Guidelines for Signs in Urban Conservation Areas
Cape Town is a city of great character and beauty. This is not only due to its dramatic natural setting but also because of its monuments and its architecturally and historically important areas. In order to preserve this rich heritage, many of these historic localities have been declared Urban Conservation Areas - Long Street and Greenmarket Square are but two examples.
So as to ensure that the character of these areas is not eroded, the issue of signage requires careful attention.
This document serves to provide guidelines for designing appropriate and attractive signs in these areas. If you are not sure whether a pariicular building falls within one such area, you may contact email@example.com
The purpose of these guidelines is to indicate to property owners, tenants and the signage industry the criteria by which applications for new signs in Cape Town’s Urban Conservation Areas will be assessed. These guidelines should also be used when designing signage for historically important buildings outside such areas.
These guidelines are to be read in conjunction with the Council's Signage By-Law. The By-law is entitled “Outdoor Advertising and Signage By-Law of 2001” and is available on www.capetown.gov.za/environment
Signs on the exterior of buildings form an important part of the street scene. Written messages effectively draw the eye, even of the casual passer-by who perhaps has no real intention of reading them. During this half-conscious inspection something of the character of the sign and its relationship with the building is inevitably transmitted and helps to inﬂuence one's general impression of a street. Such signage can, therefore, enhance or damage the architectural qualities of a scene and will colour judgements as to the particular character of the place.
The aim of conservation is to protect and enhance the intrinsic merits of an area and signage must be regarded in this light.
3.1 GENERAL PRINCIPLES
The design of every sign and signboard should complement the style and lines of the building On which it is placed. The ever-present danger is to consider signage on buildings as a kind of enlarged typography applied like a typescript to the fascia of a building. Such an approach will usually appear alien and will contribute little to the character of the streetscape.
Excessive amounts of lettering should be avoided as this leads to confusion and an untidy effect. Repetition of the message is another common fault which, again, can often be detrimental to the building's appearance.
Traditional signage is normally positioned on a fascia. applied to a shop window or a wall (often on specially designed pediments or parapets), or is in the form of a projecting sign. Whichever format is required the following notes regarding the-exact location should be carefully considered.
Most commercial buildings in the city's Conservation Areas have more or less symmetrical front elevations. Centrally placed lettering and signage will thus appear logical and will be integrated with the existing pattern. (Figure 1.)
Signage on buildings with markedly asymmetrical fronts should help to retain or regain a general sense of balance when the building is viewed as an entity.
3.1.3 Visual balance
It is helpful to consider the existing elevation as a pattern of horizontals and verticals which, in an attractive elevation, will satisfactorily balance each other.
(Figures 1 land 2.)
Prominent projecting signs should be related to the apparent visual centre of an existing elevation although a small minor projecting sign can usually be satisfactorily accommodated in a less formal position.
3.1.4 Ready-made provision for signs on facades
Many of the facades of older buildings have areas specially allocated for signs. (Figure 3.) ln most cases, these areas have been carefully integrated with the design of the facade to achieve the desired balance mentioned in clause 3.1.3. lt is important that the size of the sign does not exceed the size of the frame or area allocated for this purpose. Signs or signboards should never be positioned so as to conceal important architectural elements such as decorative mouldings, cast ironwork, balustrades and patterned glazing. Areas specially designed for signs should always be used before considering alternative locations. Similarly, with regard to proposed new buildings or extensions, the locations of the proposed new signs should be integrated into the design of the proposed facade seen as a whole. This is possible even when the contents of the signs are not yet known. When a building occupies or is to occupy an important corner site, the use of an angled protecting sign or carefully positioned lettering on a curved or splayed corner can be very effective.
Note that signs suspended from facias and verandah eaves do not comply with the Signage By-Iaw for Cape Team
Figure 3 (continued)
3.1.5 Wall signs and murals
Lettering painted directly onto a plastered wall is a traditional device which can be used to considerable effect. Generally, this is best Iocated within an existing architecturally framed panel or other suitable architectural element such as a string band or parapet. (Figure 3.)
