The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide for Outdoor Signs
What type of Outdoor Sign are you LEGALLY allowed to have?
And what are the SIZE restrictions?
Violating local sign codes can result in fines up to $500 per day. Outdoor signs must follow your local County & City Sign Ordinances.
The information directly below outlines the sign permitting process required for new, outdoor sign installations.
The legal requirements of outdoor signage.
- Local sign ordinances have become increasingly restrictive on the size and type of outdoor signs allowed.
- The Building, Zoning or Planning Department in your municipality, can provide you with a copy of the sign ordinances.
- If you ask for the person in the department who is most familiar with the sign ordinances, they should be able to help you determine the total SIZE allowed.
- In your area, window lettering on the outside of storefront glass windows, may also be classified as Outdoor Signage.
- Once you know the sizes you are limited to, the next step is to determine the TYPE of sign you are allowed outdoors, at your location.
- The type of outdoor signage allowed by the municipality is often decided in collaboration with property owners, well in advance.
- A structural Engineer’s stamp certifying the wind load capacity of an outdoor sign installation, may be required for your project.
- Getting final approval for the sign permit goes hand-in-hand with getting written permission from the landlord.
- Applying for a sign permit is easy. It just takes time to gather and provide all of the detailed information that’s required.
- The sign permit application can usually be accessed online. As you review the form, you’ll see the information required for permit approval.
- View the Do-It-Yourself Sign Permitting Guide for tips in getting your sign permit approved. Breaking the Sign Code:
- You can definitely save money by doing all of this upfront work yourself. Or you can hire a sign company to take care of the detail work for you.
Cover your assets, in writing.
When you search for terms in your lease like “Signage Criteria”, you’ll typically find detailed descriptions of the TYPE of signs allowed, and NOT ALLOWED.
The unfamiliar terms and types of signs described in a lease, can definitely.3 be confusing. You can call upon the landlord or leasing agent to provide additional information or clarification, as needed.
Or you can Email us a copy of the lease for interpretation and pricing information.
Permitting offices usually require a written letter from the landlord approving:
- The final design & colors.
- Size and overall dimensions.
- Placement of wall mounted signs, shown on building.
- Type of sign with specifications shown in a diagram.
- And finally, mounting details showing the hardware and installation method.
These services are readily available, on-demand, nationwide.
What are THE most important factors to consider, for your new signage?
This numbered checklist will help you make sure every important sign detail is covered.
Ultimately, there are dozens of micro-decisions that must be made regarding the sign itself including:
- Material Strength Low, medium or high strength sign material?
- Type of Material Aluminum, Stainless Steel, Bronze, PVC, Wood, Plastic, Foam, other?
- Finish Matte, Satin or High Gloss?
- Appearance Smooth & flat, carved, dimensional, distressed or textured?
- Thickness Thin, medium or thickest?
- Durability Short, medium or long-term durability outdoors?
- UV Protection / Fade Resistance Which level of solar protection will meet your needs?
- Message What will be the main message on the sign?
- Layout How will the words be arranged?
- Font Which letter styles will be incorporated into the design?
- Artwork Include logo, photo, clipart or custom graphics?
- Resolution Is the image resolution of the art files sharp, fuzzy or pixelated?
- Color Scheme Background color? Complimentary colors for text & artwork?
- Design When the designs are created, which option will best serve your needs?
- Distance How far away do want the message on your sign, to be legible?
- Legibility How tall should the letters actually be?
- Size What is the ideal size for your new sign?
- Shape Standard rectangular shape, circular, oval, rounded corners or custom shape?
- Edge Treatment Type of border or no border? Edge cap? Frame?
- Lighting Internal illumination, exterior lighting or none?
- Placement Where should the sign be located & installed to fulfill its highest purpose?
- Mounting Options Temporary, permanent, visible or blind?
- Installation Accessories Specialty sign hardware, mounting templates & installation instructions?
With this numbered checklist in-hand, you could invest the time to research each feature on the list – and then reach your own conclusions independently.
When the time is right …
Your focus will suddenly shift from product research, to finding the right sign company to work with.
To get a great sign, you actually need a great sign company to collaborate with and guide you.
But how do you find one?
How to single out a great sign company, in a crowded marketplace.
The sign industry is definitely a crowded marketplace – there’s more than 37,000 sign companies across America.
One of BIGGEST decisions will be the selection of the sign company that will make or break all of the other decisions, combined.
To be continued ….