[EDITORIALS]Clean up the ugly city signs

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[EDITORIALS]Clean up the ugly city signs

The Seoul Metropolitan Government and the JoongAng Ilbo began a campaign to upgrade store signs in Jongno. Rampant sign proliferation is now visibly marring the view of our city.
The designs of signs and billboards are often seen as a barometer of a society’s culture. So upgrading the designs of store signs is not just a task of beautifying the view of our streets. It is a task to improve the quality of our life and our city’s culture.
Currently 737,000 store signs are hung in Seoul, and 35 percent of them are illegal, a survey showed. Last year alone, the city removed more than 70,000 illegal signs. The designs of most authorized store signs are also plain ugly as well.
The signboards play a role of advertisements for the shops and provide information to passers-by. And yet the competition in making more large and conspicuous signboards is marring the city’s image. Poorly constructed signs and illegal signs erected on the streets are now endangering the safety of pedestrians.
In the past, crackdowns on illegal signboards have taken place, but the effect was temporary. There have been campaigns to upgrade the designs of the signboards, but they did not last long.
It is time for store owners to voluntarily join the campaign to improve signboard designs. The project in Jongno is an event in which we urge the people to participate voluntarily.
Subsidies will be provided to improve building facades and signboard designs, and that is in itself a noticeable change from the past crackdowns.
By demonstrating that it is not a sensational and excessively large store sign that draws customers, merchants around the nation can be encouraged to participate.
The campaign to make creative and aesthetically pleasing store signs must be carried out voluntarily, not through restrictions and crackdowns.
We hope that the campaign expands from Jongno to all cities across the country, visibly refining the nation’s scenery.
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