The Importance of Fonts in Sign making

In all forms of signage, it is of key importance to have a functional font or typeface that clear to read on all marketing items, signage and floor or wall decor throughout your location, whilst also consistent with your brand image. 

How do styles of fonts differ?

Whilst many fonts have their own distinct tone and flavour, there are two distinct typefaces that you may already be familiar with from selecting different fonts in your word processor, including many featuring "serif" or "san serif" in the title. These designs can differ greatly in their purposes as serif fonts feature flourishes on the letters that stand out and lead from one letter to the next, whilst sans serif does not feature these to give a clean and tidy appearance that stands out even at a distance.

Whilst type faces may have a more handwritten appearance to them, replicating brush, pen or pencil strokes which can add a certain sense of elegance and sophistication to a sign, but it should be used sparingly for the sake of conveying clear and concise signage. Whatever font you choose, you need to ensure that it is both legible and readable from a distance so that customers looking for your company from the roadside will not miss it. We've included a few examples below.

Examples of Serif, Sans Serif and Script Fronts | Apex Signs and Engraving

How do I ensure my sign is readable?

The combination of colours can be one of the biggest causes for signs to be misread, passed over for not standing out or even missed entirely due to certain colour blindness or weaknesses. There are many combinations of colours that we all know work together without issue and can be seen clearly, black and white, black on yellow, white on green amongst many others, when in doubt a clean print on a white background with your company logo and black or brand-appropriate text allow for your sign to stand out in all situations. Contrasting colours will need to be taken account for surrounding colours to ensure they don't blend in and get lost, especially if its for safety signage for example. Following on from colour options, the choice of font itself is just as important when considering readability.

Examples of Sign colour combinations | Apex Signs & Engraving

What are some of the most readable fonts to use?

The array of fonts online is absolutely staggering, and trying to rank the sheer variety is a gargantuan task so we are going to use some of our tried and tested favourites as examples whilst avoid any that are on-trend and may soon phase out. 

Examples of different typefaces | Apex Signs & Engraving

Bodoni offers up a professional font with a sense of subdued elegance from the contrasting thin and thick line work. Whilst adding a bit of flourish, it is still a perfectly readable font for signage.

Georgia is a clean to read serif font that is timeless, great for smaller details on signs due to its clean design with a small flourish.

Helvetica, if you ask a designer you may get told that its overused or even met with a groan at seeing it for the umpteenth time that day, which proves how reliable a font it truly is for print and design work.

Futura, an exceptional clean design with a perfectly modern blend of straight lines and curves that can be read at a distance whilst providing a sleek design on print work as well.

Regardless of font, you need to ensure that it is legible from wherever your placing it, especially if it is on the side of a building or as a wayfinder sign, which can be easily glimpsed over by drivers looking for your establishment if they are not clear enough at speed nor over a considerable distance such as the other side of a road where they may need to turn in.