There are literally hundreds of thousands of fonts to consider in your search for the best sign font. Business sign design generally requires creativity, but when it comes to choosing the best fonts for banners and signs, we don’t recommend thinking outside the box.
After almost 75 years in service, our sign company in Houston has some valuable insights on finding the optimal font. In this article, we cover some of the factors you need to consider before choosing a font, and six of the best fonts for signs.
Factors for Choosing the Best Sign Lettering Font
The best font for large signs all depends on their unique purpose. While there is a shortlist of popular sign fonts that you should stick to, the one you choose will ultimately depend on what it aims to achieve.
As a rule of thumb, successful businesses with refined processes have generally invested in professional branding and design at some point in their lifetime. Building a brand is an important part of creating a resilient organization. The brand guidelines that your business adheres to cannot be tossed out the window when it’s time to choose lettering for signs, posters, and banners.
You must try to follow the acceptable fonts that your branding expert laid out for your company. If your brand uses serif, comic sans, or other script-like fonts that are considered poor letter styles for signs, you may have to make accommodations. Fonts like Optima or Bodoni that are vaguely script-like and playful can be a good compromise.
Usage of Sign
Where is your sign being used? Are there legal standards (like ADA signage requirements) that limit you to certain fonts or minimum sizes? The World Wide Web Consortium also sets a contrast ratio of 3:1 for large-scale text under success criterion 1.4.3 that must be met if you’re representing your signage on your website as well.
The best warning sign fonts for construction site signs serve a very different purpose than the best font for retail signs. The best font for real estate signs is also very different because this signage is typically viewed from a vehicle while the former examples are frequently seen by pedestrians.
The main thing to keep in mind is that there is no single answer to the question, “What is the best font for signs?” The best sign font ultimately depends on its use.
Capitalization Standards for Signs
Fonts have different strengths and weaknesses when you consider their upper-case vs. lower-case letters. A great outdoor sign font for a short message should generally be in all caps, while longer, more text-burdened messages benefit from lower-case letters.
Considering the length of your message in the context of your brand guidelines and sign usage can help you determine the optimal font for your signage.
6 Best Sign Fonts
This font is incredibly geometric and easy to read from a distance. With the right layout and color use, Futura is simple to comprehend from a distance. The clean and modern feel of this lettering makes it a great choice for most brands.
Helvetica is considered a very appropriate font for business usage and political campaign signs. This classic font generally won’t’ stray far from most brand style guides and can catch the eyes of both pedestrians and drivers with the proper design.
The strokes in this font provide great contrast within each letter by seamlessly flowing from thick to thin. This contrast, paired with a partial serif, lands Bodoni among the best fonts for signboards and banners while remaining highly stylish.
This sans-serif font lends itself wonderfully to both indoor and outdoor signs that need to attract attention. It’s proportions and weight stress are like Garamond (covered below), though Optima features flaring instead of serifs – making it a great option for headlines and attention-grabbers.
This is one of the best display board fonts, partially since it was designed specifically for Adobe – a tool of choice for many designers today. As a testament to how modern this font is, consider its use by Apple Inc. Myriad is a great font for headlines as well as body text in the right circumstances.
This serif font works well for the details on your signage, though we may generally avoid using is as an all-cap headline. It makes wonderful use of negative spacing within its letters and is very elegant and visually-pleasing.
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