The Cone of Vision
The cone of vision is the visual region displayed by a drawing that relates to a person’s normal vision without his/her peripheral vision. In a nutshell, the cone of vision is the area of sight – or the angle of sight. For example, if a person wanted to see the entire theatre stage, usually a cone of vision is 60 degrees is required, so a person would need to sit far enough back to achieve this degree of vision.
Detecting and reading a roadside or on-premise sign by a motorist or passerby involves a complex series of sequentially occurring events, both mental and physical. They include message detection and processing alternating between the sign and the environment, and finally, active maneuvering of the vehicle/person (such as lane changes, talking, looking around, and turning into a destination) as required in response to the signs presence.
Complicating this process is the dynamic of the viewing task, itself, involving the detection of a sign through the relatively constricted view provided by the windshield of a rapidly moving vehicle, with the distance between the motorist and the sign quickly diminishing. At 40 miles per hour, for example, the rate at which the viewing distance decreases is 58 feet per second, and at 60 miles per hour, it becomes an impressive 88 feet per second.
Further complicating the process is the relative position of the sign to the eye of the motorist, whether directly in his/her field of view (perpendicular orientation), or off to the side and turned essentially parallel to the motorist’s field of view (parallel orientation).
When designing your signs font, size, dimensions, angle, and orientation you must keep in mind:
1. Point of view of the potential customer
2. Travel speed threshold
3. Free Space/Distance between the sign and your potential customer
4. Use of negative/white space
Although a very scientific process exists for this-- the general rule of thumb is this:
Don't just approach your sign/branding decisions from a selfish/artistic point of view, put yourself in your potential customers shoes-- literally.