The U.S. Supreme Court heard its first case on sign protocol in more than 20 years this June. The case, Reed v. Town of Gilbert (Ariz.), began with the use of temporary signage by an Arizona church. The town of Gilbert’s sign code limited the size of and length of time that the church’s temporary signs could be displayed – forcing them to be made smaller and remain up for shorter periods of time than those belonging to other groups, including political and ideological ones.
The Supreme Court decided unanimously in favor of Reed, stating that the town law was a content-based regulation; a violation of the Constitution’s First Amendment. Although the case was unanimously declared unconstitutional, some of the judges had opinions that differed with the majority’s written opinion. Many of them believed the majority opinion was too broad and could lead to legal challenges for all sign codes.
There were positive statements about the need for and use of signage mentioned, including one by Justice Clarence Thomas, who stated, “…the presence of certain signs may be essential, both for vehicles and pedestrians, to guide traffic or to identify hazards and ensure safety.”
The International Sign Association is offering a variety of resources to sign companies, businesses and community members, including industry recommendations and best practices. Visit signs.org to learn more about the court ruling and how you can make your business signage appropriate for community standards.
If you are interested in designing signage for your business, contact Signarama today. We will help you through the decision making process to find signs that fit legal standards and your needs!
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