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  • Writer's pictureNeon Sign Shop

Neon Lettering Legibility

Updated: May 27

Super blue window border neon with clear red neon lettering.
Super blue window border neon with clear red neon lettering.

Clear red neon is the easiest to read neon color. You don't need huge lettering to create an easy to read, highly visible neon sign. Two inch tall neon lettering is readable from more than 60 foot away. This is a real photo of our storefront with two and a half inch red neon letters and 15 millimeter Horizon Blue window border outline.

Height of red neon letter Legibility distance

2 inches 65 foot

3 inches 100 foot

4 inches 150 foot

5 inches 175 foot

6 inches 200 foot

8 inches 350 foot

10 inches 450 foot

12 inches 525 foot

15 inches 630 foot

18 inches 750 foot

24 inches 1,000 foot

30 inches 1,250 foot

36 inches 1,500 foot

Note: The above information is only approximate for a person with average eyesight. The following variables change the above figures: current density, size of tubing, visibility (rain, fog, smoke), type of background used for glass letters, and the presence of other lights in the vicinity of the sign.

Neon sign lettering often involves a blend of artistry and craftsmanship. Each letter is typically formed from glass tubes filled with neon gas or other noble gases, which emit light when electrified. Here's an overview of the process:

  1. Design: The process begins with designing the lettering. This can involve sketching out the letters by hand or using computer software. Design considerations include the font style, size, and any additional features like borders or shapes.

  2. Tube Bending: Glass tubes are heated and bent into the desired shapes to form the letters. This process requires skill and precision to ensure that each letter matches the design.

  3. Gas Filling: Once the tubes are bent into shape, they are filled with gas, typically neon or argon, and sealed. Different gases produce different colors when ionized by an electrical current.

  4. Electrification: Electrodes are attached to each end of the tube, and a high voltage electrical current is passed through the gas. This ionizes the gas molecules, causing them to emit light. The color of the light depends on the type of gas and any phosphor coatings on the inside of the tube.

  5. Assembly: The individual letters are then assembled into the final sign, often mounted on a backing board or frame. Wiring is connected to each letter to provide power.

  6. Testing: The sign is tested to ensure that all the letters light up properly and that there are no leaks in the tubes.

  7. Installation: Once the sign is complete, it can be installed at its intended location. This may involve mounting it to a wall, hanging it from a ceiling, or placing it on a freestanding structure.

Neon sign lettering has a timeless appeal and is often used for advertising, branding, or decorative purposes. Its vibrant colors and distinctive glow make it stand out, especially in dimly lit environments or at night.

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