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How To Boost Sign Performance: 5 Quick Tips From Sign Designers In St. Louis

How to Boost Sign Performance: 5 Quick Tips from Sign Designers in St. Louis

Is your on-premise sign system underperforming? Our sign designers can help. Read on to learn how to assess and enhance the performance of your current outdoor sign system, or call (314)-726-5500 to speak directly with sign designers in St. Louis, MO.

How To Assess Outdoor Sign Performance: A Comparative Case Study

One simple way to assess the performance of your outdoor sign system is to see how it measures up against the competition. Fortunately, there are plenty of case studies we can use to set our expectations.

For example, in “The Economic Value of On-Premise Signage,” a longitudinal study of over 160 different fast food restaurants, researchers sought to measure the impact signage had on business success.

After analyzing annual sales and demographic data, researchers Ellis et al. found that the addition of a single outdoor sign yielded sales increases of 5-15%, “an impact greater than the increases brought on by a larger building, longer hours, or longevity at the location.”

Similar results were found after a seven-year analysis of 100 Pier 1 Imports locations, where “the addition of a new building sign, pole sign or freestanding multi-tenant sign was found to add between 5 and 15 percent to a site’s sales revenues.”

In total, that’s more than 260 sign-buyers who saw their sales go up by 5-15% after installation. Are your signs performing on par?

If not, our sign designers are here to help. Read on to learn 5 simple design tweaks you can implement to increase sign visibility, conspicuity, and legibility in St. Louis, MO, or call our sign designers now at (314)-726-5500.

How To Boost Sign Performance: 5 Tips From Pro Sign Designers

In “Factors Affecting Sign Visibility, Conspicuity, and Legibility,” a meta analysis published by the Interdisciplinary Journal of Signage and Wayfinding, John Bullough (2017) studied how the best sign designers got their ads noticed, and here’s what he found:

  • The best sign designers prefer solid fonts over outline characters—Why? Because outline characters are harder to read. In acuity tests, readers needed outline characters to be 1.8 larger than solid characters to achieve equivalent legibility (Bullough, 2017).
  • The best sign designers prefer mixed case text over all-uppercase—This rule is not always observed, but mixed case text scores higher in legibility tests, particularly for drivers traveling at high rates of speed. Moreover, some readers feel that all-uppercase text is too aggressive, as though the message was being shouted. If you do want to use all-uppercase copy, the United States Sign Council Foundation recommends increasing letter height by 15% to achieve equivalent legibility.
  • The best sign designers set letter height and width approximately the same—Setting letter width to be the same as letter height resulted in greater legibility distances in multiple studies, whereas both short-and-squat and tall-and-narrow text underperformed. You do not need an exact 1:1 ratio, but keep letter width and height fairly close.
  • The best sign designers create high contrast—Research shows that “color combinations providing the highest contrast tend to provide the highest legibility,” so always use light-colored text on dark substrates and dark-colored text on light backgrounds. But avoid red type on black backgrounds or vice versa, as this was found to be one of the poorest combinations in one study by Reading Research Quarterly.
  • The best sign designers use internal illumination—Lighting up your message is one of the best ways to boost sign legibility and conspicuity, but don’t use external lighting. Not only is external lighting less effective—about 40-60% less effective, according to Bullough (2017)—but it is also not permitted in St. Louis County, as per the Code of Ordinances. Internal illumination is far superior, and our sign designers have plenty of options to light up your message.

Book A Free Consultation With Sign Designers In St. Louis, MO

Whether you need help with sign remediation or you are looking to place your first sign order, our sign designers will make sure your message gets noticed by local audiences.

To book a free consultation with our sign designers, call (314)-726-5500 or fill out our online contact form.


Bullough, J. (2017). Factors affecting sign visibility, conspicuity, and legibility: Review and annotated bibliography. Interdisciplinary Journal of Signage and Wayfinding, 1(2), 2-25.

Ellis, Seth, Ph.D.; Johnson, Robert, Ph.D., Murphy, Robin, M.B.A.: “The Economic Value of On-Premise Signage.” California Electric Sign Association, University of San Diego, International Sign Association, Sign Users Council of California, Business Identity Council of America, 1997.

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