Many cities are so tired of ‘garage sale’ scrawled across scraps of cardboard, that they now outlaw the practice.
Election candidates can be fined for leaving up corflute signs, as can real estate agencies if the auction or open house has passed.
Temporary signage annoys many people because this visual pollution encroaches on public space and is often garish to grab your attention for a temporary event.
Permanent signage is often needed for direction giving, including naming, and some of this falls is necessary wayfinding, which we can generally tolerate.
But advertising is different. In Queensland, the Transport and Main Roads control all highway signage including the licensing of several hundred permanent billboards.
Signage on buildings is generally part of local controls. The best local signage should blend in as part of the backdrop of our built environment, unless you are looking for it.
Even then, the colour, size and messaging should fit the purpose.
Some would say that permanent signage should assist us rather than yell at us. Some would say that spelling and grammatical errors on signage must be corrected. Some would say that signage destroys our streetscapes altogether.
There are certainly some advantages in reducing signage.
The Czech Republic City of Prague has classic ‘European’ looking buildings and very little street advertising and hence has featured in over 1750 movies to date.
On the other hand outlandish or massive signage can make a space, such as the famous Times Square in New York. One internet list of the most famous signs in the world includes Hollywood, Welcome to Las Vegas, Penny Lane, Highway 66, and Platform 9 ¾. Have you ever heard of, or seen these signs?
Furthermore, is the Big Pineapple a building, a sign, a sculpture or a public artwork?
Adrian Charles Just is Director of Archicology Architects and Sunshine Coast Regional Chair for the Australian Institute of Architects.