consider other options, in a bid to prevent the same kind of desolation that has rendered towns along Route 66 obsolete, bankrupt, and ultimately abandoned.   (It was only a few years back that the town of Amboy, CA – along that famous corridor – put itself up for sale.)


Desert Renaissance: Twentynine Palms gets a Facelift

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

welcome to twentynine palmsAt the mouth of the Mojave Desert, Joshua Tree National Park, and the Mojave Preserve, lays the town of Twentynine Palms, CA.  The small desert community, an artists’ enclave for decades, renowned for its murals and stunning natural beauty, recently approved plans to substantially improve the face of the town.  Business owners along a main corollary of the town, Adobe Road, will be able to apply for funds to make substantial improvements, such as repainting or acquiring new monument signs, thanks to the city’s Community Reinvestment Program.

The funds will not be available to any businesses currently under construction, improvements that were already required by city regulations, or retroactively for work completed prior to the launch of the program (April 14, 2014). Potential upgrades include:


You Are Here: Using Signs to Help Visitors When the Visitors’ Center’s Not Open

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Welcome to Zanesville OhioThe town of Zanesville in Ohio, with a population 25,487 (according to the 2010 census), is by most standards a quintessentially small town.  But it thinks big.  And the recent implementation of signage to help bolster its tourist activity is just one example of that. Recently, the Zanesville Muskingum County Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Association put their heads together and came up with a scheme to improve tourism in the community.

The two drew inspiration from online research and trips to the “Over the Rhine” and “short north” (in Columbus) districts, models of revitalization, which have been very successful in engaging visitors in the state. The plan involves using signs to give full play to what the city offers, using design themes and cues from those bigger cities.

To make more information available to visitors, when the welcome center is closed, signs are now displayed to direct visitors to various areas: restaurant, arts and culture, recreation, and other relevant business sectors.  Each sector – restaurant, shopping, etc. – is color-coordinated, so that people can easily identify which type of businesses are located where.


Going Public: How Austin Small Business Signs Got Plugged on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

In a recent taping of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, several local businesses were treated to some high-visibility advertising – for free!   The show’s taping of Austin’s SXSW incorporated signs of local iconic businesses beloved by locals.   Landmarks such as Rounders Pizzeria, the Continental Club, and Hut’s Hamburgers, each known for their eye-catching neon signs, got their 15 minutes of fame (or more) in front of millions of viewers throughout a week of taping.

A lot of local love was bestowed upon venerable local eateries and foodstuffs, like the queso omelet at Magnolia Café, and Bird’s Barbershop, which offers patrons a nice cold one with each hair cut.  As local band White Denim played, signs of seminal local institutions were displayed behind them on stage, where they were clearly visible.  Most businesses interviewed had no idea that was going to happen, but were glad it did.   The daily rate for advertising on a late night show such as Jimmy Kimmel Live! Ranges from $50,000 to $80,000 – for a mere 30 seconds!  That’s a plug many of these businesses could not have afforded.


Food, Gas, and Lodging: Signs Can Drive Local Tourism

Friday, February 28th, 2014

Pueblo Colorado sign paying tribute to the city’s four Congressional Medal of Honor recipients: William J. Crawford – Army, WWII; Carl L. Sitter – Marines, Korea; Raymond G. “Jerry” Murphy – Marines, Korea; and Drew D. Dix – Army, Vietnam .

In a recent article, a Pueblo, Colorado businesswoman discussed the importance of signage on tourism.  It appears that despite the charm of the city, that its two major highways are just corridors for travelers to other parts of the state.  The problem, according to the author of the Pueblo Chieftain article “Signage needed to pull in tourists”, is just that, a lack of signage that can encourage people to stop and take a look at Pueblo.

The Riverwalk Historic District had billboards from one side of town to the next and an attractions sign at a key exit, to draw people to the district.  The effect was clear: people stopped and shopped – and brought much needed revenue to the city.  Then, the magic stopped, when three years ago the signs were removed.  As the signs came down, so did the foot traffic to the area, and the associated revenues and sales tax that had been such a boon to Pueblo’s economy.


Sign Ordinance Task Force Meeting In Albany, GA

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

In Albany, GA, a task force recently met to discuss the implications of a new sign ordinance that concerns sign age and appearance.  What exactly did the ordinance entail? The new ordinance has four main points:

  1. In order to prevent potential threats to public health, safety and/or welfare, the ordinance states the signs and their supporting structures must be kept in “good repair, properly anchored to support imposed loads, and structurally sound”.  In short, structural components must be free of deterioration.
  2. Exterior surfaces of signs must be kept in good condition. Surfaces exposed to the elements and therefore vulnerable to erosion and degradation, such as wood or metal (unless they are decay-resistant), must be adequately protected from the damaging effects of the elements by treating with a protective covering.  In the event of existing visible damage, such as flaking, peeling, and/or chipping paint, these areas must be eliminated and those surfaces repainted.  In addition, these surfaces must be treated periodically to prevent rust and/or decay with weather-coating materials.

Vintage signage from Albany, GA

New Signage to Make a Big Impression in Florida

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

florida welcome signFlorida senator Aaron Bean wants his state to make a better impression – and rightly so.  Even though Florida has consistently been the number one destination for those traveling by car in the U.S., the senator (as well as the state’s Department of Transportation) thinks the sign welcoming people to it is, well, sort of unwelcoming.  Compared to South Carolina, which is “extremely stately” according to Bean, the sign people see when they enter Florida’s state line is “piddly”.

After hitting the 90 million visitors mark in 2013, Florida’s chomping at the bit to hit 100 million this year, especially since half of those folks will cross the border in some sort of vehicle.  In a fortuitous coup, a plan that will create epic archways that tower over palm trees and landscaping that screams “The Sunshine State”, will be placed at two key locations (Interstate 75 and Interstate 95), and is getting the green light, thanks to $2.8 million in funding from the DOT District.


Memorial Stadium’s Bomb Scare: Signage Controversy

Friday, December 27th, 2013

cal-kabamThe prestige of sponsoring UC Berkeley’s famous Memorial Stadium may be overshadowed by a simple faux pas.  The internet video game maker Kabam has closed a nearly $18 million deal with UC Berkeley, giving Kabam naming rights to the field.  (Source:

Sounds innocent enough, except that the logo for Kabam is – you guessed it – a bomb.  The 15-year deal would change the name of the campus’ home field to “Kabam Field at California Memorial Stadium” and include large, impossible –to-overlook, graphic representations of the company’s name and logo (a 50-yard-line signage above the Cal bench and additional directional signage at the stadium).

The deal has already sparked a backlash from the local community, who are taken aback by the tastelessness of the signage in light of the field’s heritage.  The stadium was created through public contributions intended to pay tribute to Californians who served and died in the First World War (1917–18), hence the name “Memorial Stadium”.  The chairman of the architectural committee was the university’s chief architect, and his influence is evidenced by the stadium’s neoclassical motif, lending a grandeur to what was meant as an enduring testament to the savagery of war and the hope for peace.  From the base of the Berkeley hills, top row spectators enjoy panoramic views of the San Francisco Bay and west side viewers can take in views of the Berkeley Hills and Strawberry Canyon, making for an elevated experience.  Consequently, the stadium has earned its reputation as one of the most picturesque venues for collegiate sports.Kabam_Logo

Though the company surely does not mean to offend or disregard the historical context of the stadium, the placement of a glaring orange bomb at such an august site does little to respect the sentiments that lay beneath the turf and which were instrumental in bringing the stadium to life.