Even if you are just adding a text-only sign to your digital display or are posting a basic banner or flag, you must consider your text. Learning how to choose fonts for signage is both an artistic and strategic choice and the font you choose will vary greatly when posting to printed signs versus digital signs. Here are the top factors to consider when choosing fonts for signs and displays.
Your Branded Font May Not Work
To create a cohesive look and feel, you may gravitate toward your branded font. This might be the font you use for your logo or the font you use on smaller printed items such as your business card, brochures, letterhead, flyers, website, or even your email signature.
However, this same font may not work for oversized signs. Whether a printed poster, outdoor banner, or LED—the font you choose for your signs will need to be clean, crisp, and easy to read. To achieve this objective, you must think beyond font style to the size, scale, and factors below.
If your sign is promotional, the goal is to deliver the visual and text message from as far away as possible. This means crisp text that contrasts with its background. There are all sorts of color theories you can explore, but most signs utilize black, white, red, yellow, or blue font. You may have additional color elsewhere on your sign, such as an image or graphic, but ensure you have a stark contrast with your font.
If your sign is informative or designed to be something readers walk up to, such as the rules at the pool, your font can be smaller. Still choose a larger than average font so that readers can stand at least a foot or two away to read your signage. Also, to allow multiple people to read at once. So, the font size should be at least 16, larger for headings.
Lines Of Text
The text on most promotional signs should be short, sweet, and to the point. However, you may have more impact if you post your text on more than one line. Multiple lines may be required as part of the design or to improve messaging. For example, most banners have one huge line of text stating “Grand Opening” or two powerful lines stating “Annual Clearance Sale” on the first line and “Everything Must Go” on the second line. The font on each line can be different colors and different sizes but is typically the same font.
We’ll talk a bit about negative space below, but the less negative space the cleaner and crisper your font will need to be. When selecting a font for displays, consider that block-like or chunky fonts may be difficult to read on multi-line signs. To ensure readability consider:
- Testing virtual renderings of different fonts
- Adding an additional space between each word
- Not writing in bold font
- Capitalizing the first letter of every word
- Writing in all lowercase
- Adding a border around the text
Ensure Negative Space
In addition to contrast, create as much negative space as possible, especially for text-only signs. In some cases, this will mean choosing a slightly smaller font or ordering a sign a bit larger than you had originally planned on.
If the sign has an image or graphic too, keep text to a minimum and aim to tell your story or deliver your message with powerful imagery and text that is creative but minimal.
Most oversized signs have 8 words or less.
How To Choose Fonts For Signage—Printed
Cursive and artsy fonts are typically too difficult to read when printed in an oversized font, so stick with something simple. This doesn’t mean that you can’t create a stylized look and feel, just that you may not choose the same font you would use if you were creating a smaller printed item.
Some of the top fonts for printed signage include:
- Franklin Gothic
How To Choose Fonts For Signage—Digital
You can ignore most of the tips above if you have a digital sign! Why? Because the vibrant LEDs minimize the need for these readability tips. Even the most basic LED scrolling sign has 38 different character features to choose from. More advanced LEDs have even more font options.
In terms of contrast and negative space, fill the screen and utilize the contrast of the black screen or create an LED-colored background with a contrasting top text color. Speaking of color, LED signs with full HD video and image capabilities have over 1.7 billion color combinations to choose from!
Most brands stick with standard, black, white, red, yellow, and blue when designing their digital signs, but feel free to experiment with your text and design colors.
Hire A Designer
Now you know how to choose fonts for signage, but you’re not alone if you still feel a bit overwhelmed. To simplify things, hire a sign designer. Not just any designer or artist, but someone who specializes in the type of sign design you are looking for. For example, not all designers provide digital sign design or oversized billboard design as both are a specialty skill set.
Even if it’s just a text-only sign, a designer can help you determine the look and feel. You may be able to replicate the text-only signs they design using the same font and color combinations but just updating the text.
Want To Learn More About Upgrading To An LED Sign?
Were in a DIY day and age where businesses across every industry want to complete more of their designing and messaging in-house. By upgrading to an LED sign, you don’t have to stress as much about how to choose fonts for signage as all fonts provided with your software will stand out. As an added benefit, you can post your LED sign inside or outside, pre-schedule messages, alternate messages, update your sign in real-time, and more. Reach out to Mega LED Technology today to discuss your custom sign design!