LED signs are not a “one-size-fits-all” product. The “right” size sign for your location and purpose may not be the “right” size for someone else’s location and purpose. The “right” sign should display your messages clearly and completely. After all, isn’t that the point of the LED sign — to convey your message?

Are You Replacing Your Existing Sign?

When replacing your sign, you may be able to re-purpose the sign foundation and support structure (poles). This alone could save you thousands of dollars. However, your new sign will probably have to be the same physical size as your existing sign in order to use the existing foundation and sign support structure.

Your existing sign was most likely approved by the zoning entity that holds authority over signs in your area. That could be the city, county, state or other governing agency. The process of approving your sign included reviewing the total square footage of the sign, the height of the structure and the size and amount of concrete used in the foundation. This “engineering” assured that the total structure met safety and wind load requirements.

If the new sign is the same size – or smaller – it should meet all the same approval criteria. But if you increase the physical size of your new sign you may be required to start from scratch with a new foundation and support structure.

Consider the example below. The foundation for a 32 square foot sign would not be adequate for a 50 square foot sign. A larger foundation would be required to meet wind load requirements for the larger sign. If your intention is to repurpose the foundation and leg for your new sign, you’ll need to keep the physical size of your new sign at 32 square foot or less.

Foundation Comparison

Foundation Comparison

Determine the Viewable Distance

Evaluate the location you’ve chosen for your LED sign from the viewer’s perspective.

  • How much time will your target audience have to read your sign message? Will they be able to read your message before they’ve traveled past the sign?
  • How far will the sign be from the road?
  • How high will you mount the readable area of the sign?

These are the biggest contributors to the “viewable distance” of your sign.

A sign installed 10-15 feet from the street — at 6 feet from grade level to the bottom of the LED sign — may not be visible to the viewer until they’re relatively close to the sign. In this case, a smaller sign may be the right fit because the viewable distance is limited and the target audience has less time to read the message.

A sign installed at a higher elevation will be visible from a greater distance. This gives the driver more time to read the message. If the viewer has more time to read the message, a larger sign may be a better fit.

The Size of the Sign = The Size of the Message

The height of the LED sign determines the number of lines that can be displayed. The width of the sign determines how many characters can be displayed on each of those lines. The smaller the sign, the fewer lines and characters it can display.

Write down 2 or 3 messages as you imagine they would appear on your new sign. How many lines did you use? Count the number of characters from left to right on each line of those lines. Don’t forget spaces count as characters too.  How many characters did you use on each line?

The “right” sign should be able to display the number of lines and characters you need to convey your message clearly.

Whether you are able to maintain the same size sign or determine the need to increase the size, the knowledge of an experienced sign company will serve you well. Be sure to call on their expertise early in the process.

* This blog is a reflection of my opinion and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Signs Plus. You can email me at colleen@signsplussigns.com for any comments, questions or assistance.