A Little Light Outdoor Reading

I saw the most beautiful delivery truck today. Gorgeous, current colors, striking photography all over, eye-catching layout.

Probably for a local business. I can’t tell you.

At fifty feet, I couldn’t read a thing on it, or this might be a whole different post.

What Is Being in Business For? This truck failed utterly. Beautiful, striking, money out the window. I hate that. I want your business to grow and thrive!

Outdoor legibility* rules for trucks, billboards, and other signage:

1. Clear and readable at 100–500 feet: large, bold type (not this kind of bold—bold in the sense of “prominent, standing out”)

2. Short copy (including contact info for trucks!)

3. High contrast colors

4. Simplify, simplify, simplify (must be easily understood and remembered, at a distance, in under 5–10 seconds for motorists)

5. Well-lit (if applicable… not your truck, please!)

Go ahead and be beautiful! Market your business! Just make sure I can read it, okay?

Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson


*Legibility vs. Readability: There is some debate as to precise definitions, but to rudely gloss over the subject: Legibility concerns letterforms of a typeface (“font”), and how easily recognized they are, which is generally the critical factor in a near-instant read such as outdoor signage; readability concerns the ease of reading a typeface through a longer passage. There are many excellent resources on- and off-line that walk through historic and current preferences, and understanding of legible and readable type. It’s my article and I’m not going to go there with you right now.