However, it can be sparingly applied to plain wall areas as long as the patterns so formed do not damage the overall effect of an elevation. (Figure 4.) Painted lettering, when used, should be applied directly to the decorated finish of the building.
Large areas of painted background can often be visually disruptive to a façade and this practice is therefore discouraged. (Figure 5.)
Framed architectural features such as recessed moulded panels can, however, accept painted backgrounds successfully provided they fill the entire area defined by the frame. (Figure 6.)
Similarly, when a facade displaying painted lettering is redecorated, old painted ‘backgrounds’ framing the existing lettering are to be avoided. (Figure 7.)
When redecorating a facade, it is recommended that the lettering be overcoated and reapplied to ensure that the sign writing remains crisp.
3.1.6 Signs on buildings adapted for commercial use
Several of the Urban Conservation Areas in Cape Town are residential areas - for example Old Wynberg Village, the Bokaap and the Upper Table Valley – where the need for signage is uncommon. However, changes in use lead to the need for signage on buildings which do not have an obvious or natural siting for such signs. In these cases the best solution is often a framed board attached (flat or projecting) to the building in the most appropriate and inoffensive position or alternatively, projecting from or attached to a post closer to the street. (Figure 33.)
3.1.7 Signage densities in busy areas
In busy commercial streets and in city squares the need for signage is a sine qua non. Furthermore, buildings in the city centre often have multiple tenancies. While Council will not permit buildings to be covered by a plethora of signs, at street level signs in a range of shapes, sizes and designs are usually acceptable. This is particularly the case in situations like Long Street or Greenmarket Square where
canopies and balconies distinctly separate the busy and vibrant street scene from the upper levels of street facades.
Signs should be regarded as architectural elements of the building on which they are placed and should complement those buildings‘ respective lines and architectural styles. This is particularly critical with regard to signs of square, circular or triangular shape which draw the eye very powerfully. Where such signs
are acceptable, they should be used sparingly and only as the major focus of an elevation, or as an element to bring visual balance to an awkwardly asymmetrical facade.
Signboards, whether projecting or wall mounted, should be flat in appearance. Rectangular box and cube shapes tend to look rather clumsy when compared to the often finely detailed and proportioned facades of traditionally designed buildings. Sign boxes of this type can also obscure attractive mouldings and other ﬁne architectural features on a facade. Traditional professional practitioners’ brass door plates are an attractive feature of an historic street scene and their use will be encouraged.
3.3 MATERIALS AND CONSTRUCTION
3.3.1 Choice of materials
The choice of materials is governed by the need for compatibility between the colours and textures of the particular building and of the other structures in its immediate neighbourhood. In most Urban Conservation Areas these are most likely to be of painted plasterwork with decorative mouldings. The immediate juxtaposition of these surfaces with hard, smooth and shiny substances such as plastics and coloured perspex is harsh and jarring and is often damaging to the overall appearance. Painted surfaces have the merit of providing a lesser degree of textural contrast. Painted window frames have long provided an agreeable intermediate texture between the coarser walling materials and the hard shiny surfaces of window glass.
For these reasons painted timber fascias, cut-out letters or signboards should be the favoured choice in any conservation area. Conversely, signboards of hard shiny materials such as plastics, unpainted metals or glass or ceramic mosaics are generally inappropriate in an historic environment and should be avoided.
Hand-painted individual letters, however, have been used with success in the past with the paint applied to give a ﬂat matt appearance. Another possible exception involves the use of gilded cut out letters (possibly made from plastic)applied to a matt background which can provide the traditional effect when viewed from a distance. Carefully positioned gilded lettering applied to the inside face of a shop window has been successfully combined with the hard shiny surfaces of window glass. Similarly, gold letters applied or inscribed onto clear Perspex (or glass) panels mounted just off a textured wall surface can look very elegant.
3.3.2 Construction of fascias and signboards
These arc usually made up of sheet timber such as marine ply with a painted timber frame. Timber sheets have the disadvantage 0f initially providing a monotonously ﬂat surface and eventually distorting and warping. Care also has to be taken to avoid butt jointing sheets when making up a long fascia.
