For Better Cities, Better Signage (Joshua Zinder, JZA+D)

Joshua Zinder discusses signage with Princeton Merchants Association

Could better signage actually improve communities and commerce? Expert and architect Joshua Zinder, AIA, principal of the growing firm JZA+D, says yes. And he has proof, too.

Zinder recently moderated “an open dialogue to improve signage ordinances” in Princeton, N.J., offering design advice along with input on how signage actually affects a city’s appeal, consumer and visitor behaviors, as well as overall local branding and ambience.

Founding principal of Joshua Zinder Architecture + Design (JZA+D), Zinder — whose portfolio includes both local and international building projects — has emerged as a leader in innovative strategies for retail, hospitality and commercial clients who want to increase visibility in jurisdictions with strict regulations and limits on signage.

“In many cities, new demands for digital signage, new lighting technology, and directional signs are in competition with some historic preservation requirements, and strict limits on illumination, shapes, and locations of commercial signs,” says Zinder.

In Princeton, residents and developers have focused on the location’s essential character as a small, quiet university town. Signage and graphics for storefronts are limited in number, size and style, in order to preserve the historic quality and residential feel of the downtown neighborhood. Solutions include careful pre-planning interviews to identify target markets, consider traffic flow, and understand the client brand, Zinder said at a recent speech on the topic to a gathering of Princeton Merchants Association members.

Zinder can speak with authority on ways to improve municipal signage ordinances, and how to address issues of size, location, historic issues and illumination. Signage types include blade signs, sandwich boards, illuminated directional signs and digital systems, facade signage, awnings, banners, and freestanding signs.