Electro-Matic Visual Blog

What Size LED Sign Do I Need for My Municipality?

Posted by Jeff Bauman on Jan 18, 2018 7:36:00 AM

What size LED sign do I need for my municipality

You have decided that an LED sign is in the future for your municipality. After all, what better way is there to announce community events, welcome visitors, and say thanks to public servants and municipal employees?

The right LED sign size is essential to making your sign effective. So not surprisingly, "What size LED sign do I need?" is usually among the first questions we hear from municipalities we work with. If this question is on your mind, you are in the right place. When considering what size LED sign makes sense for your municipality, you will want to start by considering budget, content, and location.

Budget and LED Sign Size

What size LED sign you need will depend heavily on your budget. All other things being equal, a larger LED sign is more expensive. When budgeting for your sign, there are two main factors to consider:

1. Initial investment.

While LED sign prices have dropped over the last few years, the technology does remain more pricey than other options. However, most studies show a payback period of one year or less. It is also important to factor in your digital signage ROI when choosing your sign.

2. Recurring expense.

Consider the recurring expenses of your LED sign board. Recurring costs can come in many forms, such as maintenance contracts, content creation cost, or data line or cellular charges for communicating with the sign.

The size compared to the cost of the sign are some of the most frequently asked questions when choosing a sign. Your sign vendor can help you calculate your costs and choose a sign that suits your budget.

Your Sign Distance

Think about the placement of your sign when considering the size. For text, you’ll want 2 inches of character height for every 50 feet of viewing distance.  Determine or estimate the viewing distance between the sign and where you expect your audience will be to find what size LED sign you need.  

Your Sign Content

If you will be displaying photos or video and you want a high quality image, consider a larger sign, one with finer resolution, or both. If your image is spread over more pixels, it will have a higher resolution and it will appear clearer to your audience.

What you plan to display will help to determine your LED sign board design size. Keep the distance consideration above in mind as you make these determinations. Also remember that you can break a message into several consecutive screens. Your LED display allows you to “repaint the canvas” into multiple images, so you can reduce the content on each screen and use a smaller screen for the same message. For example, your “Congratulations Anytown Chargers:  D1 Champs” message might not appear clearly on a smaller sign. However, this message can be broken into three scrolling screens like “Congratulations,” then “Anytown Chargers,” followed by “D1 Champs.” This way, the message will be clear.

Your LED Sign Location

If your new LED sign will be mounted far from your readership, either laterally or in the air, you will want the display to be large enough so that it isn’t hard to read or easy to ignore.  Also consider the number of other LED signs nearby.  You may be competing for attention, and here again, bigger is better. If the other LED signs in the competing space are similar in design, you may also consider making your sign stand out with a unique design, more colors, or more animation capabilities.

Your Audience

Finally, don’t forget about your audience. Generally, LED signs are placed near roads so drivers will see the message as they pass. How quickly the drivers pass will help to determine what size LED sign you need.  If vehicles are moving quickly past the sign, you will need a larger display to present as much information as possible at one time.  If traffic is slower or if the sign is placed near a stoplight or stop sign, you can use a smaller sign and break up the message.


Finding what size LED sign you need is as much art as science; there are no formal sizing rules. Drive around and take notice of the size of displays you see. When you find one you think will work for you, take the time to physically measure it, don’t guess. It is difficult to accurately estimate the size of an LED display just by looking at it. If you’re not sure about the size of your LED sign board design, contact our experts can help you make a determination.

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Topics: Choosing a Sign, Electro-Matic LED, LED Displays

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