The COSIGN STORY

CoSign believes in the power of visual communication to deliver real, lasting change. We bring that concept to life by uniting businesses, artists and signmakers in a local community together to create signage that’s as unique and representative of the neighborhood we’re in.

Why? Because signage matters – a lot. For a business, it can cause people to walk into a store. For a neighborhood, signage can bring to life the character of an area, deliver a sense of cohesion, and create pride in a community. CoSign is a meaningful participatory process for business owners, artists, sign makers, neighborhood residents, and local experts to meet the challenge and opportunity to enliven a business district through creative placemaking.

 

Greater Cincinnati: Research and testing

The initial concept was developed and tested in the Greater Cincinnati area and implemented three times in successive years between 2012 - 2014. The program was initially developed by the American Sign Museum in partnership with the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile/U.S. Bank Foundation and received additional funding support from ArtPlace for America and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

 

Northside 1.0 - 2012

The Initial CoSign created 11 signs in Northside - a very progressive community characterized by small, locally-owned businesses.

Northside 2.0 - 2013

The program was repeated the following year and debuted nine additional signs along the Northside business corridor. 

Covington - 2014

In 2014, CoSign moved across the river to Covington, KY whose business district presented a very different scenario.  Eight signs were completed.

 

National replication Program 

After regional testing of CoSign was finished, the team at the American Sign Museum began putting their heads together to figure out how far CoSign could go. We created a how-to manual and put together an educational program that could be taught to communities throughout the country....and maybe even world-wide! In the fall of 2016, CoSign launched it's national pilot program. Two communities successfully completed the program in the fall of 2017. 

 
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Iowa City, IA

In partnership with the Iowa City Development District, Iowa City was the first to complete the national pilot program and the first time we worked with a business improvement district. Fast and furious, Iowa City completed 12 new signs in August of 2017. 

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Historic Valley Junction - West Des Moines, IA

Valley Junction is a beloved shopping district located outside of downtown West Des Moines. Spearheaded by the Historic Valley Junction Foundation, an award winning National Main Street community design and installed 10 new signs on a crazy rainy day in October of 2018. 

 

HOW CAN MY COMMUNITY PARTICIPATE?

CoSign is a program designed to be replicated in any community where both artists and small businesses are present. If you're interested in bringing CoSign to your neck of the woods we've determined three things necessary to make it happen:

1. A critical mass of willing small businesses within a defined geographic area
2. A committed and organized group of facilitators willing to engage and support the neighborhood business district
3. A community character that embraces creative place-making