It is safe to say that both of these stores are notorious, albeit for different reasons.  I challenge anyone to find more opposite store types.  One of them is compliant with the local sign code and one is not.  Any experienced store planner will quickly point out which is which without even looking at the local code.  But what about a retailer without such experience.  Navigating the local sign code can be a daunting and time consuming task, especially for a business opening on a budget.  One way to begin is to understanding the local “signage environment.”

Escada, Beverly Wilshire Hotel, 2006

Affluent neighborhoods always have detailed regulations covering the size, shape, and allowable types of signage in their districts.  Many have a design review process as well.  In 2006 this proposed new storefront design for the Escada store in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel – Yes it is the same one that was in the movie Pretty Woman – went before the Beverly Hills Design Review Commission and failed.  The textured glass, created by applying a semi transparent film with the Escada logo (same as the door pulls) repeated over and over to form a pattern, was deemed signage by the  local “design police” and disallowed.  Eventually the film was removed and the design allowed.

Arcus Brothers Store, Bloomsburg, PA

On the other hand, local authorities in this Pennsylvania town seem to have no problem at all with the Arcus Brothers signage.  The place has been there for years and is the prototype for “buyer beware” which adds to its appeal.  It would appear that any attention is better than none, so the sign program is allowed.