Innovative tourist gateway signs featuring a full-colour illustration of an iconic landmark have been unveiled for the first time in Portsmouth.
And civic leaders in Bath and North East Somerset have erected several bespoke versions of the sign around the county after recognising the potential benefit of the idea.
Other areas could now quickly follow suit as the pioneering signage is set to be included in new guidance from the Department for Transport (DfT).
Two five-metre high signs featuring an attractive image of Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower have been installed on the south-bound M275 leading into the city.
Simon Moon, head of transport and environment at Portsmouth City Council, said: “Portsmouth is a unique city and deserves a gateway that does it justice.
“When we saw the opportunity to have something more than just plain text, we knew it was a great chance to give people a taste of what the city is about.”
The signs first appeared in Plymouth last year thanks to digital printing technology created by Rennicks UK in conjunction with a small number of sign makers who have the necessary equipment in place.
David Skinner, of Rennicks, said: “That project created a buzz of interest and I’m delighted it seems to have captured the imagination of authorities elsewhere.
“Several towns and cities are now on board and there are others already in the pipeline.
“Our technology has opened the door for new development of traffic signs and that could inspire others to use the process to suit their own needs.”
A full colour image is printed directly on to the surface of Rennicks’ Nikkalite retroreflective sheeting to produce a sign which is then authorised by the DfT for use on roads.
Mr Skinner has welcomed news that gateway signs will feature in new Traffic Signs Regulation and General Directions (TSRGD) 2015 guidance.
He added: “Authorities must win approval for each project at the moment, but the signs have been included in a draft update for official TSRGD regulations, due to be launched later this year.
“That means councils will have formal guidelines and, effectively, a green light from the government to install the new signs.
“So routes into towns and cities across the country could soon look very different with full colour photographic tourist gateway signs leading the way.”