“10 Digital Signage Topics You Need to Know Before Buying” is Released

A guide, entitled “10 Digital Signage Topics You Need to Know Before Buying – The Complete Guide,” has been released by Agosto, Inc, a content-management-system (CMS) developer. Companies such as NEC, Intel, Best Buy for Business and Fastsigns participated in the creation of the guide. Each of the topics has its own chapter. They are:

The History of Digital Signage

Digital Signage Benefits and ROI

The 10 Biggest Digital Signage Challenges

Digital Signage Software

Digital Signage Hardware

Cloud-based Digital Signage

Google Chrome for Digital Signage

Content for Digital Displays

Installing and Rolling out a Digital Display

Digital Signage Trends

The entire guide can be downloaded free of charge at https://www.skykit.com/digital-signage-guide/

American Sign Museum Expands CoSIgn Program Nationwide

The American Sign Museum (ASM), Cincinnati, has announced that its CoSign community-revitalization program, which partners local business owners with artists and sign companies to create new signage, is being replicated in in six cities nationwide, announced Tod Swormstedt, Executive Director of the ASM.

ASM first introduced the program in 2012 in Cincinnati’s Northside community, in which 10 businesses received free signs while working with a designer and fabricator.

Funding came from the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile/U.S. Bank Foundation, as well as an ArtPlace grant. A second iteration of CoSign occurred across the Ohio River in Covington, KY in 2013. That program was additionally supported by an Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The ArtPlace grant included the creation of a “toolkit,” so CoSign could be replicated elsewhere.

The six communities and the local sponsoring organizations are:

  • Alachua (FL) Chamber of Commerce for its downtown historic district.

  • The ArtPop Street Gallery for the Community Arts Organization in Charlotte, NC

  • Downtown Evanston, IL

  • The Historic Valley Junction Foundation in West Des Moines, IA

  • The Iowa City Downtown District

  • Uptown United Community Economic Development Organization (Chicago)

Two-day workshop for the groups will be held at the ASM in February 2017. The 6-7-month CoSign process will commence in March, with the ultimate unveiling of 10-12 signs in each community.

The 10 signs from the Northside CoSign program can be viewed online at https://visualingual.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/cosign-signage-in-cincinnatis-northside/

For more information, contact Tod Swormstedt at (513) 701-2183 or tod@americansignmuseum.org.

FASI Awards First Collegiate Scholarship to Michigan State Student

The Foundation for the Advancement of the Sign Industry (FASI) has awarded the first of what it hopes will be numerous scholarships to collegiate members of the Academic Advisory Council for Signage Research and Education (AACSRE). Stephanie Onwenu, a junior in the Landscape Architecture program in the School of Planning, Design and Construction, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Michigan State University (MSU), has been awarded a $1,000 scholarship.

Dr. Pat Crawford, Associate Director of Planning Design & Construction at MSU stated, “Stephanie is part of the research team exploring perceptions of on-premise signage in urban streetscape environments using the IBM VAS software. She will also be exploring, first hand, urban signage in Spain, the United Kingdom and Italy during her study abroad in March and April 2017.”

In a letter to FASI, Stephanie wrote, “This opportunity will allow me to compare and contrast the various ways and forms that signage is manipulated around the world. Following on into the next school year, I plan to begin my Masters in Environmental Design [MED] graduate courses through the dual-degree program here at MSU. For my area of study, I plan to include an element of focus on signage in urban designed spaces.”

Wade Swormstedt, FASI’s executive director, said, “FASI is very proud to assist in the education of college students with an interest in signage. FASI hopes to announce many more of these scholarships throughout the year. FASI believes such scholarships support the groundwork laid by the National Signage Research & Education Conferences [NSREC] sponsored by The Signage Foundation.”

FASI (www.fasi.org) is dedicated to serving as a resource for the on-premise sign industry, and a clearinghouse of information for and about on-premise signs. FASI strives to proclaim the societal benefits of on-premise signage, and to support the efforts of on-premise sign organizations, including associations, universities, trade publications and end-user groups. 

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 Administration (FHWA). Terms like “flashing,” “Intermittent” and “moving” were used in an attempt to describe the CEVMS.

In hopes of establishing more standardized criteria, the FHWA’s Office of Real Estate Services, on July 17, 1996  “issued a memorandum to Regional Administrators to provide guidance on off-premise changeable message signs.”

The FHWA states, “The policy espoused in the July 17, 1996, memorandum was premised upon the concept that changeable messages that were fixed for a reasonable time period do not constitute a moving sign (emphasis added). If the State set a reasonable time period, the agreed-upon prohibition against moving signs is not violated. Electronic signs that have stationary messages for a reasonably fixed time merit the same considerations.”

Then, more than a decade later, on September 25, 2007, the FHWA issued a second memorandum, called “Guidance On Off-Premise Changeable Message Signs.” It begins by saying “The purpose of this memorandum is to provide guidance to Division Realty Professionals concerning off-premises changeable message signs adjacent to routes subject to requirements for effective control under the Highway Beautification Act (HBA) codified at 23 U.S.C. 131. It clarifies the application of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) July 17, 1996, memorandum on this subject.”

It then states, “Pursuant to 23 CFR 750.705, a State DOT is required to obtain the FHWA Division approval of any changes to its laws, regulations, and procedures (emphasis added) to implement the requirements of its outdoor advertising control program. A State DOT should request and the Division offices should provide a determination as to whether the State should allow off-premises changeable Electronic Variable Message Signs (CEVMS) adjacent to controlled routes, as required by our delegation of responsibilities under 23 CFR 750.705(j).”

It then suggest standards for the timing between messages and the dwell time for messages.

“Based upon contacts with all Divisions, we have identified certain ranges of acceptability that have been adopted in those States that do allow CEVMS that will be useful in reviewing State proposals on this topic. Available information indicates that State regulations, policy and procedures that have been approved by the Divisions to date, contain some or all of the following standards:

  • Duration of Message
    • Duration of each display is generally between 4 and 10 seconds – 8 seconds is recommended.
  • Transition Time
    • Transition between messages is generally between 1 and 4 seconds – 1-2 seconds is recommended.”

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 is 24 square feet.

But what if the sign is an irregular shape, or if the copy only fills a fraction of the sign face? What if the sign is individual channel letters on a wall? What if a backlit awning includes a logo? In all of these situations, do you measure the entire polygon, or just the portion that includes a logo or text?

What if the letters include upper- and lower-case letters, which means ascenders and descenders? Do you measure a rectangle around this “irregular” shape?

If the sign code establishes relatively small maximum sizes for signs, and measures all signs as rectangles, does this curtail creativity in design, because the merchant feels compelled to make the necessary letters as large as possible in order to achieve maximum visibility? Does this discourage round, triangular, oval and other shapes of signs?

The International Sign Association website has a section on measuring signs. You can access it at http://www.signs.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=iAfIQfU-zL8%3d&tabid=1459