It’s the responsibility of business owners to check that their infrastructure is as accessible as possible. This includes your signage, as well. Unfortunately, people often overlook colorblindness when designing their signs.
By adapting your signage, you can make the products friendlier and eligible for a broader audience. In this article, we are going to answer all your questions and give you our tips for designing signs for colorblind viewers.
What is CVD?
Color Vision Deficiency (CVD) is the scientific term for colorblindness. Although we use the latter term more commonly, the former is a better description of the condition and how it works.
Trichromacy means that all three types of cones in your eyes are working correctly. People who see in this way are considered to have normal vision. In anomalous trichromacy, all the types can perceive light, but one is faulty, so it won’t perceive it as usual.
In short, CVD is the inability to distinguish between some colors and shades. Therefore, having the condition doesn’t mean that you can’t see any at all. Total color blindness is very rare. Instead, most people can identify some colors but not others.
In the case where only two cones can perceive light, it is called dichromacy. Overall, there are about 10,000 possible combinations.
Common types of CVD:
- Red-green color blindness: It’s the most prevalent condition. Reduced sensitivity to red lights is known as protanopia or protanomaly. And reduced sensitivity to green light is known as deuteranopia or deuteranomaly. In this case, it is difficult to distinguish between reds, greens, and oranges and cause blues and yellows to stand out.
- Blue-yellow color blindness: The condition is called tritanopia or tritanomaly and is incredibly rare. It alters the ability to distinguish some blues from greens and some yellows from violet.
- Total color blindness: Overall, this is the rarest type occurring in 1 out of 33,000 people. Experts refer to it as monochromacy or achromatopsia. People with this condition will see no color, only black and white.
Of course, there are many variations that fall under these types.
Typically, CVD is a hereditary (genetic) condition. So, people are born with it, and it’s passed down from their parents. However, acquired color vision defects can sometimes be caused by chronic illnesses, accidents, chemicals, or medications.
How can you test for colorblindness?
Unfortunately, color blindness can sometimes go undiagnosed for years and even decades. The first time people often pick up something is wrong is when children start school.
If someone is worried about their vision, they should go to see their local eye doctor. They can diagnose you by administering a basic test like the Ishihara Color Test. Or they can use more sophisticated and professional protocols and tests.
Benefits of designing accessible signage
Besides doing a good deed, what can you and your business gain from designing signs with colorblind viewers in mind?
- First, you can reach a much wider audience. More or less 8% of all men and 0.5% of all women have a form of CVD. The incidence rate is higher among Caucasians and Asians. It’s something to keep in mind when you are researching your target market.
- Secondly, your signs will be more legible for people with CVD. Otherwise, they might miss out on some of the details and information.
Don’t forget that this isn’t only about accommodating your existing and potential customers. By making your signage more friendly for people with CVD you might be helping some of your employees too. Following these tips will certainly make their lives easier.
Colorblind workers will find it much easier to do their work, and feeling included will be great for their mental health as well.
Tips for designing signs for CVD viewers
Now that you have all the basic information, you can start thinking about designing your signs for colorblind viewers. There are a variety of steps you can take or tricks you can try to make your signage more accommodating.
We are specifically looking at tips you can use for designing signs. However, you can use it for all your media like newsletters, flyers, business cards, and websites.
1 – Avoid certain color combinations
One of the easiest solutions you can try is to avoid some of the palettes that are often problematic. Doing this will be much more manageable if you are creating the designs from scratch.
In general, it’s safer to avoid the following combinations:
- Green and red
- Brown and green
- Blue and purple
- Green and blue
- Light green and yellow
- Blue and grey
- Green and grey
- Black and green
All of these combos can be a potential nightmare for colorblind viewers to view and make out.
2 – Try to focus on monochrome
Next, it can be handy to stick with monochrome palettes. These are combinations where you use various shades of one color instead of choosing multiple colors.
Overall, this is one of the safest bets you can make. Even people who are completely color blind should be able to make out most of the content of the sign depending on the precise shades and layout.
3 – Choose friendlier palettes
Just like there are combinations to avoid if you’re designing for people with CVD, there are ones that you can lean towards. Using these palettes can seriously help people who are color blind to understand and interpret your signage and other media.
A few combinations that are colorblind-friendly are the following:
- Red and blue
- Brown and blue
- Orange and blue
These can work well if you use them right next to each other.
But more likely than not, you will use more colors than this. If you are looking for a bigger palette, you might want to check out some that are made for this purpose. Here are 15 colorblind-friendly palettes that you might want to give a whirl.
4 – Stick with high contrast
Although they can’t always distinguish all the colors, people with CVD can still perceive contrast as well as differences in brightness, saturation, and hue. So you can use these features strategically to accommodate your audience.
Try to pick color combinations that are high in contrast. One way to do this is to use dark and light colors together. Or you can go with complementary shades.
Pro tip: Many people who have CVD report that they can distinguish better between bright colors than dim ones. The latter tends to blur into one another. Therefore, you should use them with care.
5 – Go with thicker lines
Unfortunately, there are features of a design that can make life even more challenging for people who are color blind.
Individuals with mild CVD can typically see some colors. However, only if there’s enough of it. Otherwise, the picture might become blurry and indistinct.
That’s why you want to make sure swatches of different shades are bold enough. First, you need to make sure that lines of color are thick. The principle applies to text too. Besides this, you should also make graphics wide and broad.
6 – Say it with symbols
Another way to improve the accessibility of your signs is to use more than one method to get your meaning across. Brilliant advice to follow is to use symbols as well as text and color to draw your audience’s attention.
They are great elements for catching people’s eye and help make your message clearer.
Try combining symbols with a few of our other tips to make them as legible as possible. For example, use bold images, choose friendly palettes, and play with contrast.
7 – Use patterns and textures
Clearly, one of the main goals is to help your viewers distinguish between different elements on a sign. So you should look for ways to make the separate parts more distinct.
Therefore, we recommend that you experiment with patterns and textures. Consider selecting different ones for different features. Doing this will increase the contrast.
But remember that patterns and textures can add noise to any design, so use them sparingly.
8 – Adapting challenging combinations
It’s preferable that you avoid the bad combos we discussed above. However, that’s not always possible. Imagine if blue and purple are essential parts of your branding or that red and green are the natural shades of the graphic or item that you want to portray.
Don’t worry. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a train smash. You can use multiple techniques, like including texture to keep the elements of the sign distinct.
Another possible solution is not to place them right next to each other or near each other.
9 – Be wary of conveying meaning
Colors are one of the crucial tools in any designer’s toolbox. Yes, you can use them to make your sign attractive, interesting, and eye-catching. But that’s not all.
You can also use colors to encourage emotional responses and reactions from your audience. On top of this, they’re an excellent way to convey information like a warning. Colorblind viewers might have trouble interpreting this.
Therefore, you might need to use additional signals to get your words across like text or symbols.
10 – Accommodate your employees
Once again, remember that this isn’t only about your clients. It’s about your employees as well. If you have any staff with CVD, your signs should accommodate them. And keep in mind that even if you don’t have anybody currently in your employ, you might hire someone with the condition in the future.
To accommodate them, you need to find out whether they are facing any problems and what these are. Here are a few questions to consider:
- Does your employee need to use signage at work?
- What is the content of these signs?
- What, if any, limitations are your staff experiencing?
- How do these obstacles impact your employees?
- Do the limitations affect their job performance?
- Which specific tasks are challenging as a result?
