Rebellion brews over identikit shop signs
  • By Ha Trang | | May 13, 2016 11:06 AM

Many shop owners on Hanoi's Le Trong Tan Street have spoken out against a clumsy decision by the local authorities to force all the shops to have the same shop signs.


Identical sign boards on Le Trong Tan Street

Le Trong Tan Street in Thanh Xuan District is hailed by some as for its neat planning and how Hanoi should look in the future. However, the new rule that makes all the businesses on the street have only red or blue signage has been met with derision.

Vu The Tuyen, a restaurant owner, said he was losing customers. "Our sign board had food illustrations so customers know what's inside even from far away. But now the board only has the name. Many people have to strain their eyes to read and once they accidentally go pass our restaurant, they don't want to turn around," he said. "In addition, this is killing off the creative and recognisable logos."

Duy Phong, a shop owner said they provided wedding services and also rent chairs, tables and tents, yet they can only have the sign say Duy Phong Shop. "Nobody can tell what we sell just from that," he said. "Usually restaurants can add food illustrations or other graphics to help people understand our business."

Phong said he had installed new windows to show off the party-related products inside.

"But I don't think it's a long-term solution as many people have the habit of just looking at the sign boards. Especially motorbike riders, they only skim through the words and as the text size is small our shop might be overlooked," he said.


Brand names almost disappear among a sea of red and blue signage

Other shop owners agreed and said they felt they had wasted the efforts in their shop’s branding. They want to at least to be able to choose other colours and add logos to the boards.

Dr. Nguyen Quoc Thinh from the University of Commerce in Hanoi said, "In the US or China, the authorities only issue regulations on the size of the board or its border. The content inside is left to the owners. I think that's more reasonable."

He went on to say that brand recognition was very important. People usually have one to two seconds to recognise the names on the streets. So a series of only blue and red sign boards would make even searching for familiar names difficult.

Le Mai Trang, deputy chairwoman of Thanh Xuan District People's Committee, said they had collected opinions from the people and claimed there had been a strong consensus on blue and red colours. However, Trang said they would continue gathering opinions and report to the city authorities to find solutions.

However things may change after a representative of Hanoi People's Committee on May 12 said businesses that already had their own brands and logos had to only follow the rules on the size of the sign boards.

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