Is my sign a business asset that I can capitalize or expense?

The following article originally appeared on the Small Business Administration website in February 2001, but it was subsequently removed. In the late 1960s, the Internal Revenue Service determined that on-premise signs represent an accessory, real-property interest, and therefore, if you own your sign, you may depreciate it over a period of years. If you lease […]

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What do I need to know about Copyrights, Patents and Trademarks?

The following article originally appeared on the Small Business Administration website in February 2001, but it was subsequently removed. The basic concept behind copyrights and patents is providing legal protection to the inventors, authors, and creators of artistic works that insures their right to economic benefit from the investment of their time, skill, energy and […]

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How will my business sign be regulated?

The following article originally appeared on the Small Business Administration website in February 2001, but it was subsequently removed. Signage is regulated through the following two categories: Building and electrical codes The construction, installation, and operation of any permanent business sign will need to conform to all applicable building and electrical codes. Because compliance with […]

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Signs, Legal Rights and Aesthetic Considerations (1972)

There are three general ways in which cultural constraints are enforced: through the use of police powers, eminent domain and taxation. Download Signs. Legal Rights and Aesthetic Considerations Download Wade SwormstedtWade is Executive Director of the Foundation for the Advancement of the Sign Industry. Formerly he was Editor and Publisher of Signs of the Times magazine.More Posts

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What has the Federal Highway Administration said about Off-premise Electronic Message Centers?

The 1965 Highway Beautification Act established federal guidelines for off-premise signs (billboards) located within 660 feet of federal highways. When “changeable Electronic Variable Message Signs (CEVMS),” (typically called electronic message centers, or EMCs, in the sign industry), began to become more commonplace, individual states began to establish agreement (Federal/State Agreements — FSAs) with the Federal Highway […]

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How is the Size of Signs Measured?

The most common restriction in sign codes concerns the size of signs. This includes such considerations as the “setback,” (distance away from the road), the height and the dimensions of the sign itself. When the sign is a rectangle, and the copy fills it,  it’s easy — height x width. A 4 x 6-foot sign […]

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What Types of Signs are Most Commonly Used?

A significant way to divide the sign industry is into “electric” signs (which have internal illumination) and “commercial” signs, which are non-illuminated. For approximately three decades, a trade journal for the sign industry, Signs of the Times, conducted surveys of sign companies as to how their businesses were faring. These were called State of the […]

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What Types of Lighting are Used to Internally Illuminate Signs?

The three primary lighting sources for signs have been fluorescent, neon and LEDs for at least two decades, but the ratio of each has drastically changed. An industry trade journal, Signs of the Times, has traditionally tracked these changes through industry surveys. Its most recent such survey was published in its March 2015 edition. It […]

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Will GPS Make Signs Obsolete?

In 2008, a satellite-navigation specialist, Colin Beatty, presented a 27-slide PowerPoint presentation to the Sign Design Society, England’s leading environmental graphic design association. He asked the rhetorical question in his title:.  “Could personal navigation systems herald the demise of much fixed signage?” In a column published in The Slate, author Julia Turner explores this question […]

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