Vital Signs: For planners and local officials who draft, debate and enforce sign ordinances
Posted on June 18, 2019

Four years since Reed - What's Next?

Reed at Two Impact Still Being FeltIt’s hard to believe that it was just four years ago today that the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of Reed v. Town of Gilbert, forcing virtually all communities in America to revise their sign codes to ensure they aren’t content-based.

In the aftermath of this landmark decision, ISA has helped thousands of planners learn how to draft and enforce sign codes that are Reed-compliant and that protect the First Amendment rights of their citizens. This includes presenting at two National APA Conferences (2016 and 2017) and hosting two widely-attended webinars with the APA (2015 and 2016) on the topic, including the issue in every Planning for Sign Code SuccessTM workshop (for Law CM credits), and offering presentations about "Reed regulatory principles" at 14 state and regional APA chapter conferences.

However, many communities still haven't updated their sign codes to make them more content neutral, making them more vulnerable to potential lawsuits. In addition, the Reed decision has also spawned other lawsuits involving additional aspects of sign regulations, including the on-premise and off-premise distinction and the preferential treatment of non-commercial speech over commercial speech, meaning that even those communities who immediately updated their sign codes after Reed need to stay alert.

Contact ISA at if your community would like complimentary assistance to have a sign code that is as constitutionally-compliant as possible.

Topics: Reed v. Town of Gilbert

  • Night-time Brightness Level Recommendations for On-Premise Electronic Message Centers
  • Statistical Analysis of the Relationship Between On-Premise Digital Signage and Traffic Safety
  • Executive Summary: Digital Signage and Traffic Safety
  • Finding Common Ground: Answers to Common Questions about Electronic Message Centers (EMCs)
  • Differences between On-Premise and Off-Premise Signs
  • Video Examples of EMC Hold Times
  • Model Sign Code: A Framework for On-Premise Sign Regulations
  • An Evidence Based Model Sign Code
  • Signs and Federal Laws of Protection
  • Building Stronger Communities: Working Together to Create Reasonable Sign Codes
  • Urban Wayfinding Planning and Implementation Manual
  • Best Practices in Regulating Temporary Signs
  • The State of Sign Codes after Reed v. Town of Gilbert
  • The Economic Value of On-Premise Signage (1997, San Diego)
  • The Economic Value of On-Premise Signage (2012, Cincinnati)
  • Signs and the Downtown Experience
  • Executive Summary: The Economic Value of On-Premise Signage
  • Executive Summary: Signs and the Downtown Experience
ISA Planning for Sign Code SuccessTM
David Hickey, VP Advocacy

David Hickey
VP, Advocacy

James Carpentier, AICP

James Carpentier, AICP
Director, State & Local Goverment

Kenny Peskin

Kenny Peskin
Director, Industry Programs | @signcodeguy


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Sign Code Assistance, Education and Training

Is your community considering revising its sign code? Or are you looking for education and training for an upcoming APA meeting?

Contact to receive expert and complimentary sign code assistance:

  • Research on sign-related issues
  • Sign code education and training 
  • Planning, legal and technical sign code resources and advice

The International Sign Association (ISA) has helped hundreds of cities across the country develop modern, effective and enforceable sign codes.

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