1 Storefront Design Guidelines May, 2008
2 Part 1 Introduction These guidelines are intended to encourage and guide retail storefront design and development in the East Market Condominiums. This document will serve as a tool for retail unit owners/occupants to create storefront designs that provide an energetic, vibrant and exciting shopping experience but respect the context of shared ownership in the condo reality. Following these guidelines will streamline and facilitate the design, discussion and the approval process of the condo board for storefront renovations, provide for consistent application of regulations, and allow the implementation of context appropriate design characteristics throughout the condo that advance the goal of making the East Market a distinct and upscale experience. Goals To create well designed, upscale storefronts throughout the East Market, to enhance the character of the district created, define the area as an attractive destination for shopping, and living. Approach Sought Dynamic and inviting storefronts attract clientele and establish the unique identity of the individual space. Creating transparency the quality of seeing into the store from the sidewalk begins at the storefront in conjunction with well-designed and maintained merchandising making the quality of the offerings of the retail establishment apparent to shoppers and pedestrians. Quality signage by not exceeding more than 10% of the glazing area, and detailing of storefront construction contribute to the perception of high quality retails goods and services. Doors and window treatments should not be cluttered with signage such that the quality of transparency is compromised or made ambiguous. Advertisements of products or services should not be posted in the glazing of doors or windows. Do not clutter the glazing with signage, permanent or temporary. Business uses in storefronts should create displays that relate to the services rendered. It is inappropriate for the backs of desks or equipment to face the display window.
3 Part 1 Figure 1 Figure 2 Good: Minimal signage in window allows transparency into storefront. Professionally fabricated signs appropriate to the quality of the building s façade. Exterior blade sign increases business s visibility from the sidewalk. To be Avoided: Cluttered appearance. Paper signs taped to window. Lack of transparency into storefront. Name of business is not prominently displayed. Aspects of Storefront Design Requiring Approval The Condominium Declaration, Bylaws and Rules & Regulations legally require certain aspects of Storefront designs be approved by the Board of Directors prior to being implemented. These include: Any modifications to Common Elements, such as windows, exterior doors. Any signage displayed in the storefront. Other aspects do not require Board approval, but may be subject to review by the Board at a later date to ensure compliance with the Declaration and By-Laws. Further details on required approval are included in the following sections of this document. If in doubt, retail unit owners/occupants are strongly encouraged to check with the board as to whether a certain change will require approval before moving ahead. For any changes requiring Board approval, the Board will use these guidelines in reviewing the proposal. Guideline Revisions These guidelines may be revised from time to time based on feedback, or to provide further clarification. Such revisions will not invalidate previous written approvals already granted by the Board, but would aid in future approval requests. Changes since the previously published version of these guidelines are highlighted in yellow.
4 Part 1 Storefront Elements Figure 3: Typical Storefront Elevation Definition of Sign For the purpose of this document, "Sign or Signage" refers to anything which bears writing and/or graphic material that is displayed in the window of or outside of the retail unit
5 Part 2 Interior Window Signage Required Approval New Signs Prior to erecting new interior window signs, retail unit owners/occupants are legally required to receive written approval from the Board of Directors, as has always been required by the condiminium Declaration. When applying for this approval, the retail unit occupant should provide drawing(s) of the proposed sign, showing the design, dimensions and materials for the sign. The Board will respond to the request for approval within 30 days. Note that signs are also subject to the City of Ottawa By-Law regulating permanent signs on private property. In addition to seeking approval from the Condominium Board of Directors, retail unit owners/occupants are also subject to the requirements of this by-law, and in many cases will need to pay a permit fee to the City. It is the retail unit owner/occupants responsibility to ensure that they obtain any necessary City permit(s). Existing Unapproved Signs Existing signs that were erected without the required Board approval (in contravention of the Declaration) will be permitted to remain in place until 60 days from the date these guidelines come into effect. This is intended to allow sufficient time for owners/occupants to apply for approval for any existing signage they wish to keep. Existing Approved Signs Any signs that have received written Board approval prior to the date these guidelines come into effect will be grandfathered-in and will be allowed to remain. Innovative Proposals The Board will also give consideration to innovative proposals for signs, etc. not explicitly permitted by these guidelines, if they can be demonstrated to be consistent with the design goals described in part 1. General Requirements Signage should be designed to convey the identity of the tenant/owner, enhance the features of the building façade, and bring delight to the street. Permanent signage in storefront windows should be limited to store or business name, logo, hours of operation, and limited secondary signage related to the use of the storefront e.g. "café", "fine furnishings". Signs should be professionally designed and fabricated to ensure quality. Design signage so that it is not too heavy in appearance. The signage graphics appearing in the window should not occupy more than 10% of the storefront glass and not impair the visibility of the storefront merchandise area. Signage may not be solid panels. Individual graphic elements or typography should be used. Signage for non-retail uses should adhere to the same guidelines as retail signage. The East Market Storefront Design Guidelines 4
