The most popular guideline for determining the proper sign and banner font size is to make them at least one inch (72 pt.) tall for every 10 feet of viewing distance. As for specific font sizes, according to the James Madison University School of Media Arts & Design, 1 point (pt) is roughly equivalent to 1/72th of an inch.
Banner font sizes should be as big as you need them to be. As a matter of fact, you might want to decide on your banner size only after you’ve figured out the banner font size. If you want your banner’s core message to be readable, you need to make sure its font size is larger than the font sizes of any less crucial information you have on the banner.
|Letter Height||Font Size Equivalent||Best Legibility||Recommended Maximum Distance|
For the best readability for your signs, banners and other large format advertising materials, refer to the chart below.
|Reading Distance||Minimum Comfortable Font Size||Comments|
|1.2 feet||8 points||Typical reading distance for books and magazines. At this distance, 10, 11, or 12 points are the most popular|
|2.4 feet||16 points||This is the closest comfortable distance for reading a large poster.|
|5.0 feet||32 points||When your banner isn’t easily accessible, such as when the area is roped off or hung at a high vantage point, you need to make the font size even bigger.|
|25.0 feet||160 points||For almost any setting, you want a title that can be read from at least this far away.|
Generally speaking, the most crucial messages on your signs and banners have to be the largest, and therefore the easiest to read. The further away the expected viewing distance is, the bigger the letters -- and your sign -- should be.
Note that letter size isn’t everything. The following factors will also affect your banner’s overall readability:
Banners and signs are popular products to use for cafe and restaurant menu boards as well as price and notification boards for other small businesses such as laundromats. You can assume that these will be read indoors, or at least at close distance, at probably much less than 100 feet. You can have your main text between 72 pt. (approximately 1” tall) and 216 pt. (approximately 3” tall). You can use any header font size, so long as it’s larger than your main text and looks proportional.
These large format materials are also a good way to share slogans or any other message in public. This makes yard signs and banners popular with advertising agencies and suitable for for political campaigns and for any type of advocacy. 216 pt. (3” tall) is a good starting point for main text for yard signs and banners that are meant to be legible from about 30 to 100 feet. You can increase the size to 432 pt. (6” tall) or more if you want more visibility for drivers or just want your sign’s message seen from further away. You can refer to our recommended font size chart above.
Unlike banners and yard signs, display boards typically have some detailed text. For the main headers, you will want to follow the same general guidelines as you would for menu boards. Chances are your display board will be less than 100 feet away from readers. In these cases, you can have your header text between 72 pt. (1” tall) and 216 pt. (3” tall), increasing the size if more visibility is desired.
You can go much smaller on the main text. If your readers are able to get to within arm’s length (about 1 foot away), 10 pt. or 12 pt. (about the size of the main text in a magazine), may suffice. The further away your readers are, the larger the text will have to be. From a yard or so away, you may want to increase the text size to 16 pt. to 32 pt. If the display area is roped off, or otherwise inaccessible to your readers, you may follow the size and recommended viewing distance guidelines in the chart above.
Your font size should be 108 pt. to print a letter that’s approximately 1.5” tall.
Your font size should be 144 pt. to print a letter that’s approximately 2” tall.
Your font size should be 360 pt. to print a letter that’s approximately 5” tall.
Note: You can blow up letters with small sizes, but this may cause insightly pixelation that could ruin your sign’s readability.
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