Visitors typically retain 30% of what they read and 50% of what they see. So, aim to use no more than 50 – 100 words. Make your mantra “Less is more”. For instance, the US Forest Service recommends:
• 1/3 text
• 1/3 graphics and
• 1/3 blank space
Blank space is your friend. It relaxes the reader and makes text and graphics ‘pop out’ but you must find a balance. Too little and your sign looks crowded and busy. Too much and people think you haven’t enough to say.
Drawings, maps and photos appeal to all ages. Some people focus first on these then read your text if your graphics retain their interest. If you feature a map, don’t forget to add a “you are here” dot on it. Not everyone is a geographer! Also, don’t include a photo of what people can already see next to the sign!
Finally, the different elements of your layout (titles, text, graphics) must not only be attractive but easy for visitors to navigate.