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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Study Documents the Importance of On-Premise Signs To Shoppers

Better Homes & Gardens magazine conducts annual surveys with its subscribers as part of The American Grocery Shopper Study™. Over a three-year period (2011-2013), University of Cincinnati professor Dr. James Kellaris added questions about the importance of on-premise signage. Here are the three-year summaries (presented chronologically) of “yes,” “no” and “don’t know” responses to specific statements: “One of […]

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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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Business Owners Evaluate their Electronic, Changeable-message Signs

Hendrikus E.J.M.L. van Bulck is an Assistant Professor of Business Administration at the University of South Carolina Sumter. He teaches marketing, entrepreneurship, small-business management, financial management, accounting and strategic management. He is also a partner in Van Bulck Partners, CPAs, LLC, where he is responsible for corporate planning and business valuations. Van Bulck surveyed the […]

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Street Graphics Continuing Tragedy

The revision’s major purpose is skirting First Amendment rights. The following article originally appeared in the January 24, 2005 issue of Signs of the Times magazine. By now, you may be sick of reading about the American Planning Assn.’s (APA) third version of Street Graphics. This will be the third consecutive month with coverage (the […]

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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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Penn State/USSC Legibility Study Helps Signshop Earn Variance

Practical application of USSC’s Penn State study helped Mercer Signs obtain variances The following article originally appeared in the July 1999 issue of Signs of the Times magazine. By Wade Swormstedt Nearly four years ago, the United States Sign Council (USSC) embarked on an ambitious study with the Penn State Transportation Institute. Signs of different […]

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