A lot of questions go into picking the perfect visuals for your sign – picking the right sign font should be one of the first considerations you make when planning your next signage project.
When you’re designing your signage, whether that be storefront signage, construction signage, directional signage, or anything in between, your first instinct might be to make it as loud as possible. After all, you want your message to be heard. But sometimes, loud isn’t good enough. Picking a sign that is confusing or impossible to read makes it essentially a decorative motif rather than a functional or practical object.
In this blog, we explore why sign font choices are just as important as the way they are depicted. In some cases, it is even required by law. Read on, as we see why sign font choices matter.
Do Sign Font Choices Matter?
In short, yes. The objective of any sign should be to get across a message. Whether that means driving street traffic to your brick-and-mortar store, informing visitors where to park, or even where they can and can’t do, signage exists to inform. The font you select may be bold or understated, but an illegible sign is as good as having no sign at all.
The three guiding principles of sign font choices should center around visibility, clarity, and readability.
First and foremost, a font must be legible. While your logo may include aestheticized text, including additional text that informs the viewer what your business does can help them ensure that they know they’re making the right choice before entering your store. For instance, consider an Italian bistro. An elaborate cursive sign that serves as a logo might look beautiful, but unless this can be read or clearly indicate the purpose of the storefront, it offers little to onlookers.
The more words that are included on your sign, the clearer the font needs to be. Using sans serif fonts, those without flourishes and only include straight lines, tend to be the easiest to read. While signs should intentionally communicate only the essential information of your business, sometimes additional wordage is needed to delineate the intent of your business. Keep your messages short, and when you have more to say, ensure that the font is simple to read.
Finally, your font choice must be visible no matter where it is being read. Whether a person is quickly strolling by your store on the street, or reading more elaborate text on a train, people should be able to read it from close up, far away, or at an angle. Make sure that the color selection has good contrast so it isn’t challenging to see.
Different Signs Need Different Fonts
Depending on the type of sign you are creating, different font choices are recommended. In some instances, like ADA compliant signage, font selection is highly regulated to ensure maximum readability. What signs require which fonts?
Storefront signage, for instance, should be loud and clear. Along with compelling visuals that draw in customers, the font needs to indicate what is being offered. While this kind of signage can be more adventurous in font selection, it must be legible – no Wingdings! Signage might also indicate where the entrance is located, guiding customers to your business. Without this, potential customers may grow frustrated and move onward.
Garage signage should incorporate font and color in a way that teaches people where they left their vehicle. Nothing is more embarrassing than entering a big mall and forgetting what floor you parked your car, and it can make for a vexing experience that might deter future business. Indicating floors by color and easily legible font can help teach people where they parked before they have to press the alarm button on their car keys.
In the case of ADA signage compliance, the font you select is of utmost importance – failing to abide by their rules can lead to fines or even lawsuits. In this case, only a handful of fonts are pre-approved, and they must clearly indicate information.
Haunted by Font? Call Bishop Image Group
Signage design can be a tricky business if you don’t know what to look for. Thankfully, experts like Bishop Image Group can guide you along the way on your timeline. Our design team can collaborate with your team, or help you with the whole project. Regardless of how you decide to go about it, we are ready and able to assist. Contact us for more information about our services.