- Are there steps you can take to accommodate them? And have you used all of the resources you can to implement them?
We highly recommend sitting down with your employees to ask them about their challenges and potential solutions. Besides this, you should consult them about the effect of any accommodations you’ve made.
There are a few businesses where this is more relevant than others. Just consider jobs where using or reading signs are a critical part of the job, for example, teaching, construction, and so on.
In some cases, this can be a matter of safety as well as job performance. This is especially true for businesses where employees need to use hazardous substances or chemicals. People often use signs in these contexts to give safety instructions and identify products.
11 – Using software
In addition to the other tips, try using software to your advantage.
Even with the best intentions and plenty of effort, you can still struggle to get the design right. Some programs allow you to see your sign as someone who is colorblind would.
For example, Adobe Photoshop has a built-in function that allows you to see it in this way.
To do this, you should go to View → Proof Setup → Color Blindness → Protanopia-type/Color Blindness — Deuteranopia-type. Once you have done this, you can turn it on and off by using Ctrl+Y on a PC and ⌘+Y key shortcut on a Mac.
Where can I get more information?
Your business can only benefit from designing more accessible signs. By making your signage more friendly for colorblind viewers, you can reach a wider audience. It can also be a point that makes your company stand out against competitors for new and existing customers.
It’s important to hire a professional sign making company to create the best signage possible. A good working relationship will help you improve your results. They can give you advice on designing signs that comply with the applicable regulations and safety requirements.
Without a doubt, we need signs year-round — signs to point us to our destinations, to direct us away from danger, or even just to show us which parking space we can use. If you’re realizing you or your company don’t have the right signage, then you might be casting about for the best specialist and signs to help you fix that. But you’re wondering if the upcoming winter months could pose any special challenges to your signage experience.
Great question and we applaud you for thinking ahead. We thought we’d dig into it a little today by addressing some things to keep in mind as you acquire signs during the winter.
1 – The ground may be frozen
Here’s something to think about whether you’re digging postholes for a post and panel sign or stabbing a yard sign into the turf. The ground in winter can be much harder (even rock-solid) depending on where you live. Granted, if you’re a Floridian, this probably isn’t going to pose much of a problem for you. But if you live in the Upper Midwest or New England, you better know it’s going to be a struggle or an impossibility to make much headway in the cold, hard ground.
For us Michiganders, of course, the ground will likely be cold and frozen. No sunny Florida winters (or temps) for us. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t put up signs in the winter. You don’t have to give up simply because we experience this season in all its cold, snowy glory.
2- You might be able to get a deal from your sign company
We agree with this suggestion from Home Advisor. Ordering a sign in the winter months might just be a good move. For your wallet, that is — and your schedule. When discussing the cost of buying signage, they had this to say: “A great tip is to order designs in the offseason during the winter because sign companies are typically busiest in the summer. Ordering during the winter may result in promotions and discounts on order as well as a shorter turnaround time.”
3 – The area could be slippery
This is something to keep in mind whether you’re installing a sign yourself or having your sign company do the installation. For yourself, you need to realize that there are some inherent hazards to outdoor work during the winter season. Snow and ice can make passageways slippery, and you may not always be able to see that the slick surface is dangerous. Be smart by using deicers where needed and wearing adequate outdoors gear (boots with good tread, for instance) when working on your sign.
Obviously, any weather-related hazards can also pose problems for the sign company working on your property. Again, you want to keep the area clear and safe for them with appropriate deicer at work. But you also want to be sure that your sign company is licensed and insured. Check with them to verify that they carry appropriate coverage for any slips, trips, or falls that occur in the course of their work.
4 – Your message may need to reflect the time of year
Likely this should go without saying, but you do want your signage to be seasonally appropriate. Of course, this is relatively easy with something like a changeable message sign or LCD display. Simply adjust the message as the seasons pass.
But if you have a less adaptable option, you’ll want to think ahead about what messages will and won’t be right for the season. For instance, maybe the dead of winter isn’t the best time for banner signs whose colors, fonts, and sentiments look beach-inspired.
5 – Your sign needs to account for winter weather
This is just something to think about before you dive in. If you’re working in a locality with plenty of snowfall each winter, try to account for that in your planning. Similarly, high winds or plenty of rain should also be factored in.
See what your specialist recommends as far as signage that won’t be constantly obscured by snowdrifts. Additionally, check how far away from roads and driveways you need to position your signage, You want them to be safe from snowplows and the snowbanks they create. Another factor could be choosing signage that won’t be damaged by exposure to deicers like rock salt or pickle brine.
Shoot for signs that are strong enough to stand in the face of whatever wind can reasonably be expected. And select materials that are prepared to hold up against rain or sleet.
Consult with the pros
For those with little experience selecting or installing signage, turning to a specialist is a great option. Some specialists can even help you in the design phase of your project. Be sure to find a specialist with good reviews and a company attitude that you’re comfortable with. Check out our What To Look For From A Sign Making Company + Questions To Ask
Indoor directional signs are a staple of most businesses. Whether you run an office park, a hospital, or a small hobby store, they can be incredibly useful to help customers find their way.
As with any sign, there is lots to learn if you want to use them effectively. We want you to love signs as much as we do, so here is our list of facts you didn’t know about indoor directional signage. It will cover the useful, interesting and everything in between.
What are indoor directional signs?
Before we dig into all the crazy facts, let’s get the basics out of the way.
Indoor directional signs are also called wayfinding signs. Companies use them to inform people and help them to navigate their way through their surroundings. Remember that this will help your staff too.
The larger the business and building, the more important these signs are as it will be more challenging to find anything.
So when are directions necessary?
There are some key spots that you should always point out like:
- Emergency exits
- Safety, first aid, or fire equipment
- Stair, escalators, and elevators
- Entrances and exits
- Reception or check-in desk
- Different departments in the business
- Main offices
- Dining area
- Client services
- Help desk
- Conference rooms
- Points of interest
Of course, different types of organizations will have different requirements. For example, a gym needs to give directions to the pool and sauna. So just ask yourself what areas are essential in your location and company.
In general, indoor directional signs are some of the most important indoor signs for any business.
1- Design of directional signs
Did you know that the design for wayfinding signs are different from that of any other?
Keep in mind that its purpose from that of other types. These aren’t the ‘celebrities’ of the signage world – the flashy and extravagant advertisements, and promotions.
By extension, well-designed directional signs can help promote and improve the reputation of your business. But that’s not the primary aim. You want to aid in navigation and the design should reflect this.
In this case, less is more. This is often a good principle with signs. However, it’s even more crucial with directional signage.
The directions on these signs should always be clear. You don’t want to obscure it with unnecessary details or even graphics.
Besides this, you want the boards to be noticeable. Yet they shouldn’t be distracting. Instead, they should fit in with the rest of the environment and complement the overarching theme or decor.
2 – Choose user-friendly language
The emphasis on simplicity should extend to the actual content of the signs. You want the text and the graphics to be easily understood.
There should be no ambiguity, misunderstandings, or guesswork involved. Confusion will defeat the purpose.
To do this, you should:
- Avoid any descriptive or flowery language
- Don’t give instructions – you can have additional signs for this in the relevant spots.
- Stick to one or two words. Only provide the name of the location like “main lobby.”
- Use symbols in conjunction with the text.
- Choose words that are easy to understand.
3 – Consistency is king
One of the critical principles of directional signs is consistency. Once again, this differs from many other types of signage.
