ISA to Present Two Sessions at 2019 National Planning Conference

national planning conference

Every day, great sign projects fail because communities don’t allow that type of sign or codes severely restrict a designer’s creativity. Often this comes from a lack of understanding of the importance of signs to local business, or of the way signs can become community landmarks.

Imagine a world in which planners made informed decisions about what types of signs to allow, while encouraging the type of signs that preserved aesthetics while enhancing the business community?

The International Sign Association continues to make progress toward that world by educating planners and local officials about crafting reasonable sign codes, the kind of codes that help communities thrive.

ISA has again been accepted to present two educational sessions before planners at the American Planning Association’s National Planning Conference in 2019. This will mark the fifth time in six years that ISA has presented at National APA conferences, covering five distinct topics and educating hundreds of local officials.

“Planners play a direct role in  determining what kinds of signs are built in communities, and therefore have a direct impact on sign, graphics and visual communications industry’s ability to do the best work,” said Lori Anderson, ISA’s president and CEO.

“These last few years, ISA has been successful in building positive relationships with planners, many of whom now reach out to us when their communities are developing new sign codes. Events like the National Planning Conference provide a wonderful opportunity to deepen that relationship.”

In 2019, ISA will present two sessions, with ISA’s James Carpentier, AICP, Director of State and Local Government Affairs, as moderator:

  • A panel presentation on historic sign preservation will help planners explore regulatory and policy approaches that preserve vintage signs in San Francisco and southern California. These signs are a bridge between the past and present and often are community landmarks.
  • The other event will be a shortened version of the Planning for Sign Code Success™ workshop, with planners learning more about developing sign regulations that encourage creative design and promote economic development. They also will hear the latest legal developments, including application of the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Reed v. Town of Gilbert.

Both events include insights developed for the Sign Research Foundation, a nonprofit organization that creates research on technology, regulation and best practices of the sign industry.

“It is clear that the planning community wants to learn more about developing innovative and effective sign codes and is receptive to the sign, graphics and visual communications industry’s expertise,” said David Hickey, ISA’s vice president of advocacy. “These presentations at the National Planning Conference allow us access to hundreds of planners at a time, and thousands through our booth in the exhibit hall. But it is only one way that we work with planners throughout the year in communities large and small.”

The National Planning Conference is just one way that ISA works to enhance planners’ understanding of the importance of signs to their communities. ISA also offers Planning for Sign Code Success day-long training sessions, presentations at local APA chapters and webinars to help planners develop reasonable sign codes and regulations. Since 2011, over 6,000 planners have been educated by these in-person ISA offerings.

To learn more about ISA resources for planners and local officials, visit To see the resources that SRF offers, visit