Best Fonts For Signs

Best Fonts for Signs and Banners

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What are the best fonts to use on signage? Which font is easiest to read? To answer these questions, we asked our professional graphic designers what they consider to be the best fonts for sign-making. Choosing the right font can be complicated and overwhelming, so we compiled all the information needed in this article.

Table of Contents

  • Best Fonts for Signs
  • Can You Pick What Font Works Best?
  • Font Categories
  • Digital Fonts vs. Print Fonts
  • Best Font Tips for Large Format Signs
  • Best Font Tips for Small Format Signs
  • Elegant and Decorative Fonts for Signs
  • Best Colors for Easy-to-Read Fonts
  • Tips and Tricks for Using Bold Fonts
  • Best Professional Fonts
  • Summary of Tips for the Best Fonts From Professional Designers at


Best Fonts for Signs

What is the best font for a sign? For most general large-format signs, our designers recommend using any of the following fonts:

  • Helvetica
  • Futura
  • Bebas
  • Avenir
  • Proxima Nova
  • Arial
  • Open Sans
  • Franklin Gothic
  • Montserrat
  • Optima
  • Myriad

If the font you originally chose isn’t on our list, don’t worry — it doesn’t mean you chose wrong. Remember, these were the most common answers found in our survey.

Side note: Our designers also revealed their bottom three fonts to use for signs, which are the following:

  • Comic Sans
  • Papyrus
  • Any script font

Steer clear of these fonts if you want your sign to be readable. If you love design humor as much as we do, check out this SNL skit about the Papyrus font.

Most people first encounter fonts in school using programs like Microsoft Word or Google Docs, leading them to believe they’re limited to default fonts like Times New Roman and Arial. In reality, there are many fonts available for download or purchase that you can use for your marketing collateral. When picking a font for your signage, consider costs as many fonts are interchangeable. Investing in a pricier font may be worthwhile for website or brand consistency, but you can also use the fonts licensed to the software you’re using.


Can I Pick Which Font Works Best for Me?

Let’s look at four different signs with the same exact design but with different fonts.

Banner with script text
Image A
Banner with serif text
Image B
Banner with comic sans text
Image C
Banner with sans serif text
Image D

Image D features the best font for a banner — a sans serif bold for maximum visibility. Images A and C, which used a script font and Comic Sans respectively, look unprofessional and are hard to read. Image B, which used a serif font, looks decent but more suitable for small formats. More details on why Image D is the right font choice will be explored in this blog post.


Font Categories

Fonts are categorized into serif, sans serif, script, cursive, text, and novelty. The difference between serif and sans serif fonts lies in serifs, which are small tail-like lines at the characters’ ends. Times New Roman is a popular serif font while Helvetica is a sans serif that’s also known to many designers. Sans serif fonts are typically the best types to use for large signage due to their clarity but they are also suitable for smaller formats and prints. For more information on font categories and typography, check out this blog post.


Digital Fonts vs. Print Fonts

We now live in a largely digital world, and something that can often be forgotten is how popular physically printed signs are. You will notice that printed signs are still prevalent and they are not going anywhere. On the other hand, the great thing about digital design is that it makes designing and creating physical signs incredibly easy!

Here are tips to remember when creating and designing for a printed sign:

  • Fonts used for printed signage need to be legible and thick enough for printing. Thicker fonts will help ensure that your sign is clear, visible, and turns out the way you intend it to. Digital fonts can have a variety of thicknesses and still look crisp, but for a large, printed sign it is best to have thick fonts and text.
  • Not all fonts look great on both digital and print. There are some fonts that look better on a computer than they do when printed.
  • Exercise caution and avoid using fonts like Comic Sans or Papyrus. These may appear fun on screens but are generally viewed negatively in print.


Best Font Tips for Large Format Signs


Sign with sans serif font
A large format sign with a bold sans serif font

What’s the Best Font for Large Banners?

If you’re deciding what the best font for large banners is, go for sans serif fonts such as Arial, Helvetica, and Bebas. These fonts are the easiest to read and are great for enhancing the impact of large format signs like banners, decals, aluminum, and plastic signs. For the best readability, our designers recommend using big, bold text with a dark color on a light background.

Another way to make sure your sign is readable from different distances is to remember that a sign typically has 10 feet of viewing distance for every inch of letter height on the sign. So, if the text on your sign is four inches, that would make it readable for most people from about 40 feet away.


