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What Size Should Your Sign Lettering Be?

Dimensional Lettering

Size matters. Especially if you’re going to design a sign any time in the near future. Getting your customer’s attention is paramount—but so is giving them the information they need to make a purchasing decision the next time they’re in your office or your store.

Big letters will yield you maximum attention, but will simultaneously allow virtually zero information to be shared. Small letters will give you plenty of room to inform your customers…but then you sacrifice attention and readability. Where’s the happy medium?

Not Too Small: Make Your Headline Visible

If you want to strike the right balance, it comes down to…well, balance. Unless you’re going really minimalistic, you’ll want to give your sign a mix of big, attention-grabbing letters…and smaller, more informative letters. It’s all about enticing and then guiding your customers’ eyes.

That starts with a big headline right up top. What can you write in the least amount of letters possible that will garner the most attention and draw your customers to reading more? Here are a few options:

• Lead with an intriguing logo: If you know, thanks to customer feedback, that you have a unique logo that draws people in to your service, by all means make it the center of your sign. If you just think you have a unique logo and aren’t sure it really drives customers…maybe hold off on it for now.
• Lead with the offer: What are you offering to your customers in order to get their attention? “FREE SUBS” is a great way to start off a sign—but only if you really are offering free subs. Think about the customer’s perspective and ask yourself what would get you to stop and read a sign.
• Dazzle: Get creative. Think of something bold, interesting, or even controversial with your sign—a tag line that comes straight from the headlines is sure to get customer attention. Just make sure that your sign is going somewhere with it, or else you’ll get a quick chuckle—and then ignored.

Not Too Big: Give Enough Information

If you just have one word on your sign, that word better accomplish a lot of things. Otherwise, your sign will be for naught. Your sign needs to communicate:

• Your unique selling point, or offer
• Your brand/name
• Your location or website

Basically, the formula means to attract someone, identify yourself, and then tell the customer where they can follow up on the promise made by your unique selling point.

If your headline isn’t doing all three of these things, you need to supplement with smaller text underneath your main headline.

Think of it the way newspaper stories are written: the inverted pyramid. All of the best stuff goes first, followed by supplementary information. In our “free sub” example, use “Free Sub” as your headline, then use smaller font to identify when and where your customers can get these free subs.

If done properly, a sign should do more than attract attention—it should be an automatic salesperson for your company. But only if you know how to mix the right size of fonts in order to attract the most attention and put that attention to good use. If you want more sage signage wisdom, be sure to
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