Anatomy of a Site Survey

Before starting on any sign project, it is essential to do a thorough site survey. This is holds true for monument signs, channel letter signage, outdoor banners etc. The initial survey is the single most important step of your design and marketing effort. Without the information garnered by the survey, the most impressive signage can be rendered ineffective by existing conditions not otherwise recognized. When conducting the survey, the following conditions should be documented:

  • Approach — The distance measured along a line of travel from the point where the signage display first becomes visible to the point where copy is no longer readable (having passed perpendicular to the line of sight). Consider the approach to the business. What speed is permitted on the street(s)? What obstructions are along the approach? How clear is the line of sight?
  • Exposure Time — Exposure time is the amount of time an observer has to view the contenti of the sign. Exposure time is a function of the approach, noticeability of the sign, legibility of the sign, and rate of travel along the approach path.
  • Noticeability — This term is actually a combination of detection and conspicuity.
  • Conspicuity — The quality of an object (sign) or a light source to appear prominent or to stand out in its surroundings. The depth associated with the individual channel letters contributes greatly to this quality.
  • Detection — The quality or state of being perceivable by the eye. In many outdoor applications, visibility is defined in terms of the distance at which an object can be just perceived (I.e. detected) by the eye. Since channel letters can be spaced without an associated cost in square footage allocation, a spread pattern can often be used to increase the distance at which the letters can be discerned and read.