Six second signage

What do I mean by that? It’s not just about billboards. It’s all road signs or signage as some may say.

I noticed this sign in Alaska while on my recent visit. I wanted to share it with all of you because I wasn’t sure it was executed as well as it could have been and maybe you’ve had this issue in your life or in your own branding. Maybe you couldn’t put your finger on what wasn’t quite right or maybe you noticed it right off the bat as you flew by at 60 miles an hour.

What do you read when you look at this sign? Take six seconds:


Did it take you longer than six seconds to read it?

The the first thing I read is DENALI OUNTAIN ORNING. I thought that can’t be right. Those aren’t words. I’m missing something. So I looked at it again and saw the missing M’s. It made much more sense as Denali Mountain Morning Hostel. Then I was thinking what could they have done differently to have it read better. I think that the thicknesses of the M’s vs. the rest of the letters makes a huge difference. I think that if they were all the same thickness it would read more cohesively. Right now the M’s are a bit separate in the space as well as the type treatment. I think that “Hostel” being down at the bottom in a different type treatment also makes it a bit less cohesive. I didn’t even see it at first since I couldn’t figure out the first part.

I think you can be clever in your graphics and your marketing but you still have to make it readable. It still has to grab your eye in a good way. You have about six seconds for someone to read a sign on the side of the road, you have to make those seconds count. Not everyone will be stopping to get a better look like I did.

How does your signage measure up?

What do you think of my observations of this sign? My constructive criticisms? Does it make sense? I’d love to hear your feedback or see some other bad examples if you have any. Heck, let’s discuss the good ones too!