New regulations covering outdoor signboards are to be issued this year following complaints from the public and store owners about the current standards.
They will cover diversified design of signboards and the involvement of businesses in the design process, Shanghai’s greenery authorities said on Tuesday.
“The regulations will give consideration to both safety and beauty,” said Le Jiahua, deputy director of the Shanghai Greenery and Public Sanitation Bureau’s landscape management department.
“There are some safety requirements such as the size and frame of signboards in the regulations, which is the priority, but we also encourage businesses to be involved in the design of signboards based on their own demand to avoid that they look the same under the conditions that the street has a unified style of signboards,” said Le.
The regulations are expected to be issued by the end of the year.
Shanghai has a standard on the management of outdoor signboards at present, and the new regulations will be more detailed, said Le.
Standard signboards have become a source of controversy in the city. Their identical black backgrounds and white characters have troubled the public as the black-and-white design in Chinese culture often represents something solemn or an obituary.
The signs on nine shops on Zhenxi Road in Minhang District’s Meilong Town, with the same black background and identical white characters, look similar to those on Changde Road in Jing’an District.
These signboards were taken down early this month after complaints from the public, and the authorities said they would discuss a new style with shop owners.
In some cases, structural flaws on some old buildings made it difficult to install different styles of signboards, Le said.
In August last year, a signboard claimed three lives when it collapsed on Nanjing Road E. in Huangpu District. Citywide inspections were carried out and about 33,000 signboards were dismantled this year, with another 6,000 fixed.
Safety is the priority and personality was sometimes neglected during the renovation of signboards that had potential safety hazards, Le said.
Some districts and subdistricts are already encouraging diversified signboards.
The Hongmei Road Subdistrict in Xuhui District has suggested that businesses which had their signboards dismantled should design their own based on a basic framework. After their design plans are collected, authorities will set a unified street style based on these plans and then businesses will make adjustments based on that.
In Songjiang District, businesses can design their own signboards and even receive subsidies from authorities after they are are approved.