The consistency involves the method you use to convey directions, the designs of the signs, the text formatting used. It’s a good idea also to keep the placement of the board more or less the same.
You should stick to this throughout your business, both inside and outside. The customers shouldn’t have to waste time figuring out what each sign is trying to say.
4 – Progressive disclosure
People often approach indoor directional signage in the wrong way. They often think of them in terms of a distinct and individual object. But directional boards are more than just signs. Wayfinding is a system.
Always think of directions as being a representation of the structure and organization of your business. In other words, they are part of a bigger whole.
Because of this, you should practice progressive disclosure. Simply put, this means that you should reveal information bit by bit. You don’t need to give all the information on one sign. This will leave your visitors confused by too many choices.
Instead, think of how you can guide them step-by-step. For example, put up a sign at the entrance to guide them to the reception. There you can place signs that give them directions to other parts of the building.
5 – All about the experience
Nowadays, customer experience has become a central part of business models and practices. And indoor directional signs can play an essential role in this.
You want to use this type of signage to help improve the experience of visiting your offices, store, or center.
Try to imagine yourself in your audience’s shoes. Working out customer journeys can be a powerful tool. You can adapt it to all the aspects of your organization, including how they navigate through the physical space.
The aim of doing this should be to make any visit as seamless and hassle-free as possible. Creating a positive experience will encourage customers to come back and entice new ones to take a look.
6 – Start before they arrive
No doubt, we are living in the digital age. The way most of us live our lives has certainly changed.
It can be quite a challenge to keep up with customer’s expectations but exciting too.
One innovation that will help you keep up is using integrated wayfinding systems. In short, this involves giving your customers info about the space long before they arrive. You are, in a sense, helping them prepare for their visit.
Here are key ways you can do this:
- If they are coming for an appointment, SMS or email them information on where to go when they arrive.
- Create a wayfinding app for your business. It will work particularly well for larger organizations like colleges.
- Publish a directory on your website or social media.
A pro tip is to use similar language throughout this system.
7 – In the line of sight
Part of the design process means considering where and how you are going to place the signs.
Will they hang from the ceiling? Do you want to mount them on the wall?
The best spots for directional signs are usually at eye level or above it. Doing this will ensure maximum visibility. Make sure that it is in people’s natural line of sight. And that the text and graphics will be legible from their position.
Experts always test out the effectiveness of the design and placement before installing the real thing. Place some mock-ups around your building and see for yourself how well it works. Better yet, ask someone utterly new to the location to check it out for you.
8 – Universal semiotics
We all interpret and even use symbols every day. In a way, we all practice semiotics. We just don’t know it. Semiotics is the study of signs and symbols and how they affect behavior.
Symbols are a central part of how we communicate with other people through time and space. Facebook’s ‘like’ sign is a typical example of this. It is becoming harder and harder to find someone who doesn’t understand its meaning.
These graphics can make communication speedier and less ambiguous. That’s why you need to use some basic symbols on directional signs. Examples are ones for:
- First aid
- Wheelchair accessibility
In a globalized world, it is more important than ever to be accessible to as many people as possible. You want foreign-language speakers to at least understand the most rudimentary signs like those for a restroom.
9 – Signs of quality and professionalism
Never underestimate the impact of excellent signage. People take this pretty seriously. More or less, 68% of customers feel that signs reflect the quality of your business as well. So it plays a critical role in influencing their perceptions.
Indoor directional signs are crucial for this. They are a great way to show visitors that you really are professionals and that you have everything in order.
10 – ADA wayfinding signage
There is a mountain of knowledge facing new business owners. With so much information, it’s understandable that you miss out on some things. One mistake that many people make is not making sure their signs are ADA compliant.
According to the American Disabilities Act, all wayfinding signage must be designed in such a way as to be readable by those who have a vision impairment or possibly no vision whatsoever.
The exact requirements depend on your state, municipality, size, etc. Therefore, you should hire a sign making company that can advise you on the rules and regulations.
11 – Maps and directories
The majority of indoor directional signs are basically a nameplate with an arrow or something similar that indicates the direction. You might also give a brief info about the floor or room number. But this isn’t necessarily all you need.
In general, a map or directory of the whole building or organization is convenient. From personal experience, you probably know how much this can help you to orientate yourself.
These signs should be bigger and will obviously contain more information. However, you should still try to keep it simple. You shouldn’t need a special degree to follow them.
Luckily you won’t need as many as with the other types.
You should probably only need to mount a few in some strategic locations. Usually, you want to place one at the entrance, lobby, or reception. Excellent service means putting one in each stairwell and elevator.
Preferably, you should place at least one on each floor of a building.
12 – Give your location character
So far, directional signs can sound a bit boring. However, they don’t have to be. Not by a long stretch.
A well-designed directional sign adds to the appearance and atmosphere of your business.
Do you want customers to have a fun experience? Or do you instead want the air to be formal and elegant?
All the small details like directional signage can add to this experience. For example, a lot of companies play around with the signs right outside their restrooms. They use colors, graphics, and visual effects.
You have to find a balance between creative and interesting but still clearly legible.
13 – Visual pathways
One way to really make your directional signage stand out is by creating visual paths. By this, we mean that you can use graphics to lay out the route for your customers and staff. Wall and floor graphics can be an entertaining way to do this.
You can paint arrows on the wall or the floor. Some businesses use footprints to mark out the route. Or if your organization is pet-related like a veterinary clinic, you can use tiny paws instead.
Preferably, you should combine this with more conventional mounted wayfinding signs. And use these graphics to add a new dimension.
14 – Going digital
Did you know that digital wayfinding is on the rise?
All across the board, electronic signage is becoming more popular, and it is no different here. They can be incredibly beneficial and help you to modernize your systems.
These are just a few of the benefits of digital signs:
- You can use them to create interactive maps for your customers to use.
- They will fit perfectly into an integrated wayfinding system that includes mobile applications etc.
- The software makes it quick, cheap, and effortless to update the information without replacing the sign.
- If you want to, you can use the boards for advertising as well as give directions.
One problem, however, is that they can be expensive. This is one reason that you should use it in combination with other wayfinding signs.
The world of sign making and design can be a fascinating place. There are always innovations and facts to learn about like these about indoor directional signs.
Signage is all about the experience you want to create. The importance of this will only grow as the markets become more competitive. One way to make yourself stand out is to think outside the box and make signs that are both fun and creative.
As a legal specialist, you want your clients to trust your expertise and to feel comfortable with their experience with you. Naturally, the environment in which you work and meet with clients is one part of this package deal. So today, we thought it would be appropriate to explore some great signage for the inside of your law firm’s office space—or, more specifically, law firm lobby signs.
Likely, you want to make sure your clients’ experiences are good all-around. From their initial phone call or visit to their follow-ups with the attorney assigned to their case and all other parts of their interaction with you, you want to create a great experience. But you also want to make a great first impression. After all, you want potential clients’ to like their initial experience so much that they decide to stay with your practice.
If you’re looking to invest in a good sign for your law firm’s lobby as part of your first experience plans, read on. We’ll check out some examples to serve as inspiration for your own signage choices. But first, let’s run through a few things to keep in mind as you craft your law firm lobby signs.
Use color thoughtfully
Since you’re trying to project a professional image, the last thing you need is a garishly-colored sign that completely undermines your practice in the viewers’ eyes. Remember that different colors will likely have different effects on viewers (and this will probably even vary from viewer to viewer, too). For instance, orange and blue could be perceived as upbeat and punchy. And a silver and black combination could be more stately and reserved.
