Sign Size: The Complete Guide to Proper Sign Sizing

Properly sized signage is critical for maximizing visibility and impact for businesses.

The right sign dimensions allow for text and graphics to be noticeable from required viewing distances, capture attention, and effectively communicate your branding and messaging.

On the other hand, a sign that is too small for the location may not be legible or make enough of an impression.

According to research, there is a direct correlation between sign letter height and visibility.

The general rule of thumb is that 1 inch of letter height provides 10 feet of readability with optimal impact.

Following standard size guidelines helps ensure your signage has maximum visibility for your specific needs and placement.

This article will provide an overview of common standard sign dimensions, factors to consider when determining proper size, and recommendations for typical sign applications.

With the right sign sizes, you can be confident your branding makes a strong impression and achieves your business goals.

Most Common Standard Sign Sizes

There are several standard sign sizes that are commonly used for business signage in Kansas City and nationwide. Some of the most popular include:

24″ x 36″

The 24″ x 36″ size is one of the most widely used sizes for general signage needs. At 2 feet by 3 feet, it provides ample room for text and graphics while being easily visible from typical viewing distances. This versatile size works well for indoor and outdoor signs.

18″ x 24″

18″ x 24″ is another commonly used size that provides a nice balance of visibility and affordability. This compact size is well-suited for signs with less content that need to be produced on a budget.

4″ x 8″

For very basic text-only signs, 4″ x 8″ is a standard option. This slim, vertical format works well for simple directional signs or notices.

12″ x 18″

12″ x 18″ is a standard size for indoor signs that have modest text and graphic needs. This intermediate size can be easily placed on walls, doors, and display fixtures.

18″ x 48″

18″ x 48″ is a popular banner size. The long, narrow format provides a large area for prominent text and graphics that can be suspended or placed on a wall.

Determining Ideal Size by Viewing Distance

When choosing the right sign size for maximum visibility, it’s important to consider the viewing distance – how far away will people typically be when reading your sign? The general rule of thumb is that for every 10 feet of viewing distance, you need 1 inch of letter height for optimal legibility.

For example, if your business sign will be viewed from 30 feet away, you’ll want sign letters that are at least 3 inches tall. Likewise, if you expect customers to view your sign from 60 feet, 6-inch letters would be ideal. This allows people to easily read the sign from a distance.

As a reference, research shows that 3-inch letters are readable up to 100 feet away, but the ideal viewing distance is 30 feet. Ten-inch letters can be viewed clearly from 100 feet away or more. Keeping this general guideline in mind will ensure your business signage has sufficient letter size for visibility from your expected viewing distance.

Best Sizes for Storefront Signs

When it comes to storefront signs, the most commonly used and recommended sizes are 24″ x 36″ and 36″ x 48″. These mid-range and large standard sizes are ideal for retail store signage for several reasons:

The 24″ x 36″ size provides ample space for business name, logo, and any vital store information while still being easily readable from sidewalks or parking lots. According to research, this is one of the most popular sign dimensions for storefronts, as it maximizes visibility and impact.

For businesses that need a larger sign to stand out, the 36″ x 48″ size is ideal. This provides excellent readability from further viewing distances. It also enables more creative flexibility with graphics, fonts, and messaging. This oversized option is commonly seen on malls, retail plazas, and other stores needing high visibility.

Hanging these mid to large sign sizes perpendicular to the storefront is recommended, as it allows them to be easily seen by passing pedestrians and vehicles. The 24″ x 36″ and 36″ x 48″ rectangular shapes also complement most building exteriors. For maximum visibility, placing storefront signs above entrances and as close to eye level as possible is ideal.

Best Sizes for Banners

When it comes to banners, the most common and effective sizes are 18″ x 48″ and 24″ x 72″.

An 18″ x 48″ banner is a versatile medium size that works well for indoor and outdoor use. The 18″ height allows for text and graphics to be legible from a reasonable distance while the 48″ width provides ample space for your key messaging and visuals.

For a larger, more high-impact banner, 24″ x 72″ is a standard size that can capture attention in public spaces or large events. The extra height of 24″ gives more visibility from a distance while the 72″ width enables creative, eye-catching banner designs.

