skip to main content

I want to...

Current filter:

Napier's sign guidelines

Napier City Signage Guidelines

The Art Deco building the Criterion in Napier's main street. - Select to EnlargeNapier's Art Deco Quarter is an important heritage area. Today the heritage value of the city is widely appreciated by locals and visitors alike. Napier City Council has reviewed the city's signage policy as part of a periodic heritage evaluation.

Signs are a vital part of the city, providing information and direction. Well designed signs add vitality and enhance the cityscape. However, poorly designed signs detract from the experience of the city. Because signs are intended to attract attention, they are often placed in prominent locations where they can be seen by as many people as possible. This can cause conflict in a heritage area, obscuring building features and dominating the streetscape.

Napier's Art Deco Quarter is widely recognised as a significant heritage area and the most common negative comments about the inner city relate to the impact of signs on heritage values. It is important to respect Napier's rich visual history when undertaking redevelopment of signage and ensure it remains sympathetic to the key principles of Art Deco design.

The Council has developed the Signage Guidelines to assist business owners and sign writers to design signs in keeping with the Art Deco heritage values of the CBD. The principles contained in the guidelines can however be applied to other heritage buildings within the city. Napier City Council encourages all business owners to have signage which is consistent with the character and appearance of Art Deco architecture.

Locations for Signs

Signs on Building Façades

  • If parallel, maximum thickness 50mm
  • If perpendicular, maximum width 1.2m, maximum thickness 50mm
  • One sign per business, maximum area 1.2m²
  • 2.5m minimum clearance above ground
  • Verandah + façade sign = no sign on verandah roof

 Signs Under Verandahs

  • One sign per business, maximum area 1.5m²
  • 2.5m minimum clearance above ground
  • No extension beyond the verandah edge

 Signs on a Building Side Wall

  • One sign per business, maximum area 5% of wall or 8m²
  • Suitable set-back from corner
  • Align with features of main façade

 Signs on Windows

  • Individual letters, gilt or shadow outline
  • Encourage window design to reflect window features that may have been lost

Signage example on a heritage building.

Signs on Verandah Fascias

  • Individual letters should be applied directly to the fascia
  • One sign per business2.5m minimum clearance above ground
  • No extension beyond the fascia, though a sign may be up to 600mm high over a distance of 1 metre

 Signs on a Verandah Roof

  • One sign per business, maximum area 1.2m2
  • Not permitted if there is a façade sign
  • Perpendicular to façade, at front edge of verandah
  • Maximum height 700mm including support structureMaximum thickness 50mm

  Fonts and Colours

  • Clear and legible lettering contrasting with the sign background
  • Lettering style compatible with the building
  • Corporate colours may need to be adapted to suit the heritage environment
  • A variety of lettering styles (fonts) acceptable
  • Generally upper case and traditional in style
  • Check old photos for information

Signs Should Not

  • Dominate façades or obscure architectural features
  • Extend beyond the building (above the roof or fascia)
  • 'Stand out' by excessive use of colour, shape, style or movement
  • Advertise brand names (third party advertising)
  • Be randomly positionedOverlap or obscure other signs
  • Duplicate information
  • Create distraction or confusion for motorists
  • Obstruct the footpath
  • Cause damage to buildings when installed or removed

Building Names and Dates

  • Raised or incised characters on façade are historically valuable and should be retained
  • Do not obscure with new signs
  • Street numbers should be placed above entry


  • Coloured strip lights can enhance building features
  • Only static illumination of signs is permitted
  • Unobtrusive fittings and cabling required
  • Comply with light spill controls (see Art Deco Quarter Condition Table of the district plan)

Heritage Buildings

Any sign on a listed heritage building will require Resource Consent in addition to compliance with the above rules. Please check with the Planning Department.

You can print off the Application for the Footpath Signs Licence form from the ‘Related Documents’ at the top of this page, fill it out and bring it in to our Customer Service Centre at 215 Hastings Street. Or you can do everything online:

Application for Footpath signs licence


Napier City Council - Copyright © 2023 Napier City Council

Disclaimers and Copyright
While every endeavour has been taken by the Napier City Council to ensure that the information on this website is accurate and up to date, Napier City Council shall not be liable for any loss suffered through the use, directly or indirectly, of information on this website. Information contained has been assembled in good faith. Some of the information available in this site is from the New Zealand Public domain and supplied by relevant government agencies. Napier City Council cannot accept any liability for its accuracy or content. Portions of the information and material on this site, including data, pages, documents, online graphics and images are protected by copyright, unless specifically notified to the contrary. Externally sourced information or material is copyright to the respective provider.

© Napier City Council - / +64 6 835 7579 /