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Master Sign Programs

Secure signage variances and on-time approvals through master sign programs.

Securing variances from restrictive city codes might be the toughest challenge for commercial signage projects. Because this process is so complex and time-intensive, some signage firms prefer not to engage municipalities at all. They leave it up to their customers to secure their own approvals.

At GNU Group, we take full responsibility for this critical step in the signage design process. Over the past three decades, we’ve developed an approach to Master Sign Programs that is holistic, logic-based, and designed to secure approvals in California and across the United States.

What makes our Master Sign Programs so successful? Unlike other signage companies, we don’t go to the city just with renderings. We go to the city with a story. 

At GNU Group, our Master Sign Programs begin and end with strategy. We present a comprehensive project overview complete with sitemaps, videos of traffic patterns, 3D models, and landscaping photographs that tell the unique story of each site and its needs—and only then do we offer signage design solutions. Our Master Sign Program process results in fewer questions from the city, less back-and-forth, and a quicker turnaround for everyone involved.

This approach has secured on-time approvals for hundreds of groundbreaking projects, including:


John Muir Health

John Muir Health’s new Walnut Creek, CA hospital faced residential city codes limiting signs to a maximum of eight feet in height, which inhibited safe traffic flow into the Emergency Room parking lot. GNU Group approached the municipality with the problem and invited them to be part of the solution. After viewing our Master Sign Program, the Commission approved 15-foot signs for the medical complex—a first for the city and a major victory for John Muir Health.


Rosewood Commons

When Rosewood Commons transitioned an office park into a multi-tenant complex, the building needed a rebrand to attract tech-oriented companies. GNU Group presented this case to the city, explaining that this corporate complex needed more lively and colorful branding opportunities to drive economic growth. In response, Pleasanton, CA approved a Master Sign Program with taller directional signs, larger-scale monuments, and major facade supergraphics—none of which were allowed under signage codes.


Kaiser Permanente

The sheer scale and digital elements of Kaiser’s new Redwood City, CA campus created unique signage needs that fell outside city regulations. GNU Group’s successful Master Sign Program presented a story about the value for the community, securing unanimous approvals for bold monument signs and directional signage on public streets—elements that had never been approved before in Redwood City.