outdoor banners

Correct Letter Heights

Whether you are considering a vinyl banner, car sign, or window graphics, the size of your letters should be a key consideration. Letters that are too large can feel obnoxious; those that are too small will not have enough impact on your audience.

Letter Visibility

This chart gives you a good starting point for the purposes of designing your sign. You can also go by the rule of thumb that each inch of letter gives 10 feet of visibility for maximum impact – so a 5” letter can be read 50’ away.

Location

Where your sign will be located also tells you how far away most people will be from the sign when they see it. The farther away your audience is, the larger your letter will need to be to attract attention.

Color and Contrast

Although the letter visibility chart gives you a good starting point, a few more factors need to be considered before committing to a final design. One of these is the amount of contrast in your sign between the letters and the background. A higher contrast sign (such as black and white) is going to have better visibility that one with lower contrast (such as grey and red). If you choose a lower contrast design you may need larger letters to ensure your sign is visible from the appropriate distance.

Here are the best color combinations for contrast and readability:

  • Black on yellow
  • Black on white
  • Yellow on black
  • White on black
  • Blue on white

However, also consider the environment where your sign will be located; you want the colors of your sign (specifically the background) to contrast with the surroundings. For example, if your sign was going up on a red brick wall a red background would result in your sign blending into the wall, a white or yellow background would make your sign more noticeable.

Correct Letter Heights 2

Font

The type of font chosen for your design has an effect on the visibility of your sign. Thin or script fonts are more difficult to read than solid fonts with wider strokes. You can test out different fonts at home by printing them and hanging them on a wall. Typically, unless the script or thin font is associated with your brand, it would be advisable to choose a thicker font for your primary message.

With that in mind, here are the top 20 most popular fonts for signs:

1. Helvetica
2. Futura
3. Grammond
4. Bodoni
5. Frutiger
6. Trajan Bold
7. Myriad (Apple’s corporate font)
8. Minion
9. Bembo
10. Baskerville
11. Rockwell
12. Verdana
13. Franklin Gothic
14. Times New Roman
15. Gills Sans
16. Univers
17. Clarendon
18. FF Din
19. Avenir
20. Warnock Pro

Final Tip: Keep it Simple

Simple, well designed signs have the most impact. Try to keep your message straightforward, don’t try to cram too much information into your sign, you want to attract attention and encourage people to take the next step, whether it’s to call, check out your website, or come in for a visit. When in doubt, seek the services of a professional graphic designer for tips and advice.

Are you considering outdoor banners to promote your business or next special event. If so… there’s a couple of thing you’ll need to consider.

  • What information do you need on it? (It’s not a brochure, keep it simple!!)
  • Do you want pictures or images to be included?
  • How far away is your intended audience?

Be sure to keep the amount of copy on your vinyl banner to a minimum. In most cases your prospect will be driving by and you want to catch their attention.  People often feel they need to cram every piece of information about their company on the banner filling every white spice. White space actually improves readability!!

If your using images you’ll need to make sure they are suitable for enlarging. Grabbing a 1″ x1″ image off the internet that’s 72dpi won’t produce a great result!!  If you’ve got a high resolution image (300 dpi) that’s 8″ x 10″ your can use our Photoshop technique for enlarging images.

Deciding on the size of your outdoor banners and the size of the lettering will depend on how far away your reader is. Is your banner on the top of an eight story building or 30′ feet away from the road at ground level? Large letters don’t always mean better legibility, your letters need an adequate amount of white space around them to create contrast. Placing letters to close together or to close to the edge will greatly reduce readability. Below is a letter visibility chart that you can use as a guideline for developing the content for your vinyl banner.

Maximun Readable Distance Readable Distance for Maximum Impact Letter Height
100′
30′
3″
150′
40′
4″
200′
60′
6″
350′
80′
8″
400′
90′
9″
450′
100′
10″
525′
120′
12″
630′
150′
15″
750′
180′
18″
1000′
240′
24″
1250′
300′
30″
1500′
360′
36″
1750′
420′
42″
2000′
480′
48″
2250′
540′
54″
2500′
600′
60″