Sign Review Objectives
The goal of this list of recommendations is to assist sign permit applicants, Torrance City staff, and its Environmental Quality Commission in expeditiously reaching satisfactory solutions for sign requests. Implementation of appropriate signage for Torrance businesses complements broader City goals for preserving and enhancing the beautification of vehicular corridors in our City. The principal purpose of signage is to identify property uses and location.
- Messages should be brief and presented in a straightforward manner - Signs should contain messages that utilize legible graphics on backgrounds and frames that may be lit and/or supported so they accomplish their intended purpose of identifying the property use and location without being obtrusive or unnecessarily elaborate.
- Artistic license and individualism is encouraged - In keeping with the character of our community, understated yet creative, personalized, handcrafted designs for signage are encouraged.
- Natural materials are preferred - Signs crafted from natural materials such wood, cast in place concrete, stone, ceramics, cast metals, and other more permanent materials and finishes that do not require constant maintenance are preferred to painted metals and other less permanent materials which are more costly to maintain.
- Signs must be appropriate for their setting - Corporate signature and trademarks will not be approved simply because they are stock items and have been installed most everywhere else. Individual circumstances shall take precedence over the presumed importance of corporate images and stock signage elements.
- Surface brightness is a potential problem to be avoided - Lighting intensity beyond that which is necessary for visibility is inappropriate. The illumination of signs for businesses should be controlled so that they are easily extinguished at the close of business.
- Symbols are encouraged as a means for abbreviating wordage. Techniques for minimizing the length and number of words in a message should be explored, including the use of symbols, pictures, and other pertinent graphics.
- The choice of lettering styles is important - Lettering should be chosen carefully for its legibility, elegance, and its appropriateness to the business it is intended to describe.
- Shape and clarity of lettering, background is important - Elaborate and costly outlines, shapes, and forms of signs are discouraged.
- Other less costly techniques for creating individual signage are encouraged - Shade and shadow effects, sculpturing, framing, texture backgrounds, and such techniques are encouraged as ways in which to provide unique, practical, yet attractive signage.
- Signs should complement building design - Signs should be incorporated into the building design so as to complement the style, materials, color, and texture of construction materials. The architect/building designer should be consulted by the sign fabricator before finalizing the design of any signs.
- Consistency is an important factor for multiple use and adjacent developments - Consistency in shape, height, style, color, lettering style, and return trim are important factors to consider for signs of adjacent multiple use tenants and/or property owners.
- Quality over quantity: less is better - Constraint in size, brightness, and other display attributes of sign design provides opportunities for business to inform others where they are without imposing upon them the challenges and costs associated with more blatant competition. The City wishes to encourage higher quality design over larger, brighter, and more elaborate and expensive signs.
- Addressing is important and should help to locate groups of businesses - Ground signs and other group signage should identify place and shopping options. Lettering should be of sufficient size to accomplish this intended purpose, yet no larger than necessary to avoid complaints that it is offensive overbearing.
- Neon lighting is in most respects discouraged, except those cases where it may be an unusual and creative design applications - Neon lighting must an integral part of the architectural design of a building.
- Moving messages - Timing of messages should be such as to minimize interferences in transmittal of information and potential distractions to vehicular traffic.