Skip to Main Content
Photo Courtesy of DCL (Fabricator), Design by Poulin+Morris
Photo Courtesy of DCL (Fabricator), Design by Poulin+Morris

Chicago Sign Summit Targets Significant Solutions

Posted: 07/18/2018

Sbac Elliot Richardson

The International Sign Association, the Illinois Sign Association and the Small Business Advocacy Council (SBAC), recently hosted the Chicago Sign Summit, where dozens of Chicago-area sign companies met to generate ideas to make the Windy City a better place for the sign, graphics and visual communications industry to succeed.
The group identified several key areas of Chicago’s sign code and how it is administered that need to be revised and streamlined. Although there have been targeted efforts to improve specific sections of the code in recent years, long-time Chicago sign companies contend that the city’s sign guidelines sorely needs to be more broadly updated.  
“Sign codes today need to protect freedom of speech, promote economic development, and help brand their community” said ISA’s David Hickey. “Fortunately, this summit allowed us to get input and ideas from many local sign companies on how to modernize Chicago’s sign code to accomplish those objectives.”
Elliot Richardson with the SBAC noted that “Chicago’s local entrepreneurs often face significant challenges when it comes to permitting and having signs installed on their premises.  Bringing Chicago’s sign code into the 21st century will benefit end users, sign companies and other stakeholders in the city.”
Richardson added, “There are Alderman and city leaders who we can partner with to improve the sign code.  We look forward to acting on the input and energy we received at the summit.”    
Illinois Sign Association President Jason Tompkins noted that while “area sign companies are being blamed by their customers for issues caused by administration of the sign code,” this organized effort will go a long way in remedying the situation by educating local officials and end users on what needs to be done to make Chicago an easier place to do business.
In weeks and months ahead, this coalition will continue advancing the relationship between sign companies, local businesses, and public officials in order to provide balanced, reasonable and significant sign solutions in Chicago’s small business environment. As an Illinois sign industry professional, we need your input and participation; after all, there is strength in numbers!
If you have any questions or would like to join our effort, please contact the Illinois Sign Association at or 312-881-9920.