The Aging Eye: Typography Techniques for Better Signage Readability

GlassesIt happens to all people. As they age, their sense of vision decreases. Their pupils become smaller, which allow less illumination and result in a dimmed alteration of letters and colours. The lenses of the eyes also lose resistance, lessening the ability to focus and read things.

This is not just a nuisance; it’s a problem for sign makers designing banners and signage that must be readable and visible to older generations.

The right type size

Bigger is better when it comes to determining type size for the aging eye. When designing signage and banners, readability decreases as the viewing distance increases. Go for bigger point types such as 18 or 20-inch letter height to make sure customers can easily read it at a glance.

Keep elements simple

The aging eye may hardly decipher decorative typefaces, especially when viewed from a distance. Go for traditional typefaces instead of delicate, showy ones. Excessive elements applied to a certain type can interfere with the message. Keep your typeface clean and use typeface effects with care.

Inspect from a distance

Graphic designers and sign makers are often used to sitting close to their monitors, and just zooming in and out to see the details. Standing up and stepping back can be an ideal way of checking the sign’s readability. This is also a great way to help determine if the sign needs some editing.

Shorter is better

Even though there’s a large surface to fill, it doesn’t mean you should. Messages will have more impact if it’s short and direct to the point. White spaces increase readability, especially for aging eyes. Make sure each type has breathing room between elements for convenient reading.

Create signage that caters to the unique demands of the aging eye. Choose typefaces that are comfortable on the eyes. Knowing what typeface to use so your signage is reader-friendly is as important as conveying a clear message.

About Jamie Moffet 26 Articles
Jamie Moffett is an Executive Creative Director in a renowned advertising agency in the U.S. He has written three books of short stories and esays. Links