Traditionally many facias were constructed of good quality thick tongued and grooved boarding which gave the advantage of surface texture and were less prone to unsightly decay; however, a painted exterior quality wood-based composition board may provide a reasonable substitute.
All facias, suspended signboards and wall-mounted signs should have visually substantial but not clumsy) frames. This surround should preferably be mitred at the corners, adequately flashed and should be moulded to cast shadows both on the frame and an the sign surface itself. The surround should generally not project more than 30 mm off the face of the sign panel. (Figure 8.)
3.4 SIGN TYPES
3.4.1 Wall and fascia signs
Note: This clause in particular should be cross-referenced with Section 4, clauses 4.1 and 4 .5, regarding lettering, heights and styles.
Lettering painted directly onto a wall surface is a traditional and versatile form of signage dating back to the early colonial times of the city. In effect, it is the building facade which becomes the signboard and therefore great care needs to be taken to ensure that the lettering does not interfere visually with architectural features.
Lettering heights and styles are therefore a matter of negotiation with the City E&HM Department, the policy being that lettering should be a complementary feature and should not run over, crowd out, visually detract from or disrupt the architectural features and articulation of a facade. (Figure 4.) ln other words, first take note of the arrangement of openings and decorative elements on a facade and then apply your lettering so that the result is a visually balanced whole.
Painted or other backgrounds should preferably cover the lull extent of a wall or architectural panel. (Figure 7.)
Street numbers fixed either slightly proud of or directly against a wall will, however, be acceptable but should generally not exceed 150 mm in height with the character face not more than a few millimeters proud of the wall surface unless the surface is heavily textured.
Letters and other characters painted directly onto a fascia, signboard or plaque are traditional forms of signage which will be encouraged. Refer to Section 5 for some successful examples.
Cut-out lettering and characters in relief on a fascia, signboard, plaque or placed directly on the building can be very attractive and will be encouraged. Small three—dirnensional or relief trade symbols (but not corporate logos) such as the triple spheres of a pawnbroker incorporated into the design can be very successful. Generally, however, lettering faces should not project further than 30 mm from the backing board or beyond the face of the signboard frame.
3.4.2 Suspended signs
These Signs tend to be the logical choice over footways and under street verandahs, particularly where limited head clearance precludes the use of a projecting sign Ideally, positioning should be central to and directly above the entrance to the premises concerned. Guidelines for these signs are in other respects similar to those for protecting signs. (See clause 3.4.3 below.)
3.4.3 Projecting signs
Projecting signs are a long established and potentially attractive form of external advertising. It is important that such signs are not attached directly to buildings as this tends to be visually disruptive to the architecture of their facades. (Figure 9.) Such signs should be supported free of the building by means of
brackets. The purpose of these brackets is therefore to free a signboard visually from its facade so that it is viewed as an entity in its own right, rather than as an outgrowth of the building to which it is attached. Brackets should be kept simple and slender so as not to draw attention away from the sign. Thin rods, slender ﬂat strips and small hollow sections should be used rather than angles or heavy box sections which, with their fittings, tend to look clumsy and untidy. Generally, metal rather than timber is better suited for structural members as timber brackets tend to be heavy and awkward for the size of the sign they are required to support.
However, a carefully designed combination of timber and metal structural members can be visually pleasing. In such eases, timber is used mostly for bracket and framing components while metal is used for tension members such as cross braces and stays.
Note that brackets should never be fixed over or attached to decorative features or mouldings on a facade.
Note: Projecting signs must be anchored rigidly so as not to be capable of swinging.
3.4.4 Awning and canopy signs
Lettering painted onto or incorporated into the fabric of canvas window shades, awnings or entrance canopies can be a highly successful form of signage at ground floor level and will be permitted where sun control of this nature is required. (Figure 32) However, messages which appear on awnings at upper floor levels have the potential to clutter facades in a disruptive manner and will therefore usually be discouraged. More appropriate alternative forms of signage on upper levels could include lettering applied to parapet walls or vertical projecting signs mounted at or near then ends or corners of facades.
