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Design Principles of Parking Lot Signage

parking-lot-signageParking lot signage serves an important role in safeguarding the public.  While most people associate automotive accidents with public highways, studies show that thousands of collisions occur each year inside of public parking areas.  High-profile messages can help prevent many of these incidents by giving both pedestrians and motorists a better understanding of their environment.  To accomplish this purpose, however, parking lot signage must incorporate the following features:

• Capital letter height of at least 3 inches if the sign is meant to be read from a moving vehicle.
• Capital letter height of at least 1.5 inches if the sign is intended for pedestrians.
• Familiar fonts that are easily recognizable.
• Uniformity of messaging throughout the parking lot.  In other words, designers should always use the same verbiage for the same desired action.
• Parking lot signage should be a minimum of 24 inches above the surrounding grade.
• Parking lot signage should be placed away from shrubs, trees, and other landscaping features that could obscure easy visibility.
• Sign text should be as brief and direct as possible.
• Messages should be worded using positive affirmations.  For example, a stop sign should say "stop" instead of "don't go any further."  A yield to pedestrians sign should read "yield to foot traffic," rather than "don't impede those on foot."
• Text on parking lot signage should have no more than 7 to 8 words, less if possible.
• Text should have a mix of upper and lower case letters.  This requires less time for the eye to process than text that is only in capital letters.
• Each sign should convey no more than one thought or concept.
• Parking lot signage should be clearly visible both day and night and under varying weather conditions.

Parking lot signage is essential to maintaining public safety. Contact Impact Recovery if you need MUTCD-compliant signs for a parking area.