ImageFirst News

Sign Visibility - 3 Questions to get you started.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

While local sign ordinances limit some of your decisions when it comes to great sign visibility, there are smart ways to relay your brand’s information to those passing by and/or looking for your business.

Here are 3 questions to answer when determining sign specs based on visibility:

1. What must be on the sign?

Determine the client’s optimal and minimal amount of information that the sign can have in order to attract their customers. Once this is determined you can move forward with flexibility on size, illumination, etc.

2. What type of traffic will be viewing the sign?

The answer to this question allows us to assess the speed of travel for the eyes on the sign. For example pedestrian, bicycle, urban, highway, etc. Each has very unique characteristics. A pedestrian oriented sign and a motorist oriented sign have very different design criteria. The faster the traffic the smaller amount of time to view, so the simpler the better with larger letters, and logos.

3. How much time does it take to process?

Review the line of site from each direction from the sign location with attention to the viewing distance. Can a driver see the sign, read its message, process the information, and make the necessary maneuvers in response to the information? This viewer reaction time with distances is key.  If 3 feet, include your company history. If 30 feet, just a logo or name is ideal. Always keeping in mind individuals with poor vision.

If copy is too small or not legible for the distance or speed of traffic, save your money, don’t put up a sign.

Quick Notes:

Reduced legibility = Reduced visibility

Legibility distance = 85% of visibility distance

Legibility distance at night = 88% of daytime legibility

Lower case letters > Legibility distance than capital letters

Capital letters are seen quicker. Lower case are read quicker.

Inter-letter spacing > Letter and word legibility

Stroke width ⅕ of height of letter = excellent legibility

Pro Tip: Initial capital are best for both the eye to read and the brain to process the information.

Want to take this further and into actual design? Here’s a great video on considerations for sign designs based on visibility.

Can we send you a free visibility pocket reference? Because we will? Just email us and consider it sent.

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