What makes a great billboard sign?

The effectiveness of your sign is dependent on the readability of the design. You only have 5 to 10 seconds to make an impression - so keep your message clear and effective. It's not just the message that is important, but how it's displayed, and the entire design of your billboard.

Here are some of the important elements of any billboard:

Your logo or product identifier should be a prominent element. It identifies your company, and gives a visual cue to remind them of your company name. It needs to be easy to locate and highly visible.

Everything on your sign should be as big and bold as possible. First row of text should be about 18” tall to be read from hundreds of feet away. Most of our signs start to be seen from over 600’ away. Things need to be BIG so that people can see them!

It is ideal to use thick simple fonts with normal spacing. Fancy fonts, thin or thick fonts, or tightly spaced letters, make readability difficult. Don't have a bunch of different fonts, stick to one or two at most.

Upper and lower case type is easier to read than all uppercase letters. All uppercase words should be limited to short words/phrases and only used a few times. People feel they are being shouted at when all uppercase are used, and tend to tune out.

There needs to be a high level of colour contrast between the background and the text or the image. If the text blends in with the background, it won't stand out and your message is lost.

Images need to be bold and simple so they can be understood quickly. Detailed/complex background images can be confusing and distracting. You want a viewer to quickly view and understand your sign. If the graphics “bleed” off the edge, the sign will appear bigger. Don't try to cram too many images into a billboard, even though it does seem like a lot of space to fill!

Should be brief and eye catching. Limit the sign to one message and keep it simple.
Maximum of 8 words and 1 picture/graphic. 6 words for maximum effectiveness. You want a viewer to quickly and easily grasp the message and information they need to pursue your company.

Make use of all available space. The rules of “whitespace” for other forms of print media do Not apply here. While you don't want to cram every bit of space with fancy fonts and hundreds of images, you do want to use this medium for all it has to offer. Focus on a striking image or a few images and catchy, informative text.

Use of retro-reflective, though slightly more expensive, can add viewing time especially with shorter winter days. Coloured reflective can be seen at night, as well as adding a graphic interest to your sign all year long.

We suggest doing a distance test of your sign to ensure it will suit your needs. Obtain a pdf version of your sign design and open the pdf file on your computer -using the Adobe reader zoom control, reduce the size of the displayed sign picture so that the width is only 4 inches wide on your monitor. Then stand back about 8 feet for an estimate of what a driver would see from 400 feet away. If you find anything about your sign hard to make out, read or distinguish, your viewers will likely encounter the same difficulties.

For expert help on designing your billboard sign give Price Advertising a call today.