Exactly which colors you choose will depend on the company image you’re trying to craft. It’s a great idea to rope a graphic designer in at this stage, especially if no one in your company has experience with color and visuals. You can even check with your sign company—they may offer design services.
Ensure the sign is easily readable
You might choose a law firm lobby sign that consists of letters formed to be placed directly on the wall. Or you could select a sign that’s on a plate which will be affixed to the wall. Either way, ensure that there’s enough contrast between your sign and the wall behind it that your sign is easy to make out.
Place individual letters evenly
If your sign is going to consist of individual letters spelling out your name over the wall’s surface, be meticulous about placing the letters evenly. You can even get a level involved and perhaps mark the wall with light pencil markings. But, whatever you do, just be sure that your letters don’t form an uneven mess tipping and tilting across the wall. That is certainly not a professional option.
Samples of law firm lobby signs
Here are some signs that can help provide you with creative inspiration as you choose your own.
Good contrast on warm wood
Here’s an example of a law firm sign against a wooden wall. Check out how plenty of contrast between the sign and the wall behind it makes it easy to distinguish where one stops and the other begins.
Letters and a logo
We love how this law firm sign in the second photo here contains more than just words. A logo or similar image provides interest and even a little asymmetry—which in this case works beautifully.
Take inspiration from this fitness center lobby sign to consider crafting a metallic sign for your lobby. Metallic letters could lend an authentic look, and we love the appearance they create against the wood background.
Try extra depth
If you’re a new, energetic law firm trying to present a modern image, consider shaking things up a bit. One sign option that might help you do that—dimensional letters with a little more depth than you might usually see. Check out this lobby sign for inspiration. In addition to offering deep dimensional letters, it also provides a cheery pop of color which is something else to consider if it would mesh with your company’s image.
Law firm lobby signs can reach beyond your lobby
It’s a great idea to design a sign with your long term goals in mind. While they serve important functions in lobbies, law firm lobby signs can actually reach beyond the lobby, too. You can choose to create a lobby sign that will be a perfect backdrop for taking photos with clients after a large victory in court. Shared on social media, that signage is now doing double duty for your company. To find more ways to reuse your signage, check out our 8 Tips To Get The Most Out Of Your Signs & Reuse Them On Social Media
We hope all of you enjoyed your Halloween as much as we did!
Here at Signarama Detroit, this is one of our favorite times of the year. That’s why we made sure to celebrate October in epic style.
We kicked off with our spooky month-long signage specials. Our Spooktacular sales event included unbelievable deals like a 25% price reduction on yard signs and a $60 discount on our 3′ x 8′ banners, along with sales on our custom double-sided teardrop or feather flags.
But this was only the beginning. No Halloween is complete without some fiendish decorations. There were more chances for you to get in on more ghoulishly delightful activities. You got the opportunity to vote for your top picks in our employee pumpkin carving contest.
Our team really got into the spirit of things. Everyone had a wonderful time and spared no effort with their unique creations. There seemed to be no end to the creativity.
We weren’t done yet. Our team ended the holiday on a high note with our Halloween party and potluck. We enjoyed a real holiday feast. All of us got dressed up, and there were some genuinely memorable costumes. No one will forget our Production Manager Jimmy’s bold portrayal of Snow White.
After all this, it’s no surprise that we can’t wait until next year. Can you? At Signarama, we are already counting off the days – only twelve months to go. Until then, don’t forget to check in with us regularly to make sure you don’t miss out on any more festive fun!
Signage is a brilliant investment for any business. But to make sure you get returns on your investment, you need to consider it from all angles. In this case, it includes paying attention to how it is constructed to make sure that you get signs that are durable and reliable. Read our guide on choosing the best sign material for outdoor signs. We’ll cover everything from selecting a product to additional tips for protecting the boards.
What’s the point of outdoor signs?
Outdoor signs will play a critical role in the advertising strategy of most brick-n-mortar businesses. They are a fundamental part of the “face” of your brand.
These signs are incredibly versatile. You can use them for a variety of purposes and goals, depending on your business and its requirements.
Some of the recommended uses for outdoor signs are:
- To promote your business, products, services, or events
- Increase brand awareness and recognition
- To give directions
- As health and safety signs
- Attract customers
Types of outdoor signs
Before we get to the materials for signage, let’s look at the products you can choose from.
You can divide the signs into different categories. First, some of the products that we will mention can also work indoors. However, some of them are the most effective if you use them outdoors.
Second, you need to decide whether you want a sign that is a permanent or temporary solution. But also consider whether you want one that is mobile or not.
The following are some of the most popular options:
- Pylon signs
- Window graphics
- Pole signs
- Monument signs
- Channel letters
- Illuminated sign boxes
- Vehicle graphics
- LED message centers
How to choose the material for an outdoor sign?
Decisions, decisions. There are so many choices to make that you can often get completely overwhelmed and confused. One way to navigate this is to accurately define what you need to get out of the sign.
A pro tip is to work through the following factors to make sure that you choose the best sign material for outdoor signs.
As you might guess, a crucial consideration for outdoor signs is the weather. You don’t want your signage and your money to blow away in the first storm. But you also want to protect your sign from longer-lasting conditions.
That’s why you always need to keep the local climate in mind.
Is your area windy? Does it rain regularly? And so on.
You should try to choose a material that is resistant to the conditions it will face. Luckily, signage companies have a whole range of options to help you get signs that will remain intact as long as possible.
Cleaning and maintenance
One factor that you need to consider is cleaning and maintenance. You won’t always be able to mount the sign and leave it.
Imagine a dust storm. It will probably leave your boards covered in dust and debris. But daily dirt can also build up an obscure the surface of the signs, not to mention the damage caused by vandalism.
Therefore, you should think about using materials that are low maintenance and that you can easily clean.
You need to ask whether the material you want to use will fit your budget. Often the higher quality materials cost more. So you will need to find a balance between choosing the best product that you can, but making sure that it will be a cost-effective solution for your business.
Ask yourself, how long do you need the sign to last?
Most of the time, people will try to choose a material that will last as long as possible. However, this might not always be necessary. For example, you will only need to use some signs for a short time, as products for events.
You might also want to replace promotional signage more regularly than other types like wayfinding boards.
So check whether the product will suit your timeline.
Repairs and replacements
Unfortunately, you need to prepare for potential damage. Even the most durable materials aren’t invincible.
We recommend that you investigate what kind of damage each of the mediums is prone to. For example, aluminum often bends or dents.
On top of this, you should find out whether you can repair the signs, and if so, how? Some materials like acrylic might be very durable, but you can’t fix them when they chip or crack, so you will need to replace them.
UV exposure deserves a whole section of its own.
In some cases, this will be a bit of a catch 22. You will need sunlight to see signage that isn’t illuminated. But over time, it can wear down many types of signs. Significantly, it can cause the colors and graphics on the board to fade. This can make your once-perfect boards difficult to read and ugly to boot.
If your sign will be directly exposed to sunlight throughout the day, investigate UV resistant materials or at least treatments and finishes.
Best sign material for outdoor signs
Now that you know what you and your sign are up against, you can make an informed decision about the materials. You will also be better able to discuss your options with your sign company.
Below are a few of the best material fits for outdoor signs.
Let’s start by looking at aluminum. Of all the materials used for signage, this is probably the most popular. You can use it for indoor signs as well, but it is outdoors that these products truly shine.
