The United States Sign Council Federation (USSCF) funded new research on the standardized brightness or “lighting levels” for many different color combinations used in typical on-premise signs—cabinet-style signs and channel letters. When the USSCF study was released in 2017, the actual luminance values obtained in the testing were omitted (see Appendix E). This information has now been restored to the study and is available free of charge.
Based on the needs of the motorist and traffic safety and consistent with all USSCF research since 1996, the benchmark for sign brightness is the “luminance” of the sign (as opposed to a light trespass approach involving “illuminance” or footcandles; see the USSCF Sign Lighting Standards for the formula to convert illuminance measurements to luminance).
Signs that were tested included single-sided and double-sided sign cabinets using both fluorescent lighting and LED lighting and individual channel letters using LED lighting. Over 50 different color combinations were tested for each type of sign, resulting in 243 unique sign configurations total. Data collection was performed both in the field and in a closed shop environment.
How can a sign company obtain sign brightness information? Use the charts, or contact the USSCF. Provide a pdf showing the sign design, the colors, and illumination method. Using the new research, USSCF will be able to tell a sign company the brightness of the proposed sign, without having to guess, or run the risk of constructing the sign.
For more information, visit www.usscfoundation.org.