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Through research and education, the Signage Foundation, Inc. analyzes and communicates the societal benefits of on-premise signage.

 Brian McNamara

In Memoriam

Brian McNamara , April 27, 1956-November 4, 2014

The Board of Directors of the Signage Foundation, Inc. mourns the death of Board member K. Brian McNamara. Brian had served on the SFI Board since 2013. 

A 1982 graduate of the College of Charleston (SC), Brian began his professional career as a Marketing Representative for the Xerox Corporation.  After several years with Xerox, Brian made a move to the not-for profit sector, taking a position in the Membership Department of the American Society of Association Executives. While with ASAE, Brian was recruited by John Johnson, a long-time senior executive for the International Sign Association (formerly National Electric Sign (Association), to take a role in the growth and development of the tradeshow programs.

Brian’s start with ISA in 1985 coincided with the earlier introduction of the Gerber IVb --the beginning of the explosive computerization and digitalization of the sign industry.  While the industry was in transition, so was the NESA tradeshow program, which exploded both internationally and regionally in the late 80’s and 90’s: the industry was hungry for information about the new technologies. 

In 1995, Brian was gratified to see the technological changes recognized by the traditional electric sign industry when NESA became the International Sign Association.  The explosive growth of the tradeshow and the association continued through, and outlasted, the extreme recession beginning in 2008. There is no end in sight.  Brian retired from a full-time role at ISA in 2011, after 26 years of service. He continued to support the sign industry in any role that will continue the best interests of the industry and fully embraced his role with the research and education efforts of the Signage Foundation.

Obituary can be viewed at  and an industry tribute can be viewed at


The Challenge

On-premise signage is one of the backbones of commerce. Centuries before the advent of the printing press and today’s modern graphic and electronic communication media, signage played a significant role in advertising the availability of goods and services. And signage, in all its various forms, is no less important a communication medium now than it was then. Despite its many contributions to retail vibrancy in our economy, questions are continually being raised about the value of signage and its social and economic impact and value. Until recently, there has been no single organization on the national level devoted solely to the development of peer-reviewed research and education that addresses on-premise signage for all concerned constituencies. That is where The Signage Foundation Inc. comes in.

The Signage Foundation, Inc. (SFI) works to promote signage in the societal sense, educating the public about its social, economic and aesthetic value to the at-large society, emphasizing to users how to maximize their communication effectiveness. The Foundation focuses on bringing education to sign users and to those who interact with sign users, including advertising agencies, lenders, appraisers, attorneys, regulators, business form franchisers and small businesses.

SFI works to develop the most effective means possible to deliver information on the economic, social and communication value of on-premise signage to the end-using public and those who regulate it.

The Foundation builds relationships with academic and governmental organizations to develop and enunciate public policy for on-premise signs. The Foundation develops basic research on the social, economic and aesthetic benefits of on-premise signage. The resounding message throughout the work of the Signage Foundation, Inc. is the goal of establishing full and unconditional acceptance and endorsement of the time, place and manner focus as a commitment to storefront signage.

Signage Industry News

The American Bar Assn. held a March 26 webinar entitled, “Three Approaches to the Regulation of On-Premise Signs.”

Statistical Analysis of the Relationship between On-Premise Digital Signage and Traffic Safety

Case studies and overview of the legalities of amortization.

Arts & Science of Sign Design
Latest research into applicable scientific principles.

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