Wanting to take some photos of my hometown recently, something did not feel right. I was unable to take a good shot of its used-to-be-charming old town streets; landscape of ugly and oversized banners, greyish air-conditioning units, and cheap-looking doors shattered my sight every time I looked through my lens. I was incapable of taking a pleasing photo without having to crop every single image. In the past this was not the case. Having stayed in Dubrovnik, Croatia over the weekend I was pleased with how they have managed their street ads and outdoor displays. Walking through beautiful and picturesque Dubrovnik feels like music to one’s ears. Namely, outdoor objects and signs have been regulated through the Decision on Communal Order (Odluka o komunalnom redu). This decision has, among other things, structured outdoor displays and advertisements, and banned visible satellite dishes and air-conditioning units. The same Decision has also regulated the look of doors and shutters. These rules have pressed some of the old town residents to move outside of the old town walls into their new, modern and less-regulated homes on the outskirts. However, this article focuses on the positive aspects of the aforementioned Decision. UNESCO protected Dubrovnik has smartly and aestheticly managed its jungle of outdoor information through neat, dark-red textile strips, seen on the photos below, that have been strategically placed throughout the town – they contain names of restaurants, shops and other businesses that are located on a particular street. This type of outdoor advertisement looks good and stylish, and goes hand in hand with monumental old town; we applaud Dubrovnik for making it a reality and encourage nearby towns on the Adriatic coast to copy, modify and implement this practice. Most Central and Eastern European towns and cities have not mastered the art of skilful outdoor advertisement neither.
Outdoor advertisement is necessary. However, towns and cities should remember that a backdrop of differently sized and colorful signs capturing pedestrians’ attention is not the most attractive sight. Thus, they should offer and seek more creative and technically advanced solutions.Distinctively, German towns and cities lead by example always appealing to one’s eye due to regulated communal areas.