Retail Signage Programs

Leases contain clauses regulating the tenant's signage. These are called Sign Programs, Sign Criteria, Marketing Program Rules or some “like” name.

Signs for San Diego is an expert at writing or rewriting Sign Criteria. Get this document “right” is critical to your success. Owners want great tenants to have the flexibility to be anchors, and limit aggressive tenants that detract from the property’s appeal. Aesthetically pleasing and uniform signage increases traffic, higher quality traffic increase tenant’s sales and the owner’s ROI in the form or higher rents and lower vacancies.

Tenants seeking to maximize customer ability find them, can be very aggressive. Size, placement, and construction can be hotly contested. Other tenants fall behind on maintenance. A Good Signage Policy aids owners in pulling the bottom up and limiting the obnoxious. Do you know the right way to handle: 

  • Channel Letters
    • exposed lamps or tubing;
    • Wiring exposed raceways, tubing, crossovers, or conduit;
  • Pole Signs
  • parking lot signage
  • Monument Signs
  • Special promotional signage
    • Banners
    • A-Frames, fixtures or stands in front of the stores
    • Temporary signage
  • Window graphics,
  • Restrictions for the obnoxious
    • Animated signs
    • Flashing or audible signs;
    • decals, stickers and cling signs
    • painted lettering
    • Florescent or luminous paint or paper.
    • roof signs
    • signs in the common areas
  • Promotional signage types and placement
  • Use of cars, trucks and trailers

At Signs for San Diego we can write rules that help you promote your tenants success without looking like a flea market.


Logos can be a problem. Tenants can have logos that may not be compliant with your rules. This can be a hot issue. You need the ability to be firm with some tenants and flexible with others. The use of the tenant's logo depends on the size and importance of the tenant. You don’t want to lose an anchor tenant over their logos, or have a minor tenant set a negative tone for the shopping center.

Is your Sign Criteria up to date with technology: LED, Florescent signage or neon, a mix between lighting and non-electrical? Over time new criteria may be advantageous. Neon is out, LED is in. Static signage is out, digital message boards are in. Covering how changes in the criteria are to be made and who bears the expense need to be covered.

Renovation, Repair and Replacement. When a tenant fails the owner needs to use the sign criteria to force maintenance, or even remove tenant signage.

When a major renovation of the shopping center takes place, who is responsible for the cost of removing and reinstalling signage? Can updated signage be required and when? Calling this out at the time the lease is signed can save you a huge amount of money and time….if you know how to do this upfront.

The City ordinance changes and you are out of step? The Sign Criteria needs to address this. The Ordinance reduces allowable sign size, and your policy required renewal, your tenant will become extremely hard to deal with because compliance means a reduction in the allowable signage.

Sophisticated tenants negotiating before the lease is signed? Anchor tenants will challenge your sign criteria. A well written Sign program gives you an edge crucial to landing these key long term tenants and controlling the smaller more transient tenants.

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