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Downtown Design Guidelines


Appropriate design

Signboard hanging over sidewalk, perpendicular to building facade.

Businesses must be identified so customers, clients and potential customers can easily find them. Signs serve this identification function, and can also serve to create a business image; taken as a group, they create an overall image of the Downtown area. It is important that signs achieve both goals: identify an individual business and contribute to a positive Downtown image as well.

In Stoughton, a municipal ordinance exists to regulate the size, scale, location and lighting of signs on commercial buildings. This ordinance also allows the the Commission to create special sign regulations for Historic Districts and locally-designated Landmark areas. A copy of the Ordinance is found in the appendix.


Appropriate design

Signs painted on the windows of the storefront are an appropriate and economical solution.

Presently, Downtown Stoughton business owners utilize a variety of signs:
•Signboards hanging over the sidewalk, perpendicular to the building facade;
•Signs as a part of awnings;
•Flush signs applied to the building facade, whether illuminated or not;
•Objects as signs;
•Freestanding “sandwich board” signs, placed on the sidewalk and taken in at night.

It is important in Historic Downtown Stoughton that signs retain the pedestrian scale that most of them possess today. Signs should be placed in locations that have historic precedents, such as in the lintel crossing the top of the storefront, or on the edge or “flap” of an awning. Perhaps an object can serve as the sign. Consider researching historic photographs that show what signs were like in Stoughton’s past.

Consider the impact the sign will have on the building: will it dominate the facade or hide existing architectural features? Every effort should be made to ensure that signs complement, rather than obscure, the details and design of the building.



Downtown Design Guidelines:  Building Width   Bay Spacing   Height & Bands   Proportion   Solids & Voids   Tonality
  Materials & Color   Roofs & Setbacks   Storefront Design   Lintel & Transom   Shop Windows   Entry   Storefront Doors
  Storefront Awnings   Upper Facades   Cornices & Windows   Upper Windows   Window Hoods   Signs   Sign Location

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