3.4.5 Window Signs
Where there is no fascia or where a fascia is undesirable, it can be a practical option to paint lettering directly onto the display windows, particularly in the case of shops, offices, pubs and restaurants. Such lettering can be very attractive and effective when near to the eye level of the passer-by. The layout of the text should be dictated by the shape and proportions of the glass sheet and an arc of lettering, is a pleasing traditional method provided that it is set out symmetrically within the window frame. The arc generally allows a more uninterrupted view through the window.
The tradition of gilt window lettering to advertise professional offices is an appropriately effective technique when used sparingly. Lettering on display windows should never have the effect of 'crowding out‘ the glass panel. For the same reason, decorative devices and lines should be used sparingly and painted backgrounds avoided.
A sign hung on the inside of display windows, if sensitively designed, can be an attractive form of advertising, particularly in the case of restaurants and professional offices. Unless illuminated, this form of sign is exempt from City Council control at present, but is discussed here for reasons of completeness.
Such a sign should be dimensioned in accordance with the shape and proportions of the display window in which it is to be framed. Materials should preferably have smooth, glazed or metallic surfaces as they have at strong visual compatibility with glass. Polished bronze, anodised aluminium and stained glass have been used successfully for such applications in the city. (Figure 21.)
The means by which such signs are suspended requires careful thought. They should either be suspended using transparent nylon line or fine wire cable with neat connectors, or else the suspension system should be expressed as an integral part of the design. The total sign area (inclusive of suspension or other brackets if these are to be used) should not generally exceed one quarter of the area of the display window and should be positioned to avoid interruption by glazing bars, mullions or fixed burglar bars.
Skysigns fashioned from framed wrought or cast iron lettering which was intended to be read in silhouette, were once prominent in certain parts of the city. Today skysigns of any kind are not permitted. However cut-out letter signs up to 600mm ht can be considered in Urban Conservation Areas under certain conditions, for example:
where it can be established that such signs once existed; or
where the design is composed of letters in silhouette using one of the typefaces listed in Appendix B; and
where no corporate logos or roprietary trademarks are used: and
where no illumination of the skysign is used, other than by spotlighting.
The old Lennons Pharmacy building at numbers 309, 311 Long Street and Corporation Chambers c/o Darling and Corporation Streets are good examples of buildings which once boasted cast iron roof ridge lettering while the old YWCA Building at numbers 76, 80 Long Street originally had cast iron lettering incorporated into its second storey verandah balustrade. More recently, skysigns have been successfully introduced on the roofs of buildings in the city's historic Victoria and Alfred Waterfront area. (Figure 28.)
3.4.7 Three-dimensionaI trade symbols
Traditional trade symbols, sadly now rarely seen, can add considerably to the character of old commercial areas like Long Street and the East City Conservation Area.
Fortunately there are a few examples to be found. There is plenty of potential for this device to be more fully exploited (e.g. the typical triple spheres of a pawnbroker’s shop, the large opened volume above the door of a bookshop – and in a more contemporary vein - the sail of a windsurfer above the entrance of a sailboard shop}. The underlying principle is that these objects should emphasise individuality rather than promote national/ international brands and chain merchandising.
Figure 11; A successful contemporary interpretation of the traditional barber’s pole.
3.4.8 Existing conservation-worthy signs, murals and symbols
Existing lettering, symbols and numerals (e.g. dates) which have been moulded from plaster and incorporated into the architecture of a façade, or existing metal lettering which has been incorporated into decorative trimmings (e.g. balustrades, roof cresting) should, wherever possible, be retained and conserved rather than removed, as they form a valuable part of the history of the building concerned.
(Figure 12.) This should include old enamel street signs which still survive on certain old structures in the city.
In the process of repainting an old facade, early murals and advertising signs may be discovered behind old layers of paint. In such cases, the City’s Heritage Resources Section of the E & H Management Branch should be notified in order that its officials be given the opportunity, if necessary, of photographically recording the murals prior to their being overpainted.
