Tennessee Billboard Law Ruled Unconstitutional

A 45-year-old, outdoor-advertising act in Tennessee has been declared unconstitutional by a Memphis district judge, because of content-neutrality issues. An April 3, 2017 article in U. S. Today states, “U.S. District Judge Jon P. McCalla said the 1972 law ‘does not survive First Amendment scrutiny’ because it bans some forms of commercial and non-commercial speech based on content.” McCalla cited the 2015 Reed v. Gilbert SCOTUS decision in his ruling.

The article also states, “Thomas’ suit attracted allies among limited-government groups such as The Beacon Center of Tennessee, which say that billboard laws, by allowing regulatory exemptions for certain types of messages, impose undue ‘content-based’ regulation of speech.”

To read the entire article, go to: http://www.commercialappeal.com/story/news/courts/2017/04/03/memphis-judge-throws-out-state-billboard-act/99984504/

Report Says Dynamic Digital Signage Displays Increased Nearly 20% in 2016

According to a new report from Berg Insight, a Swedish research firm, global shipments of connected, digital-signage displays are estimated to have grown19.7% to 10.5 million units in 2016. Shipments to North America reached 3.0 million units, the report states.

Market growth was driven by greater demand for digital-signage solutions in all market verticals, technological advancements and a continued decline in prices, the report adds.

Berg Insight forecasts that global shipments of connected digital signs will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.7% in the next five years to reach 22.9 million units by 2021. As a result, the number of connected digital signage displays in active use worldwide will grow at a CAGR of 18.3% from an estimated 37.6 million in 2016 to 87.2 million units in 2021.

Berg describes the digital-signage industry as “highly fragmented.”

More details about the research can be found at http://www.berginsight.com/News.aspx?m_m=6&s_m=1

Swormstedt Serves as Judge in Signs of the Times Annual Sign Contest

Wade Swormstedt, the Executive Director of the Foundation for the Advancement of the Sign Industry (FASI), served as a judge in Signs of the Times’ annual International Sign Contest. The results will soon be published in the magazine’s April 2017 issue.

Each sign was assigned to one of 9 categories: Sign Systems, Commercial Monument, Electric Monument, Murals/Exhibits, Commercial Freestanding, Electric Freestanding, Commercial Building, Electric Building and Unique.

Swormstedt has previously served as a judge in sign-design contests for Signs & Screen Printing en Espnaol magazine, the National Electric Sign Association (now the International Sign Association), the United States Sign Council and MACtac vinyl products.

CoSign Article Published in Signs of the Times’ March 2017 Issue

An article about the past and future development of the CoSign program, which promotes economic development in communities by uniting designers, fabricators and end users to produce better signs, has been published in the March 2017 issue of Signs of the TImes magazine. Authored by FASI Executive Director Wade Swormstedt, the article outline the three iterations of the CoSign program in the Greater Cincinnati area, and the genesis of the program being instituted nationally this year. You can read the entire article at http://www.signweb.com/content/cosign-goes-national  

Iowa City Newspaper Lauds Projecting Signs Following CoSign Workshop at the American Sign Museum

Nate Kaeding is the Iowa City Downtown District’s retail development coordinator. He and other representatives from his city came to the American Sign Museum on February 20-21, 2017 to attend the CoSign workshop. CoSign is a program that connects merchants, designers and fabricators in order to create new and better signs, and promote economic development in communities.

Nate wrote a guest editorial for the Iowa City Press-Citizen’s February 21 edition under a headline of “2017 is the year of the projecting sign.” He writes abut the importance of having appropriate signage, and how Iowa City has changed its sign code to allow this. A portion of his editorial reads: ” The new creative signage will enhance the aesthetic and mood of downtown and add to our unique sense of place. This all will equate to more repeat customers at the stores, word-of-mouth marketing and economic vitality.”

To read the entire editorial, go to http://icp-c.com/2m5f3Mh  

 

Second FASI Scholarship Awarded to Texas A & M’s Madeline Hunter

The Foundation for the Advancement of the Sign Industry (FASI) has awarded its second $1,000 scholarship to a college student who is pursuing sign-related studies. Madeline Hunter, who is in her first year as a Master of Urban Planning student, will assist Dr. Dawn Jourdan, Executive Associate Dean of the school’s College of Architecture, in researching the sign-code development process. Hunter will interview planners nationwide about their creation and revision of sign codes.

