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Keys to Increasing Sign Visibility

April 26, 2019

Good sign visibility helps attract new patrons to establishments. It’s also one of the most important factors that helps reduce traffic accidents. By following federal safety standards and inspecting signs periodically, it’s possible to keep traffic orderly and safe. Here are important factors for ensuring sign visibility day or night.

Size and Dimensions

The most important measurements of a sign for business owners and officials to consider are size and dimensions. The design is planned in a CAD software program then applied during the manufacturing process. Letters should be at least one inch tall for drivers and pedestrians to see from twenty-five feet away, assuming you use a standard font. In general the fancier the font, the larger the letters must be in order to be understood from a distance.

Location and Angle

Engineeris must calculate the distance a driver needs to see a sign in order to safely respond in time. At a speed of 30 mph, for example, a sign needs to be visible at a distance of about 400 feet. Scientists need to run tests to measure distances for sufficient visibility when deciding to post a new sign. The angle of the sign makes a big difference in whether it can be seen by drivers and pedestrians at each corner of an intersection.

For business signs unique angles may provide favorable results, especially at an intersection where all other signs are predictably placed. Signs placed at diagonal angles in relation to the street have the advantage of being seen by people from more than one direction.

Luminance and Contrast

The best scenario for contributing to safe driving at night is to provide LED lighting near the sign. The two other common methods for illuminating a sign at night are mounting a lamp or using an electronic device with a digital display that emits light. Since some cities are beginning to put limits on sign brightness, you should check with your local government to comply with regulations.

The background color of the sign will also contribute to the readability of the message. Black works well to make white letters stand out and comply with federal standards. While traffic signs must conform to MUTCD standards when it comes to colors, business signs do not have color requirements. At the same time, it’s important to realize that certain dark colors on vinyl do not show up well at night.


Improving sign visibility comes down to inspections, materials, and placement. Whether you need traffic or business signs, they must be visible to people from several feet away. Here at Zumar, we produce eye-catching custom signage that will draw the attention you need. Contact Zumar at our Arizona, California, or Washington office for more information.

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