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​What Are the Best Fonts For Signs?

​What Are the Best Fonts For Signs?

Posted by Ray G. on 22nd Oct 2019

Legible Fonts Equal Profitable Business Signage

In the ever-changing world of marketing, the production of signs and banners still remain a successful and easy way to reach a large number of potential clients and customers at one time. Since there are many different types of fonts for banners and signs, it is important to make a distinction between the fonts that work best for small marketing materials and the best fonts for  business signs that are large and will potentially be viewed from a distance. The ideal fonts will provide excellent visibility and work well with the intended message of the design.

Types of Fonts To Avoid

When deciding on the most visible fonts for signs, consideration should be made about the size of the strokes on the letters. Fonts that contain thin lines might be suitable for handouts, flyers or emails but tend to disappear when viewed from a distance. These types of fonts can sometimes be bold to improve visibility, but in many cases should be avoided entirely.

Similarly, fonts that are script-based are beautiful for detailing invitations or small marketing items, but are best avoided in large marketing materials due to legibility issues. Ideally, the chosen font should be clear and legible from a distance but still read just as well when viewed more closely.

Style Changes For Emphasis

Choosing the best fonts for signs involves more than just the typeface selection. Once the actual font has been selected, modifications can be made to make the font more visible on the sign and more enticing to potential customers or clients. During the design process, play with capitalization to see if certain world look better in all capitals, but try not to overuse this technique or the words will not be emphasized as intended. Italics and underlining, when used properly, can enhance certain parts of the sign but should be checked for legibility when enlarged. Bold words can also improve visibility, especially with fonts that contain thin strokes.

Color Choices and Contrast

When a sign is designed around a logo, the logo itself can be used as a jumping-off point for the font color scheme. Smart overall color choices can be effective for the visibility of a sign and help it gain attention, but the font color specifically plays an important role in the legibility of the font on a grand scale.

Of particular importance is the use of contrasting colors between the font and the background. Even the most well-thought-out font and text choices will get lost in the overall design if they do not properly contrast with the background. Dark or bold backgrounds call for text in a lighter shade and the converse also holds true.

Another font color consideration is the use of bold and bright colors to draw attention to the sign. This technique is particularly useful if the background is of a solid, neutral color or if the font is outlined in a contrasting shade. Using the principles of a color wheel and thinking about complementary colors can help with the color scheme of a successful sign design.

Themed Fonts

Although it might be tempting to use an unusual font, it is typically more appropriate and professional to use ones that focus on being easy to read. When typical fonts are used in a creative way in the design, they still come across as different and eye-catching to the consumer. The intended customer base as well as the brand of business will also dictate font choice, as some fonts are considered more professional than others. Make sure the font and overall design of the sign matches the intended formality of the company presentation.

Using Multiple Fonts

Some signs use only a few large words and in those cases only one font choice needs to be made. If the sign has more wording, sometimes multiple fonts are used or the same font in different sizes. Some fonts, though aesthetically pleasing when used alone, do not work well when used together. It is important to examine how multiple fonts flow together instead of picking them separately and hoping the finished result is as intended.

Font Examples

A vast array of fonts now exist for marketing use, but some are still considered some of the best fonts for signs and are always solid options. Depending on the project formality, some individuals prefer serif fonts for more formal writing and sans-serif fonts for more casual presentations. The choice comes down to the overall look of the sign or banner project and the cohesiveness with the chosen font with the other elements of the sign, such as graphics, logos or color. Some fonts are used frequently enough in signage they are included with most programs and are considered a safe bet.

  • Arial
  • Times New Roman
  • Helvetica
  • Garamond
  • Futura
  • Bodini

Choosing the best font for a custom sign for a business can be a cumbersome process, but it doesn’t need to be. Using a few tips and tricks such as paying attention to size, color and interaction between font choices can help make the process easier to manage.

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