3 Ways Architectural Signage & Elements Can Contribute to Downtown Revitalization

Creative Sign Designs

Though the downtown areas in many established American cities have experienced years, decades or even centuries of wear-and-tear and neglect, the last two decades have shown a promising shift, with more and more urban centers revitalizing, regrowing, and reinventing their downtowns.

Thankfully, many downtown revitalization efforts have been supported by the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Streets Program, which assists with downtown redevelopment efforts in response to ‘… an era when many people had given up hope about the commercial and cultural viability of downtown, and when suburbs, shopping malls, and big-box retailers were dominating the American landscape.’

And while revitalization can prove challenging, it also provides endless opportunities for creativity, activism, economic diversity, and tourism to promote and enhance a city’s unique brand and offerings. Consider the Downtown Memphis Commission’s Downtown Metrics Report, which found that a square mile of downtown property generates more than twice the county and city taxes and more than three times the county tax revenue per square mile.

But while the dollars-and-cents of a downtown revitalization make sense, what are some of the more intangible benefits? How, exactly, does a revitalization to improve the quality of life for its residents beyond the bottom line?

Here are three ways architectural signage and elements can contribute to downtown revitalization efforts.

  1. Enhance Navigation With Wayfinding
  2. Miami River Green Way

    Downtown signage is about more than helping people get to where they want to go; it also boasts benefits to brand enhancements and key destinations. But in a time where downtown areas are quickly and easily navigated with a smartphone and information can be found within minutes, what value does signage provide?

    A lot, actually.

    Surprisingly, wayfinding and signage in urban landscapes prove critical beyond basic navigation, identification and information as elements such as monuments, directional systems, directories, interpretive and even regulatory signs enrich our experiences with urban environments.

    In fact, the Sign Research Foundation asserts that even in an age of smartphones and GPS, physical wayfinding elements and signage systems strengthen brands by improving the legibility, navigation, understanding, and accessibility of the environment.

  3. Showcase Features Unique To Your City
  4. When aligned with other current initiatives, architectural signage and elements can serve to enhance features unique to your city.

    Case in point: Tampa’s Sparkman Wharf, which highlights Tampa’s waterfront as a new outdoor waterfront destination in the heart of the Water Street development. Featuring 10 unique dining options, craft beer, music, waterfront views, and outdoor spaces for lawn games and socializing, Sparkman Wharf collaborated with Creative Sign Designs to design, build, and install the restaurant signage, site wayfinding, and several custom signage features.

    The result was more than 10 custom restaurant identity signs, site wayfinding, and branding signage, all serving to enhance and highlight one of Tampa’s most compelling features: its waterfront.

  5. Highlight Key Attractions & Amenities

Are some of your best parks and attractions hidden deep within a downtown area? Signage can not only help navigate but unique elements can be used to better tell the story of your city and the purpose behind the attractions. For this, consider the case for the city of Tallahassee.

Creative Sign Designs was selected from a qualifying bid process by the City of Tallahassee to undertake the branding of its new social center, Cascades Park, for a design/build venture to construct wayfinding signage for the new park.

Park signage included gateway monument signs with a map and highlighted features, stainless steel etched panels for dedication plaques and monuments depicting the history of the property and the City of Tallahassee.

The signage also includes parking signage with themed finials to indicate the appropriate parking areas and parking hours. Donor plaques and pedestrian directional signs are located at intersections throughout the park that included an information/map cabinet with interchangeable copy.

Signs, Signs, Everywhere A Sign

It’s easy to overlook the less obvious benefits of signs, especially in a bustling downtown area. But beyond their inherent practicality, signs boast endless opportunities to enhance the aesthetics, quality of life and branding in urban landscapes – even in the digital age.

Contact us today to learn more about incorporating urban wayfinding elements into your next project.

5 Ways Environmental Graphics Create a Memorable Experience

Creative Sign Designs

The G2 Learning Hub recently wrote a great article about environmental graphic design and how it impacts a user’s (or guest’s) experience.

While signage and wayfinding can certainly engage people with their everyday surroundings by making the space more informative and easier to navigate, environmental graphics can make the space more memorable for its visitors. Or think about the cultural and social phenomenon of exterior wall murals as a means for businesses to increase their brand awareness and engagement – all with a beautiful statement piece begging to be shared on the ‘Gram.

Utilizing Wayfinding & Lighting In Parking Lot Master Plans

Creative Sign Designs

Parking. Love it or hate, it’s a necessary evil. As we’ve previously discussed, there are more than 105 million commercial parking spaces in the U.S. And those numbers show no signs of waning as cities and suburbs welcome new residents and businesses every day, increasing the demand for more – and more and still more – parking facilities.

How To Simplify Interior Signage With Sign Systems

Creative Sign Designs

Achieving a custom, branded aesthetic while enhancing the form and function of a space is the end goal of any signage project but with so many signs to consider, there are some instances when it’s necessary to streamline the process.

With a sign system – essentially serving as a blueprint – that streamlines your custom interior sign solution, you can simplify the entire process, from ideation to execution, with expert consideration paid to the nuances of ADA, wayfinding, and décor to make sure you get your signs right the first time.

And it all starts with compliance.

A Developer’s Guide to Hotel Signage

Creative Sign Designs

When you consider that most – if not all – guests staying in a hotel are there because they’re visiting from elsewhere, it makes sense that we’ve covered the topic of hotel signage and wayfinding extensively.

Because from navigating the parking lot to wayfinding in the lobby, common areas, corridors, and hallways, hotel signage proves unimaginably critical for guests trying to get from where they are to where they want to be.

Here, we’ve rounded up some of our best articles on all things hospitality: common pitfalls in hospitality signage, interior hotel signage, exterior hotel signage, and hotel signage programming and design.

5 Advantages of Illuminated Signage & Lighting

Creative Sign Designs

Illuminated signage and lighting are often located on the front of a building to advertise a business with the added benefit of being visible from quite a distance, day or night. Since illuminated signage solutions are effective in virtually every industry – from healthcare to education, to restaurants and retail, hospitality and more – it seems there are no limits to what innovative illuminated signs and lighting can do for businesses. Here are a few of their advantages.

A Strategic Approach to Wayfinding Design

Creative Sign Designs

While wayfinding is an essential part of any space, it’s so much more than directional signage, often leaving business and building owners overwhelmed by the prospect of getting it right.

Wayfinding helps inform visitors’ immediate decisions upon entering your space and guides them as they navigate themselves to each destination therein, providing spatial problem-solving.

A Commercial Developer’s Guide to Interior Signage

Creative Sign Designs

Whether you’re developing a corporate office building, hotel or other space, commercial buildings require interior signage with attention paid to every detail.

From creative wayfinding, to statement pieces, to room numbers, to ADA/Code Compliant signage, it’s important to design architectural interior signs and graphics– that satisfy both form and function – early on to align with the project as a whole.

How to Program Campus Wayfinding Signage in Education

Creative Sign Designs

We’ve all experienced navigation anxiety. Arriving somewhere new and unfamiliar without proper – or any – wayfinding or signage can cause frustration and concerns that a misstep could cost us time, money or – in some cases – safety.

And given the scale of today’s college campus environments, administrators can help visitors avoid these feelings by establishing a strong foundation for an integrated wayfinding program with the following considerations.

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We have two locations in Florida featuring more than 50,000 square feet of our product offerings. In Tampa and Orlando, we provide a glimpse into the endless possibilities in the sign world. We have created a whole new concept in signage, one that incorporates high-tech design and top-of-the-line construction.


Sales offices in Jacksonville, FL and Fort Lauderdale, FL.


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Tampa , FL 33626
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