City of Dallas Bans Window Signs for Small Business


Under a Dallas law enacted in 2008, businesses are prohibited from putting signs in the upper two-thirds of any window or glass door, and no more than 15 percent of any window or glass door may be covered by signs. The only way to comply with the new ordinance is by putting tiny signs at peoples feet-which is not an effective way to advertise. The law also bans signs that cover more than 25 percent of a buildings façade. Failure to take down the signs means you are at risk to be hit with a fine up to $2,000.

The law only targets commercial messages. Businesses are free to put anything except a commercial message in their windows. For example, a business could paint a giant Dallas Cowboys helmet on its window-but not advertise that it offers Cowboys merchandise for sale inside. Businesses can paint their windows black or put coolers or other items in front of them. In fact, businesses are not even required to have windows at all. What they cannot do is put messages in their windows that tell customers about the products and services offered inside.