You see outdoor signage everywhere you go! The difference between an okay sign and a stunning sign can be in the small details. Sometimes sign makers overlook certain aspects that reduce the life and quality of their sign. Take a peek at some common mistakes in outdoor signage.

Forgetting to Apply Sunscreen

Just like we need sunscreen to protect ourselves from the sun’s rays, signs need protection too. The best way to ensure your sign doesn’t yellow or fade is by printing with inks that are UV resistant. These inks are both fade resistant and waterproof, so it will stand up to the elements. For more on protecting your sign from the elements, check out "4 Ways to Keep Your Outdoor Signage Pristine During All Weather Conditions".

Choosing Fancy or Whimsical Fonts

A mistake in outdoor signage that will defer customers is readability. A pro tip is to never utilize overly complicated fonts in your sign design. Even if your client is as elegant or spunky as your fonts, using them could hinder the effectiveness of the sign. Classic fonts like, Arial, Georgia, Times New Roman, and Verdana are proven to be easiest to read. On the other end of the coin, monotype corsiva, comic sans, and Bondoni MT are some of the hardest to read fonts.

Long story short, stick to basics. You can always spice your sign up with color and design.

Minimal Visibility

Nothing is worse than spending a stack of cash on your sign and having people overlook it because it's not easily viewable. There are three parts to sign visibility: location, contrast, and font size.

Let’s break these down.

  • Location

When talking about location, really think through the final resting place of your sign. For example, let’s say you install a customer’s sign in the winter; then in the spring a nearby tree blooms, blocking your sign from the street. That was obviously a poor position for visibility. A tip is to measure the distance from the building to a nearby street or parking lot and test out what position for the sign would get the most reach.

  • Font Size

Font size is important, especially if you're trying to attract customers in moving vehicles. Determining the distance between the sign and the potential viewer helps determine the size of font. Check out the letter visibility chart below for the rule of thumb.


  • Contrast

Once you determine the logistics of the sign, then it’s time to start designing. When designing, think about keeping things clean and simple. White space IS your friend. Signs that are cluttered are harder to read.

For the best visibility, use letter color that contrasts well with the background color. The general rule of thumb is to use either light letters on a dark background, or dark letters on a light background. Black on white is a classic and very visible combination, same with dark blues and greens on white. Hard colors tend to be bright and vibrant colors, like red, yellow, and neon tints. These colors are hard on the eyes and overall just not as aesthetically pleasing.

Skimping on Quality/ Using the Wrong Material

A common mistake in outdoor signage is the choice of material. You wouldn’t build your house out of paper, or cheap plastic, so why would you build your sign out of it? A sign that has to stand up to Mother Nature’s wrath needs a high-quality substrate.  If you’re aiming for a long lasting sign, that will last through strong winds, hail storms, rain showers, and the beating sun, you need quality.

Some signage that thrives in these conditions is Acrylite SG LED. We literally took a hammer to it, and couldn’t even make a crack. Don’t believe it? Check it out here!