New regulations of name boards in Beijing will not lead to "monotony" or affect the signage of time-honored brands, a city official has said.
The rule change in late September and subsequent enforcement campaign, which has seen many signboards removed from buildings, is not aimed at stifling character but to encourage property owners to design their signage within a "prescribed frame", according to an unnamed official from the Beijing Commission of City Management quoted by Qianlong, a website operated by the city government.
"Signage of time-honored brands would not disappear, and the signage across Beijing would not become monotonous," the official said.
The commission launched a citywide signage management campaign in December, which limits the number and placement of signs on buildings in order to "create an urban skyline that is visually clear and bright".
The campaign was launched as part of the capital's urban plan for 2016 through 2035.
According to a notice from the commission, all signs and billboards attached to roofs must be removed. In addition, there can be only one sign with a building's name on the third story or higher, and the name should be the same as the one registered with planning authorities.
Each of the capital's 16 districts will launch an enforcement campaign, the notification said, and any failure by institutions and individuals to remove noncompliant signs will be noted on their credit record.
Signage must be removed by the end of December and the commission will inspect the capital "road by road" in January, the notice said.
The campaign has provoked heated discussion online. While some Beijing residents applauded the campaign, some were worried it will be difficult for them to find their destinations.
A netizen named Cycy Lee didn't like the feeling of walking near buildings with signs over the roofs. "Some of the signs or billboards have been there for years and they may fall down," the netizen commented on Weibo.
Others are concerned about losing their way after losing sight of signage.
"Without signage, I experienced much difficulty in finding the destination in places I am not familiar with," said Shi Shunji, a resident of Haidian district.
In response to these concerns, the official said the commission would work along with property owners to reinstall new signage "as soon as possible".
"In future enforcement, we would have the new signage designed first and then replace the old, so we can shorten the void period and do not influence people's lives," the official said.