Mostecká Street near Charles Bridge. via Raymond Johnston

Prague setting new rules for store signage in the historical center

Visual smog in Prague's center should be reduced with new rules for shop signs
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Prague plans to crack down in inappropriate advertising in the city center, following on efforts to clean up the center by eliminating giant animal costumes and soap bubbles that were also deemed to be “visual smog.”

City Councilor Hana Třeštíková (Praha sobě), responsible for culture and heritage preservation, has prepared rules for marking establishments that will help reduce visual smog in Prague’s heritage conservation area. The new rules will be binding on all city-owned buildings.

“The fight against advertising in Prague is mainly a fight with legislation, which is in many ways insufficient in the field of advertising regulation. If, for example, a shop does not have an advertisement display in front of the shop window but right behind the glass, it is no longer affected legislation, but the visual impression from the street is exactly the same as if the display was in front of the shop window,” Třeštíková said on the City Hall website.

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“That is why we have prepared rules that will be included in the lease of operators [renting from] the city, and we will set an example in sensitive areas,” she added.

City Councilor Jan Chabr (United Force For Prague), responsible for property, said he hopes the rules can be expanded. “We will primarily implement the newly created rules into lease contracts for urban non-residential buildings. Furthermore, I am starting a dialogue with private owners as well as with the Prague Chamber of Commerce about the possibility of applying the rules to objects owned by private owners,” he said.

store front
Store fronts near Charles Bridge. via Raymond Johnston

“The aim is to have a comprehensive and tasteful appearance of the historic center and the unification of the visual element of all establishments. At the moment, some places in Prague are a disgrace,” Chabr added.

Other advertising that the current legislation does not deal with includes window stickers or advertising placed on the door. According to the new rules, the corporate sign on the shop window should not exceed 20% of the glass surface.

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All-over photographs, bold color graphics and other illustrations should disappear from the company’s shields and stickers. Establishments are to stop using reflective, fluorescent and otherwise garish elements, as well as mass-produced inscriptions (such as “open” signs), and flashing, rotating and otherwise moving inscriptions. Standardized elements such as first aid, pharmacy or post will have an exception.

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The rules should be binding for all buildings owned by the city and municipal companies that are located in the Prague historical reserve or are cultural monuments. The City of Prague agreed on the rules with conservationists, the Building Code Department, the Trade Licensing Office and the Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR Praha).

store fronts
Store fronts near Charles Bridge. via Raymond Johnston

The rules for labeling establishments bring together all the requirements, which had previously been difficult for operators to find. The adoption of rules will make the situation more transparent for entrepreneurs, City Hall states.

“Prague is beautiful, but in some places it is no longer visible under the ads. In many Western cities, it is common for even large chains to reduce the blaze of their logos so that shop windows do not disturb the city atmosphere,” Třeštíková said.

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There are some good examples. “Also in Prague, we have a number of examples of sensitive shop marking, which makes the architecture and spirit of the house stand out, and the locals and tourists have an even more enjoyable experience. We want to support this with new rules,” Třeštíková said.

The principles will become the basis of a manual for marking establishments. The manual should be ready in spring 2020.

The city has been trying to bring order to the city center in other aspects as well. Earlier this year, the city canceled a lease with a store that violated its terms by selling Hitler masks, showing the city is willing to take action against violations in it property. Several exchange outlets on city property have also been closed.

The city has also been trying to set rules for faux-vintage cars and electric scooters. The famous Lennon Wall, owned by the Knights of Malta, has also been closed to random graffiti.

Tip: Visit Expats.cz Relocation for more relocation articles, relocation agencies and other tips for life in Prague & the Czech Republic!

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