Texas A&M Study Shows No Correlation Between EMCs and Traffic Accidents

In 2012, Texas A&M University’s Texas Transportation Institute conducted a study to see if electronic message centers (EMCs) cause traffic accidents. Research included data from the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) own Highway Safety Information System (HSIS), a comprehensive database of traffic-accident records from several states. Researchers identified 135 cites in which EMCs had recently been […]

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What Does “Conspicuity” Mean for Signage?

Conspicuity for signage is determined by the contrast between the sign and its background. A sign must be conspicuous first, because, without it, the sign’s legibility and readability are moot points. While the appropriate size for signs is addressed on this website under the heading “How big should a sign’s letters be?”, conspicuity includes factors […]

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Study Documents the Importance of On-Premise Signs To Shoppers

Better Homes & Gardens magazine conducts annual surveys with its subscribers as part of The American Grocery Shopper Study™. Over a three-year period (2011-2013), University of Cincinnati professor Dr. James Kellaris added questions about the importance of on-premise signage. Here are the three-year summaries (presented chronologically) of “yes,” “no” and “don’t know” responses to specific statements: “One of […]

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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’s 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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