How to use a Letter Visibility Chart

a view of a sign from the road

The number one reason we put up signs is to communicate information to people.

Whether it’s exterior building signage with your logo, interior signage pointing out the restrooms, or road signs telling people to turn, they all exist to communicate important information. This means each sign must be easy to read, no matter the location.

We hear from clients all the time that they wasted money on signage that was unreadable or did not communicate as clearly as they needed it to.

To prevent this, we rely on the Letter Visibility Chart – the number one tool our designers use to make sure your signage works as intended. While our visibility chart focuses on letters, it applies to symbols, icons, logos and graphics as well.

Here’s how we break it down.


Location Location Location

Before we design any signage, we need to know where the sign is going. Inside on a wall, meant to be read from just a few feet away from the viewer? We can go small. Outside on a busy highway, however, we need to think big, bold and high contrast.

On the letter visibility chart, you can see both a breakdown on letter height to distance, and how long your letters are readable from a moving vehicle.


Color Concerns

There are certain color combinations that are low contrast, making them hard to read (think blue letters on a green background), or worse – they’ll hurt your eyes when you see them together (ie: Vibration).

If you’ve gone through the branding process, your designer should have given you a full color pallet. If signage wasn’t taken into consideration, we can help make sure your signage is both on brand and readable.

On the Letter Visibility Chart, you can see just a few examples of hard-to-read color combinations – but there are many more.

A good designer is highly trained in using color to communicate clearly without compromising readability, but it’s still a good idea to have our team check the design to make sure it can still be easily read.




The Bottom Line

A sign is only effective when you can read it. Using our Letter Visibility Chart, it’s easy to tell if your sign design works or not. At SignSmiths, we take the extra time to make sure your signage looks great and communicates clearly.

Have questions about using the visibility chart to design your signage? Give us a call today!