In recent years a trend in signage has been towards large illuminated boxes, often with corporate logos as part of the design, mounted on the facade. These usually have no reference to the architectural modelling of the building and are there solely to gain as much visibility as possible. This approach is almost invariably unacceptable in Urban Conservation Areas where the architectural and/ or urban context demands a response which is in keeping with that area. The boxes of such illuminated signs tend to be too deep and obtrusive and are usually constructed of unsympathetic materials such as plastics and perspex. It is much more desirable to illuminate signs in Urban Conservation Areas using carefully positioned external light sources (e.g. spotlights or hooded ﬂuorescent tubes) directed at the faces of signboards made of non-reflective materials such as wood or painted external quality composition board. (Figure 33.)
3.6 EVALUATING A SIGNAGE CONTRACTOR'S WORK
Bear in mind that the final product is only as good as tho person who does it. It may be well worth while to assess a signwriter's abilities before taking him on;
He should know where Urban Conservation Areas have been identified in the City.
He should keep stocks of materials other than aluminium and plastics, such as timber or composition board, and he should be geared for manufacture in other such materials.
He should have had prior experience fabricating signs in Urban Conservation Areas.
He should be familiar with the building or proposed building on which the sign is to be placed and. if not, he should be prepared to familiarise himself with its facades before commencing work. Remember that signboards or brackets which interfere with mouldings and other decorative features are to be avoided.
He should supply an accurate scale drawing (half or quarter size) of the sign, including the lettering.
He should use a recognised typeface, if not, ask for a sample. While there are some very creative (and eitpensive) signwriters capable of designing their own lettering, Others simply concoct lettering as a short-cut. This results in ill-conceived and badly proportioned signage.
3.7 LOCAL AUTHORITY PLANS APPROVAL
The provision of signage should be regarded, wherever possible, as an integral part of the design of the building. However, separate submissions are required for the approval of both building plans and signage plans even though these different submissions may deal with the same building. With regard to building plans, no Signage should be shown on a building plan, as this would not constitute an approval under the Outdoor Advertising & Signage By-Law of 2001.
Prospective applicants are encouraged to discuss their proposals with the Environmental Monitoring Section of E&HM prior to submission in order to avoid possible subsequent delays. Proposals which include a photograph of the building onto which the sign is to be attached are likely to reduce delays. All queries with regard to these sign guidelines may be addressed to:
or go to the City of Cape Town’s website:
4 CHOOSING APPROPRIATE LETTERIING AND DECORATION
4.1 GENERAL PRINCIPLES
As has previously been mentioned, lettering on buildings should appear as an integral part of the elevations. With this in mind it is important that the choice of typeface and the techniques of application should be in keeping with the architectural style of the building concerned.
To obtain some appreciation of the relationship between typeface styles and facades in the case of traditional and historical buildings, the following very basic categories have been defined as a guide:
Highly decorative facades
4.1.1 Lettering on highly decorative facades
Highly decorative facades generally date back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Cape Town. Characteristic features include ornate mouldings, window and door surrounds, flamboyant cast iron verandahs and turrets. Good examples include: the Blue Lodge (206, 208 Long Street), Carnival Court (255. 261 Long Street), Stephans Clothing (24 Long Street) and the Gallery 709 Building (25 Adderley Street).
Figure 13: The typefaces listed in Appendices A and B are most suited to these facades. The use of typefaces and their derivatives listed in Appendix C will be discouraged.
Stefans Clothing Blue Lodge Carnival Court
4.1.2 Lettering on decorative facades
Decorative facades in Cape Town generally date from the early 20th century onwards. Many of the decorative facades of the 1930’s, in particular, fall within this category.
Characteristic features include sparser, more restrained, but nevertheless bold decorative elements.
Good examples include:
The Old Mutual Building in Darling Street, First National Bank Building (c/o Adderley and Shortmarket Streets, and the NBS Building (74 – 80 St Georges Street)
Figure14; The typefaces listed in Appendix B are most suited for use on decorative facades. The use of typefaces listed in Appendices A and C will be discouraged.
