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Our goal is to build a pleasant city for people

Updated: Apr 18

The city of Trenčín is one of the few cities in Slovakia that will have, in addition to a city curator, also an Retail Advertisement Manual. We spoke with Lívia Gažová, project manager for architecture and public space, about what the Manual is and how it will help improve the public space in the city.

The Advertising Manual for the city of Trenčín focuses mainly on smaller business signage, such as storefront decals and light boards. Why doesn't the manual mention billboards?

In the second chapter, the manual also mentions outdoor advertising. However, since the document is primarily intended for businesses and building owners whose shops are visible from public spaces, it does not delve into this topic in great detail. Regulation of advertising types such as billboards and banners is already established in the city's zoning plan for Trenčín.

Which cities were inspirational in the creation of the Manual, if any?

In creating the manual, we were inspired by the urban district of Brno-střed, which began this type of public space cultivation years ago. However, we also followed the activities of the initiative "Reč mesta" in Prešov and efforts to regulate visual pollution in Žilina. The issue of business signage is also addressed in the design manual for the pedestrian zone in the city of Liptovský Mikuláš.

Náhľad Manuálu reklamy

How do you plan to involve the local community and ensure that the Advertising Manual is successfully implemented and adhered to?

We plan to dedicate a lot of time to carefully explaining the contents of the manual, including public presentations, discussions, workshops, and individual meetings. The manual is written in a very understandable manner and includes illustrations, making it easy to navigate. It is available for free to everyone on the Trenčín 2026 website and the city of Trenčín's website. The implementation of the manual will also be overseen by the city curator, a new position at the municipal office, whose establishment is related to the Trenčín 2026 project.

How does Trenčín's Advertising Manual differ from similar documents in other cities, and what are its main innovations or unique features?

The Manual for the city of Trenčín draws on examples from other cities, especially from the Brno-střed urban district. The issue of visual pollution varies in different cities but fundamentally remains the same, so the content can be adapted. Of course, we had to tailor the advertising and signage manual to the context of Trenčín. The regulations specific to Trenčín include those designated for the Municipal Monument Reserve or for the entire city in the zoning plan. For example, the plan specifies where billboards can be placed in the city and where they cannot at all. The principles for the monument reserve also state that large or three-dimensional advertising devices cannot be placed in the city center. The process of permitting individual advertising devices, which the manual also describes, may differ from other cities as well.

What are your personal visions and ambitions for the future of urbanism and urban development, and how do these values ​​reflect in your work on the Advertising Manual?

Our goal is to build a pleasant city for people. A city where people travel by foot, bicycle, or public transport, and one that attracts its residents and visitors to stay will thrive. Because people don't buy cars, but people do, and the better conditions they have for comfortable travel around the city, the more time they will spend in it, the more activities and meetings will take place, and the livelier the city will be. European, as well as some Slovak cities, promote a rich urban life that happens in public spaces, so they place great emphasis on them.

Not long ago, designers from Trenčín had the opportunity to attend a workshop with businesses, for which they created a signage design proposal. Do you plan to repeat such a workshop in the future to make it easier for businesses to implement stimuli for their promotion as outlined in the Advertising Manual?

The professional two-day workshop for graphic designers on designing design for businesses served to raise awareness of this topic for practitioners who are responsible for signage, inscriptions, and advertisements. Together with experts, we tried to convey to them what designing visual communication for a business entails - from describing opening hours to designing storefronts. In the future, we would like to continue with similar activities, but we want to focus on educating the businesses themselves. It is important to explain to them how the manual can help them think about their communication, which can be simpler and of higher quality, ultimately bringing them more customers. In external communication, it really applies - less is more. We would like the city to set an example in visual communication as well. We will inform you about future plans in the fight against visual pollution.

If a business cannot afford to hire a designer to propose changes to its premises, should they now fear fines, or will they have assistance from the city?

The Advertising Manual and signage recommendations are only advisory for the private sector. It's not about penalizing businesses for inappropriate signage, but rather about positively motivating them to change towards more understandable communication in the future, which would help all users of public space and their customers to navigate better. We believe that a few positive examples of storefront design can motivate others to consider making changes. Of course, nothing will be perfect right away, but with gradual steps, we can move towards a European public space.

Which street do you find more pleasant to look at?

  • Without visual smog

  • With advertisement

Source of photos: Google maps, on the left is Banská Bystrica, on the right is Žilina



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