Large format printing poses a unique challenge. You need the font size to be big enough and the design to be clean to avoid distraction and allow for optimized readability. This means that your large banners should have messaging that’s short, sweet, and to the point. However, even if you have a short, catchy message, no results will follow if your audience can’t read the text. To help you better prepare your design and anticipate your printing needs, here’s a guide to the best font sizes for large format printing.

The most important part of choosing your font size is making sure that it will be legible to your target audience. If the text isn’t legible and the message isn’t clear, the sign is pointless. In most instances, large format printing is viewed from far distances, such as in the case of billboards alongside a highway. This means that in a blink of an eye, your audience will see your sign before it’s in the rearview mirror. Since drivers need to also focus on the road, signs that are difficult to read are often ignored.

Due to these challenges, it’s essential that you make your sign, text, and the graphics easy to read. A great way to determine exactly what size font you need is through the use of a tested equation.

To determine the height of the text, multiple the distance in feet by 0.035.

Height (in inches) = 0.035 x Distance (in feet)

Then, to determine the point size of the text, multiple the height of the text in inches by 72.

Point size of text = 72 x Height (in inches)

Use the following scenario as an example. If your large format sign will be seen from 300 feet away, the smallest text on your sign needs to be at least 10.5 inches tall, or a point size of 756. If your sign needs to be seen from 1,000 feet away, the smallest text on your sign should be at least 35 inches tall, or a point size of 1,520. Here is a chart showing font height for some common distances:

Distance Text height Point size
15’ 0.525” 37.8pt
15’ 0.525″ 37.8 pt.
20’ 0.7” 50.4 pt.
30’ 1.05” 75.6 pt.
50’ 1.75” 126 pt.
100’ 3.5” 252 pt.
500’ 17.5” 1,260 pt.
1,000’ 35” 2,520 pt.

Unfortunately, some design programs limit point size to 1,296, which makes it difficult to achieve font sizes needed for larger distances. By working with a professional printing company, you can bypass these restrictions and receive a solution with high-quality imagery and strategic placement.

If you have any questions regarding the font size needed for your large format banners or signs, contact the professionals at Impact Color. Our team is well versed in determining the best font size for your needs, regardless of whether you’re printing something small, medium, or large.