As the brains behind your business or organization, you know it’s your job to present a good face for your group. And one of the ways you do that is through signs. Of course, great signage is a good start to sharing your name, mission, and goals. But even the best signage can take unexpected hits—from bad weather, bad actors, or any number of unforeseen events.
While you certainly don’t want your sign to be a victim of damage, you know it is possible at any time. Whether you’re currently facing damaged signage or you just want to be prepared, you’re wondering whether signs that have been injured can possibly be repaired. At what point is your signage no longer salvageable?
Your sign might be salvageable if…
Let’s take a look at a few scenarios in which your signage, though damaged, might not be as far gone as you think. Your sign might be salvageable if…
1 – Soap and water will do the trick
Sounds obvious right? But though the idea is simple, it’s good to keep in mind. While your signage might look like it’s in terrible shape, the reality may not be as bad as the appearance.
Try a bucket of hot soapy water (something simple like a tough-on-grease dish detergent with plain tap water). Just remember to check if your sign came with any special instructions prohibiting the use of certain cleaners or solvents. If so, you obviously want to steer clear of any cleaners that aren’t approved.
2 – It’s just dirt that needs a good scrub
You need to take stock of exactly what has damaged or dirtied your sign. If it’s only caked-on mud, chances are, you can wear it down over time with the proper cleaning tools. If you’ve been able to remove all the physical dirt, yet the dirt has left stains behind, now it’s time to pivot your approach to stain removal.
That’s when you break out a water and bleach solution and carefully spot test in a small area of the sign (preferably on the back or underside where it won’t be noticed). If the solution doesn’t damage the test area, scrub away at the stain with your bleach solution, then rinse with fresh water. Allow to dry, then take stock. If you’ve experienced sweet success at stain removal, take the process to the rest of the sign.
3 – You only need elbow grease with a proper abrasive instrument
Don’t forget that signs with metallic components may rust over time. But you may not need an entirely new sign. First, try removing the rust.
4 – The fix is simpler than it appears
Some sign damage solutions could be deceptively simple. For instance, if you have an illuminated sign cabinet that’s no longer illuminated, replacing the entire sign may not be necessary. If your sign company offers repairs, you may choose to have them come look at it. Perhaps they’ll simply need to replace some of the light bulbs.
No help available from the sign company? Don’t worry. Simply reach out to a qualified electrician and ask if he has any experience working with signage that has electrical components.
Do note that when you’re working with electrical signage, you want to beware of DIYing it unless you truly are qualified. It can be dangerous work, and wisdom often dictates that we leave it to the experts.
5 – Your sign might only need cleaning or disassembling
Another scenario where the fix could be simpler than you assume at first glance is when you have a sign that has simply degraded over time. For instance, signage with plastic parts may become discolored with age. Or, as we’ve all seen at one point or another signage with an empty interior cavity might acquire a curious collection of dead buds and small twigs. And that’s certainly not pleasing to the eye (or professional to your clients).
But the fix for the dead-bug problem could be as simple as disassembling your sign and cleaning it out. And other signs may just need some regular cleaning to give them a fresh face. Don’t overlook these mundane possibilities for refreshing your signs.
6 – Your sign isn’t as broken as it looks
Now, what if your sign has been the victim of some kind of trauma? Maybe a car has crashed into it or a tree limb has fallen on it. While these events can surely wreak havoc on a sign, they may not mean you have to totally replace the sign.
First off, take stock of the damage. Note exactly which parts of the sign are broken. Let’s take an example. In the case of a post and panel sign that’s been hit by a car, if the posts are broken off at the base (where they meet the ground), you may need new posts. But you won’t necessarily need a new sign face.
On the other hand, taking stock may reveal that your signage is too far gone to be replaced. For instance, if a tree limb has fallen on a monument sign and smashed it, you’re not necessarily going to be able to put the pieces back together.
Tailor the solutions to your signs
Please note that you need to choose solutions that are appropriate to the signage you have. And that means that instructions from your sign specialist or simply from the documentation that came with your sign should trump the foregoing ideas. While you can try other options, remember that any time you use methods that haven’t been approved for your sign, you run the risk of damaging it.
Choose signs responsibly
It’s a great idea to think about possible risks to your signs before you even purchase them. For instance, if you’ll be located in an area that has a significant problem with vandalism, taking that into account can help you make a better decision. Select signs that are tailored to the needs of your company or organization and to the needs of the community in which you’re located. Check out A Glossary Of Sign Definitions & The Distinctive Features Of Each to get a feel for your sign options.
