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Street Graphics and the Law

Street Graphics and the Law

8-1/2" x 11", softcover,
133 pages, plus CD-ROM,
American Planning Association, $21.

Table of Contents

Read an excerpt from the model ordinance

Temporarily Sold Out.

Often overlooked and underestimated, street graphics are both visual aids and an important expression of a downtown’s culture.

In Street Graphics and the Law, the authors propose a model street graphics ordinance that is designed to ensure that downtown’s signs are at once expressive, appropriate, legible, and compatible with the character of the downtown.

The model offers benefits to business owners by eliminating the visual chaos that often drowns out their messages, and to drivers and pedestrians by making it easier and safer for them to find what they are looking for.

The model also encourages downtowns to concentrate on major decisions in implementing a street graphics program rather than on piecemeal regulations.

Since its publication in 1988, Street Graphics has been widely influential. This newly revised edition has been updated and expanded with new research results and additional materials to make it even more useful to today’s reader.

The book now includes a valuable CD-ROM with a photo gallery of common types of signs, detailed sign design guidelines, and sample lighting design standards. In addition, the CD-ROM includes the full text of the Model Ordinance along with links to the text of 16 individual ordinances. These ordinances are based on the model and show how it has been successfully adapted to individual communities around the country.

Table of Contents

  1. Street Graphics Revised
    • What this revision does
    • The purpose of street graphics
    • Other features of the streetscape
  2. United States Sign Council best practice standards for commercial on-premise signs
    • Overview: Seeing and reading roadside on-premise signs
    • Determining optimal sign size using driver reaction time
    • Factors affecting the way drivers see, understand, and respond to signs while in movement
    • Sign factors affecting a driver’s perception of a sign
    • Putting it all together: Calculating sign area
    • Sign height: Minimum standards in areas of medium or high vehicular traffic
  3. The street graphics concept
    • The key issues
    • The setting for street graphics
    • The four criteria of good street graphics
    • Developing a street graphics system
    • Items of information and driver information overload
  4. The street graphics system and its principles
    • Elements of the system
    • The five principles of the Street Graphics System
  5. How street graphics are displayed
    • Street graphics types
    • Special street graphics
    • Illumination, movement, and color
    • Items of information
  6. Street Graphics Model Ordinance
    • Statement of purpose
    • Noncommercial signs and messages
    • Definitions
    • Ground graphics
    • Wall and roof graphics
    • Projecting graphics
    • Awnings
    • Special street graphics
    • Illumination and movement
    • Items of information allowance
    • Areas of special character
    • Programs for graphics
    • Street graphics prohibited
    • Street graphics exempt
    • Variances
    • Nonconforming street graphics
    • Permits
    • Enforcement
    • Severability clause
  7. Regulating street graphics: The legal issues
    • Sign regulation as a constitutional problem
    • Aesthetics as a basis for sign regulation
    • The traffic safety justification
    • On-premise sign regulations
    • Design review
  8. A strategy for dealing with nonconforming street graphics
    • The amortization option
    • The compensation requirement under the Federal Highway Beautification Act
    • Alternate methods for removing nonconforming signs
  9. The Supreme Court’s Free Speech Doctrines
    • The Supreme Court’s sign ordinance decisions
    • On-premise time, place, and manner regulations
    • Content neutrality
    • Permit, design review, and approval requirements


    • List of References
    • Ordinances based on the Street Graphics Model


    • Street Graphics Model Ordinance (full text)
    • Photo gallery of common sign types
    • Sign design guidelines
    • Lighting standards for signs, a sample of the Douglas County, Colorado, Lighting Standards
    • Links to 18 sign codes based on the Street Graphics Model Ordinance

Your Guarantee of Satisfaction

Street Graphics and the Law is guaranteed. If you are not 100% satisfied, you may return it within 30 days for a full refund.

About the Author

Lead author Dan Mandelker is one of the country’s leading scholars and teachers in land-use law. Widely acknowledged by many of his peers as “the Dean of Land-Use Law,” Professor Mandelker has co-authored several legal textbooks that are now in their fourth and fifth editions.


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