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Sign Lettering Psychology

Sign Lettering describes what kind of personality a business has, what the environment is like, and the quality of the product or service a business provides. A business must choose the correct letter lighting, colors,  and style for the company sign, otherwise the business is misrepresented by its sign and that can cause a decrease in sales and angry consumers. This article will be discussing a very important part of the sign; the lettering.

Sign Lettering

For a sign to be effective, design is as important for the single letter as it is for the entire panel, both for legibility and psychological inference. A single letter can have a thousand meanings in the western world. Different slants represent different perceptions people perceive when looking at a sign. For example, an upward slant is often associated with positive attributes, such as exuberance, enthusiasm, and ambition, while a downward slant may indicate negative attributes such as grief or worry. The list below shows the different meanings to letters:

  • Upward slant– associated with positive attributes, such as exuberance, enthusiasm, and ambition
  • Downward slant– indicates negative attributes such as grief or worry
  • Straight up and down– do not convey any emotions
  • Backward slanting– cold calculating manner or nature
  • Forward slants– generally associated with emotional attributes
  • Right slants– indicates generosity and self sacrifice
  • Extreme right slants– indicates nervousness and extreme emotional nature
  • Thin letters– associated with spirituality and refinement, simplicity, modest tastes, or high sense of honor
  • Thick letters– indicates materialism and self-confidence
  • Rounded thick letters– relates to voluptuousness or sensuousness
  • Compressed letters– associated with exclusiveness or reservedness
  • Large and extended– indicates friendliness, good entertainment, or an amiable attitude
  • Low Capital letters– indicates humility, simplicity or modesty

Sign Lettering psychology

Figure 1:


The above sign has many good attributes. The sign shows enthusiasm and ambition with its upward slant. The serifs are a bit whimsical and fun while the straight up and down balances this with less emotion and implies they are very businesslike.  Based on the sign lettering, the business conveys a set of attributes that it demonstrates once you enter the restaurant. That is known by the thin and cursive letters. Lastly, the business is modest or displays simplicity or humility with its Low capital “B”.

As you can see, the lettering on a sign says a lot about a business. Picking the right lettering is important to show people what the business is all about. It is also important not to use lettering that misrepresents the business as that can be detrimental to sales and attitude of consumers.

“Data and text retrieved from On-Premise Signs as Storefront Marketing Devices and Systems

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