Duke University Economic Professor Applies “Game Theory” to Signage

David McAdams, an economics professor at Duke University, has authored a paper entitled “The Economics of On-Premise Signs” in conjunction with the United States Sign Council. In it, he contrasts the philosophies and ramifications of sign codes in Henrietta and Brighton, New York — two communities with similar demographics, both of which are near Rochester, […]

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How Big Do the Letters on Signs, Parallel to the Road, Need to Be?

As noted elsewhere on this website, “visual acuity” and “conspicuity” and “cone of vision” are very important for signs, because motorists must be able to detect signs, read them and then react to them in a few seconds. So how much does the visibility change when a sign directly faces the driver (perpendicular to the […]

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What Does “Conspicuity” Mean for Signage?

Conspicuity for signage is determined by the contrast between the sign and its background. A sign must be conspicuous first, because, without it, the sign’s legibility and readability are moot points. While the appropriate size for signs is addressed on this website under the heading “How big should a sign’s letters be?”, conspicuity includes factors […]

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Penn State Study Provides Optimum Lighting Levels

Illuminating signs, including electronic message centers (EMCs), at inappropriate lighting levels hurts everyone. If the LEDs that light the sign aren’t bright enough, then the sign won’t be legible at night, and the sign loses its nocturnal value. The energy used to light the sign is wasted. Conversely, if the LEDs are lit too brightly, […]

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How Big Should a Sign’s Letters Be?

Signs need to be legible and readable, for both pedestrians and motorists. But the safety consideration becomes paramount for the latter. Consequently, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) sets minimum standards for the letters that appear on the interstate signs that say “Cincinnati” and “Second St.” and “Next Exit.” These standards are outlined in the FHWA-produced […]

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American Sign Museum Opens in Cincinnati

Signs are informative. Signs are necessary. And, signs are a form of art. Much like other art forms, signs can be dazzling, pretty, humorous, evocative, friendly, trendy, and mood setting. Signs can even be harsh or rude, depending on the intended message. Art production, a creative endeavor, combines imagination with reproduction skills. So does the […]

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Sign Industry Dodges EPA’s Energy Star Standards

This article originally appeared as Wade Swormstedt’s editorial in the April 2005 issue of Signs of the Times magazine.  “Virtually all of the Energy Star products, including exit signs, are commodities.” The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) initiated its Energy Star program in 1992. The voluntary program, which partners with more than 8,000 public and private […]

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Street Graphics

The following article was written in 2005. In 1971, the American Planning Assn. (APA) began distributing a book by Daniel Mandelker and William Ewald entitled Street Graphics and the Law. That book recommended the uncompensated taking of signs and control of a sign’s design, message and aesthetics. While the sign industry was making great strides […]

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