The Fallon Gateway Shopping Center Monument Sign

Three Essential Elements of Shopping Center Monument Signs That Are ‘Must-haves’

Published on: January 23, 2020

Shopping center monument signs are the centerpiece of any retail center signage program. They increase visibility, elevate the brand, and can even attract new tenants. That’s why it’s so important to get it right.

The creation of your monument sign is going to involve a lot of moving parts for everything from gaining local leader buy-in to managing the fabrication and installation of pieces. Before you get started on all that, though, you’re going to need a plan that encompasses the trifecta of signage excellence: high visibility, strong branding, and easy maintenance. You need to build off a blueprint that combines each of these aspects so that you get the most value out of your retail monument sign, both now and for the long term.

Models for Creating Shopping Center Monument Signs

Your shopping center monument sign is likely going to be the largest single expense in your entire signage program. It’s probably also going to serve as the base of your aesthetic design. By focusing on visibility, branding, and maintenance during the planning stage, you can set your entire architectural signage plan up for success.

Here are a few examples of retail centers who’ve effectively managed just that.


Many retail center developers underestimate the size that their shopping center monument sign needs to be for optimal visibility. Remember, your sign doesn’t just need to be visible from the road; it also needs to include space to advertise the anchor and in-line stores within. These outdoor retail signs serve as wayfinding devices to draw traffic and increase sales for all the tenants of a shopping center.

Fallon Gateway Shopping Center Monument Sign

When it comes to visibility, there’s no better example than Fallon Gateway in Dublin, California. The 380,000 square foot shopping center needed a sign that was just as impressive to reach the most lucrative audience for the center—drivers on the I-580 corridor that pass right by it. The new 99-foot monument sign readily gains the attention of passersby while advertising popular retailers, like Target and Dick’s Sporting Goods, that draw in shoppers.


Branding in signage is always crucial, but it becomes even more important to think through the visual brand strategy details during an image refresh. Developers need timeless designs that can work with all tenant brands while presenting a fresh, welcoming shopping center experience. Finding that balance can mean the difference between a boom or bust when rebranding.

The Pruneyard Shopping Center Monument Sign

When Pruneyard, a Campbell, CA shopping center, needed reimaging, they focused heavily on a central monument design that would work with a natural aesthetic. The new sign is a two-part design, with a simple, neutral color palette of warm browns and white. One tall, slim sign with nature-inspired cut-outs highlights the Pruneyard’s name and logo. Another, shorter sign, lists the center’s anchor and in-line brands, using the Pruneyard’s color pallet, but the tenants’ brand’s individual fonts and logos. This high-impact commercial design incorporates old and new elements while allowing the Pruneyard to provide engaging brand space for tenants too.

Ease of maintenance

Shopping center monument signs must be made to last while also minimizing the need for expensive maintenance. Stark white backgrounds or shiny designs may look modern and fresh at first but will show wear and tear very quickly. In addition, developers must consider how often the individual brands listed on the signage would need replacement and ensure there’s an easy way to make these updates.

Union Landing Shopping Center Monument Sign

Stakeholders at Union Landing in CA were particularly concerned about outdoor signage maintenance. They needed a monument sign that would resist debris and dirt from the nearby I-880. They also needed something that was easy to update. The final design plan centered on digital elements to allow for flexibility. A dark blue freeway pylon announces the name of the center while resisting the elements. The plan allows stakeholders to create a monument sign which is easy to maintain and will stand the test of time.

Considerations for Effective Signage Design

Once you have your priorities in place for what you want the monument sign to accomplish, you’ll need to find a design partner that can effectively implement your vision. There are a lot of technical details that one must consider for the creation, fabrication, and long-term maintenance of signs, including:

Bureaucracy. Exterior signage projects often come with bureaucratic red tape, like ensuring designs are within local codes and ordinances. Everything from the height of the sign to the parapet line will likely need to be approved by a committee or board. You need a signage design partner that can effectively tell your story about the necessity of the project and detail its implementation.

Partnerships. A good signage fabricator can take a concept and turn it into a reality. The design firm you work with should have a wide range of fabricator connections to complete the project based on the specifications outlined in the plan.

Project management. Signage design firms need to be expert project managers, as they must reach out to local decision-makers, connect with fabricators, and make connections that take a sign from concept to reality.

Shopping center monument signs can set the tone for the entire brand identity of your shopping center. However, there is far more to these design centerpieces than simple fabrication. To create a sign that provides all the ‘must-haves’—visibility, branding, and ease of maintenance, you need to work with an expert in signage design that can handle the project from end-to-end.

GNU Group acts as a partner to our clients who want to create new shopping center monument signs by taking them through the project from beginning to end. To hear more about how we can turn your major sign project into a turnkey operation, connect with our team.