ISA Videos

Educational Sign Videos

These animated videos are designed to provide a brief overview of technical issues of importance to the sign industry. While only introductory, they give some understanding to one of the many factors that influence signs. Additional information is available in the documents linked below each video. Coming soon: "Sign Orientation".

Learn more about ISA's educational sign videos.

5 Factors of Sign Visibility

Measuring Sign Area

Sign Height

5 Factors of Sign Visibility

Many factors impact the effectiveness of an individual sign. We have identified 5 of the most important: size, sign angle, location, luminance, contrast. This video introduces and explains about these five factors. Additional explanation of the science involved can be found in the technical reports linked below.
 
Every design choice in the construction of a sign has an impact on visibility, conspicuity, and readability. And every restriction on how a sign is built and where it is located can diminish the visibility and its effectiveness.
 
ISA supports the application of good design principles to maximize visibility and to create more effective signs. ISA also opposes the imposition of aesthetic regulations on sign design without fully considering the impact of those choices on sign effectiveness. 

Links for additional information:

A Legal and Technical Exploration of On-Premise Sign Regulation, Technical Report; pages 14-30

Federal Highway Administration Sign Visibility Research

History of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, includes Links to 2009 MUTCD


Illustrating the Science of Signage – Coming Soon


Measuring Sign Area

One of the most common misconceptions about local sign regulations is the belief that ordinances regulate the area of permitted signs.

Very few municipal codes regulate the actual face area of signs. Instead, they often regulate an approximation of the face area of signs. This happens for several reasons; the most commonly cited is ease of administration within the permit approval process.

The impact of this choice is that the area stated on a sign permit can differ from the measurements of the installed sign. Depending on the specific formula used to approximate the sign area calculation, the penalty can be more than 60 percent.

ISA supports the use of a measurement formula that measures the actual area of a sign. If an approximation formula is used, it should closely match the actual measurements for signs of any shape.

Links for additional information:

Common Sign Area Formulas

SFI Model Sign Ordinance, Measuring Areas

Planning Community Encourages Creative Designs

Consistency with Design Guidelines


Sign Height

In order for a sign to be effective, it first needs to be seen. Even before color, lighting, and other design considerations, a direct line of sight to the viewer must be assured. When signs are too low to the ground, they often are blocked by other objects, like cars, pedestrians, and landscaping. This interrupts that direct line of sight.
 
In situations where low signs are required, special care must be taken to place those signs in the best position to be seen by potential viewers. A focus on setback location, landscaping, and placement of information on the sign face can maximize the effectiveness of a sign that has been impeded by a restrictive code.
 
Links for additional information:

Bonus Compensation for Monument Signs

A Legal and Technical Exploration of On-Premise Sign Regulation, Technical Report; pages 14-30


SFI Model Sign Code, Determining Sign Height