When a client places an order for a sign, banner or billboard that you instinctively know is likely to be controversial or shocking, what do you do? Do you produce such an order without question or do you exercise some degree of censorship?

Controversial messages have in the past included a wide range of topics including religion, politics, pedophilia, food, abortion, climate, and a host of other topics around which strong views exist. Aside from your personal view on any of the topics subject of a customer’s order, what might influence you to accept or decline the order?

Does your shop have guidelines regarding the subject matter of potential orders? Do you consider the impact on staff members expected to work on the signs and who may have strong  views on certain controversial topics? What about the impact on some customers? What about the reputation of your shop? Are you forced by law to accept orders you’d rather not?

Subject to any legal obligations imposed upon you in your particular jurisdiction, it may be wise to develop guidelines for staff and customers in which you make clear your shop’s position on certain topics. This could help avoid the potential of embroiling your shop in controversy, not only with the public or interest groups but also officialdom.