Manchester Financial Group now owns 49 percent of the downtown building that formerly housed Sempra Energy, at 101 Ash Street. It bought the minority share in the property for $20 million, reported the San Diego Business Journal.
On July 24, Civic San Diego issued a “notice of future decision” to “approve, conditionally approve or deny an application for a Process Two Neighborhood Use Permit” from Manchester Financial Group for a “comprehensive sign plan” including high-rise signage at the 19-story property. A decision by CivicSD's staff is expected no less than 11 business days from the date of notice.
The design by Jones Sign Co., as submitted to CivicSD, shows the words Manchester Financial Group in 5-foot-high, all-capital letters extending 147 feet in width. The “M” logo above the words is 14-feet wide, and 7-feet high. The aluminum letters, on the building's east and west sides, will be illuminated at night with white LED lighting.
Portland, Oregon-based “Engineer of Creative Identity” Jeff Fisher has created award-winning logos for almost 30 years. I asked him to evaluate the logo and sign. Fisher said, “In over-inflating the size of the Manchester Financial Group text on the building, the “M” icon is greatly reduced in proportion – making it seem somewhat insignificant. The building treatment comes across as vanity branding, rather than effective signage.”
The design is similar to Trump building signage: large and bold but not especially creative. Allen Industries of Greensboro, NC, is one of the nation’s largest sign manufacturing companies. The Reader asked that company to comment on Manchester's signage design, but did not get any response.
The signage decision by staff can be appealed to the CivicSD board of directors. Appeal applications are available downtown at 401 B Street, Suite 400, during regular business hours.