Do Signs Help First-time Customers Find Stores?

Signtronix is a California-based sign manufacturer that creates signs for small independent businesses nationwide. From 1996 through 2011, it asked its customers (retailers) to ask their first-time customers (shoppers) how they first found out about their store. Over this 14-year period, 46% of these 13,040 first-time patrons said they’d heard about the retailer because of […]

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How Does the Copyright Protection of the 1982 Lanham Act Affect Signs?

The Lanham Act, also known as the Trademark Act, was originally passed in 1946. It has been revised several times since then, including 1982, when it was revised by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) to prevent cities/municipalities from requiring businesses to alter federally registered trademarks. Section 1121(b) of the act states: “No state or other jurisdiction of […]

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Is Your Sign Code Content Neutral? Reed v. Gilbert Warns it Should Be

Quite often, sign codes are primarily governed by their definitions. Many of the definitions are about types of signs: temporary, projecting, banners, fascia, freestanding, pole-mounted, etc. Quite often, however, signs are defined by their content: political, real estate, commercial, yard sale, etc. If a sign is blank, you can still tell what kind of sign it […]

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Does a Sign Loss Hurt Multiple Businesses and the Community?

In the mid-1990s, Terry Shulman’s was a successful drug store in the Gulf Gate Mall in Sarasota, Florida. Located in the back side of the mall, it couldn’t be seen from either of the two major arterial roads. However, it paid $3,500 for a freestanding pole sign. Its retail sales had increased 10-18% since it had relocated to […]

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Can a Sign’ Location Make it Worth $1.8 Million?

In Cincinnati, OH, a building was ideally situated on Pete Rose Way, proximate to the confluence of I-71 and I-75. In 1997, the building housed Caddy’s, a 50s style entertainment complex. The Cincinnati Bengals NFL football team was about to build its $400 million Paul Brown Stadium, and the land and building were being taken by […]

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Can a Grand Opening Without a Sign Directly Cause Loss of Revenue?

On August 18, 1995, a Best Buy store was set to open in San Antonio. By contract, the store was to receive two double-faced pylon signs that faced I-470 by June 1. One 297-sq.-ft. sign did become fully operational the day before the grand opening. The second, 207-sq.-ft. sign, however, didn’t become operational until September […]

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Do Electronic Message Centers Cause Traffic Accidents?

Subjective statements often suggest that electronic message centers (EMCs) cause traffic accidents because they are distracting. Yet, does any empirical evidence document this theory? No. In 1980, the Federal Highway Administration published its “Safety and Environmental Design Considerations in the Use of Commercial Electronic Variable-Message Signs” study, which was hugely inconclusive. It conducted the study […]

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SGIA Journal Features FASI Article on the Reed v. Gilbert Aftermath

Wade Swormstedt, the Executive Director for FASI, wrote an article for the SGIA Journal’s January/February 2017 issue entitled “Content Neutrality and Signs: The Reed v. Gilbert decision and the aftermath.” Although the actual article is only available online to subscribers, the basic copy is presented here. On June 18, 2015, the Supreme Court of the […]

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American Sign Museum Opens in Cincinnati

Signs are informative. Signs are necessary. And, signs are a form of art. Much like other art forms, signs can be dazzling, pretty, humorous, evocative, friendly, trendy, and mood setting. Signs can even be harsh or rude, depending on the intended message. Art production, a creative endeavor, combines imagination with reproduction skills. So does the […]

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Street Graphics

The following article was written in 2005. In 1971, the American Planning Assn. (APA) began distributing a book by Daniel Mandelker and William Ewald entitled Street Graphics and the Law. That book recommended the uncompensated taking of signs and control of a sign’s design, message and aesthetics. While the sign industry was making great strides […]

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