SIZE OF LETTERS REQUIRED FOR VISIBILITY AS A FUNCTION OF VIEWING DISTANCE AND OBSERVER VISUAL ACUITY

A formula is derived giving the letter stroke-width needed for legibility of words on a sign at any given distance by an observer with any given visual acuity. The stroke width, in turn, determines the letter size, depending upon the characteristics of the type face used. The derivation is strictly mathematical and is based on the assumption that beyond a distance of a few meters, a person's visual acuity is specifiable by a fixed visual angle, independent of the distance. The information implicit in the formula is also presented graphically, in four plots that apply to four different combinations of length units for measuring stroke width and viewing distance. Also presented are formulas and graphs for correcting the critical stroke width for nonstandard contrast or background luminance. These correction formulas are based on a body of data on visual acuity as a function of contrast and background luminance, and a formula fitting the mid-ranges of the data, both published recently by other researchers.

  • Corporate Authors:

    National Bureau of Standards

    Building Physics Division
    Washington, DC  United States  20234

    Department of Labor

    Occupational Safety and Health Administration
    Washington, DC  United States  20210
  • Authors:
    • Howett, G L
  • Publication Date: 1983-7

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 72 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00395367
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • Report/Paper Numbers: NBS TN 1180 Final Rpt., HS-037 967
  • Contract Numbers: IAG J-9-F-7-0146
  • Files: HSL, TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jun 30 1985 12:00AM