You’ve anticipated all the ways you’re going to use the LED (Light Emitting Diode) message board sign to attract new customers. It’s set up and ready to go, but are you? 

Because of the infinite messages you can communicate through your LED signs, you may not know where to begin. Let’s start with the basics. Once you learn the fundamentals, you will feel more confident creating designs for your new LED message board sign. And you don’t need to be a wordsmith or designer to do it.

Audience First 

Remember to think about your audience’s point of view. The information you view on your screen in the office may look different for your reader. Always test your message by going outside and driving past your sign to see firsthand how easily someone can read the message board. What are you aiming for? Clear and understandable.

To achieve clear and understandable communication, learn about the two primary categories for designing LED messages: 

1. Text

2. Color

Here’s what you need to know.

Fundamentals of Text  

Learn the three basic guidelines of text design to create an engaging LED message. 

1. Simple is best

Whether a large digital billboard or an urgent care medical center LED sign, stick to brief wording. Avoid writing complete sentences. Your audience has only a few seconds to read the message.

Write the message in as few words as possible. If you have multiple offers, divide the ad into multiple messages, with each offer separately displayed.

Since the eye reads from left to right, content aligned to the left will be easier to read and comprehend.  

For example, an urgent care medical center may broadcast health reminders, the kind of insurance accepted, or promotions for everything from school sports physicals to screenings. 

Instead of: 

Our doctors specialize in all school sports physicals. 

Call and set an appointment today.


Get your sports physical now!

2. Big is beautiful

Just a reminder because it’s so important: Focus on the audience’s view. They are driving by your sign from 25 to 70 miles an hour. Larger text will ensure motorists see your message from a greater distance, which makes a difference in the short viewing time. 

A good rule of thumb is to keep a minimum of one foot character height. If your message won’t fit into one frame, break it up into multiple frames by shortening the text and putting each phrase into only one frame. As a result, you can use larger text and maximize the legibility of the entire message. 

3. Plain is powerful

The font you choose affects legibility. Sans-serif fonts like Helvetica, Avant Garde, Arial, Calibri, and Geneva are most appealing on digital signage displays. You can use bold text to highlight important words. Avoid thin and script fonts because they’re difficult to read at a distance. Maximize readability with thick, heavy fonts. Capitalize words as more pixels are used to create capital letters. But keep in mind that all caps are hard to read and can appear to be shouting to the reader.

Choosing consistent fonts is also a good idea. Any design using more than two different font faces will negatively impact what the viewer will read and understand before they pass by the sign. Keep the screen views long enough so the message can achieve your goal: Being clear and understandable. 

Fundamentals of Color

Good color contrast is also important for readability.

Using a high contrasting color palette accomplishes four benefits:

  1. Improves readability
  2. Creates focus
  3. Organizes information
  4. Helps to direct the reader’s eye

When you choose highly contrasting colors between the text and background, the text stands out. Bright text is attractive in front of darkly shaded backgrounds. White and yellow are excellent choices because they’re the brightest colors an LED sign can produce. 

White is the brightest a sign can be, so avoid using it as a background color as white can visually overpower the text. Try a black outline around the letters as the shadow helps separate the text from the background.

If the text looks blurry as you try to read it, or you’re unable to focus on reading the words on the sign, try changing the colors to a higher contrast.

For monochrome LED message boards, apply the same ideas. The shades of red or amber available on your sign can help separate the text from the background through contrasting brightness. Using full bright text, black strokes, and darker-shaded backgrounds will look appealing and be legible at greater distances.

Want to know more ways to use your LED message board? Ask us. We can help by answering your questions and show you how other organizations use LED message board signs to achieve their goals. 

Larry Gliozzi

Larry Gliozzi founded Loumarc Signs. He as been in marketing and advertising since 1978. Loumarc Signs is a NJ custom sign shop in business for over 24 years. Once a customer approves the sign, Loumarc Signs handles the rest — from permits to plans, fabrication to installation.

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