It’s an incredible decision to make: what font to use on your outdoor signage. The font be the iconography by which customers both current and customer will signify with your brand message as well as your store.
For some, this decision is already made - especially if the store is a franchise. But for those who get to determine their branding and sign message, font selection becomes paramount. When it comes to outdoor signage, the font is the cadence. It sets the tone and the mood.
Below are a few points to consider when picking out the font for your outdoor signage.
Signage typically breaks down into three categories: serif, sans serif, and script.
When one chooses a serif font, it means the font has a footer in it.
Footers are the little horizontal marks at the bottom of letters and strokes in a serif font. Several newspaper fonts are serif fonts. Anyone who's used word processing software, Times New Roman is a serif font.
When one picks a sans serif font, this means that there are no footers on the font. The letter strokes typically end straight down. Or in the case of curved, they make simple curves with no additional marks. Using the word processing software example again, Arial is perhaps the most common sans serif font.
Script fonts are fonts that look like all those cursive writing classes students took in school but not only use when signing checks and documents. Typically, script fonts mean the letters are tied together.
If your brand is going to have a heavy online presence, most web designers and developers will recommend that a sans serif font is used. They will favorably compromise when it comes to branding decisions. This means that if, for example, the logo and brand identity is constructed with a serif font (a font with a footer), they can pair it up with a sans serif font for the web content. It’s the branding equivalent of matching dinner wine with the main course.
These same font compromises / collaborations can extend to fonts. For example, we will get several signs who have logos that were designed with either serif or script fonts. Their logos are well established and can be identify by just a letter or two, but when the same font is used on the sign’s call to action(s), it’s harder to read. To help clean it up, designers pair the logo sign up with a font that compliments the logo but is easy to read by passers-by.
30 years of experience has shown us that the following 5 fonts are typically the go-to fonts, especially for CTAs. Our brother and sister sign companies would typically go with the same fonts, give or take placement: