AACSRE Journal Provides Study of Signage Needs of Independent Businesses

In the most recent edition of The Interdisciplinary Journal of Signage and Wayfinding, one article is entitled “Providing brand guidance for independent businesses: A supplement to District Signage Standards.” Written by Lisa Fontaine, Associate Professor, Department of Graphic Design, and Susan L. Bradbury, Professor, Department of Community & Regional Planning, both at Iowa State University, the article’s abstract states:

“If downtown retail districts are to compete with franchise-heavy commercial districts and malls, their small, independent businesses must communicate a vibrant, alternative message through graphic identities. The identity that represents each business is the most important aspect of this message, and it needs to be planned and implemented with great care. Based upon our research, we propose ways to assist business owners and communities with graphic messaging and its application to signage by providing the communication guidance that is missing in design standards and sign regulations. Through an understanding of communication theory, and examining both positive and negative examples of business signs and community design standards, we demonstrate how communities and regulations can be improved to better serve the unique communication needs and goals of small, independent businesses and the community.”

The crux of the article is also summed up in a paragraph at the beginning of the article: “Many cities and downtown business districts have adopted design standards, including sign regulations, as a means by which to enhance or create places that people want to visit, live, shop and invest. However, most, if not all, of these regulations fail to consider the marketing functions of signage and lack any guidance about the message that is on the sign. Instead, the standards consider the sign as an object, rather than a message-delivery system, and focus on controlling the number, size, shape, color, height, placement, orientation, location and illumination of the sign.”

The article can be read in its entirety at https://ijsw.shareok.org/home/issue/view/4/Fontaine%20and%20Bradley


Photo by Andre Benz on Unsplash

Wade Swormstedt

Wade Swormstedt

Wade is the former Executive Director of the Foundation for the Advancement of the Sign Industry and the former Editor and Publisher of Signs of the Times magazine.

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Posted in Academic Advisory Council for Signage Research and Education, Content Neutrality (Reed v. Gilbert), Research, Sign Codes, Signs' Advertising Value, Universities, Visibility and Legibility.