FASI previously awarded a scholarship to Stephanie Onwenu, a junior at Michigan State University. FASI is offering these scholarships to member universities of the Academic Advisory Council for Signage Research and Education.   

Sign Research Foundation Releases 4-Part Typography Executive Summary

“Typography, Placemaking and Signs,” the four-part white paper series originally released by the Sign Research Foundation in 2014, is now available, free of charge, in a four-page executive summary.

Written by the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Craig Berger, and produced by SRF, the paper includes:

The History of Typography and Place;

Environmental Typography Best Practices;

Typography and the Code—ADA and Egress Codes;

and Typography Case Studies.

This executive summary highlights three key takeaways from the report:

  • Environmental typography is a natural outgrowth of the desire for people to explore and comprehend the outside world.
  • To successfully carry a message that resonates, typography must be successful on its own as well as integrated into a complete and effective overall design.
  • Codes and regulations apply to graphic information including symbols and type, and those who understand the intricacies and overlapping governance are usually the most successful.

The complete 54-page paper can be viewed at http://www.signresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/Typography-Placemaking-and-Signs.pdf

The Signage Foundation Inc. becomes the Sign Research Foundation

The Sign Research Foundation (SRF), formerly The Signage Foundation, has a new name, look and website (www.signresearch.org), but it will continue its mission of empowering communities through research on vibrant and effective sign strategies, systems and codes.

“The new name better aligns with our mission of focusing on research into signs,” said Sapna Budev, SRF’s executive director. “We will expand our work in bringing together academicians, influencers and the industry to develop and promote stronger communities.”

The new website hosts the SRF’s latest sponsored research, and icons on the website facilitate finding research under myriad topics: best practices, design, illumination, legal, placemaking, safety, sign codes, value of signs and wayfinding. Additionally, all of the research is listed alphabetically by title. All of the peer-reviewed research is available free of charge.

SRF will host its annual National Signage Research & Education Conference (NSREC) April 19 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, and co-locate with the International Sign Association’s Sign Expo. Academicians will present current research, SRF’s research projects for 2017 will be outlined. This year’s NSREC will focus on the future of signage and anticipate how signs must adapt to function in the cities of the future.

Hacking of Electronic Billboards Reported in Augusta, Georgia

An electronic billboard owned by Be Still Displays was hacked on the night of January 28 on the main thoroughfare of Washington Road in Augusta, Georgia. A similar hacking occurred in Atlanta in 2015. As of Monday, January 31, neither the display owner, Chris Withers, nor the Richmond Count Sheriff’s Office, could explain how the hacking occurred.

A local television station, WRDW, reported that one billboard “showed a piece of jewelry and said “Look at that nice-a** jewelry. F****** sweet, isn’t it.” One image had the Starbucks logo on it and made a sexual reference.

Withers said he had to pay $10,000 to fix the problem, with new computers and an upgraded system with protection that will cost $2000 annually. He has owned 16 electronic billboards since 2010, and has been in the outdoor-advertising business for 20 years. To read two articles about the incident, go to http://www.wrdw.com/content/news/Washington-Road-billboard-gets-hacked-shows-curse-words-to-describe-jewelry-412169543.html

9 Sign-related Franchises Make Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top 500 for 2017

Nine sign-related franchises are included in Entrepreneur magazine’s Top 500 franchise list for 2017. The sign-related listings for this 38th annual compilation are as follows, along with the number of units added/dropped in the past year, and the corresponding percentage change. The year each began franchising follows.

 95. Fastsigns, 8 additions, 1.3%, 1986

100. YESCO Lighting Services, 3 additions, 3.3%, 2011

178. Sir Speedy, 8 deletions, -3.0%, 1968

179. Instant Imprints, 2 additions, 4%, 2001

223. Signarama, no change, 1987

224. Image360, no change, 1987

263. Speed Pro Imaging, 2 additions, 1.2%, 2005

461. Allegra, 7 deletions, -2.6%, 1977

478. PIP printing, 7 deletions, -8.4%, 1968

To see the entire list of the 500 franchises, from #1 to #500, go to https://www.entrepreneur.com/franchises/500/2017/1