Fabricators typically use aluminum to create panels. However, it can be used to create all kinds of signs and is often combined with other options such as acrylic when you are making products like channel letters.
In general, you will be able to choose from three options.
The first ones have a .040-gauge thickness that makes it perfect for real estate and political signs. The next thickness is .080-gauge aluminum. Therefore, they are sturdier and will work well for street signs.
The thickest option is .125-gauge aluminum. This is the choice for you if you need a heavy-duty sign.
Pros of aluminum:
- Strong and durable
- The material is pliable, so you can bend it into different shapes
- Easy to print on
- Scratch proof
Cons of aluminum:
- The metallic sheen is not for everybody
- Prone to denting
- Could reflect light which will interfere with visibility
- It still costs more than some of the options
Another top contender for signage materials is acrylic. The substance is made by manufacturers from a methyl methacrylate monomer and is also sometimes called plexiglass.
Typically, sign companies use it for a variety of different signage products, including channel letters and lightboxes. As we’ve said, they often combine it with other materials like aluminum.
People love to use acrylic for illuminated signs because of the way that light can shine through its panels and sheets.
Pros of acrylic:
- Sturdy and durable
- Won’t rust or corrode
- Chemical resistant
- Great thermal properties
- Doesn’t create glare
- Resistant to UV
Cons of acrylic:
- These signs are often heavy and need additional anchors and connectors.
- Prone to scratches and dents
- Difficult to repair
Are you looking for the best of both worlds?
In this case, you might want to consider Dibond. The unique material is an aluminum composite. Manufacturers produce it with a plastic polyethylene core, which they sandwich between two aluminum sheets.
Thanks to this combination, these signs are pretty strong. So they are a fantastic option for outdoor use.
Pros of Dibond:
- Waterproof and heat resistant
- Easy to cut
- Dibond panels are the flattest of any sign.
- More shock resistant than regular aluminum
Cons of Dibond:
- Slightly less rigid than solid aluminum
- Relatively expensive
- Finishes can be costly
- Often have rough or sharp edges after being cut
Next, we are going to look at another aluminum composite – Alumalite.
The material also consists of several layers. It has a thicker core of ribbed or corrugated plastic. As with the Dibond, this means that it would be lighter than solid aluminum. Once again, fabricators cover the core with metal sheets.
You can choose from different thicknesses that your sign company can cut into the right shape for you.
Pros of Alumalite:
- Lighter than solid aluminum
- You can print on them with a variety of substances like paints, digital inks (both UV or solvent cured), screenprint inks, and pressure-sensitive vinyl.
- Cuts easily
- Rigid and durable
- Can use both sides
Cons of Alumalite:
- Thicker than aluminum
Vinyl is an extremely versatile material. Sign companies use it for a variety of different products. Overall, it is mostly used to create banners. In this case, it is often reinforced with nylon. Alternatively, you can use it for murals, floor graphics, window graphics, and vehicle graphics.
But vinyl overlays can also be applied as an alternative to traditional printing techniques.
Here we will talk about vinyl as it is used for outdoor signs.
Pros of vinyl:
- Ideal for temporary or event signs
- Low maintenance
- Vinyl graphics are easy to install and remove
- Banners that are made from vinyl are portable.
- Relatively fade-resistant
- Easy to clean
Cons of vinyl:
- Not as long-lasting
- Overlays cannot be reapplied once removed
- Not rigid
- Less sturdy and durable
- High-gloss vinyl surfaces can cause glare
All in all, PVC is also a great option for outdoor signs. In general, the products come in a black or white substrate.
You should note that there are many variations of PVC, which can differ in thickness, durability, and weight. On top of this, many brands produce their materials in different ways or processes.
Pros of PVC:
- Widely available
- One of the most durable signage options.
- Great for small cutouts as well as larger signs
Cons of PVC:
- Heavier than other options like aluminum
- Prone to chips
- Difficult to repair
Coroplast is the name for a specific type of corrugated plastic sheeting.
You can use this nifty material for outdoor as well as indoor signs. It’s incredibly versatile, and sign companies create a wide range of products with Coroplast like yard signs, golf signs, and real estate signs.
Overall, it is one of the top products for temporary and short-term signage, especially if you have to print a huge quantity.
Pros of Coroplast:
- Very light
- Easy to cut into different shapes and sizes
- Chemical resistant
Cons of Coroplast:
- Prone to bending and warping
- Does not look expensive or permanent
Tips for protecting your outdoor signs
Choosing the right material goes a long way towards creating outdoor signs to last. But sometimes this isn’t enough. The climate might be particularly harsh at your location or something similar.
In cases like this, you could take a few extra steps to protect the signs such as:
- Install awnings over your signs to give some shelter from sunlight and the elements.
- Try to install the signs in less exposed spots. For example, install it where it will be in the shade for part of the day.
- You might even find that the wind mostly blows and the rain falls in a particular direction. So consider figuring this out and mounting the sign where it will be less vulnerable.
- One option is to install cooling systems for your digital and electronic signs.
- Ask your sign company about treatments or finishes that they can apply to seal and protect the products. Also, ask them about UV-resistant ink.
Made to last
There are plenty of factors to think about when you are in the process of creating signage. And the best sign material for outdoor signs is just one of those considerations.
So don’t stop there. It’s essential to hire and work with a sign making company that knows what they are doing. They will be able to advise you on creating the best signage solutions for your business.
You’re about to host an event, and you’re excited about the potential to bring people together around a topic everyone finds interesting. Naturally, there’s plenty of planning. And in your case, there’s even a little something extra to mastermind—how to prepare for an event that you’re hosting outside. That’s why you need some creative outdoor event signage ideas. Of course, you need to keep people in the know about where they need to be, when they need to be there, and what they should expect once they get there.
Window signs (and not the kind you’re thinking)
Here’s a creative wedding sign made from an antique window. What’s not to love about this delightfully creative sign? Really, it has it all—plenty of space, built-in formatting solutions, whimsy, and a touch of the rustic. While this one is for a wedding, there’s nothing to stop you from using the idea as a creative springboard for another type of event.
You do it!
How about using it to list the order of events, special guests, and sponsors for a nonprofit fundraiser. Plus, you could even paint the window frame in your organization’s colors. On the other hand, if you’re a corporation planning a low-key, small conference, then why not use this to announce speakers and talk about times alongside meal info and vendor table listings.
Armed with these outdoor event signage ideas, it’s time to get started planning your own event’s great messages. Try to take the time to think now about what your attendees truly need to know and what information will provide them a comfortable and delightful experience.
Dimensional letter signs—when you need to GO BIG!
Some events will likely be able to thrive with signs in typical sizes. But, every once in awhile, companies or organizations may host events that simply call for sizing up. And that’s when you might just want to explore dimensional letter signs. If you’re hosting a large outdoor gathering like a fair, festival, or conference of some type, craft dimensional letter signs to stand at the entrance to your location. Spell things out in words so big, no one can miss them.
Of course, this would be a great time to get your sign specialist involved. For a big project, it makes sense to tap the big experts.
If you’re hosting an event that can do with a healthy dose of humor, why don’t you mix full-size photo cutouts of people with A-frame sidewalk signs for a show-stopping look? The side-walk sign can do the heavy lifting in this case—use it to hold the majority of your words, to really say what you need to say. The cutout is there to grab people’s attention, make them laugh, and get them in a great, celebratory mood.
