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Obtaining a sign permit can seem like a challenge for business owners, but if you understand the LED sign permitting process, it’ll seem less like a mountain and more like a molehill.

Putting a high-quality LED sign up in front of your business can completely change the way potential customers react when they see your storefront. You want to bring people in, and a sign can help you do just that. However, you have to go through the LED sign permitting process before you can hit the ground running.

The LED sign permitting process is important for communities because it makes sure that the new sign will only bring a positive outcome to the township or city. Many communities have a permitting process in place to confirm that the new signage will not pose a risk to anyone’s safety after its installed. Everyone is after the same thing, and understanding the process ahead only makes it easier. Not to mention you’ll be one step closer to having the sign your business deserves.

The first and most important thing you can do in the LED sign permitting process is research. Find out what’s specific to your area before you go purchasing a sign so you don’t end up with something that’s never going to be permitted. The more information you have about your sign before you go to a signage designer the better. You’ll be able to avoid delays and unnecessary stress by preparing what’s allowed beforehand.

Making sure you fit into the requirements and avoid any restrictions may be the most difficult part of the LED sign permitting process — especially if it interferes with a design you had in mind. Working with a signage designer can help alleviate these struggles because they’ll be able to offer alternative suggestions based on what you’re interested in while also staying within the community guidelines.

Tips and Tricks to Better Understand the LED Sign Permitting Process

One thing to note is that working with the right signage designer can guarantee a quality partner in the LED sign permitting process. A good signage designer will most likely have LED sign guidelines for the community on hand and will be able to guide you to a proper and acceptable sign. On the contrary, you can’t expect to totally rely on them. You should come prepared to the design meeting with questions and an understanding of what’s allowed in your area and what’s not. You and your designer should be on the same page from the start, so make sure you’re working with a business you trust, and you know what the LED sign permitting process expects of you.

Your location will have a direct impact on the LED sign permitting process. Depending on what zone you’re in, and whether or not you’re located in the state, city, or county’s jurisdiction, will be major factors in how difficult the process is. Everyone’s regulations are different, and it’s not uncommon to have to make sure you fall into regulation with more than one of these codes in order to install your sign. That will also mean you’ll have to file for your permit in more than one place, which only makes things more time-consuming.

In some communities, the hardest thing you’ll have to face is that your business is located in a “No LED Zone,” meaning you’ll have to start from scratch on your signage ideas. Other places may be more lenient but have restrictions on the size of your sign or how bright it can be. You’ll also want to take a look at your property on a zoning map to figure out exactly where your plot lines are located. Some areas have distance restrictions, and understanding this ahead of time will save you a headache.

When you start looking at the code, be aware that LED signs are not always called the same thing. You can find them under Electronic Message Center, Electronic Changeable Copy Signs, LED Message Center, Electronic Marquee, Scrolling Message Center, and Scrolling Signs. However, it’s also important to know that billboards are not the same thing as LED signs, due to their size.

Within the code, you’ll want to watch for regulations on surface area, because this will tell you how big your sign can be. This is another place where understanding your property lines comes in handy because often the regulations will be described as five square feet per linear foot of property. There will also typically be an ordinance pertaining to how many signs are allowed on your property, as well as a measurement on how close your sign can be to the road.

Considering how your sign is designed, certain communities may have restrictions on how bright your sign can be at night. This is to help prevent driver distraction and glare during the day. Many LED signs come with auto-dim settings built in so this is one of the easier regulations to follow.

With LED signs, you’ll also have to pay attention to what your government’s code says about colors and flashing. Many will also have ordinances about the length of time a message is displayed on your sign in order to keep the roads free from distraction.

Checking to make sure you know everything about the government code ahead of time will benefit you in the long run as you make your way through the LED sign permitting process.


At Brady Signs, we’re a third-generation family business that’s served as a premier provider of business signage solutions throughout the North Central Ohio region and beyond for nearly 50 years.

Want to learn how we can convert your brand into a statement using our eye-catching signage for business? We’re here to talk.

Author: Ryan Brady
CFO at Brady Signs. Finance guy turned sign guy. Best move ever.

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