The ABC’s of Typography in Signage

The ABC’s of Typography in Signage

Have you ever wondered why certain signs catch your eye and hold your attention? The answer lies in the fascinating world of sign typography. Sign typography is the art of arranging letters and characters in a visually appealing way on signs, posters, and various displays. It can bring life and personality to otherwise mundane information, and help you understand messages at a glance. It’s not just about letters and words; it’s an artful balance of design and communication. Here are some aspects that make a good sign:

1. The Power of Fonts

Fonts are the heart and soul of typography. They can make a message shout or whisper, express elegance or playfulness. When choosing a font for a sign, consider its personality – is it modern, traditional, casual, or formal? Just like choosing the right outfit for an occasion, picking the right font sets the tone for your message.

2. Colors and Contrast

Imagine a sign that blends in with its background – frustrating, right? Colors and contrast are typography’s best friends. Bold, contrasting colors make your message pop. A high contrast between the text and background ensures readability, even from a distance. Also ensure that your background color doesn’t overpower your text. If the background is busy, opt for a simpler font. And if it’s a solid color, a bold font can be dynamic.

3. Sizing and Readability

Ever strained your eyes trying to read tiny text on a sign? That’s where sizing comes in. The size of your text should be determined by how far your audience will be standing. A simple rule: the farther they are, the larger the font should be. Ensuring readability ensures your message doesn’t get lost in the crowd.

4. Kerning and Spacing

Kerning and spacing might sound like technical terms, but they’re crucial for sign typography. K e r n i n g is the adjustment of space between individual letters, while spacing refers to the overall arrangement     of     words. Proper kerning and spacing create a harmonious flow that keeps your readers engaged, while it can do the opposite if the two are not aligned.

5. Serifs vs. Sans-Serifs

Serif or sans-serif, that is the question. Serif fonts have those little strokes at the ends of letters, giving a more traditional and formal vibe. Sans-serif fonts are clean and modern, perfect for a contemporary feel. Choosing between them depends on the mood you want to convey.

6. Script and Decorative Fonts

Script fonts are like handwritten letters – elegant and personal. Decorative fonts add flair and uniqueness. While these fonts are eye-catching, use them sparingly for key elements, as too much can make your sign hard to read.


Sign typography isn’t just about letters on a board; it’s about creating an experience. Every choice you make, from fonts to colors, impacts how your audience feels and understands your message. So next time you see a sign that captures your attention, take a moment to appreciate the thought and creativity that went into its typography. If you need designing your next sign project, message the Sign Design Experts at!


  1. What makes a font suitable for a sign? Choosing a sign font depends on readability and the message’s tone. Fonts with good spacing and clear characters are often the best choice.
  2. Can I use decorative fonts for all my signage? While decorative fonts can be eye-catching, they’re best reserved for headlines or key elements. Using them for the entire message can make it hard to read.
  3. Why does text size matter on signs? Text size ensures readability from a distance. The farther your audience, the larger the text should be.
  4. What’s the difference between serif and sans-serif fonts? Serif fonts have small strokes at letter ends, giving a traditional feel (ex. Times New Roman). Sans-serif fonts lack these strokes and offer a modern look (ex. Helvetica).
  5. How does color impact sign typography? Colors evoke emotions and improve visibility. High contrast between text and background ensures easy reading.
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