Eye-catching outdoor backdrop signage
If your outdoor event space isn’t exactly scenic in its own right, check with your sign specialist about creating a backdrop of your own. Capitalize on the idea behind tradeshow displays and exhibits—signage that can create what almost looks like a wall behind your setup.
Create something like this backwall as the backdrop for your event sign-in area. Or simply set up the signage with photos ops in mind—providing a branded area for your attendees to take photos.
Go super creative with a fun outdoor scene that makes it look like your attendees have been transported to another location. Or take the display in a humorous direction by printing full-body photos of people important to your organization. Your attendees can “pose” with important leaders and bring home mementos of the occasion on their phones or cameras.
Table & sign combo
Letters within a letter
And with this outdoor signage, we love that they didn’t just use a simple rectangular sign face for their message. Instead, the message speaks from an enormous letter of the alphabet that’s sure to catch the attention of passersby (also from the FireSign Inc. website).
Co-opt this idea to fill your event space with alphabetic signage. In fact, if you have a business with an acronym for a name, this could be your greatest option yet.
Tackle outdoor event signage ideas early
Whatever your event, don’t forget to plan your outdoor event signage ideas in advance so your sign specialist has adequate time to manufacture your signage. Plus, be sure to mull over how you’re going to promote your event so you can reach your target audience. For those of you working on graduation events, check out Tips For The Graduation Event Planner: Ceremonies, Open Houses, etc. And if it’s a fundraiser you’re hosting, don’t forget to check out How To Advertise Fundraisers For Your School Or Nonprofit Event
A critical part of running a successful company is learning how to use different types of signage. In most cases, you’ll need to use more than one sign product to fulfill all of your business needs. One of the handy options is outdoor electronic advertising boards.
To get you started, we are going to cover all the essential aspects, like ways to use them, the basics of design, and their costs. So, read on for our beginner’s guide to outdoor electronic advertising boards.
A brief history of electronic signs
Did you know that the first signs that we know of were cave paintings?
Humans have been using symbols and images for ages to communicate with each other. Over time we just found more complex ways to do this.
We know that the ancient Egyptians, as well as the Greeks and Romans, began to use signs specifically for business such as workshops. And as trade and commerce gained speed through the Middle Ages, signage became more and more prolific.
New technologies like the printing press continually led to massive changes in this area.
One of the most significant innovations to date was the development of illuminated signs in the early twentieth century. It started with incandescent bulbs, moved to neon and fluorescent lights, and then to LEDs.
Outdoor electronic advertising boards 101
Now you can divide signage products into a wide variety of categories. There are indoor signs and outdoor signs, as well as electronic ones and conventionally printed ones. On top of this, there are a variety of different products under each of these groups.
To pick the right sign, you need to weigh all your options and all their characteristics carefully.
Nowadays, digital signage has become one of the top picks for any advertiser or a business owner. Everywhere you look, you’ll see shining lights, whether they are on electronic billboards, channel letters, or sign boxes.
One of the most popular of these is outdoor electronic advertising boards, which can also be called LED message centers. These are a computerized solution that you can program to display messages. Sign making companies fabricate them by mounting LEDs into an electronic board.
Because you control it with software, you can change the message at any time. And the content doesn’t need to be static. You could design it with motion effects like scrolling.
You can probably already guess that this comes with plenty of benefits.
The pros and cons of LED message centers:
Let’s look at the reasons why you should consider investing in outdoor electronic advertising boards:
- LEDs are available in an endless range of colors. People most commonly use red, but you can choose any you want and even combine different colors.
- The signs are known for being extremely flexible and versatile.
- You can change the content of the sign at any time of the day whenever it is necessary.
- The board can be programmed with animations like motion effects.
- These products are relatively cost-effective when compared to other types of digital signage.
- Digital displays are great at drawing people’s interest and attention.
- LEDs are energy-efficient and long-lasting lighting options.
- You can use scheduling features to program the content to change automatically. For example, you can set it to display a specific message from 5 to 6 pm on a Monday.
- Thanks to the illumination, your signs will be visible at any time during the day or night.
- The boards themselves are quite durable and have a good life expectancy.
- You won’t need to replace the sign as often, which can help you save on fabrication and labor costs.
- Most of them come with automated dimming and focusing systems to help you optimize visibility.
- Overall, digital signs have a reader recall rate of 83%.
But there are some cons to LED message centers too:
- Even though they are relatively energy-efficient, they will still use electricity.
- You will need to make a substantial initial investment that will cost more than most non-digital signs.
- These signs are more challenging to install.
- You need to connect the sign to power and to a computer that runs the software.
Overall, the disadvantages don’t seem to outweigh the advantages depending on your specific circumstances.
Best ways to use digital signs:
Yes, LED message centers are incredibly versatile. But this doesn’t mean that they are suitable for all possible aims. They will work much better to fulfill particular objectives than others.
Signs can be divided into these main categories: directional/informative, regulatory, ceremonial, warning, and entertainment. Usually, one single product has to be centered around one of these.
However, with LED message centers, you don’t have to compromise. Because the content can change continuously, you can use one board for several or even all of these roles if you want to.
To help you get a better idea of the possibilities, let’s look at one case study. If you are a school, you can use a message center for several purposes like:
- Advertising school events such as a concert
- Wishing your team well for the next game
- Informing parents of an upcoming parent-teacher conference
- Warning your students of an incoming heatwave
- Reminding people of rules for the drop of area
- Directing guests around the grounds
It’s no wonder that these signs are so popular with organizations like churches and colleges that have a lot to communicate and have frequent updates. But you can use them for almost any type of business such as grocery stores.
Cost of LED message centers
The question of cost is always a crucial one. We all want to get bang for our buck. And as a business owner, you know that this means you will have to work with budgets.
So how much does an LED message center cost?
First, you need to know that there are lots of factors that will impact the price. You can think of it as a sliding scale where choosing some features will make it more expensive and some less so.
In short, the board will cost more as you increase the size, the number of colors, the resolution, the speed of the connection, the amount of customization, and the decorative elements in the design.
Significantly, it will also be impacted by the way you choose to mount the sign. For example, are you going to use a masonry base or not? Are you going to use one pole or more in the construction?
So it’s pretty complicated to give an average price. However, here are some guidelines for you to consider.
A sign that is 3’4″x7’7″ with a pixel pitch of 13mm will cost about $23,431. One board that measures 5’6″x10’9″ with a pitch of 20mm will put you back $30,700. And a billboard size sign of 13’11″x47’9″ with a 20 mm pitch will be more or less $224,551.
But whenever you are working with signs that are so versatile, you need to consider long-term savings. Luckily, with LED message centers, you probably won’t have to get a new board for many years to come.
It is much trickier to make changes or updates to other types of signs without replacing the whole thing.
In other words, you should think of this as a long-term investment.
Mix and match
One crucial consideration is whether or not you are going to use the LED message center on its own. There are good reasons why people often combine them with other types of signs.
The most significant is that these boards are pretty expensive. So you might not be able to afford the size that you want. Because they can be costly, you probably won’t be able to use all the colors, nor the background, nor the graphics that you want.
Therefore, it can be fantastic to compromise by using a smaller message center with a larger printed sign.
The recommended solution is to print the permanent content like your company’s name and basic details on the static signage. Then you can use the LED board to attract additional attention, give updates, and short-term advertisements.
Vital terms for LED message centers
Most of the time, signs are as just as good as its design. This is how you really make an impact on your audience and get the most out of the product.
To achieve this, there are several features of the content and the board itself that you need to work on.
