Danielle Beyrodt, vice president of leasing and acquisition for Hill Management Services Inc., a Baltimore-based office property owner, said she has found demand for signage increasing among both large and small tenants.
"It is a trend even with companies that you wouldn't think need their name to be out there," Beyrodt said. "Companies are realizing that having name recognition, there's a value to that, even in companies where your business isn't necessarily coming from someone seeing your name."
Still, some companies prefer to take a more low-key approach to their high-profile digs.
For instance, T. Rowe Price, an anchor company downtown for decades, has never displayed its name atop the 100 E. Pratt St. headquarters that's home to 1,300 workers and where the financial company plans to stay through 2027. There are no plans to change that, said Brian Lewbart, a spokesman.
"It's a decision the firm has made," he said, declining to elaborate.
Interest in office tower signage downtown has picked up, however, along with the pace of development and redevelopment, said Anthony Cataldo, a design planner in the city's Planning Department. Signage in planned unit developments is subject to Planning Commission approval. Outside of such developments, signs below a roofline must meet zoning requirements governing size.
"We're seeing that if there's a major tenant in a building that they do want sort of a brand identity visible," Cataldo said. "We're seeing a lot more development picking up in recent years. The ability for one tenant to sign a downtown building seems to be a desirable marketing tool."
There's also been especially strong interest in raising the identity of the businesses in the business district because of the high visibility of a downtown on the waterfront, he said.
So far, signage on office towers has not gotten out of hand, Cataldo said, thanks to urban renewal plans that guard against "the fear of urban planners everywhere, that signage will take over."
"It is a very fine line," he said, "allowing private entities to have their ability to express themselves, while contributing to a larger city atmosphere."