Signs and posters
What does the law say?
Signage, posters and fixed signs amd products should be written at least in Catalan (article 32.3 of Law 1/1998 on linguistic policy, and articles 128.1 and 211.5 of Law 22/2010 on the Consumer Code).
The following signs and posters should be written in Catalan:
- Business activity signs (for example, the sign outside indicating the type of establishment: jewellers, restaurant, furniture, travel agency....)
- Lists of prices and services
- Signage and indications (entrance and exit, opening hours, departmental indications ...)
- Product or service information signs (whenever there is a price )
- All other fixed signage (temporary posters such as seasonal advertising are therefore not included)
The obligation to use Catalan does not apply to establishment names, since they are trademarks. Accordingly, identification signs may have a generic part (for example, Italian restaurant) and another specific part (Trastevere). The law only applies to the generic part of the establishment's name when it is used alone and is not protected by industrial property laws.
The use of Catalan on signs is also specified in other regulations applying the provisions of Law 1/1998 on linguistic policy.
There are also various obligations in other Catalan-speaking territories:
- Valencian Community: Article 1 of Decree 145/1986 of the Government of Valencia establishes the obligation to use Catalan on signs in some very specific aspects that may apply to certain companies: signage on motorways, roads, paths, railway and bus stations, commercial ports, ports of refuge and marinas, facilities, and services of public interest reporting to the Government of Valencia or Local Organisations in the Valencian Community and any services that these organisations operate under concession.
- The use of Catalan in signage is not only compulsory on fixed posters but also on all company signs or establishment signs, where it must enjoy a pre-eminent position. This is provided for Article 15 of the Law regulating the use of the official language of the Principality of Andorra.
There are also obligations pertaining to the use of Catalan in occupational signage. For further information, see the section on Company Internal relations and Relations with other interest groups.
What would a good practice be in this regard?
- In addition to the applicable legal provisions, all posters (fixed, variable or seasonal and even sporadic notices and luminous advertising and information panels) should be at least in Catalan.
- If bilingual or multilingual signs or posters are used, or double or triple posters or signs in various languages, the Catalan text should always appear in a prominent and/or in a pre-eminent position.