Vinyl Lettering Ordering Basics

What to consider before ordering vinyl lettering.

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Before you embark on a custom do-it-yourself vinyl lettering journey you'll need to know about a few key elements that could impact your purchase. If you order your lettering to big, or to small for that matter, it may not have the effort you had envisioned. Or maybe you are planning on applying the lettering to a surface that may require a more aggressive adhesive and you'll need know what type of vinyl lettering material is right for the job.

Any which way you look at it, even though ordering do-it-yourself cut vinyl lettering looks fairly cut and dry, there are some things you should ask yourself before trying to price out a lettering project. The information below could save you money, time and possible installation problems which will help make your do-it-yourself vinyl letter experience more enjoyable. The following list describes some basic vinyl lettering ordering questions that you may incur pricing a lettering project or that you will need to consider for automated online ordering systems.

Size of Lettering and Character Count

The size of your lettering is greatly determined by the available space of the substrate you are planning on adhering it too and the amount of characters utilizing in your lettering. Nine times out of ten people choose a letter size off the top of their head without thinking about the two elements listed in the previous sentence. And as a rule of thumb, most characters are roughly almost the same width as their chosen height. So a normal 2" tall letter would measure about 1.75" inches in width. So say you have a 3" by 12" space of window that you'd like to letter with 2" lettering, the available space in this scenario would only allow for 7 characters to fit proportionately, but you have 30 characters that need to fit that area. If you were to order the 2" lettering it wouldn't fit the area. A suggestion would be to put the information on two lines in a smaller size to accommodate the information you need to convey in that area.

Visibility and Distance

Another thing that pertains to the size of your do-it-yourself lettering is how far the lettering will need to be seen from. If your target audience only needs to see the lettering from a short distance, say 30 - 60 feet, then 1" or 2" lettering will suffice especially if you have a lot of characters. But let's say you need large lettered number to identify your building number or street address for location purposes (with available space permitting) you might need 16 inch lettering that can been seen from at least a city block away. Here is another cut vinyl lettering rule of thumb that directly pertains to distance and visibility...every inch in height can be seem from about 30 feet away. See our vinyl lettering visibility chart for further clarification on visibility and distance in relation to letter height.

Readability (Font and Color)

So now that you have the size, character count and visibility requirements figured out another thing to consider is the readability. Readability pertains to the font and color choices you make for your do-it-yourself lettering. Choosing the wrong color or font combinations could potentially undermine your lettering project expectations because they come across as hard to read or hard to see. Vinyl lettering colors that work well for wall lettering may not work well for window lettering. For instance, dark lettering like red or black will come across very boldly on a white wall surface but can quickly lose readability when placed on darker surfaces. And then there bad font combinations that can be hard to read and make your lettering inept. Block lettering like Helvetica or Arial are great for distance, whereas, script or italic style fonts are better for close up viewing for the best readability. See our basic vinyl lettering font and vinyl lettering color examples (our actual font database consists of over 2,000 fonts and other colors are available upon request.)

Surface Application

Lastly you'll want to choose the right type of vinyl which is determined by what type of surface you are applying it too. Standard vinyl is appropriate for most lettering projects because it will last a long time even when placed on signs that are outdoors in the elements. Standard vinyl is best when applied to smooth, non-porous surfaces like glass for window lettering; painted wood for monument signs; aluminum for parking signs, PVC or office signs, etc. Premium vinyl (which is more expensive than standard vinyl) can be used for any lettering project but is truly only necessary, or recommended, for vehicle lettering. Premium vinyl has a more aggressive adhesive and is a bit thinner which makes the vinyl more pliable to different vehicle contours. Premium vinyl is also recommended for any surface application that may have a slight texture like interior or exterior walls for wall lettering.


When in doubt, or if you have any other questions about ordering cut vinyl lettering or cut vinyl decals, give us a call at (866) 267-4467...we're happy to help with all your do-it-yourself vinyl lettering needs!

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