Old Mutual Building NBS Building
4.1.3 Lettering on undecorated facades
Undecorated facades generally include the following:
Facades that date t before the 1870s (residential ones in particular) as well as many other old facades that have been stripped of their decorative elements.
Facades of more recent unadorned buildings dating from the 1930s to the present
They are characterised by an absence or minimum of applied decoration. More recent examples are included below.
The Autron Building (formerly Faber Datsun, c/o Dock Road and Bree Street), Diamond House (c/o Parliament and Longrnarket Streets), Ackermans Comer House (c/o Plein and Longmarket Streets) and the Trust Bank Building (Adderley Street).
The typefaces listed in Appendix C are most suited to these facades. The use of typefaces listed in Appendices A and B will be discouraged unless the proposed lettering is intended for an early but stripped facade onto which decoration is to be reinstated, or unless the facade is of an unembellished early colonial type such as the Palm Tree Mosque left.
Figure 15; Examples of undecorated facades
The Trust Bank Building, The Autron Building and Palm Tree Mosque
4.2 LOWER CASE LETTERING
Lower case letters have a relatively informal character in comparison with upper case letters (capitals). For this reason they are less suitable as architectural lettering except where the relevant message is ancillary to a main text in capitals such as is used in the good example shown in Section 5 Figure 23.
Mixing capitals and lower case letters tends to produce an asymmetrical and irregular pattern which is usually visually disrupting when viewed against the formally arranged elements of building facades. Such lettering is more suited to suspended, projecting or secondary fascia signs.
4.3 ITALIC OR SLOPING LETTERING
These should be avoided as the introduction of intrusive diagonals produces an unwelcome informality which conflicts with the rectilinear nature of an architectural background.
4.4 SCRIPT LETTERING
Like sloping letters, joined script lettering has an informal, even casual look, like a personal signature. Such signs set against a large area of plain walling tend to suggest signed notepaper, and should generally be reserved for secondary messages and minor, informally placed signs. When warranted, script lettering is most successful when allied to a visually strong architectural framework, where the lettering can appear almost as an abstract decoration.
4.5 SIZE OF LETTERING
The size of letters should be determined by the need for legibility without unduly dominating the appearance of the building. (See also Section 3 clause 3.4.1.)
Principal fascia lettering should normally take up between half and three-quarters of the fascia depth, as small dainty letters alone will appear insubstantial against an overlarge background. Lettering on wall-mounted signs should, for the same reason, appear to almost fill the available space, although inappropriate blank areas can always be filled with suitable decorative devices. Traditionally, these would have included stars, roundels, ﬂeurs-de-lis and ornamental hyphens.
Under no circumstances should lettering be applied or painted over architectural features such as mullions or other framing elements. Lettering should never ‘spill out‘ of areas which would otherwise effectively serve to frame them
4.6 CORPORATE LOGOS
Extreme care must be exercised when using corporate logos in Urban Conservaton Areas. The boldness, bright colours and modern synthetic materials used in many corporate signs are often detrimental to the historic streetscape.
Such logos could be modelled in more traditional materials such as brass / bronze / stone or plasterwork. Many companies restore old buildings to project an image of permanence and elegance - this is often negated by the inappropriate use of a company logo.
Translucent or clear plastic and perspex are to be avoided whenever possible. Embossed timber (exposed or painted), painted composition board (eg chipboard) and lettering painted directly onto an opaque background generally provide far more sympathetic results in Urban Conservation Areas.
Individually cut out letters of painted wood or metal can be effective when applied directly to the wall of an existing building. particularly when carefully framed by existing architectural features.
Wrought or cast iron lettering incorporated into decorative roof cresting and balustrades are traditional forms of signage on Victorian and Edwardian buildings. Their introduction will be favourably considered under certain circumstances (see clause 3.4.6). Note, however, that the introduction of a skysign would involve an application for a Departure from the present Signage By-laws.
individual metal letters fashioned from ﬂat metal strip sections arranged ‘thin-end-on’ to the viewer (typefaces as in Appendix C) and located on top of horizontal concrete canopies and flat roof parapets are traditional forms of signage on undecorated facades from the 1930s onwards. Lettering of this type will be
favourably considered in this context subject to the limitations set out in the Signage By-laws.
