Why Signage is Important in Your Commercial Lease

Today, branding is everything. Companies spend a lot of money designing corporate logos, establishing brand identities, and developing advertising programs. With the importance of corporate branding and company logo identity for retail stores, signage rights in a commercial lease are very important for your business brand. The proper signage helps your current and prospective customers to easily locate your new company location.

October 5, 2021

Companies that own their own buildings can prominently display their logos by the road or directly on the structure, but for businesses that lease commercial real estate, signage is far more complicated. Most companies want their brands everywhere, including at their office space. Consequently, signage is an important provision for many tenants and it is important in four ways: (1) the type; (2) the desirability of any signage at all; (3) the right to ensure that other tenants do not have signage that negatively impacts the original tenant; and (4) installation and maintenance cost. Failure to address these issues could lead to unintended embarrassment or financial liability.

There are Different Types of Signage Rights

Building Signage

When two tenants equally share the majority of the building, landlords may consent to placing both names on the building. In this instance, both names may be added to the top of the building or in locations such as the parking garage, and the top of the building.

Exclusive Building Signage

If you are the sole tenant or the anchor tenant renting multiple floors of the building, your landlord may display only your company name prominently on the façade. 

Exclusive Monument Signage 

In exclusive monument signage, you may be able to negotiate having your company name displayed on a stand alone sign or to be the only company listed on the monument sign for the building itself. For this type of signage, you will likely need to be a key tenant to get this concession.


There Are Four Main Types of Commercial Office Signage


Directory Signage is a broad term which may be used to describe signage displaying directional, informational, or identification details. All tenants are usually given a listing in an electronic directory in the building lobby. The only aspect of directory signage occasionally negotiated over is the right to additional directory lines, say for individual attorneys in a law firm or different divisions of a tenant company. The fundamental purpose of Directory Signage is to help both permanent staff and visitors find their way quickly and easily to the person, service or location they need.


Again, all tenants are usually given signage identifying their own suites.  Subject to negotiation is whether the suite signage can include the tenant’s logo or instead needs to be in a building standard font.  Also, sometimes negotiated is directional signage from an elevator lobby when the tenant’s suite does not front that lobby.


Many buildings have a monument signin front of the building. In general, it is any freestanding sign that is detached from a building or structure and sits on the ground on a solid-appearing base with no exposed structural supports.

Monument signage is designed to strengthen your brand and increase your exposure by capturing the public eye.Branding defines the personality of your business. It combines visual, verbaland emotional cues that communicate a message to your customers about who you are and what they can expect from your services or products. Well-designed exterior signs will distinguish your business from the competition.


Many buildings offer some kind of signage on one or more of the building facades.  This can include “eyebrow”signage which is signage placed above the ground floor and typically reserved for first floor retail tenants.  It can also include signage placed at the top of one or more of the buildings.  Some municipalities limit the amount of building signage allowed to one or two signs per side, so this is a very limited — and therefore valuable — resource. 


Signage is Not Guaranteed - Negotiate Your Signage

Visibility and exposure may be critical to a business owner. Signage is something that must be clearly defined in the lease agreement, especially pertaining to where you can have signage and what the costs are. There is no guarantee that a landlord will provide any tenant signage. In some areas, zoning does not permit any signage at all, leaving landlords unable to advertise the names of tenants. The number of names that can appear on a building or marquee may also be restricted by space and size or by existing agreements with other tenants.

Some landlords are flexible and notice your need for a sign on their building. However, you may have to negotiate signage with a landlord in some cases. In cases where you have to negotiate the signage, ensure you do that before signing the lease. To have a successful negotiation, you may want to offer longer lease terms in exchange for the right to post your sign. To have the exclusive building signage option, you may also want to lease more space.

When negotiating with a landlord, there are a few things to consider. Landlords are going to be more willing to wrap signage into a lease for tenants who lease a majority of their building, rank high in creditworthiness and are willing to accept longer lease terms. Location and size of a building also play a role.

Another consideration when evaluating a signage opportunity is to ensure the removal of the existing sign that may be left in place from a previous tenant prior to the new sign being installed. It is important that the removal and repair costs from the prior sign are not passed on to the incoming tenant. Make sure the landlord is paying for the cost to remove that sign and repairs to the building in preparation for your sign.

Signage is an integral component of a lease negotiation, sometimes as critical as the rent you pay. Ensure you are armed with the right tools to build leverage in order to obtain the ideal visibility for your firm.


Understand Why Signage Is Restricted

There are several reasons why landlords may want to restrict their tenants’ signage options. Here are some of the reasons:

Aesthetic Restrictions

Landlords, in their bids to avoid cluttering their buildings’ facade, may decide to restrict signage and prevent tenants from advertising on a building.

City Restrictions

Zoning laws may prevent corporate tenants from displaying advertisements of their companies on buildings. 

Space Restrictions

If there are many tenants in an office space, the landlord may not have enough room to allow every tenant to post their signs 

No matter the type of property you own, you can count on the experts at Evanco Realty Advisors for the very best in full-service commercial administration. We provide everything you need to minimize your ownership workload and maximize the return on investment for each of your commercial properties. We provide peace of mind to owners, implement excellent property management services that enhance value for landlords.

Call us today at (619)814-1688 to see how our commercial property management strategies can help you!


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