According to Gold Image Printing, 24″ x 72″ is a popular medium-large banner size used for trade shows and product launches. It’s substantial enough to make a statement while still being practical and affordable to produce.

When exploring banner sizes, also consider factors like weight, material, placement location, and viewing distance. But for versatile performance across many use cases, 18″ x 48″ or 24″ x 72″ vinyl banners are recommended starting points.

Best Sizes for Window Signs

Window signs are placed directly on the glass windows or doors to attract attention from passersby. Common window sign sizes include:

  • 12″ x 18″
  • 18″ x 24″
  • 24″ x 36″

The most popular size for window signs is 12″ x 18″. This allows for adequate text and graphics while not obscuring too much visibility into and out of the business. 12″ x 18″ window signs are affordable, easy to install, and maximize visibility for storefronts.

Keep in mind when selecting a window sign size that you’ll want enough room for your logo, business name, hours, phone number, and any other pertinent details. But you don’t want the sign to dominate the window. Consider the size of your windows and how much coverage is ideal.

A 12″ x 18″ window sign can often accomplish many business owners’ needs for visibility without being overly intrusive. This size is also easy to produce and install. It’s a great starting point to test window sign marketing for your small business.

Factors to Consider

When determining the right sign size for your business, there are several key factors to take into account:

Viewing distance is crucial. The further away the sign will be read from, the larger the sign needs to be. As a general rule of thumb, plan for 10 feet of viewing distance per inch of letter height. So a sign with 10 inch letters should be legible from 100 feet away. Be sure to consider visibility from traffic and pedestrian areas in choosing size based on viewing distance.

The amount of text and graphics needed will also impact ideal size. More content will require larger overall sign dimensions to maintain legibility. Prioritize the most important elements that must be readable from a distance when choosing size.

Placement of the sign is key. Hanging signs, signs on the ground, and window signs all have different visibility needs. Research recommendations for your specific type of sign placement and orientation.

Consider the purpose of the sign. A sign meant to attract attention from far away will need to be much larger than one meant for short distance viewing. Identify the main goal of your sign to ensure the size properly fits the purpose.

Budget is always a factor. While you want adequate visibility, be realistic about costs. Look for ways to maximize impact through smart design within budget constraints.

By weighing all these critical factors against your specific business goals and context, you’ll be able to determine the right sign size for maximum visibility and impact.

Getting Impact Within Budget

When designing business signage, it’s important to maximize visibility and impact while staying within budget constraints. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your signage spend:

First, prioritize using standard sizes like 24″ x 36″ or 18″ x 24″ even if they are slightly larger than you need. The most common sizes are popular for a reason – they provide enough space for text and graphics to stand out at typical viewing distances. Sticking to standards ensures your sign doesn’t get lost.

If your budget is tight, consider going slightly smaller than the standard sizes. For example, choose 18″ x 24″ instead of 24″ x 36″. This preserves visibility while lowering material costs. Just be careful not to sacrifice too much text and graphics.

To maximize impact within a smaller size, streamline your messaging and design. Focus on the most important text that needs to be read from a distance. Use a simple, bold font that stands out. And limit additional decorative graphics that may clutter the sign.

With some creativity, you can create signage with high visibility and impact even if your budget is limited. The key is sticking to standard sizes as much as possible and optimizing your messaging for the size you choose.


In summary, proper sign sizing for your business is crucial for maximizing visibility and impact. The most common standard sizes for Kansas City businesses are 24” x 36”, 18” x 24”, 12” x 18”, and 18” x 48”. Viewing distance is a key factor, with a general rule of thumb being 10 feet per inch of letter height. Storefront signs often use 24” x 36” or 36” x 48”, banners 18” x 48” or 24” x 72.”

When choosing your sign size, be sure to consider viewing distance, the amount of text/graphics, placement, purpose, and budget. Getting the most impact possible within budget constraints can be achieved by prioritizing visibility with standard sizes, going slightly smaller to save costs if needed, and maximizing text and graphics within the size.

For your business’ unique needs, the next step is to get a free quote for new customized signage that will maximize your brand’s visibility. Contact us today to get started designing signage that meets your specific goals and viewing requirements.

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