Better Signs are Needed for San Francisco Public Spaces

Downtown San FranciscoSan Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu calls for better signs for public spaces

According to an article on by John King the San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu to introduce legislation as early as Tuesday (February 28) to require San Francisco public spaces to have improved signage.  According to the article the public spaces in San Francisco that are to be available to the public as new office buildings and hotels are being built do not have adequate signage thus people do not know where to find them.

[quote]”If the city’s purpose is to insert small spaces into the downtown, we need to make sure that true public access and (adequate) signage are in place,” said Supervisor Scott Wiener[/quote]

The article states that the goal of having better signage at these public spaces are to help them remain public and not be private public spaces that only the tenants of the building know about.  You can check out the whole article at with the headline SF focusing on hidden public spaces by John King.

So what is the city of San Francisco to do?  How can they make the signage better so that the public will know where these spaces are?  As a sign professional I have a couple of ideas that you can take it or leave it.

Public Space Signs on Light Poles

Maybe you think the light poles in San Francisco are already filled with too much signs and Muni power lines and such.  But these poles are filled with so many other types of signs like traffic signs, bike route signs, hiking trails, and historic districts.  There should be a sign that goes on the light poles that share with the passerby that a public space is near by.  Like most signs this sign would compliment other signs that you do to attract the public.  The sign could have a symbol and color that is unique so that people know that it represents a public space.

Plaque at every entrance

There are already a ton of sign required at every entrance.  Evacuation maps, ISA symbols, Proposition 65 signs, Exit signs, and No Smoking signs.  But before you shoot this idea down you should think about the signs I just mentioned.  The evacuation maps, ISA signs, prop. 65 signs are all regulatory signs that have specific symbols and regulation associated with it.  But the San Francisco public spaces signs right now don’t have these eye sore looking symbols required.  So you can make these signs at your entrance look architecturally considered.  Talk with your architect or sign professional to find the sign that works with your space.  Be proud of your public space.  If you have to show it off  put a sign up that compliments the environment that its going in.

Make the public spaces available on the office building directory

When you walk into an office building you see a office directory full of companies and their suite number.  Along with this information they should put space on that directory for information on how to get to or where to find the public space for that building.  There are many types of directories, but the building managers are always updating these signs so it wouldn’t be that much more work to put the name of the public space and where to find it on the property.

Post and Panel in the Public Space

There are a lot of way to do a post and panel sign, but for the public spaces they should have one purpose.  To share the store behind the public space, the architect, the history of the building and its owners if the story is cool.  Maybe there is a picture of the space when it was first constructed or maybe a series of photos through out the years sharing the different looks of the space. If you have to make the public space more public why not make it the space more of a destination that people will enjoy.  At the same time you can share your history a little bit so it doesn’t get lost to time.  These signs don’t have to be big, in fact they can be quite small and off to the side if you wish.

I don’t know what the City of San Francisco and the Planning Department will require for these signs, but you can be sure that Martin Sign Company can consult, construct and comply with these regulations when they pass so that your public space will have the correct signs.

By | 2018-02-21T20:08:14+00:00 February 26th, 2012|News|0 Comments

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