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Signage Content Tips & Information

Tips & information on how much content to use

These signage content tips can be applied to interpretive displays & panels, information signage and posters. For the purpose of this article I’ll refer to them as signs.

I’ve broken the types of signs into 3 areas and have provided examples of most … a picture paints a thousand words – so the examples should tell you what to aim for in your projects:

  • Information – high content
  • Interpretive – medium content
  • Impact – (you guessed it) minimal content

Best Practice for Interpretive panels and displays

  1. 1/3 text, 1/3 graphics, 1/3 clear space
  2. Text should be about 150 words on a panel > .5 metre squared
  3. Text should be around 250 words on a small panel > 1 metre squared
  4. Text should be around 450 words on a large panel > 2 metre squared

Use captions to reduce visual clutter

Captions for photographs can use a smaller font as they are read in conjunction with the image and people will generally step closer to examine the photo and read the caption. They are a great way of removing text from the main content section and grouping the content into a logical sequence on the signage.

Use Headings and Subheadings

Avoid having one long content section. Break it up into sections of 1 or 2 paragraphs and label those paragraphs with the core message of those sections. This will give viewers an anchor point to pickup on something that is of interest to them. It also allows for quick scanning of the signage to get the important messages.

Here’s an example of the same signage with and without headings …


Information – High Content

  • Size: 1500mm x 1000mm = 1.5m2
  • Word Count – 1600. Character Count – 10500
  • Client: Kempsey Council
  • Text content covers roughly 1/3 of the panel but it is at a very small point size. Main body text is 24 points, with a large proportion including captions in 18 point.
  • Images cover almost the other 2/3 of the panel with very little white space …(lets’ say 5/9 with 1/9 of the panel white space).
Information Signage - Killick Creek, Kempsey

Information Sign Killick Creek

Information – Extra high content

  • Size: 1500mm x 1000mm = 1.5m2
  • Word Count – 1900. Character Count – 12000
  • Client: Kempsey Council
  • Text content covers roughly 1/3 of the panel but it is at a very small point size. Main body text is 24 points, with a large proportion including captions in 18 point.
  • Images cover almost the other 2/3 of the panel with very little white space …(lets’ say 5/9 with 1/9 of the panel white space).
  • The extra words have been added as captions to images to reduce visual clutter
Information Signage - Saltwater Creek, South West Rocks

Saltwater Creek high density information sign


Interpretive – Medium Content

  • 1200mm x 1000mm = 1.2m2
  • Word Count – 340. Character Count – 2180
  • Client: Dept Environment Climate Change & Water
  • Text content covers roughly 1/3 of the panel at 32 point for the main body –  an optimum size for viewing
  • Images cover 1/3
  • White space 1/3
Nimbin Rocks Aboriginal Signage

Nimbin Rocks indigenous interpretive sign


Impact – Minimal Content

  • 450mm x 300mm = .135m2
  • Word Count – 79. Character Count – 449
  • Client: Dept Environment Climate Change & Water – Biodiversity Conservation Unit
  • Text content covers less than 1/3 of the panel at 30 point for the main body –  an optimum size for viewing
  • Images cover 1/3
  • White space is more than 1/3

Flat Camp Kangaroo aboriginal sign

Flat Camp Interpretive Signage

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