In case you missed it, read Part 1 of the “how to choose fonts” series. Click Here.
To design for interior signage we must first look at a few sign types (this is not a comprehensive list) that will be used. Each one will require a slightly different approach when choosing a font style.
• Wall Mounted ADA Compliant Signage
• Main Identity/Logo
• Wall Mounted Directionals
• Overhead Directionals
Wall Mounted ADA Compliant Signage:
Signage for compliance with Title III of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) guidelines have been recently updated.
Title III states:
703.2.3 Style. Characters shall be sans serif. Characters shall not be italic, oblique script, highly decorative, or of other unusual forms.
Serif fonts are the fonts that have little tails as show below:
A sans-serif font does not have tails. This term comes from the French meaning “without serifs”:
Some additional examples of sans serif types are Helvetica, Frutiger, Optima and Futura.
Some companies have a formal reception area, which requires special signage to reinforce their branding. This can be a logo design mounted behind a desk or characters on a large wall that is viewed upon entry. Visibility and personal preference are the general rules of thumb here. If it is a very large open space you may want your cap heights to be 4″ or more. I have seen logo applications that are between 1 to 2 feet in height and there are no limitations on font styles.
Wall Mounted Directionals:
There are not codes governing wall mounted directional font style or cap heights but here are a few good rules to follow. Don’t make your cap heights less then 2″. Make sure you give your directions in batches of 3 with a space in between if you have to direct people to more then three places. The brain thinks in groups of three. Group your right, left, up and down arrows together in your messaging.
Instead of having restrictions on styles of fonts that can be used for overhead directionals there are more specific regulations on character height, stroke thickness, character spacing, line spacing, etc. Therefore, you could us a Serif font as long as the “stroke thickness of the uppercase letter “I” is 10% minimum and 30 percent maximum of the height of the character.” Let me show you examples of a couple fonts: