Best Font Practices for Better Legibility in Trade Show Displays

Determining the ideal font size for signs and banners is commonly advised by ensuring they are at least one inch (72 pt.) tall for every 10 feet of viewing distance. In terms of specific font measurements, the James Madison University School of Media Arts & Design suggests that 1 point (pt) is approximately 1/72th of an inch.

Tailoring the font size of banners to suit your specific requirements is key. In fact, it's recommended to finalize your banner size only after establishing the appropriate font size. To ensure the core message of your banner remains easily readable, prioritize a font size larger than that of any less essential information displayed on the banner.

Font size vs. Legibility Chart

Font size vs. Legibility Chart

Font Size to Inch Conversion Chart

For optimal legibility in your signs, banners, and other expansive advertising materials, consult the chart provided below.

How large should the lettering be on a sign?
In general, the most critical messages on your signs and banners should be the largest for easy readability, especially when the expected viewing distance is greater. As the viewing distance increases, both the letters and the overall size of your sign should proportionately enlarge.

However, letter size is not the sole determinant of readability; other factors play a significant role:

1. Font Style: Non-serifed fonts are generally easier to read from a distance compared to serifed fonts. Consider font styles with moderate letter thickness to avoid readability issues. Professional signage in your vicinity or test signs printed with your home or office printer can guide you in choosing the most effective font styles.

2. Kerning: The spacing between letters, known as kerning, is crucial. Letters placed too closely or too far apart can hinder readability. While computers automatically handle kerning, consulting a graphic designer can help determine optimal distances and prevent the creation of a generic-looking sign.

3. White/Negative Space: Avoid cluttering your sign; maintaining a balance of 40% content (including images) and 60% negative space enhances your banner's message visibility, especially in public spaces where numerous signs and objects vie for attention.

4. Colors: Bright colors like white and red are more attention-grabbing than darker or neutral hues. Ensure sufficient contrast between the text and background colors to enhance text comprehension.

What is an ideal font size for a menu board?
For cafe and restaurant menu boards, as well as price and notification boards for small businesses, main text sizes between 72 pt. (approximately 1" tall) and 216 pt. (approximately 3" tall) are recommended. Header font sizes can vary but should be larger than the main text and proportionate.

What is a suitable font size for political campaign yard signs?
For yard signs and banners intended to be legible from 30 to 100 feet, a main text size starting at 216 pt. (3" tall) is recommended. Increase the size to 432 pt. (6" tall) for enhanced visibility, especially for drivers. Refer to the provided font size chart for further guidance.

What is an appropriate font size for display boards?
Display boards, with detailed text, follow similar guidelines as menu boards. For main headers, sizes between 72 pt. (1" tall) and 216 pt. (3" tall) are suggested for distances within 100 feet. Main text can go smaller, ranging from 10 pt. to 32 pt., based on reader proximity. Consider the chart above for font size recommendations and viewing distances.

Common Font Size to Inches Conversions:
- 1.5 inches tall: 108 pt.
- 2 inches tall: 144 pt.
- 5 inches tall: 360 pt.

Note: Enlarging letters with small sizes may result in pixelation that can compromise sign readability.

Portable Trade Show Displays

Portable Trade Show Displays

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