National Academies’ Nighttime Overhead Signage Luminance Levels

The National Academies Press issued an 80-page report, in May 2017, entitled “Guidelines for Nighttime Overhead Sign Visibility.” It includes a chart headlined “Luminance Levels for Overhead Signs.” It lists five different visual complexity levels, ranging from a dark rural area to a commercial downtown district. It then suggests minimum luminance levels in terms of candelas per square foot and square meter. The suggested brightness levels at the most complex setting are 10 times higher than for the rural setting.

You can download the entire report at

Wade Swormstedt

Wade is the former Executive Director of the Foundation for the Advancement of the Sign Industry and the former Editor and Publisher of Signs of the Times magazine.

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