Fonts and Spacing for Visibility on Signs

  • An important factor that will make or break the legibility of your sign is the font of the words on it and their spacing. The effectiveness of a sign greatly depends on the relationship between the colours, size and especially font of the message being read. 
  • As more intricate fonts are chosen, the larger the size of the font and spacing will need to be to maintain legibility from the same distance. With a larger font, the space restrictions of your sign will need to be reflected in the length of the message. Thus it is important to ensure that there is a balance between the size, length and spacing of your message to ensure the message is as effective as possible. 
  • Some major font mistakes that you can avoid to make your sign more effective are:

  1. The use of intricate script fonts versus block letters: Script fonts are much more difficult to read especially when used in long sentences and lengthy descriptions. Even if the name of the organization is in a different font, simple block letters will be best for readers. Script fonts are difficult to read especially in longer phrases and in different colours. They are exponentially more difficult to read when the message is in all capitals or uses a lot of symbols.
  2. Using all capital letters: Though capital letters cover a greater area than lowercase letters and are ‘bigger’, they are not always easier to read. The use of both upper and lower case letters rather than just uppercase maximizes the visibility if the text from a distance rather than solely uppercase letters.
  3. Kerning: Kerning refers to the spacing between the letters in a word. With most fonts, uppercase letters are designed to fit best beside lowercase letters and thus the spacing between multiple uppercase letters in a row tends to look disjointed and have less flow.

  • It will be much more effective to use the organization’s font for headings and titles while using a serif or sans serif font for phrases and sentences.