By Andrew Bertucci, United States Sign Council

Since 1996, the United States Sign Council (USSC) and its research arm, the United States Sign Council Foundation (USSCF) have funded an extensive array of studies into the legibility of on-premise signs and the manner in which motorists react to these signs in various roadside environments. Because of these ground breaking studies, it is now possible to determine, with a degree of certainty, the size of letters as well as the size of signs necessary to ensure motorist legibility. Most of this work has been synthesized in the current USSC publication entitled USSC Best Practices Standards for On-Premise Signs, which details methods for ascertaining sign size, legibility, and height for on-premise signs that are directly in view of a motorist approaching the sign. In addition, a study completed in 2006 and entitled On-Premise Signs, Determination of Parallel Sign Legibility and Letter Heights now provides similar methods for ascertaining legibility factors for signs not directly in view, such as wall mount building signs usually parallel to a motorist’s viewpoint.

The USSC Best Practices Standards and the parallel sign study offer relatively detailed analysis of the legibility factors involved with on-premise signs, and certainly should be utilized whenever such analysis is warranted. A number of equally useful generalizations, or time-saving rules-of-thumb based on the studies, however, can be applied to arrive at results which reflect legibility values which can be used as a general average applicable to most conditions. These are detailed below.

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Features and Advantages of EMCs

Take into account the following when considering an electronic message center for your business:


· EMCs allow an unlimited number of message changes and variable controls, all easily completed with a computer. The result is lower labor cost and elimination of the physical liabilities often associated with copy changes on traditional reader boards.

· EMCs communicate variable messages as people pass by, allowing greater flexibility in communicating to the public.

· With their automated dimming and focusing systems, EMCs can respond to the visibility needs of the public, increasing safety and conspicuity day and night.

· The flexibility offered by EMCs means your business can advertise specials while also displaying public service information or other items of public interest.

· These signs can quickly “brand” your business site in the local community.

· EMCs are an investment in your business and provide the best and most cost-effective forms of paid advertising. The only form of advertising that may be more powerful is word of mouth (although it can be neither purchased nor controlled).

· The effectiveness of an EMC is not limited by space or surface area constraints as with a reader-board.

· EMCs act as your “salesman on the street,” attracting new customers to your business location.

· EMCs allow you to market your products and services to your immediate trade area and prevent wasteful advertising expenses.

· The business owner can change the message as needed to provide information to specific retail customers, and can be used for political, social or community events.

· Software is available that enables a business owner to display sophisticated logos or images on the EMC precisely as planned.

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