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Adaptive Display's Digital Signage Blog

Secret Ingredients to Designing the Perfect LED Sign Advertsiment

Posted by Chad Bogan on Mon, Jan 12, 2015

Have you wondered why some led signs tend to attract attention while others fail to get noticed?

The answer is simple: Some led signs lack the needed components that grab customers’ attention off the street.

A great design starts with a plan. This is an important factor that most people tend to overlook. With the help of this guide, you'll get to know the "Secret Ingredients" of designing the perfect led sign for your business. 

Whats the purpose of your led signage?

Answering the two questions below will keep you focused. It will enable you to deliver your message effectively. It will also help you focus on your own goals and objectives.

Target Audience: Who is your target audience? 

Businesses, schools, organizations, etc. have a variety of needs and goals. Your message should capture the attention of the audience you're trying to attract. They can be aimed at your existing clients, customers, suppliers, visitors, etc.

Core Purpose: What is the main purpose of your new led signage?

 Identify what you want your led sign to do for you. For instance - 

  • Attract new customers off the street
  • Establish name recognition and exposure in your local market
  • Promote special promotion, event or seasonal sale
  • Serve as directional signs for visitors
  • Make people aware of an important cause
  • Inform or educate the community
  • Make it  easier for people to find your business 

9 Key Ingredients of LED Sign Design

 1. LED Sign message

What should your led sign say? 

Words are considered the most important element of thr sign, while bad wording is the most common design mistake! 

This is why you have to choose the right words that fit with your led sign's primary purpose. Your sign should be able to deliver a clear and precise message. 

Here are three concepts to guide you:


  1. You only have less than 5 seconds to capture your audience. Make it easy to read. Avoid overcrowding your led sign with too many words, graphics or lines of text.
  2. Your led sign message should have as few words as possible in order to communicate your message clearly.
  3. Don't leave anything to chance so you won't miss opportunities to attract potential customers.


For example, your business sign reads - "Angelo's"

It would be a hard to identify what your business offers. So better add descriptive words or phrases with it, like "Angelo's Cafe" or "Angelo's Car Wash." 

2. Select an appropriate typeface

You or your audience might not consciously notice the font, but it gives your led sign a completely different look and feel. The typeface influences the style and personality of your message. 

Choose a typeface that best represents your business and your message. It can be friendly, warm and casual; or formal, serious and traditional.


Here are font typeface mistakes to avoid:

  • Script style fonts for they are difficult to read from a distance
  • All Upper Case script can make your sign look like a disaster
  • Wrong and inappropriate text effect


Best font typefaces to use are Sans Serif fonts, Serif Style fonts and Serifs. 

Remember these rules to live by: 

  • Use one letter style in a single sign design.
  • Make your primary message stand out. 

3. Limit the use of ALL CAPITAL LETTERS 

Be mindful in using ALL CAPITAL LETTERS since it’s harder to be read from a distance. using Upper and Lower case text makes your message more readable and legible especially for passing motorists.

4. Use Contrast Color combinations 

Contrast is the difference between the light and the dark colors. The key in using colors effectively is to make use of contrast. The letters or texts are more legible if there is greater contrast. It is used to emphasize the important points of your led sign.

 Using colors that are closer together like yellow on a white background won't contrast, making it more difficult to read. 

High contrast colors make your led sign stand out. People tend to read high-contrast messages clearly even from a great distance.

5. Apply power “Kerning” 

Kerning is the process of adjusting specific pairs of letters to improve spacing and fit. 

In a signage, adjusting the letter spacing ensures smooth flow of information. It combines characters together in a single unit. Having too much or too little breaks in spacing between characters tend to stumble the reader's eyes. 

Power kerning makes your sign visually pleasing.

6. Add graphics and border 

LED Signs without photos and color lack the recall factor that you need. 

Graphics, together with an additional color, improves reader retention by 78%. 

The best sign design that brings highest awareness is full color graphics with color. It brings about 300% recall than signs without photos. 

Adding a border brings focus directly to the center of the sign. It is vital, especially for driving motorists. A border increases reading speed by about 26%. 

7. Letter size 

Some simply guess and hope for the best when choosing the size for their signs. 

The key in choosing the sign size is to fit the sign to the size of the letters. 

This strategy is about sizing your letters first before you size your sign. This is because people read signs if the words are readable at a single glance. 

Two important factors to determine the size of the letters:

  1. Viewing distance: How far you want potential clients to be able to read your message?
  2. Speed:  How many seconds of visibility you want? 

8. Make your sign visually interesting 

Using contrast is effective, but you don't want everything in your design to stand out. You can make your led sign message visually interesting by varying its size, font, hue, color, shape and emphasis. 

So instead of presenting a plain and ordinary design, you can create more interest by a dramatic shift in the style, feeling and appearance of your sign.

9. Great led sign placement 

Always consider the factors where your sign will be placed. Make sure it doesn't get lost in its surroundings.

Colors play an important role in sign design. Take note of the colors of the wall and the colors of the surroundings. 

For instance, your sign blends with the plants or with the sky behind it, then your sign will simply blend and your message will not be clearly seen. Or if you mount your light cream-colored sign on a light colored brick wall, it will not make your sign readable. Best to mount it on dark coloured wall instead.

Tags: Content Creation for Outdoor LED Signage