Mesh windscreens are a sensible banner option for striking visuals in high-wind areas. Mesh windscreens are banners made from perforated vinyl material that allows wind to pass through, lessening the wind load. In high-wind areas, a traditional vinyl banner could catch the wind like a sail and damage the banner itself or the structure it is mounted to. Mesh windscreens carry less wind load and put a lot less stress on the mounting structure. For this reason, mesh windscreens are commonly installed on buildings and attached to perimeter fences or other areas that receive a lot of wind. Sufficient planning and preparation result in a windscreen design that displays your graphics prominently with the added benefits that windscreens offer. At AMI Graphics, we have been designing, producing, and installing mesh windscreens for over twenty years and wanted to share some of our windscreen design insights.
Adjust Letter Size Based on Distance
The most important part of any windscreen design is the size of the graphics and lettering. High-wind areas are often wide-open spaces, so windscreens are typically visible from far away. Whether it’s a mesh banner hung from a building near a highway or a windscreen to dress up a bare outfield fence at a baseball stadium, you will want your lettering to be easy to read from greater distances. The size of letters can often be deceiving and you may think you have chosen a size that is big enough, only to realize that much larger letters were required for you message to be viewed from far away.
In the graphic above we can see how different sized fonts would appear from various distances. Twenty inches sounds like a large enough size, but when viewed from 400 feet, we can see how small it would actually appear. For this reason, it’s important to visit the location where your windscreen will be installed and to take measurements to see how far away your audience will be.
Adjust Spacing Based on Distance
Similar to the size of the letters, the spacing between letters and lines of text is crucial for a legible windscreen graphic. It is easy to overlook both letter and line spacing because it is difficult to envision how words will appear from further away. Letters that are too close together can cause the words to become illegible at large distances, even for the most basic fonts.
The same is true for line spacing if your windscreen has stacked lines of text. The same line spacing that is legible for smaller fonts won’t be as effective with larger fonts. Increasing the line spacing will create more blank space around lines of text, resulting in clean, legible lines of text.
Consider the Perspective of Your Audience
Another aspect to consider is where your audience will be in relation to your windscreen. Windscreens are typically installed on existing structures and can’t be adjusted for optimal visibility for the audience. You can’t move your outfield fence to face the bleachers perfectly, but you can adjust your graphics. Wording and graphics viewed from an angle can cause them to be distorted and illegible. To prevent this from happening, we suggest using fewer words or displaying your message multiple times so that visitors located in various areas will have a clear view of your windscreen graphics.
In the photo below, we can see how San Jose State avoided the effects of a bad perspective on their windscreens. In the bottom photo you can see how leftmost “San Jose State Football” is at an angle and reads poorly. However, because San Jose State used a repeating design, visitors can see the graphics on any of the other fences that display the same message.
Fill Blank Space
One common dilemma in windscreen design is fitting a logo onto the banner itself. Often times, logos must be sized down quite a bit in order to fit the entire graphic onto the banner. In doing so, a lot of blank space remains on the banner. To fill that space and to add some character to your windscreen, we recommend increasing the size of your logo beyond the windscreen edges.
In this mockup for Fordham University, we can see how increasing the logo size fills up more blank space without hindering the overall effectiveness of the visual.
Plan for Seams
Depending on the span of the windscreen, it may come in multiple pieces to make it easier to install. It is important that the graphics being printed are positioned in a way that prevents the seam of the two windscreens meeting on any letters or logos.
In the mockup below, we can see what could happen without proper planning on the top, with the split falling directly in the middle of the Harvard shield, which would decrease the quality of the visual. On the bottom we can see how proper planning can prevent any seams from interfering with the overall visual from the windscreen.
The most important part of designing any type of signage is to plan ahead so that you can create the perfect display on the first try. At AMI Graphics, we understand the challenges of signage of all types and have the knowledge to counteract obstacles before they become a problem. We offer full design services and are happy to design your windscreen for you, taking your project from concept to completion. Do you have an area that could benefit from a custom mesh windscreen? Reach out the experts at AMI and learn more!