6 Part 2 - Interior Window Signage (continued) Materials Signs should be made from durable materials; wood, metal, glass, painted acrylic, etc. Although not required, we encourage the use of materials found elsewhere in the building s façade, such as silver anodized aluminium and frosted glass. Figure 4: Retail Unit in Byward Market condominium, using materials found in that building's façade. Storefront Window Signage The storefront window sign identifies the business name and services offered, by using letterforms, logo and/or graphic elements and is located only within the glazed area of the window. As noted above, maximum transparency into the store is the desired approach. The materials, extent and type of signage permitted by these guidelines supports this approach and all are easily purchased or fabricated from local suppliers. Entry Door Signs Store name, address, hours of operations, etc. should appear on the glass of the entry door. Individual letters are most appropriate and maintain visibility through the glass. Door graphics are business hours of operation on the glass surface and should not occupy more than 10% of the door glass area. Unit Numbers Unit numbers shall be in white vinyl, Helvetica Bold typeface, and 2" tall. Unit numbers to be centered left to right on the glazing of the opaque transom unit above the Storefront Entrance Door. Unit number to read "Unit 101", "Unit 102", "Unit 103", "Unit 104" as required. The East Market Storefront Design Guidelines 5
7 Part 2 - Interior Window Signage (continued) Temporary Signs A retail unit occupant may display temporary paper, vinyl or fabric signs or banners for a maximum of 21 continous days each, to a maximum of 100 days per calendar year. Such temporary signs do not require prior Board approval. Examples of such temporary signs are a sign announcing a sale, or a sign announcing a new product or service. Recommended Signage Types 1. Solid three-dimensional signage Figure 5: Open letter provides transparency. Figure 6: Interior solid three-dimensional signage. Solid three-dimensional signs have a high quality appearance, while giving transparency into the storefront. Dimensional letterforms (minimum ½" deep) are preferred to flat, vinyl or painted acrylic. 2. Etched Effect Figure 7: Etched Effect on glass. Individual letterforms and graphics identifying the name of the store or corporate logo. Modern methods allow for an etched or sandblasted effect that is very durable but may be easily removed or altered. The East Market Storefront Design Guidelines 6
8 Part 2 - Interior Window Signage (continued) This frosted appearance is encouraged, as it consistent with materials used elsewhere on the building s façade. 3. Vinyl Letterforms Figure 8: Vinyl lettering on ground-floor retail unit in Byward Market apartment building. For main identification; solid or vinyl letterforms can be adhered seamlessly to the interior surface of the storefront window. Vinyl letterforms can also be used for temporary signage e.g. for a sale or special. 4. Digital Signage Figure 9: Digital Signage in storefront window. Digital signage uses a projector or a plasma screen. Such signage is easy to change for seasonal promotions, etc. Because it is illuminated, it can be quite visible from the street, even in daytime. The East Market Storefront Design Guidelines 7
9 Part 2 - Interior Window Signage (continued) 5. Innovative Signage Figure 10: Other innovative signage may be proposed to board. Other types of signage that respects the requirements, is inherently transparent, provides identification and is very appealing to the street are also encouraged. Discouraged Signage Types Neon Figure 11: Acceptable use of neon. Neon may be approved by the Board, provided that it will be used in small quantities and tastefully applied. Any neon signage must be less bright than the condominium s exterior lights, so as not to overpower or interrupt the rhythm of the condominium s exterior lighting scheme. Cabinet signs Figure 12: Cabinet sign. Also called box signs in opaque metal cabinets, backlit with fluorescent lamps etc. Cabinet signs, also called box signs, are usually constructed of an aluminum 6 to 9 deep with a translucent plastic face internally illuminated. The East Market Storefront Design Guidelines 8
10 Part 2 - Interior Window Signage (continued) Not Permitted Long-term Paper Signage Examples: posters taped to the interior of the glazing announcing products. Paper signage may only be used for temporary signs displayed for a period of up to 100 days per year. See the section on temporary signs for further details. Flashing Signs Blinking or flashing signs are not permitted. The East Market Storefront Design Guidelines 9
11 Part 3 Blade Signs and Other Exterior Signs Professionally designed and fabricated, a blade sign is any sign which projects from and is supported by a wall of a building with the display of the sign perpendicular to the building wall and which extends out over the sidewalk. There are significant advantages to blade signs. First, blade signs may be more visually pleasing than interior signs. Second, they may be much more effective in attracting customers than interior signs. They are not subject to being obscured by reflections in the window glass. Also, they can be more easily seen from the sidewalks. For example, they can attract pedestrians walking down Cumberland St., who may not even be aware that there are businesses on the York St. side of the building. Thus, blade signs are desirable from the perspective of both retail and residential unit owners/occupants. Figure 13: Blade signs in Byward Market area. Required Approval for Phase 1 Units The Phase 1 Declaration explicitly prevents retail unit owners/occupants from erecting exterior signage themselves. Such signs would have to be attached to the Common Elements, which may only be modified by the Condominium Corporation itself. However, in recognition of the advantages of exterior blade signs described above, the Condominium Corporations would like to endorse and provide the opportunity for the retail unit owners/occupants to have this sort of sign. Therefore, where possible, the Corporation is offering to erect a blade sign on behalf of any interested retail unit owner/occupant. The process is very similar for approval of interior signs: The Retail unit owner/occupant should work with a professional sign maker to determine a proposed design for the blade sign. The proposal should be submitted to the Board, which will be reviewed using the guidelines listed below. Upon approval, the Board will install the standard blade sign mounting bracket described below. The Board will obtain the required City of Ottawa sign permit and direct the sign maker to install the sign. The East Market Storefront Design Guidelines 10
