You probably pass hundreds of signs every day – on your way to work, the gym, the grocery store, to get the kids from school – they’re literally everywhere. Have you given any thought to the science that goes into signs? There’s actually a tremendous amount of research that’s been conducted on all of the factors that make up effective, and ineffective, signage. The United States Sign Council (USSC) has conducted several studies and put together recommendations for creating the ideal sign.
It’s important to partner with a sign company that is going to do more than just take an order for a sign, make it, and install it. The sign company you work with needs to be willing to take the time to really understand your business. It’s critical for the sign designer to understand the message you’re trying to communicate as well as the audience you’ll be targeting. Factors such as letter size, color, and font are only a few of the factors designers will consider. The USSC has gone well beyond these and put out recommendations based on the speed vehicles will be traveling at, the complexity of the driving situation, the amount of viewer reaction time & distance, as well as the amount of “negative” (unused space) on the sign. With all these items impacting the effectiveness of your signage, having someone help guide the decision can be critical for the best end results.
Let’s consider just two of the areas that a sign designer will review: size and color of letters. The size of the letters you select for your sign will vary depending on how close the sign is to the road, is it for foot traffic vs highway traffic vs city traffic, and how much time is your viewing audience going to have to take in the information. Take a look at this chart that the USSC uses to make recommendations for letter sizing.
Viewing Distance – Minimum Letter Height
100’ – 4” letters
250’ – 10” letters
360’ – 16” letters
500’ – 22” letters
750’ – 33” letters
1000’ – 43” letters
1320’ – 57” letters
To give you a point of reference 360’ is roughly a city block. So if you want drivers to see your signage from a block away when they’re stopped at a red light, make your letters 16” high. Another interesting fact about sizing, that the USSC found through their research, is that letter height should be increased by 15% if the sign will be all capital letters vs a combination of capital and lower case letters, which are easier to discern.
Now let’s move into color selection for your signage. The USSC found in their research that changing the letter color and background color makes a major impact on visibility. They found that the combination of a green background color with yellow letters was visible from the furthest distance, while the combination of a black background color with white letters had the shortest visibility distance. In both cases these were for external signs only. Other combinations such as white background with black letters or blue backgrounds with yellow letters fell in between.
With so many things to consider, and so much research having been done, it’s worth the investment to utilize the skills of a professional designer. Infinity Signs NW has designers who will take the time to get to know your business and make recommendations for all areas of your signage. We value your business and don’t want to see you waste large sums of money on signs that simply won’t provide any ROI.