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City of Boston Banner Program

The banner season in the City of Boston runs from March 15 through December 15.

We approve organizations who want to use official City of Boston banners. Participants must represent and promote City-based nonprofits, or cultural, civic, or major events and programs of significance.

If you have questions, or want to submit a request, please call 617-635-4911. We have more information about banner specifics and eligibility information below.

About the program

Official Requests

Official requests for a banner must include:

  • a description of the campaign and its sponsors
  • a proposed list of poles
  • a proposed draft of the banner, and
  • proposed dates of installation and de-installation.
 
Minimum Time for Review:

You must submit your request to the City for review at least 30 days before the proposed installation date.

Maximum Time for Review:

You cannot submit a request to the City for review more than 90 days before the proposed installation date.

Eligibility Categories:

For-Profit Banners for City-Based Special Events:

You're promoting a special event to be held in the City of Boston.

Nonprofit event with for-profit sponsorship:

This designation would be for a certified 501 (c) organization promoting special events of general interest to Boston residents and tourists. This category would include:

  • the arts
  • museums, and
  • various charities who depend on sponsorship for promotion of their scheduled events and charitable causes. 
City Banners:

Requests for these banners would be initiated by the Mayor’s Office. They bring recognition to, or provide information concerning, services and programs in Boston.

Neighborhood Banners:

These banners are displayed in local business areas. They enhance and promote the community in which they are displayed.

Wayfinding Banners:

These banners identify the entrance into a particular district of the City. Examples include the Theatre District, a historical district, or an adjacent nonprofit, like a university or hospital area.

All potential banner graphic designs need to be submitted before receiving final Public Works approval. All banners need to be double sided. They can be displayed on either:

  • small poles (banner measurements 24-inch width by 48-inch height), or
  • large poles (banner measurements 30-inch width by 48-inch height).

Learn about the process

Learn about the process
Fabrication of Banners:

After your design is approved, we strongly recommend considering the durability and color fastness for your potential banners. 

Banners to be displayed must be:

  • double-sided, and
  • have two banners to a pole, with each banner measuring 31 by 60 inches with a 4-inch hem top and bottom.

Banner fabric must meet Boston Fire Department Code. The type of fabric chosen for the banners is the responsibility of the applicant.

Banner Installation:

Applicants must contract with a private contractor bonded with Public Works for the:

  • installation
  • maintenance and
  • removal of the banners.

The installer must submit a certificate of insurance listing the City of Boston as additionally insured for any and all work performed by the contractor and their employees. The installing contractor needs to also provide Public Works an emergency contact (name and phone number).

Specifications for City-Approved Banner Hardware:
  • Support brackets: Tempered aluminum castings
  • Stainless steel strappings and buckles
  • Removable fiberglass arm

Please note: The City of Boston does NOT provide the hardware for banners. It is the responsibility of the private bonded contractor hired for installation. 

The banner design should be artistic in nature and represent the civic event, nonprofit, or charity being promoted. At least one side of the banner should be largely graphic artwork. The other side of the banner may contain a message concerning the event and the sponsor’s name (if applicable).

If the sponsor’s name is on one of the banners, it will be positioned on the lower 10% of the banner. The company's slogan or telephone number is NOT permitted anywhere on the banner. On each pair of banners, the design should include “City of Boston” and the Mayor’s name as a footer in the lower 10%.

You need to submit a 8 ½ by 11-inch color graphic of the proposed banner no less than 60 days before the scheduled event. The graphic will be reviewed by the Mayor's Office and the Public Works Department. We review the graphic for appropriate content and layout.

Should the submitted graphic not meet the required standards, you will be contacted by a member of Public Works with suggested changes. 

Most nonprofits lack the necessary funding for self-promotion. They rely heavily on commercial entities for advertising support. As such, the City of Boston allows commercial sponsorship to exist on public property. However, we have an obligation to protect the integrity and quality of life for our residents, visitors, and business owners. We will only allow banners that reflect responsible, positive messaging. Therefore, the City will not accept applications that are sponsored by:

  • tobacco-related products
  • alcohol
  • pharmaceuticals
  • gambling, including government-owned lotteries
  • firearms
  • sexually explicit products, and
  • political campaigns or related agendas.

It is not the intent of the banner program to:

  • advertise individual businesses, or
  • sell recommended merchandise, products, or services of the sponsor.

We reserve the right to refuse the participation of any sponsor whose merchandise, product, or service does not:

  • advance the image of the City of Boston, or
  • promote the health and well-being of the public.
For-Profit Events in the City of Boston:

The rental fee for a 30-day time period of display is $50 per pole.

Non-Profit Events with For-Profit Sponsor Recognition:

The rental fee for a 30-day time period of display is $50 per pole.

City Banners, Neighborhood Banners, and
Wayfinding Banners with no Sponsor Recognition:

The City reserves the right as owner of the property to waive the $50 rental fee per 30 days in these instances. However, the community will be expected to buy and maintain their own bracket system approved by the City. 

Please note: As of June 1, 2021, the City of Boston will charge the contractor or installer the applicable rental charges. All other billing aspects would be between the client and contractor.

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