Communication can be the bane of human existence. Well, okay, maybe it’s not the bane of human existence, but it sure can be a struggle. And when it comes to communicating your ideas to a sign expert, it’s no different. Even that can present challenges.
So we thought it would be worthwhile to offer you some ways to communicate and present ideas to your sign specialist—your newest partner in your company’s branding and marketing journey. Let’s explore tips to ease up potential difficulties and make your sign process a walk in the park.
Put it on paper
Of course, the first thing that comes to mind when we say “put it on paper” could easily be the idea of formally writing (or typing) things down. And while that’s a great idea that we’ll tackle in just a minute, the idea of “getting things on paper” can actually be broader than the printed word.
In fact, it may not even involve words at all. Sometimes, drawing out your ideas on paper or a nearby whiteboard can be invaluable. What you can easily envision, your specialist may not be able to visualize until you give him an example.
This can be especially true when you’re talking about some of the visual elements of design. Exactly what your logo concept looks like or how you want your text and visuals arranged on a billboard—those are things you may need to map out on paper or a whiteboard.
Don’t underestimate the power of scratching out a rough diagram. And in the modern age, everyone can carry your rapidly-drawn ideas with them by simply pulling out a smartphone and snapping photos of the drawings.
Write it down
Here’s where we actually get to talk about the value of writing or typing things on paper (or on the computer as the case may be). People can easily have an irrational fear of writing out their ideas. They may feel it boxes them in or ties them down. Or they just might be downright scared of writing because they have no idea what they want to say.
As hard as it is, writing ideas down captures them in an invaluable way. It also prompts a thought process that can be very useful to the success of your project. To actually write things down, you may have to think about them a little harder (or perhaps just a little differently) than you otherwise would.
Harness useful terminology (and define it)
Obviously, words are vital for communication. But not all words are equal in terms of importance or value. You might find that some keywords help you communicate better with your sign specialist than others.
For example, when you’re in early stages of sign design and you want to keep all your options open, try using the word, “conceptual” to refer to plans that aren’t set-in-stone. And for good measure, follow up your usage of the word with some helpful clarification about what you mean. In this case, you could just alert the person you’re corresponding with that these plans “may change over time.”
Give them something to go on
If you don’t have any experience in the sign industry (or the design industry), you may feel completely out of your depth. And you may find it challenging to understand what you want, let alone communicate it to others.
That’s why it can be useful to give your sign specialists examples. By pointing out signs, color palettes, and designs that you like, you offer them a window into your mind. Plus, you can take things a step further and articulate why you like what you like.
For instance, maybe you like black and white palettes because you find they communicate “modernity” and “stability.” Well, if you let your specialist know that, they may not only understand your needs better, but they may be able to help you do an even better job of fulfilling them.
Tap into the power of technology to help you out here by using these tools and methods:
- Share a Pinterest board of inspiration
- Take photos of signs you see around town and share them with your specialist
- Send your specialist photos of other companies’ signs you admire
Remember to be both honest and clear when communicating with your sign company. We know it can be tempting to ease the burden of sharing difficult truths or opinions by being evasive or vague. But that tactic could hurt you and your signage partner in the long run.
That doesn’t mean you have to say everything you’re thinking every time. But it is a good reminder to say what needs to be said when it needs to be said—even if it makes you or other people feel a little uncomfortable.
Need examples? When you’re still undecided about a project or an element of a project, don’t string the sign company along by letting them think you’re all in. Communicate to them where you actually are in the decision-making process if you think it would help them make better plans of their own. In fact, it might even help them help you. And it may also prevent them from losing valuable resources like time and money.
When you don’t like something, say so. If it’s your job to sign off on project design, then be open about designs you don’t care for. We’ll venture a guess that most other designers would also prefer to be told “no” sooner rather than later. That way, they don’t waste time on a project element they’ll never ultimately use. And they hear “no” when they still have time to course-correct.
Great company, great communication
Of course, before you can invest in good communication with your sign company, you’ll need to actually find that sign company. Take some time to learn more about selecting a great sign specialist with our What To Look For From A Sign Making Company + Questions To Ask. And if you’re new to the wonderful world of signage, start bringing yourself up to speed with A Glossary Of Sign Definitions & The Distinctive Features Of Each.