Clearly there is an infinite variety of typefaces and letter styles and numerous new designs are ‘being continuously introduced. Novelty obviously has appeal, but this should not be sought at the expense of the appearance of a building or of an attractive street scene. Indeed, it is the special value of the Conservation Area as a whole that stands to be reinforced by sympathetic signage.
At present almost all the Urban Conservation Areas have an abundance of differing letter types, many being disagreeable or damaging to their buildings and setting. In order to encourage more sympathetic lettering in future, recommended lists of typefaces in Appendices A, B and C have been compiled. Additional typefaces will be considered provided that they are of a similar character to those recommended.
The improvement of the general standard of lettering and signage on buildings in Urban Conservation Areas can have a considerable beneﬁcial effect on it’s character. This would not only achieve visual advantages but could well improve commercial viability, particularly when the potential tourist trade is taken into account. Two good examples of areas deserving sensitive signage are Greenmarket Square and Long Street. The problems offer two particular challenges – appropriate design and craftsmanship. The skills of the signwriter and of the signmaker or carpenter are key factors which will determine the ﬁnal success of the work. It is suggested that, within the traditions outlined in Section 3 above, there is potential for much artistry and invention with individual traders tovying with one another to produce exciting variations.
Reproduced here are examples of successful signs, many of which are presently to be found in the city. They have the following in common:
symmetrically arranged lettering
strong clearly defined frames
‘well filled’ yet uncluttered display ﬁelds
limited variety of typefaces
limited number of colours
Figure 16: Simple yet attractive street signs can add character to an area
Figure 17: Attractive script lettering suitable for a secondary sign.
Figure 18: A ‘well filled’ signboard
Figure 19: A somewhat informal but very successful balanced combination of lettering. Well- sized lower case and script characters have been used appropriately for the secondary messages only, while decorative devices have been used effectively to fill the remaining blank spaces. This example is from Long Street.
Figure 20: A good example of a sign hung directly behind the glass of a display window as an alternative to lettering painted onto the glass. This example is from Long Street.
Figure 21: A good example of lettering painted on glass using traditional gold leaf.
Figure 22: Lettering well integrated with the design of an early 20th century façade in Long Street.
Figure 23: A successful sign which has been carefully designed to compliment the architecture of this building’s façade.
Figure 24: Nineteenth- century style lettering successfully applied to the facia of a colonnaded verandah.
Figure 25: A good example of lettering painted directly onto the façade of an old building in Stellenbosch.
Figure 26: Roman lettering appropriately filling a narrow facia board.
Figure 27: A fine example of a projecting sign mounted on brackets. This example is from Dorp Street.
Figure 28: Sensitively designed skysigns can be successful in certain limited cases.
Figure 29: A good example of a vertical sign which projects free of a building to avoid visually disrupting the design of its façade.
Figure 30: A good example of a sign used to provide a strong focus above the centrally located entrance of a Victorian building
Figure 31: Traditional painted Roman-based shadowed lettering of a high standard. The original has unfortunately been visually disrupted by the surrounding clutter of additional signs of a lower standard.
Figure 32: A good example of a sign painted onto a canvas canopy.
Figure 33: A good example in Stellenbosch of a sensitively designed commercial sign in a residential area. The sign has been kept off the building as discussed in clause 3.1.6. It is illuminated by externally positioned lights as mentioned in clause 3.5. Note, however, that this sign would have to be anchored rigidly as shown in Figure 10 in order to comply with the signage By–Law for Cape Town.
Figure 34: A typical example of three-dimensional trade symbols in Stellenbosch.
This information was reproduced from the booklet prepared for the Town Planning Bbranch by Mr G. Jacobs and Mr S. Townsend, Urban Conservation Unit, with the assistance of Mr R. Young, Director of Planning.