Top Tips On Outdoor Advertising Typography
In the age of multi-channel advertising, choosing the right typography for your outdoor advertising can be tricky. A typeface that works for huge, static outdoor billboards won’t necessarily work on an outdoor digital screen. To help you navigate the font minefield, here are some top outdoor advertising typography tips.
First and foremost, it doesn’t matter which channel it’s for, your typeface needs to be legible from a distance.
No matter how compelling your campaign, if those viewing your content can’t read it, they will walk on by without giving it a second look.
So, you need to make sure it’s clear for people to read and understand at a single glance because you have just 3 – 6 seconds to make your content count.
The four most important factors to consider for effective outdoor advertising typography are:
- Spacing and alignment
Digital Outdoor Advertising Typography
Fonts for digital outdoor advertising content
According to research by Rise Vision, Sans-Serif fonts tend to work best for content on outdoor digital displays as they are the easiest to read at a glance. In particular, Rise Vision’s research recommends Helvetica, Arial, Verdana and Open Sans.
Kelly Eisel of Industry Weapon states that Sans-Serif typefaces are commonly used for headlines on digital signage content with Arial (28 percent), Helvetica (20 percent) and Verdana (8 percent) the most popular.
If you’re running multiple slides on an outdoor digital display, Eisel recommends limiting text to three different typefaces and styles, per slide.
This means that the body text should all be one font size, while the headline can be a different font and size, provided it’s readable.
Font size for outdoor digital display content
Industry experts, including Bubble Outdoor, will say bigger is better for digital outdoor advertising content.
A larger font will allow people to read you content from a distance, engaging them at an earlier point as they approach the digital display.
Big fonts will also take up more space on the display, minimising the amount of text you use, while increasing the impact of your message.
Use short, punchy lines in big font sizes, rather than a long body of text in small print.
Digital signage messages below 250 characters boost engagement rates to 60 percent, according to Buffer.
Spacing and aligning your digital outdoor advertising content
Cramming your text to one side or near the top will make your content look unprofessional. Text should never touch the outer perimeter of a digital display or any images.
Be sure to space out your lines of text inside of a mental margin, while keeping the lines aligned.
Space between your headlines and body copy should be the distance of one line of copy. You should add more space between the end of your body copy and the next headline – if you use one.
Font colours for on screen content
The background colour will determine the best font colour for your digital signage content. On dark backgrounds, white is a great font colour and will really help your text pop off the screen.
On lighter backgrounds a warm, yet darker colour, will provide a vivid contrast provided you get the combination right.
Static Outdoor Advertising
Fonts for static outdoor advertising
Keeping legibility in mind, fonts for static outdoor advertising should be readable from distances greater than 1,000 feet.
Thin or fancy script fonts are hard to read and almost invisible from big distances or at medium to high speed.
You should always have in mind a ‘drive-by-viewing sort of response’ – your message should be readable for pedestrians and motorists alike.
Good font choices for static outdoor advertising include:
Serif… because of their curled features at the end of letters and numbers, it’s easier for the eye to make the transition from one letter to the next.
The most popular are Times New Roman, Garamond, Georgia and Baskerville.
Sans-serif… Easy to read and with a modern appeal, sans-serif fonts are virtually everywhere nowadays. They are usually used for headlines, being the perfect font for a caption for outdoor advertising. Arial, Calibri, Verdana, Tahoma and Helvetica are the most commonly used fonts for headlines on static billboard displays.
Size of font for outdoor billboard advertising
Similar to outdoor digital signage, the bigger the font, the better for your content displayed on static outdoor billboards or posters.
Not only will it allow people to read your message from a far distance, but it will also engage them for a longer period of time as they are approaching the billboard.
As with digital signage content, big fonts will occupy more space, minimising the amount of text you use and therefore, increasing the impact of your message.
Just like digital signage content, use short, punchy text in big font sizes rather than long text in smaller fonts, which will be much more difficult to read.
Equally, don’t use all caps and try to avoid italicising your text.
Spacing and aligning your static outdoor advertising text
Don’t confine your text to one place and avoid spacing letters w a y o u t or too close together.
Keep your spacing and alignment even across the display.
Colours to use for static outdoor advertising
When it comes to colours, you should always go for bold, highly contrasting colours that will help get your message noticed.
While the palette of colours is a little more limited for billboards compared to colours for print or online, there are still some great complementary colours that will make your text pop off contrasting backgrounds.
Here are some examples of high-contrast colours to get you started:
Now it’s time to put it into action!
Start your search for the perfect outdoor advertising sites by signing up and exploring Bubble Outdoor. Here you’ll find price and availability of thousands of static and digital outdoor advertising sites across the UK. If creating artwork isn’t your strong suit, we offer a design service and can help bring your ideas to life starting from just £100. If you know what you want to say, but not where, our planning team are always on hand.
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Oh no! Well thank you anyway for commenting (twice!) and for the kind feedback.
I agree, while it might be obvious, it is important to make sure that businesses understand that they need to use big typography when designing outdoor advertising and signs. This is especially important if you are designing a billboard on the side of the road. After all, you will want the words to be large enough to be seen from cars as they pass by quickly on the road below.
We couldn’t agree more! It is so tempting to try and fit as much content on a billboard as possible and reduce the text size to fit it all in. But this only hinders your message in the long run! Simple is always best when it comes to billboards!
Thanks for your contribution,
I did not know that one should create a sign that is legible at least 1000 feet away. If I were to help my uncle promote his wood carving business, I would use these tips while finding a signmaker. Their work can help boost his presence in the community.
Hi, just wanted to say, I enjoyed this article. It was helpful.
Keep on posting!
My brother wants to open his own shop later this year so I imagine he’ll need to start working on signage for the location soon. I like your point about how you’ll need to use bigger fonts so people can obviously read the signs. I’ll suggest he try to limit the text on each sign so he can use that space for bigger letters.
Thank you for your tip to make a sign that is legible at greater than 1,000 feet. It makes sense that font would play an important role in that. My brother is opening a restaurant up soon, but he still needs a sign made. I’ll pass this tip onto my brother so he can start drawing up designs.