We can’t cover everything you need to know, but it can help to start learning about the key terms and concepts. It will help you design the board and communicate with your sign company.
The pixel pitch is essentially the resolution of your LED message center. One pixel is one grouping of LEDs. And the pitch is the distance in millimeters from one of these to another. The tighter you pack the pixels, the higher your resolution will be.
To choose the right ratio, you need to consider the viewing distance, the resolution you want, the size, and the costs.
As a rule of thumb, the farther away your audience will be, the higher the pitch should be.
Another critical term to consider is the viewing distance, which is the distance between the observer and in this case, the sign they are viewing.
Preferably, you need to try to figure out what the optimal position will be. This is the place where the content will be visible and legible. But it also needs to look attractive.
No, we are not talking about the film.
In short, the matrix is the number of pixels high by the number of pixels wide your board will be. These numbers will determine how much content you can display on the LED message center at one point in time.
Whenever it comes to illumination, you have to consider the brightness. The concept relates to the intensity of light emanating from a surface. You will need to agree on this with your sign company.
Remember that you’ll need to turn up the brightness for outdoor electronic signs during the day.
One excellent feature of programmable LED message centers is that they can change the brightness to fit the time of day automatically.
Choosing your content
As with any other type of sign, you need to craft the content carefully. You can follow many of the same principles that you use for different types of signage. However, there are some unique possibilities that you can play with.
Here are some of the crucial elements of the content that you can customize:
- Motion effects
- Text formatting
In general, you want to keep the content for the sign simple. Doing this will help you save costs, but also help you to make your board more effective. There will be less risk of the main message getting lost in a jumble of text and images.
Hooking up your LED message center
As you might guess, the installation process is quite different for digital signs than for non-digital ones. It’s not as simple as just securing it with some screws.
First, you need to connect the board to a power source. That’s why your sign company will need to have a professional on their team to help you get this sorted.
Second, you’ll have to hook the sign to a computer or laptop that can run the necessary software. You need to do this to program and control the content for the LED message center.
Most of the time, you will need to connect it with an ethernet cable. But some manufacturers also have remote options.
Remember that the programming and software will depend on the specific product that you get.
Illuminated signs like LED message centers play a crucial part in advertising strategies. These outdoor electronic advertising boards will help you draw in the crowds, no matter the time of day. They help you highlight your critical messages.
Whether you’re moving into a new office building or planning a renovation for your existing space, there’s one thing all buildings have in common—and that’s walls. While they serve a remarkably functional role in maintaining the structure’s integrity, they also have aesthetic utility to offer. Your wall space can be so much more than the plain, even drab, walls we’re all used to. Of course, paint is one option. But interior wall wraps are a way to really maximize the space’s potential.
Today we want to explore the power of interior wall wraps to transform your space. Here are some ways to use them to make the area between your ceiling and floor so much more than blank space.
Spreading a visual that depicts some element of the natural world is a great way to create an intriguing, and perhaps even relaxing, space. At first, this may sound like a recipe for tackiness—evoking images of nature-themed wallpaper from years ago. However, you can certainly do it in a professional way. If you have an entire wall to work with, try spreading tree branches across it.
You might find yourself with wall space that extends more than one story. And that’s actually great. Make the most of it by allowing your graphics to climb all the way up the wall. If you have a staircase that wraps by or near the wall, even better.
Create a focal piece
While you can opt for an interior wall wrap that diffuses a design over the whole wall, you may find that striking a main focus better suits your space. Naturally, you could use something generally applicable (like a globe) as the main element of your graphic. But you could also create a focal point that directly speaks to what you do as an organization.
Tap into your expertise
You can also use the deep and broad knowledge your organization has accumulated to guide the interior wall wrap design process. For instance, if you’re a laboratory, then creating a chemistry-inspired wall wrap might make perfect sense. Draw on everybody’s knowledge and talents to create a technical, nerdy graphic that expresses who you are and what you know.
Draw on your values and interests
You can also use your wall as a sort of branding tool and a way to reinforce your organization’s values. Here’s some inspiration from the real world. The wall poster “The Long Table” that used to hang in this Virginia coffee shop blends perfectly with the idea of a coffee shop as a place to gather with others.
Use colors and patterns
Wall graphics, floor graphics, paint, and furniture can all combine to create your overall aesthetic. Check out how this spritely space explodes with colors and stripes to create a vibrant appearance.
Say it with words
Remember that your interior wall graphics can also tap into the power of words. Check out this tech wall just full of words to read. It’s company branding—word cloud style.
Don’t lock yourself into using the entire wall
A wrap that extends over just a small part of your wall can be striking in its own right. Check out this bright stripe stretching down a hallway to see what we mean.
Extra creative ideas
Here are some thoughts for taking interior wall wraps to the next level.
Wrap just one wall of several to create a contrast wall
In a long, rectangular room, you could wrap the back wall, shooting for an effect that draws people in.
Wrap some walls and not others in a recessed wall situation
Augment the varying depths that recessed walls already create by wrapping some walls and leaving others painted (perhaps in neutral colors). We suggest you get sound design advice on this one, though, to end up with a really great product.
Explore the possibility of backlighting interior wall wraps
This is something to discuss with your sign specialist. Ask about ways you could incorporate lighting behind your wrap design, allowing some light to seep through certain areas of your image.
A 3D wall could really stand out to viewers. Here’s something to make them stop, take note, and maybe even stand for a few moments just to take it in. Even a wrap that simply provides an illusion of a 3D design is a great option.
Pair a wall wrap with pre-existing architectural features
Check with your sign specialist about the possibility of pairing a wall wrap with a brick or cement wall already in your building. Use this brick and photo wrap appearance as a launching pad for your own creative ideas.
Get your interior wall wraps started
If designing interior wall wraps falls outside your area of expertise, consider finding a sign company that can not only place your wrap but can also help you create it. Select a specialist that offers design services. Do your due diligence to find a company you’ll enjoy working with. Check out What To Look For From A Sign Making Company + Questions To Ask to get you started.
Lighting undoubtedly changed the course of advertising. It revolutionized the way we create and use signage since the 1800s.
Suddenly, businesses could attract attention by using signage no matter the time of day or night. Illuminated signs created whole new opportunities to catch the audience’s eye. It’s no wonder that these types of advertisements are still some of the most popular today.
One of the best of these is backlit sign boxes. If you think this might be the choice for you, read on for our guidelines on effective design.
What are backlit sign boxes?
We are undeniably drawn to bright and shiny objects. Advertisers have long known that this can be a brilliant tool to help you promote any venture and catch the eye.
That’s why products such as illuminated sign boxes are so popular. Fabricators construct these products with LEDs that shine through materials like colored acrylic facing. You can choose between different options that are lit up in different ways.
Backlit sign boxes specifically are displays that are illuminated from behind.
Pros of backlit sign boxes:
So what makes illuminated sign boxes better than other options?
It’s important to consider all the benefits and whether they are what you are looking for.
- Lighted signs are great at drawing attention.
- The illumination will allow your sign to be visible and legible 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- You can create a more atmospheric effect with backlighting than with standard lighting.
- Backlit signs can make the text more impactful by creating shadow effects.
- The illumination can add depth to the sign, especially when it comes to graphics. They will no longer look flat. Instead, they will stand out and be more impactful.
- Contemporary sign boxes usually come with LEDs instead of traditional light bulbs. Therefore, they are more cost-effective, low energy, low maintenance, and they are longer lasting.
