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Why Sign Code Matters for Business Signs

People often call us for new business signs or outdoor signs AFTER they have selected their location and signed a lease agreement.  In some cases, this means putting the cart before the horse – because city code in their location may not be favorable to the choice of sign.  For example, some codes restrict the size of a sign and placement on the building – and on the street-side property.  Additionally, lighted signs may be restricted to specific size and placement, or banned altogether.

The lesson is simple: Before you sign a lease agreement, you should review the city ordinance to determine the permissible types and sizes of signs and other associated requirements.  To make it even simpler, talk to a sign company first as they are either already familiar with the various codes in your area or they know how to easily find the information for you.

Most towns have sign code that goes by the overall width of your office frontage. Based on the frontage, you are allowed for some designated maximum square footage for your sign.  In addition to that, some towns count any signage you put on the window towards total signage allowed for the business. This restriction can actually hurt you and take away square footage from your large sign.  Many towns do not allow signage for the tenants on the second, or any upper, floor of the building – while others may allow only a sign at the very top of a building’s façade, but often only for the primary tenant.  Lastly, the application process for city or jurisdictional permits can take two weeks or more, and in some larger cities can take up to three months before final permission is granted.  Some cities require their architectural board’s approval before the sign can be manufactured, thus adding even more time towards the overall process.

It is equally important to review the sign allowance by your landlord. Many landlords only allow for illuminated building signs, some allow the signs to be in one line only, some allow the sign to be no wider than 70% of the façade width, some allow for one color signs only, etc. Starting a new business is an exciting time and one that is loaded with so many items on your to-do list that it is easy to rush through some decisions. As you have no doubt realized by now, the moral of the story is that before you get too excited about signing the lease agreement and launching your business, do some homework and find out what you can and cannot do regarding your signage. It is, after all, part of your brand and how your customers will locate you at your location.

If you are starting a new business and want to be sure to get off on the right foot with your office signs or buidling signs, give us a call and we can guide you through the process.  We are a full service sign company and we are very familiar with the permit process including the details of submission requirement, bonding, licensing, how the sign code works, and we review the code before we even look at sign options for you.  We have successfully completed projects all around the United States from small businesses to large franchises.  We will advise you about the location so you know you are making the right decision.

For your next sign project, whether outdoor signs or indoor signs, give Captivating Signs a call at 630-470-6161 and we will be happy to help you.

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