Sign management is a field that spurs creativity, innovation, and marketing ideas. Sometimes it is easy to forget that all signs must abide by local rules and regulations known as zoning laws. These laws are developed by governmental officials. The laws were developed to improve and protect the overall aesthetic appeal of a community. The purpose is to protect the community and all types of traffic. This includes both pedestrian and motorist. Sign regulations are one subtopic of zoning laws. Below are some of the ways that these all-important laws affect sidewalk signs.

1. Materials

Sidewalk signs are constructed from many materials ranging from dry erase boards to A-frames. Not all available materials are acceptable everywhere. One community may accept dry erase boards as a sidewalk sign. Another community can prohibit this sign from being used. Before any business owner purchases a sign made of their favorite material, it is important to check and see whether the applicable zoning laws will find this material acceptable. Zoning laws specify which materials are allowed in the particular city zones.

Sign fasteners are usually well-defined in sign regulations. Regulations can state whether the eye-bolts, cables, or metal fasteners need to be made of galvanized steel or or non-corrosive metal. Not all types of fasteners may be allowed in certain zones.

2. Usage

Zoning laws can provide guidance into free standing sign usage. Laws will specify how many signs a company can use. Some communities may allow flipping signs as a form of advertisement. Other communities may prohibit this sign usage because it is considered a distraction to drivers and pedestrians. There is a current craze for employees to hold a sidewalk sign and perform physical feats while turning, spinning and throwing signs. A company needs to check with zoning ordinances before it implements any of these techniques into its marketing program.

3. Location

Zoning laws are where business owners will find detailed information about where to place their sidewalk signs. Laws will state whether the sign can or cannot be placed near utility poles, telephone or electrical wiring and cell phone towers. Regulations will state how many inches from a curb or front door a sign can be located.

4. Messages

The message on a sidewalk sign is regulated by zoning laws. Some municipalities have strict guidelines that prohibit or allow political, social, and/or religious messages in commercial zones. Placing these signs in commercial areas can result in a strong warning from governmental officials. Laws can specify the font size and/or coloring of message text. Graphics may be discussed in detail.

5. Repairs and maintenance

Sign regulations can specify what is required of lessors, owners or other users. Signs need to be maintained in what is termed good repair. Repair and maintenance standards are discussed in detail. Detailed standards can include making certain the sign’s message is clearly visible and not obstructed by a dirty surface. Regulations can specify that the sidewalk sign’s lettering is not missing or torn. When a sign appears unsafe to the viewing public, a municipality can require the company repair its sign.

When identifiable information such as the name of the sign owner, who is responsible for the sign’s maintenance and a permit number are not easily recognizable, signs may need to be removed.

The most powerful and attractive sidewalk sign will not make a difference if it does not comply with local zoning laws. Working with a trained sign professional, like Signs Direct, can be all it takes to comply with laws while developing a powerful sign marketing strategy.