It's The Little Things | Fonts & Signage
Updated: Jun 9
We have signs all around us while walking down the street, riding the bus, or stepping into the mall. But how many signs have you seen where something about it just makes you not want to take the time to read it? Or how many took too long to read or were hard to read from a distance? I know, us at Apollo, have seen our fair share of bad signage. Often bad signage is caused by the words and fonts on the sign. So today we are going to share some tips for having a good sign.
Number of words
The less words the better. Having less words makes your signage more visible and legible, so the sign is easier to read at a glance. Avoiding unnecessary words makes for less cluttered signage and, therefore, signage that is easier to read from a distance. Use the five-second rule: if your sign can convey the main information in five seconds, it passes the test.
If you find your sign looks cluttered there are two things you can do. First, get rid of any words that aren't needed. Then, if it still looks too full, increase your amount of whitespace on your sign. Studies state that having a sign that is 30-40% whitespace is ideal. These tips can help you clean up the clutter.
Many people believe that if words are put in ALL CAPITALS then it must be easier to read. This myth is not true though. Having sentences in all capitals has been found to be quite confusing to ESL readers. If you are a central Vancouver business, it is important to take this into consideration. Visual tests have also concluded that Upper And Lower Case Text is easier to read than only capitals.
In general, you normally never use more than two different fonts in a design. Make sure both fonts are easy to read from a distance. Crisp and clean fonts are easier to read quickly than handwriting and scribble fonts.
To determine font size, decide what distance your signage will be viewed at. Generally, you want to increase the font by one inch for every 10 feet from the sign.