We often think of business signs as plaques, posters, letters, and panels that appear on the outside of buildings. And it’s true that those are often prime examples of business signage. But businesses don’t have to be constrained to showcasing their brand on the exterior of their location. In fact, signs are perfect candidates to become part of a building’s interior design, too.
Tailor to your building
Of course, not all buildings are created equal—on the outside or the inside. So it makes sense that different buildings will require different types of interior signs.
Some buildings have an unfinished, industrial appearance on the inside. Think of manufacturing plants, for instance. Others are high-tech and high-fashion. Like a Silicon Valley startup, perhaps.
That’s why we suggest that your interior signage journey should begin with taking stock of your building’s interior design and of its particular offerings. There could even be unique architectural features that would suit your building perfectly for a certain type of sign.
Certainly, a natural starting point is thinking through the issue from all sides. A lot of this can be done from your chair, walking around your building, or even while driving your daily commute. Gather ideas from other companies’ interior signage. You’ll also want to take stock of your strategic aims for the sign—identifying things like your target audience and your intended message. At this stage, getting an idea of your budget parameters should also be helpful.
Talk it out
After you think through some ideas on your own, it’s a great time to get your sign specialist involved. And don’t think that you have to come to them with a fully formed idea at the ready. Instead, you can actually have them help you with designing your sign in addition to manufacturing it.
If your building has pillars, they can become a natural signage asset. Square or round pillars can be enveloped in signage. Use them to promote an ongoing initiative, support key concepts, or even advertise an upcoming event.
Once your customer or client finds your building, they may still need to make it to your office suite within the building. And you want it to make a good impression once they do. That’s why you want to mastermind a lobby sign that projects a positive company image. And you also want the sign to blend well with the design of its surroundings. Check out our Arslanian Law Firm sign to see what we mean—some signs need to exude classy professionalism.
What better use of an open wall than to display something relevant about your business? Check out wall murals if you need signage that lends an air of permanence and commitment to your space. And, if you’re like Thunderbird Lanes, you can even use a mural to promote connection with your customers. Who wouldn’t want to see their own name take a place of honor on your business’s wall?
Wall banners are another possibility when it comes to interior signage. Not only can they promote who you are and what you do, but they can also function as wayfinding signs. Like this sign for Pizza Peddlers, they can help point customers in the right direction.
There is so much to love about floor graphics. Not only do they put an easily underused space to great work, but they’re also fun in their own right. If you’re an ice cream parlor, why not place an ice cream cone icon right on the floor and surround it with comfy chairs in corresponding colors? Fascinatingly, the floor can also provide you with a canvas to promote your core values. That way your tangible foundation actually reflects your company’s intangible foundation.
With wall space available, there’s no limit to the messaging you can share. Routed signs like this one for Midpoint Construction are a perfect way to radiate quality while getting your message across. Even channel letters can take their place on your interior wall—adding depth and color.
Here’s another wall fixture that can be personalized for your company needs—a clock. To see what we mean, check out this custom wall clock for TI Automotive. What time is it? It’s TI Automotive time!
How to incorporate signs into interior design
When it comes to the general question of how to integrate signs inside your business, here’s another thing to keep in mind. You are not limited to your logo. While a logo is often a natural subject of a sign, it is not the only appropriate subject of a sign—not by a long shot.
As we mentioned earlier, you can use your signage to promote your values—either explicitly or implicitly. For instance, a doctor’s office could use an open wall to feature core values like “compassion,” “knowledge,” and “time.” Or a gym could spread an inspirational quote across an open wall with a wall wrap.
Take your time to select the sign that’s just right for the inside of your building. Check out A Guide On Where & How To Install Signs Around Your Business to learn more about the signs that your company might need. And if you’re curious about wall wraps and what you can do with them, take a look at Creative Uses For Interior Wall Wraps With Design Examples.
Letting your clients, customers, and visitors know who you are and what you do is important for your company’s success. Of course, every company has to choose its own ways to get this information to their stakeholders. One particularly fun and creative way to share your mission and message is floor graphics.
You may already have signage on your building front, in your company yard, and even on the walls inside your location. But do you have signage on your floor? If you think about it, your floor is actually a vast amount of unused space. So, why not get started putting it to use?
Think outside the box
While you might think of floor graphics as a top-tier way to advertise your company’s values or abilities, floor graphics are not limited to commercial use. Nonprofits can use them for special events. Individuals can use floor graphics for weddings or parties. Even schools can get in on the action.