Best Font Tips for Small Format Signs

Postcard with serif font
Image of a small format postcard that correctly utilizes serif type.

For small format signs like business cards, stickers, postcards, brochures and door hangers, you have the flexibility to choose between serif and sans serif fonts. Our designers recommend using sans serif fonts for headings and large text, while serif fonts are suitable for smaller text and paragraphs. Formal businesses like law firms and government offices use serif fonts for their text, but others have used sans serif fonts, too.

Consider readability when choosing fonts for small format signs. Stick to classic and easy-to-read fonts, and avoid using all caps, script, and grunge fonts, as they are not only difficult to read but can also look unprofessional.


Elegant and Decorative Fonts for Signs

What is an Elegant Font for Signs?

If you want your sign to have a touch of elegance, choose script fonts that resemble calligraphy, whether created with a pen, brush, or by hand. Some examples are Pacifico, Lobster, Allura, Alex Brush, and Parisienne, which work great for events, invitations, cafes, restaurants, salons, and more. While script fonts look visually appealing, remember to exercise caution when using them, as they could be difficult to read if they’re heavily used in large blocks of text. Script fonts are more suitable for short words or phrases and larger sizes.

What Font is Best Used for Decorative Signs?

If you want to add character to your sign, decorative fonts are the perfect choice. Decorative fonts have a theme and are composed of various shapes and elements. Some examples include Cooper Black, Gilroy, and Gazpacho. Decorative fonts are often used for identifying a brand and are often seen in logos, headers, signs, merch, and more. Remember to use them sparingly in body text, as they will look cluttered and unreadable.


Best Colors for Readable Fonts

When selecting colors for fonts and signs, there are a few important factors to keep in mind. Our designers recommend sticking to a black or dark grey font color on light backgrounds or a white font color on a dark background. Other color combinations may work but may end up being more difficult to read or suggest a certain mood. For example, fonts in red can work in messages like promos and sales, but they also convey a sense of urgency and emergency. It’s essential to consider the context of the text as you pick the colors while designing.

Another thing to consider is to only use colors that contrast well and are not similar in value. Colors like red and yellow are similar in value and become difficult to read when on top of each other. Ensure that the sign remains readable for individuals who may be visually impaired or colorblind. Choosing black, grey, and white for font colors is a smart choice due to their versatility and readability in various contexts.


Tips and Tricks for Using Bold Fonts

When considering the best fonts for signage, it’s important to know when and when not to use bold fonts. Not all fonts come with a bold variant, and word processors and design tools can only make any font boldfaced with the tools they offer. Our designers recommend finding a boldfaced version of the font family you are using (i.e. Arial has Arial Black) rather than toggling the Bold button in the toolbar.

Our designers gave a list of some situations that make bold fonts pop. Using a bold font to make a sign readable can always help, especially with large format signs. Black fonts and darker greys are typically the best-looking bold fonts. They are also suitable for short and important statements like “FOR SALE” and “Everything Must Go” are great situations to use a bold font or all caps. Keep in mind you don’t need to make the whole sign bold, but you can just emphasize the most important part of the sign to enhance visibility.

If you need an expert who knows these design principles by heart to choose the font for you, our skilled designers at would love to help! Our designers offer free design services, ensuring a hassle-free experience. Contact us if you have any questions or need help!


5 Tips for the Best Fonts: A Summary

We summarized the tips shared by our professional designers to help you choose the right font whenever you make a signage or any marketing print product. Keep these five tips in mind when deciding on which fonts you should use to execute your design.

  1. The best fonts are the classics. The top five fonts selected by’s design team are Helvetica, Futura, Bebas, Avenir, and Proxima Nova. Arial and Times New Roman are also great!
  2. Stay away from Comic Sans, Papyrus, script, and grunge type fonts in most situations, as they convey an unprofessional appearance.
  3. Refrain from using more than three fonts on a single sign. It can be tempting to use various fonts when creating your design, but the best practice for designing is that one or two fonts are enough for a well-balanced and cohesive design.
  4. White space is your friend! Keep this in mind as you design with fonts, images, and anything else you use. There’s no need to fill every single inch of a design. Let there be white space or blank space to let your design breathe and keep it balanced.
  5. Readability is always going to be the most important factor in choosing a font. If you’re unsure if your font is readable and looks good, have a friend or co-worker look for a second opinion.


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