Seeing is believing - or at least reading

What size numbers/letters should I order?

We get that question daily. Of course, some municipalities have minimum requirements but you can consider the chart below in making your decision. Our suggestion is that you go outside and see examples and measure height before ordering. Another suggestion is not defaulting to the minimum. We frequently hear that customers wished they had ordered larger letters but very, very seldom do they wish they had ordered something smaller unless space for the sign is restricted.


 Letter Visibility Chart 

Viewing Distance 
in Feet 
Minimum Required Letter 
Height in Inches 
100 ft  4" 
250 ft 10"
360 ft 
(city block) 
500 ft  22" 
750 ft  33" 
1000 ft  43" 
1320 ft 
(1/4 mile) 

Calculations based on externally (or naturally) lit sign with all upper case Helvetica letters utilizing optimal negative space. Factors that may affect required letter size are: color scheme, font selection, traffic and weather conditions, or sign standoff. Please note that the MINIMUM IS NOT ALWAYS THE BEST.


This letter visibility chart is based upon information provided by Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, Penn State University and the United States Sign Council (USSC). c1998.

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