12 Part 3 - Blade Signs and Other Exterior Signs (continued) As with any interior signs for their business, the owner/occupant will be responsible for the cost of fabricating, and installing and maintaining the sign, for the cost for the city of Ottawa permit, and for the cost of the initial installation of the bracket. The bracket itself will remain property of the condominium corporation, since they will be permanently achored to the building. Required Approval for Phase 3 Units The Phase 3 Declaration treats exterior signage the same as interior signage with regards to the required approval. General Requirements As with interior signage, blade signs should be designed to convey the identity of the tenant/owner, enhance the features of the building façade, and bring delight to the street. Likewise, they should be professionally designed and fabricated to ensure quality. Blade signs should not obstruct or obscure other tenant storefronts or signs, or significant building features. Blade signs may be a maximum of 30 W x 12 H. These dimensions comply with the City s requirement that projecting signs be at least 2.5m above sidewalk level, as illustrated in the drawing on the following page. Blade signs must be hung from the standard East Market blade sign bracket. This bracket shall be fabriated of 2 inch square silver-colored anodized aluminimum post, to match the window mullions on the exterior of the building, and shall extend. The bracket shall mounted at a height of approximately1 foot below the top of the windows, to align with the window mullion, and shall extend 32 from the building. In the case of phase 1 units 101, 102 and 103, the bracket shall be mounted at the center of the brick pier. In the case of other units, the bracket shall be mounted to the window mullion to one side or the other of the entry door. A maximum of one blade sign would be permitted per storefront. The East Market Storefront Design Guidelines 11
13 Part 3 - Blade Signs and Other Exterior Signs (continued) Blade Sign Position and Dimensions Blade Sign Examples Figure 14: Typical blade sign The East Market Storefront Design Guidelines 12
14 Part 3 - Blade Signs and Other Exterior Signs (continued) Figure 15: Blade sign using materials from building's façade. Byward Market condominium building with ground-floor retail. Figure 16: Blade sign on Byward Market residential building with ground-level retail. The East Market Storefront Design Guidelines 13
15 Part 3 - Blade Signs and Other Exterior Signs (continued) Other Exterior Signage Exterior Vinyl Applying vinyl lettering to the exterior of the glass, similar to vinyl lettering applied to the interior of the glass, may be approved and installed by the same process as external blade signs, as described above. Exterior Signs in General Other than blade signs and exterior viinyl, no other type of exterior signage will generally be permitted for phase 1. It is hoped that the newly permitted blade signs can provide an attractive alternative to other such signs. For phase 3, where the Declaration provides broader support for exterior signs, other types of exterior signage may be approved at the Board s discretion. Retail unit owner/occupants considering applying for permission for other types of exterior signage are encourage to speak with their Board of Directors early in the process. Sidewalk Signs Figure 17: Sidewalk sign. Sidewalk signs, such as folding sandwich signs, create a culttered appearance. They also pose an obstacle that pedestrians must walk around. For these reasons, sidewalk signs will be discouraged within the Condominium s property. However, the Board may consider permitting a well-design sidewalk sign if a good case can be made for the sign. The East Market Storefront Design Guidelines 14
16 Part 4 Merchandising Area The first 12-24" as a minimum of the store from the storefront window should be considered the merchandising area. Required Approval Except for modifications to common elements (for example, windows, exterior doors), no prior approval is required for modifications to the merhandising area. From time to time, the Boards may review the exterior appearance of the building, to ensure that the requirements of the Declaration are being upheld, such as requirements in section 4.6(a) which require that the use and occupancy of the retail units must be undertaken in a first class manner so as not to undermine the integrity or quality of the overall design of the building. The board does not review interior changes to commercial units unless they affect the exterior appearance of the building. In cases where approval is not required, retail unit owners/occupants are still encouraged to follow these guidelines, and are invited to discuss their plans with the Board. In these cases, it is hoped that these guidelines will still help to foster the goals described in Part 1, and will be in the best interest of both retail and residential unit owners/occupants as a whole. Guidelines Merchandising and storefront display materials should be designed with an emphasis on transparency and display of merchandise. This area should have a display sill and adjustable lighting. Storefront displays should be clean, current, colourful, and attract the pedestrian's attention. Displays should incorporate merchandise in a creative manner. Seasonal and holiday decorations accentuate a storefront. Solid walls or built structures behind the storefront that create enclosed display windows are not permitted. Views into the store should not be obscured. Storefront displays should be constructed of high-quality durable and interesting material. The East Market Storefront Design Guidelines 15