Toward a More Sightly Future for Public Notice Signs

Public notice signs rarely garner much attention. Atlanta's planning department is changing that by partnering with a private design firm. The result? More striking signage.

1 minute read

August 20, 2017, 1:00 PM PDT

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc

Public Notice

Leon Brocard / Flickr

Residents often encounter their city's planning department in a visually lackluster way: public notice signs. Meg Miller writes, "Often found taped to signposts or pasted on the sides of buildings, these text-heavy, government-issued signs convey important information about planning or zoning."

In a rare move, Atlanta's planning department has enlisted the branding firm Matchstic to improve those signs. "Earlier this year, the firm was approached by Commissioner Tim Keane of the Atlanta Department of City Planning, which handles public notices, to reassess the visual language of the department itself."

Matchstic "summed up the approach with a phrase that drove all of the visual messaging: 'To Be Clear Is To Be Kind.' In other words, says [Matchstic creative director] Blake Howard, 'If we want to be kind to the public we serve, we need to be clear.'"

The signs are legal notices. As a result, "much of that language couldn't be altered, but Howard and his team broke up the text so it's easier to read, putting the most important information up front and in large type."

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