A Quick Secret for More Effective Signs
What is wrong with this sign?
Nothing obvious, right? Clear font, strong background contrast.
So what is the problem? The problem is that the sign utilizes ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. And here is a hot tip – using all capital letters makes a sign less legible than a mixture of capital and lower case letters. This applies to all signage types – not just channel letters.
As stated in a signage industry reference book: “the reason for that is that the portions of the letter which extend above or below the main letter body give many words a recognizable profile or shape, even when the reader is unable to bring the actual word into clear focus. This is particularly important when a sign is to be read from a distance. Upper case words have little or no distinctive variations from a distance, while lower-case letters create recognizable shapes even when blurred.”1 The Government has recognized this principle as well, and is now requiring future highway signage to use a combination of upper and lower case lettering.
Here is an example from Brandon industries blog: Their blog post cites data which states signs using mixed-case text are approximately 15% easier to read than signs with upper case text only.
Why not use that info to make your client’s channel letter sign more effective? If they submit a design to you using ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, suggest that they change it to a caps/lower case mix. That will produce better signage results.
1. Charles R. Taylor, Thomas A. Claus and Susan L. Claus, On-Premise Signs as Storefront Marketing Devices and Systems, (The Signage Foundation, P.O. Box 30, South Bend, IN 46624) 9.8 and 9.9.