Design a sign for your business

Design plans to show that your sign meets size and construction requirements.

What to do

To get a permit for your business sign, you must submit 2 copies of your sign plans with your sign permit application

You must design your plans on at least 11”x17” paper and show the:

  • Number of signs you want to build
  • Size
  • Type of sign
  • Location
  • Method of construction and installation

Your plans must include a cover sheet with the building information, drawing index, and site plan. (See how to create a cover sheet for your plans.)

What to include

Sign specifications

Include sign measurements showing how much room the sign will take.

This should include the:

  • Area of the sign
  • Height of the sign (measured from the ground to the bottom of the sign)
  • Projection (measured from the building face to the end of the sign)
  • Dimensions of any lettering

Learn more about how to measure your sign.

Structural details 

If you plan to build your sign, you must show how you will construct it and how you will attach it to the building. 

Site and plot plan 

Include site plans with your sign location. Your site plans may show:

  • Lot dimensions
  • Property lines
  • Streets and cross streets
  • Building footprint
  • Driveways or sidewalks (including width)

For non-painted, structural signs, you must show their locations on the building and on the lot. Include horizontal and vertical views.

Elevation plan

You must include scaled elevation drawings with your plans. 

Your drawings should show the property as it exists now and the property with your proposed sign.

Show different views: front, side, rear.

Illumination plan

If you plan to use illumination, include details on what method of illumination you plan to use. 

Learn more about illumination methods.


The designer or person who prepared the plans must sign them.

When to hire a design professional or get a special inspection

If you plan to build a sign that weighs more than 400 pounds, you must get a stamp from a structural engineer.

You do not need to include engineering calculations or get special inspection if:

  • Your sign weighs less than 250 pounds
  • Your sign is less than 24 square feet in area
  • Your sign has less than a 4-foot projection
  • You install expansion bolts with the required torque per manufacturer’s ICC report

You do not need special inspection on welding or on anchor bolts if:

  • Your sign is less than 24 square feet in area (even if it weighs over 250 pounds or has over a 4-foot projection)
  • You submit structural calculations showing that the stress level is not more than 25% of the design allowable
  • You install expansion bolts with the required torque per manufacturer’s ICC report
  • There are at least 4 bolts per connection
  • Bolts are at least 3/8” diameter and embedded at least 3 inches

Get help

Permit Center

49 South Van Ness
2nd floor
San Francisco, CA 94103

Mon to Tue, 7:30 am to 4:00 pm

Wed, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm

Thu to Fri, 7:30 am to 4:00 pm

View location on google maps

Last updated November 22, 2021