ImageFirst News

3 Elements You Need to Know About Visibility

Friday, October 09, 2015

Many of the decisions relating to visibility are limited by your local sign ordinances, so consult local authorities for this information prior to design. For good visibility, keep three elements in mind:

Speed of Travel:

Identify the type of traffic who will be viewing the sign (sidewalk traffic, downtown vehicles, or highway traffic, for example). Pedestrian oriented and motorist oriented signs have different criteria of design.

Viewer Reaction Time:

This represents the amount of time necessary for a driver to see a sign, read its message, process the information, and make the necessary maneuvers in response to the information.

Viewer Distance:

How far do you plan to display your sign from your viewer? Three feet or thirty feet? Design your sign accordingly, keeping in mind the individual with poor vision, rather than average sight.

Notes On Visibility and Legibility
  • Legibility distance is about 85% of visibility distance. Studies show that visibility and legibility are not independent; conditions which reduce legibility will proportionately reduce visibility.
  • Legibility distance at night is generally only 88% of daytime legibility. This proportion varies depending upon color of lettering and background.
  • Lower case letters have a slightly greater legibility distance than capital letters. Capitals are seen more quickly, but lower case can be read more rapidly, a point to remember when preparing copy for motorist oriented signs.
  • Inter-letter spacing increases letter and word legibility. This is especially important to motorist oriented signs.
  • Stroke width affects legibility, but is related to letter size and spacing. Generally, a stroke width one-fifth (1/5) the height of a letter yields excellent legibility.
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