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Renovation Assistance

As a Ripon downtown property or business owner, you aren't alone in your renovation. Tap into our free design assistance for your exterior and interior renovation projects. Ripon Main Street offers sample drawings; color schemes, paint and awning samples; technical specifications; and signage and graphics assistance. Moreover, we can connect you with trusted contractors, painters and other vendors to lend a hand.

Design Guidelines

Check out the design guidelines here to learn more about the ways in which property and business owners might harness downtown Ripon's unique history and charm. Rest easy, these guidelines provide historic renovation ideas, but are not mandated in any way.

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Signage Assistance

Signs – a vital part of all downtown businesses – call attention to your business, creating a first impression and unique image. Consistent business district signage unifies Ripon's downtown, while complimenting the architectural style of its buildings.

The efforts of the Design Manual are not meant to turn back the clock, but rather to preserve and enhance the distinct, historic character of downtown Ripon. The City of Ripon has enacted a sign ordinance that is explicit concerning types, sizes, construction, and placement of signs with specific details listed in the section pertaining to the Central Business District. All signage is subject to Ripon building and zoning codes. Contact the City of Ripon Building Inspector (920-748-4901) at least 60 days in advance to obtain a sign permit and proper approval.

Check out a collection of sign examples here, and remember Ripon Main Street offers free sign design assistance to business and property owners!

  1. 1.   A sign should express an easy to read, direct message. Keep it simple.

  2. 2.   A storefront should not have more than two signs - one primary and one secondary.

  3. 3.   The total signage area for a storefront shall not exceed in square feet, three times the lineal footage of the storefront the sign is attached to. Storefront signs should not be more than 2 feet high and should be mounted somewhere above the storefront display windows but below the second story window sill. Please review pages 27-33 of the Downtown Ripon Design Manual for further guidance.

  4. 4.   Choose a sign maker carefully. Quality of workmanship and construction is as vital as any of the guidelines above. Ask your sign maker where you can see examples of previous work.

  5. 5.   Window signs should not obscure the display area. The color of the letters should contrast with the display background. Light colored letters or gold leafed letters with dark borders are effective.

  6. 6.   Awnings can also serve as signs, but store names should only be sewn onto a valance (not silk-screened). Usually 6 to 8 inch contrasting letters are sufficient.

  7. 7.   Be very cautious about plastic signage - it rarely matches the downtown character. Back-lit or internally lit signs are not permitted in the historic district.

  8. 8.   There are hundreds of letter styles available. A letter style should be chosen that is easy to read and reflects the image of the business it represents.

  9. 9.   Sign colors should compliment the colors of the building. Light colored letters on a dark background are easier to read. Incorporate a shadow or outline around the letters. Introducing a second or third color by adding borders, shadows, etc. enhances the image of the sign as well as the business.

  10. 10.   Illuminated signs can be appropriate downtown if they represent the proportions of the storefront and the guidelines above. Signs can be directly illuminated with incandescent lights. Exposed neon letters can also be effective, adding color and vitality to the downtown during the evening.

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