Signs are a basic element of commercial areas. They are regulated, however, to avoid the inevitable clutter and inefficiency of uncontrolled signage. Instead, a balance is sought between an individual business's need to attract attention and the overall impact of the commercial area where customers can find what they are looking for without being visually overwhelmed.
To maximize the effectiveness of signs, every sign should be an integral, but noticeable, part of its building. Each building and its signs should also compliment others within its block. In this manner, the building and its signs become part of an overall image, each supporting the other and helping to draw customers. The vital point that should be emphasized is that a sign on a building should always be thought of as part of the building and not as an unrelated object attached to it.
Types of Signs
Wall-mounted signs consist of a sign panel or individual letters attached to a wall. They can also include lettering painted on an architectural feature called an entablature, designed to accommodate signs.
Projecting signs are usually hung from brackets or otherwise attached to be perpendicular to the building facade. These type of panels can also be suspended from an awning or a porch.
Freestanding signs are mounted on posts or other supports an are designed primarily to attract motorists. These types of signs are strongly discouraged in the downtown commerical district.
Window signs can be painted on or affixed to a display window or consist of a sign panel suspended behind the glass.
Awning signs are either painted or sewn onto an awning's fabric.
Typical Problems with Signs
Over-scaled signs that are too large for a building overwhelm its architecture. This problem can also occur with freestanding signs.
Poorly placed signs are difficult for potential customers to see and create a negative business image by disregarding a build-ing's architectural elements.
Inappropriate materials used in making a sign can also present a negative image by being out of character to their location in a historic district or not being sufficiently resistant to exposure to the weather.
Poorly executed signs detract from a business's image as well as from the commercial district. Skillfully lettered signs by a sign professional are strongly encouraged.
Poorly designed signs will not convey critical information to customers either because they are too small or have too few or too many words. A sign professional should be able to assist with all of these problems.
1. A sign should fit the architecture of its building and not obstruct defining elements.
2. The number of signs should be compatible with the building and should not cause visual clutter.
3. The size of each sign and the total area of signs should match the character of the building and of the Historic District. Exact sign allowance should be verified with the Planning Office.
4. Sign design and graphics should be coordinated with the character of the building and the nature of the business. Reusing a sign from another building may or may not be appropriate and should be carefully evaluated according to these guidelines.
5. Materials should relate to the building. Traditional sign materials include wood, glass, raised individual letters, and painted letters on wood or glass. Neon, when carefully designed and placed, has also appeared in the Historic District.
6. If signs are to be illuminated, the lighting should be understated and in keeping with the character of the building and the Historic District.
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