- Highly customizable.
- Sign boxes are versatile, and you can use them in a variety of locations.
- The sign will stand out from other illuminated and non-illuminated signs in the area.
Cons of backlit sign boxes:
Yes, there are superb benefits to using illuminated box signs. But you should always enter into any business decision with both eyes open. So you need to weigh the cons as well.
Here are some of the primary disadvantages of using backlit sign boxes:
- Of course, they do still use some electricity. So in this sense, they will cost more and be less energy-efficient than signs without lighting.
- All of this means that you need to install it so that it can be connected to a power source. Because of this, the mounting process will be more complicated.
- The initial investment can be quite costly.
Questions to ask yourself:
If you want to create an impactful design, there are a few questions you need to answer first. Each of them is geared towards helping you create the perfect backlit sign box.
What’s the purpose of the sign?
Design can be defined as a way to devise something for a specific function or end. Therefore, in order to start planning your sign, you have to decide on a goal. It is a crucial part of the process.
The possibilities seem to be endless. However, people typically use backlit sign boxes as name signs, building signs, and menu boards. Considering this might help you to narrow things down.
Pro tip: Remember that you can’t achieve everything with one sign. Instead, you want to use several different products in conjunction as part of a bigger plan or strategy.
Where will you install your backlit sign box?
This question is vital with all types of signage. You need to make sure that you can install the sign there. In short, you need to make sure that the sign is durable enough for the circumstances, and you design it to look fantastic in this spot.
We recommend that you consider the following:
- Do you want to put it indoors and outdoors?
- Is there a power connection, or can you install one?
- How does the background look?
- Are there any signs in the immediate surroundings?
- What are the weather conditions?
Give all of this information to your sign company. They will be able to advise you on how to adapt your product to this.
Overall, lightboxes are pretty versatile, and sign professionals can build them to suit all types of environment.
What is your budget?
To make the sign worth your while, it’s crucial to work out a budget. You need to calculate how much you are willing and able to spend. Try to choose a reasonable price that will still allow you to get a high-quality sign, without breaking the bank.
On average, illuminated signs may cost you $30 or more per square foot. And products that are lighted with neon are even more expensive and cost about $200 to $1,200 per square foot.
Advertising can be like a black hole. You can pour infinite amounts of money into it. So you have to draw the line somewhere.
Design elements of an illuminated sign box
Both professional and amateur designers can benefit from breaking down the design process into different parts. You can see these as separate elements that are necessary to create a complete and holistic display.
To stop yourself from getting overwhelmed, go through the process step by step.
Remember that design is not only about the contents such as the graphics on the sign. You also need to consider the hardware and construction methods of the product. One aspect of this is picking the material from which it will be fabricated.
Some of the top options are:
- Acrylic: Overall, this is one of the most common materials for all types of signs. It is moderately priced and is usually extremely resistant to fading.
- Panaflex: This material is a fantastic budget option. The signs are low cost and low maintenance, but they tend to fade much more quickly.
- Aluminum: Another very common choice for signs is aluminum. The metal is lightweight and exceptionally durable. However, it can be relatively costly. You can use this on its own for sign boxes or in combination with acrylic.
All things considered, panaflex is better if you are looking for a temporary and short term solution. On the other hand, acrylic or a combination of acrylic and aluminum are better for longer-lasting signs.
Choose your lighting
No doubt, one of the distinguishing characteristics of these signs is precisely the fact that they are backlit. Overall, this is the essential element through which the sign catches the eye. But it also helps you to make the box more attractive.
In the past, people primarily used fluorescent bulbs for signage. Nowadays, however, LEDs seem to be the best option.
Besides this, you get to choose the color of the lighting. RGB LEDs give you the chance to use an infinite number of shades.
The safest option seems to be white, which is perfect for creating contrast around the edges. But blue and green can also work well. Just keep in mind what will complement the graphics and text on display.
Another design element is the brightness of the lighting. You need to make it bright enough to catch the eye and highlight the contents of the sign. But not so bright that it obscures the image.
In general, the requirements for brightness range between 800 to 1,500 nits for the indoor displays. And 1,500 to 2,500 for interior signage that you will mount in a spot with sunlight.
On the other hand, experts suggest that you use 5,000 nits for outdoor signs, and they suggest 5,000+ nits for signs which you mount in a spot where it will get full sun exposure throughout the day.
So, in other words, the darker the area, the lower the brightness has to be and vice versa.
Think about color
Backlighting seriously makes the colors on sign boxes pop. This can greatly help you to enhance the appearance of the display. However, this means that it is even more important to choose the right shades.
For a backlit sign box, you want to use palettes that are high contrast. That’s why most combinations include white.
A few of the popular combos you should keep in mind are:
- Black and white
- Yellow and grey
- Green and white perhaps with a splash of red
- Black and yellow
- Orange and white
- Blue and white
Traditionally, fabricators made most illuminated sign boxes in rectangular or square shapes. Probably because these forms are the easiest to construct, they are still widely used today. Besides this, they usually look neat and coherent.
Each shape has its own benefits. And they will typically work better for different purposes and content.
Here is a short guide to the options:
- Rectangles: The shape is better for signs with fewer words.
- Squares: You should consider this if you have more than one line of text.
- Ovals and squares: These forms are great alternatives. The former for signs with little content and the latter for those with several lines of text or content.
- Themed shapes: Another option is to choose a form that is suited to your business. Or get one that can even act as a symbol of it. For example, using glasses-shaped signs if you’re an optometrist and so on.
Don’t use too much text! Try to think about how you can convey your message with the least amount of words. To make it impactful, you need the content to be legible. So you want it to be large enough to be visible.
You should consider the same criteria when you are choosing the font. Don’t choose styles that are ornamental or have a thin profile.
Using graphics are an excellent way to enliven your backlit sign box. It can help you to make the complete picture much more exciting and appealing.
However, you need to be careful about the images that you use. In general, you want to stay away from pictures that are too detailed or ones with ultra-fine lines. More likely than not, the images will blur, and you won’t be able to see what it’s trying to portray clearly. Therefore, logos are an ideal choice.
For this type of sign, it often looks best if you use the primary shades of color scheme for the graphics too. However, you can also highlight the images by using bright colors if the palette is neutral.
Choosing the right combo
One more design element to consider is whether you will use it on its own or not. Illuminated sign boxes can usually work very well if you combine it with other types of signage. These combinations will help you to get the most out of both of them.
All in all, one of the best ways to use backlit sign boxes is to mount them on larger monument signs. It is a good option if you are looking for shopping center signage or ones for a school.
However, a backlit sign box tends to work better on its own for building signs. For example, people love to use them for bars, night clubs, restaurants, and retail outlets that are open at night.
Are you planning on changing the sign in the new future? Or do you think it’s at all likely?
If you are on a tight budget, you probably don’t want to replace an entire sign. Not only is it uneconomical, but it can also cost you time and extra effort too.
Luckily, you can prepare for this eventuality.
A standard backlit sign box typically has a single continuous front panel.
However, you can ask your signage company to create the box with several panels. They can connect these so smoothly that you won’t be able to tell the difference. And if you want to make small adjustments, you only need to replace the relevant parts.
As seen in the development of the backlit sign box, all types of signage and advertising are continuing to evolve. And there are no signs of progress slowing down. With this in mind, it’s important to use a combination of old products and methods along with new ones. This is a surefire way to make sure to get the most out of your signs and advertisements.