Everett (425) 481-4900 11630 Airport Rd, B-200, Everett, WA 98204

Distance & Visibility - Sign Letter Height & Best Colors

One of the most important consideration when designing signage is readability at specific distances. Since signage is created to inform and direct the viewer - a clear and easy to read message is essential. Here are some helpful hints in creating an effective sign design;

  • Keep the layout clean and information concise.
  • Size your fonts based on typical viewing distance (see below).
  • Avoid hard to read typefaces like script, light-weight, and heavily compressed fonts.
  • Use background colors that contrast the text.
  • Avoid backgrounds that distract from the text.
  • Test the readability of your design by printing it out at small scale and viewing it from a distance proportionate the finished product.

Letter Height Chart:

This chart can be used to determine the ideal letter height of your sign design based on the viewing distance. How far away you are from the sign determines the size the letters need to be.

Letter Height Viewing Distance
(For Best Impact)
Viewing Distance
3" 30' 100'
4" 40' 150'
6" 60' 200'
8" 80' 350'
9" 90' 400'
10" 100' 450'
12" 150' 525'
15" 150' 630'
18" 180' 750'
24" 240' 1000'
30" 300' 1250'
36" 360' 1500'
42" 420' 1750'
48" 480' 2000'
54" 540' 2250'
60" 600' 2500'


Sign Color & Clarity:

A high-color contrast factor will also improve legibility. Here are the best combinations, ranked in order of clarity from a distance.

Sign Color And Contrast


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