Deciding on the right location for your outdoor business sign, as well the physical characteristics that go into an effective design and installation is as much a science as an art. Fortunately, the experts at the International Sign Association crunched the numbers and came up with some important guidelines for business owners to consider as they produce and distribute vehicle-targeted signs around a property.

Outdoor Sign Shop Walnut Creek CA - Office, Lobby, ADA, & Vehicle Wraps

1. Arrangement

If you want to advertise to passing vehicles it’s best to use a 1 – 2 approach with a broad storefront sign on the front of your business (parallel to the road) as well as a perpendicular sign built beside the road facing drivers. This arrangement works by putting the message front and center for drivers, as well as along the side for passengers or for location confirmation for drivers who have decided to turn in.

2. Distance

Vehicles moving at different speeds will need more or less time and distance to pull into your parking lot after they’ve seen your sign (the perpendicular one, most likely) and decided to drop in. How much distance they’ll need depends on the speed they are traveling and whether or not they need to switch lanes in order to pull over safely—as illustrated in the following table:

Speed (MPH)With lane change (in feet)Without lane change (in feet)
25-30 410 155
35-40 550 185
45-50 680220
55-60 720265
>65 720280


For example, if the speed of traffic in front of your store is a residential 25 mph, and the street has two lanes in each direction so that a lane change is needed, your customers will need to be able to see and read your sign from 410 feet away. If there is only one lane in each direction, however, drivers would only need 155 feet.

3. Sizing

The International Sign Association recommends designing signs with letters a minimum of one-inch tall for every twenty-five feet of distance from their viewer in order for the signs to be legible and clear. This means that if your drivers need 155 feet in order to pull over into your store, your sign should have letters at least 6 or 7 inches tall. Of course, if your sign features a font that is harder to read or which features more complex elements, the letter height required for drivers to see, understand, and respond to your sign will be increased.

This is also true of the size of the sign as a whole. The further the sign has to be visible, factored in with the number of lanes in the road (which increases the number of visual distractions and the distance of the average driver from the curb) and the speed of traffic, indicate the need for a better sign. Details are in the table below.

Speed Limit Number of Traffic Lanes Sign Height (to top of sign face)
25 mph 2 12 feet
25 mph  4 12 feet
35 mph  2    20 feet
35 mph   4   20 feet
45 mph235 feet
45 mph 4 35 feet
55 mph 2 50 feet
55 mph 4 50 feet
Urban FreewayN/A75 feet


Of course, the best way to guarantee that your sign is built right is to work with the experts here at Sequoia Signs. Give us a call today at (925) 300-1066 to learn more about our process and make an appointment to bring your signs to live today!

Helping East Bay businesses get noticed with custom business signs

Contact us today for a free design consultation

Helping East Bay businesses get noticed with custom business signs

Contact us today for a free design consultation

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