LED Signs

How to Select the Best Size For Your Location
By Kim Clark


LED signs are available in an overwhelming number of sizes. How do you determine which size will be most effective in your location? Imagine the disappointment and frustration that occurs when a new sign is installed and it turns out that the letters are too small for viewers to read? Or the letters are big enough, but there isn't enough room on the display area for a complete message. So passers by only see part of what you want them to read. Understanding Viewing Distance, Character Height, Pixel Matrix and Resolution (or Pitch) will help you make an informed decision.

Viewing Distance is considered the number one factor in determining the size of LED sign you need. In addition to the actual distance between the sign and your target audience, it is important to consider how they will view the sign. Will they be walking/ standing or driving by? If driving, what is the speed of traffic? The answers to these questions will determine which Character Height will be most effective in your location.

The recommended rule of thumb is that the height of the characters/letters/text on your sign must be 1" for every 30 feet of viewing distance. The maximum acceptable distance is 50' per 1" of letter height. In other words, if you will be standing 150 feet away from a street level sign, the letters need to be 6" tall using the conservative recommended rule of thumb. Should your sign be located on a highway, 600 feet from vehicles passing at 55 mph, the letters would need to be 20" tall.

Beyond the height of the letters, it is important to consider the number of lines of text and the number of letters that will fit across the width of the display area. This will determine whether your audience will be able to read your entire message before passing by. Not to worry. The LED Pixel Matrix is designed to tell you what you need to know.

An LED Pixel Matrix indicates how many rows of text your sign will display and how many characters will fit across the display area. Pixel Matrix is determined by multiplying the number of pixels vertically by the number of pixels horizontally. For instance, a Pixel Matrix of 16x80 means the display area consists of 16 vertical rows of pixels and 80 horizontal rows.

The number of vertical rows will determine the number of lines of text your sign will display. An LED display requires 7 pixels x 5 pixels to display Standard English characters. For multiple lines of text, an eighth row is required to separate the lines. Therefore, an LED sign with 16 pixel rows will display 2 lines of text, a sign with 24 pixel rows will display 3 lines of text, 32 pixel rows will display 4 lines, and so on.

Equally important are the number of characters that will be displayed across the sign at one time. Six pixel columns are required to display each Standard English character. A sign with 64 pixel columns will display 10 characters across, 80 pixel columns will display 13 characters, etc.

To sum it all up, KC McCay, a Senior Product Manager for a leading national LED sign distributor, states "I'd make one big recommendation...The most critical thing that people are not understanding is letters, lines, and the number of letters per line. The primary goal is to get messages out. One or two lines of 8 letters per line is not enough. You need a minimum of 3 lines of the most appropriate letter size...with a minimum of 14 characters per line. Most local and several national companies are selling 1 and 2 line limited LED signs...and people don't realize that they are getting ripped off."

Finally, don't overlook the Resolution, also referred to as Pitch, when determining the best type of LED sign for your location. Resolution is the degree of sharpness and clarity of a displayed image and it is a factor that will greatly affect the price of the sign. Higher Resolution means more diodes and more circuits, which usually means a higher cost. The total Resolution of a sign is determined by the Pitch: The measurement between pixels. A pixel can be composed of one single diode or a cluster of many diodes running off the same circuit. In such cases, the distance from the center of one diode to the center of another diode (usually stated in millimeters) determines the Pitch. The smaller the Pitch number, the higher the resolution. Longer viewing distances require less resolution while shorter viewing distances require higher resolution.

Beyond these tips, you can avoid disappointment and frustration, or as KC said, "getting ripped off", by consulting with an experienced sign professional to consider all of the variables effecting your unique situation. Be sure to ask for testimonials from satisfied customers and if possible, view some signs that they have provided in your area.

A convenient Viewing Distance and Time Reference Chart is available at http://www.signsplussigns.com/church-signs/LedsignPages/ViewTimeChart.htm

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Kim_Clark http://EzineArticles.com/?LED-Signs---How-to-Select-the-Best-Size-For-Your-Location&id=1633462

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About the Author - Kim Clark is the Director of Marketing and Advertising for Signs Plus - New Ideas, New Technology, Inc.  Founded in 1988, Signs Plus is a leading provider of signage to businesses, schools and churches nationwide.  Find out why over 11,000 organizations have chosen Signs Plus for their sign needs:  http://www.signsplusleds.com

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