The Best Size for Different Signs: Does your sign really need to be big?

Business signs need to have the right size to be fully effective. People with no foresight can easily assume that a bigger sign is always better, but such is not always the case. The same goes with having signs that are too small because if it’s too small business owners risk the chance of being noticed or recognized by prospective customers. Sings always have to be seen in the best way possible. To do it, one has to be familiar with proper proportions and basic principles in design.

This article will help you determine the proper size of your business signage. We will enlist different kinds of signs and their recommended sizes backed with foolproof design and proportion principles.

The Recommended Size for Different Signs

1.Signs for cafes and convenience stores

For cafes and convenience stores, their signs should span the full width of the front of their shop. This is the case for they should go all out in maximizing space. With such businesses, there will be lots of room and spaces to work with. Businesses of this kind have spaces that can easily be used to target audiences and encourage foot traffic. Think of your very shop as a blank canvas for marketing itself.

When creating your signs, you should follow the following principles:

  • Follow the 1:10 ratio. This rule provides that for a sign to be effective, your sign should be visible for every 10-feet distance.
  • Following the 1:10 ratio, you should have your fonts an inch high.
  • Your design should make it easy for people to recognize your brand through the color, text, and logo of your business even if they’re 100-feet away. To do this, your letters should be 10-inches tall.
  • People should be able to read your opening times when they get closer without having to leave their car. Hence, your opening times should be one to two-inch tall.
  • Make it a point to follow the mentioned principles. They are backed by scientific research and numerous marketing studies. Observe other cafes. You would be surprised at how many stores still fail to follow them. And you will see how successful ones faithfully practice such principles.

2. Retail Outlets

Retail outlets and large businesses like malls have massive spaces for their sign. However, no sign overkill should ever take place. Despite a big space, signs should not be massive as it is not aesthetically pleasing. This is because if one’s sign is too big, the text will be stretched and the overall design would look and feel cluttered. If that will be the case, your sign will not be easily seen and understood. Your signs should always be easily visible because they serve as effective advertising tools that can bring in customers that were not even looking for your business. Its capacity to strongly suggest and engage is unparalleled.

Also, your sign shouldn’t be too big even if you have a massive space because it will become hard to read once people get closer. It would look once people get close because it would go way beyond a person’s field-of-view.

  • In designing for large spaces like retail stores and malls, you should always maintain a careful balance between advertising and readability.
  • People in the motorway should be able to see your opening times, but don’t make it too large that it becomes stretched in closeup.
  • Don’t decrease the effectiveness of your sign by overwhelming your space and having too many design concepts going on.
  • Your space should not be busy. It should be orderly so that the messages or promos that you want to highlight are easily seen by all.

If you want to have the best possible sign for your space, you should contact experts like specialists from Signarama signage. Experts have years of experience and vast design knowledge that they can share to help you come up with the perfect sign for your space.

3. Informative Signs

Informative signs can be smaller because people read them at a closer range.

4. Speed Limit Signs

Speed limit signs only need to be readable enough by people who will pass by them on the road.

5. Hazard Signs

Similar to speed limit signs, hazard signs need not be big as they only need to inform the people within the danger zone.

Instructional Signs

6. Instructional Signs

Signs that instruct like ‘Wear PPE’ or ‘Exit’ need to be readable from 10 to 20-feet away so its lettering has to be 1-2 inches tall. They should also be duly color-coded as they are important and critical for everyone’s health and safety.

7. Signs with Industry-standard Symbols

     These signs can be smaller because they are easier to read, like signs for falling rocks or wet floors. They can be 4 inches to 2-feet tall.


In truth, there are no definite hard-and-fast rules when it comes to signs. Most experts will tell you that experience is the best teacher. The following are merely rules of thumb that you could begin with as you design and create the best possible sign for your business. Just always remember the following:

  • Your sign should be readable when a person is next to it
  • People should be able to recognize your sign from a distance
  • Your sign should be easily visible
  • Your sign should be pleasing
  • Your sign should have solid branding
  • You should opt to make your design as engaging as possible because if done correctly, your store or business can even become a local landmark.