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New custom business signs have greater chances of attracting customers to stores than old, faded exterior signs. Any business wanting to add to their curb appeal and boost their foot traffic should always have outdoor business signs that are easy to read, even from a distance. This article will cover outdoor building signs and ways to ensure they will be readable.

Why is Readability Important?

Customers trying to get to your business need to be able to locate it easily. The primary purpose of having business signs is to quickly draw people into your store and help them pinpoint your exact location. Business signs often give people the first impression of your business, so readable and aesthetically pleasing modern business signs can make you stand out from your competitors (which includes other stores in the area competing for your customers’ time and attention).

If customers often feel frustrated and stressed after struggling to find your store–or if they fail to notice you altogether–that’s business you may never get back. Over time, if new customers continue to experience this same phenomenon, it can create a compounding effect that can negatively impact your revenue and growth prospects.

How to Design a Readable Sign

Employ Negative Space

Negative space is the blank or white space you see on various decorative wall art pieces and business signs. Negative space creates visual “breathing room,” allowing the eye to rest and directing attention to the essential components of your sign or logo. The proper use of negative space in your exterior business signs will make them more legible.

A consideration to keep in mind when creating custom outdoor business signs is that they must communicate a message to the public quickly and effectively. You have to leave at least some negative space to make your sign readable.

Be Intentional About your Typefaces

Fancy calligraphy-style fonts may look neat, but they are hardly legible from a distance. Stick to simpler fonts that everyone can read and understand at a glance. You can use two fonts (sometimes up to three), but one or two fonts per business sign is ideal if your goal is to make it as readable as possible. A sans serif bold font works well on commercial outdoor business signs. These typefaces are simple, minimalistic, and have clean edges around each letter.

The text on your signage should be bold enough to see from a distance, but not so aggressive that the letters run together.

The font you choose for your custom outdoor business sign should also match your branding. Outdoor business signs have the potential to attract a lot of foot traffic, so do your best to keep your signage as clear, simple, and minimalist as possible.

Avoid Underline

When words are underlined in written text, your eyes are naturally drawn to them. However, underlining text on outdoor business signs harms readability, causing the words to appear less legible, especially at a distance. If you must emphasize certain sign elements, make your typeface bolder instead of using underlines. That will enhance the readability of your custom outdoor business signs.

Light the Sign Properly

Proper lighting is another crucial aspect when creating custom commercial business signs. If your store is open into the evening, your customers need to see your sign after the sun sets. Otherwise, you make it difficult for anyone to find your business whenever it is dark outside.

Several options are available to help light up your exterior business sign. Whether you want front lit or halo lit, you bright and energy-efficient LED lights will make your sign stand out. You can also opt for setting up regular lights from the front of the building to shine onto your signage. Consider the dimensions of your exterior business signs and choose what works best for you.


Many variables affect the readability of outdoor business signs. As a business owner, you have to consider the use of negative space, font style, and lighting when designing your exterior business signs.

Don’t leave your business signs to chance! Count on the work of an experienced, professional sign shop to design, build, and install your custom signs for you. If you’re unsure where to get your business signs made, contact Resource 4 Signs today. We service commercial businesses in Ventura and LA Counties, and we would be happy to create and build the best custom business signs for you.