Begin with a solid design
Think of your design as the foundation of your floor graphics. Naturally, you want to begin with a solid foundation. Of course, you’ll want the graphics installed well and maintained well over time. But if you don’t get things off the right foot with stellar design, you won’t have much to brag about, will you?
That’s why there’s a point to be made for getting some specialized assistance with this. Not everyone is gifted at graphic design and some people simply aren’t as visually-oriented as others. So, it makes sense to get the help of someone whose talents lie in that direction. That could be professional design services, or it could be simply assigning the design to the most design-savvy team member within your company if it falls inside their skill set.
Size well for the space you have
One advantage of floor graphics is just how much possible canvas you’ll have available. Walls may be spoken for to accommodate doors and windows, and ceilings might be needed for lights, ductwork, or a ductwork screen. But the floor—that mostly just needs to be traveled on (and sometimes have HVAC registers placed in it, of course).
So, if you find yourself with plenty of floor space that’s not spoken for from a design standpoint, then graphics could be a great choice. Take time to select a floor design that works well for the space you have. Also, don’t forget to take into account the shape of your space, its location in your building, and the vantage point from which viewers will see your graphics.
For instance, what you do in a long school hallway could be quite different from what you do in a small hotel entry lobby. Similarly, floor graphics that stretch up stairs will be different from those that adorn a conference center floor.
Beware of small squares and rectangles
We suggest you approach small squares and rectangles cautiously. They could easily look underwhelming instead of stunning. And this could especially be the case if they’re overfilled with text and other content. Go for eye-catching graphics that actually fit with your space. A small square or rectangle could look disappointing and slightly out-of-place—as though you just came up with a quick image and stuck it to the floor.
Instead of small, constrained graphics, explore the possibility of larger graphics. Spreading across a large floor space might be just the eye-catching approach you need. And don’t think that your graphics need to have easily visible, squared-off edges either. Graceful curves or sprawling lines might be just the thing.
Custom wedding floor graphics for the Bride and Groom to be! Contact Signarama Detroit today to add the perfect finishing touch to your special day!Posted by Signarama Detroit on Monday, November 25, 2013
Get expert input
As we noted above, sometimes design projects are outside the scope of a company’s expertise. You want to connect with clients who need the service you offer because you’re good at what you do. Signage is a way to connect with those clients. However, you might be perfectly aware that creating signage is not what you’re good it. After all, if everyone was good at crafting signs, every company would be a sign company.
The good news is that there are companies that specialize in the things that you need but can’t do yourself. And that’s exactly why you should consider reaching out to a sign specialist. Not only can they craft your sign based on their accumulated expertise, but they may be able to assist in the design phase, too. Check with your sign specialist to see if they offer graphic design services.
Explore your options
Of course, with floor space to spare, floor graphics make sense. But there might be other types of signs that are perfect for your company, too. Check out How Your Business Can Take Advantage Of The Different Sign Types. Or take a look at Tips & Tricks To Designing Eye Catching Business Signs.
Whether you’re a restaurant, cafe, pizzeria, or other foodservice establishment, you may be looking for ways to fill your space with holiday cheer. Naturally, your menu boards are one possible canvas. That’s why we’re going to explore the intersection of the holidays and your business’ menu boards.
First up—some tips for advertising your holiday specials for any type of menu board. Then, we’ll dig into the different type of menu boards you might be using this holiday season (and all year round).
Play with puns for your holiday specials
That’s right, whatever your restaurant’s special is for the season, see if you can come up with a fun, catchy name or way to describe it. Even something that will make your customers laugh. You can actually get the whole team in on this by holding a contest for the best names for holiday specials.
Put on a festive air
You can use great colors and even strings of lights to make your menu boards advertise your specials in a sparkly and colorful way. For instance, a string of battery-powered lights could help draw attention to the seasonal treat advertised on your A-frame sidewalk sign.
Match with your vibe
Of course, as much as we might recommend a joyous, festive look, do remember to link your restaurant’s overall look with your signage. So, if you mostly have a black and white aesthetic (with metal like wrought iron, perhaps), then you’ll want to make selections accordingly.
Now let’s take a look at some of the menu boards you might be using this holiday season.
Static printed menu boards
For this type of board, while you don’t change the messaging on the board itself, you can swap the boards in and out. At least, you can if you choose a menu board with a snap frame. This means, that for your holiday specials, you’ll likely need a new board face that you can place in the frame. And the advantage to that is that it forces you to be intentional and to think in advance.
Reach out to your sign specialist ahead of time to get the ball rolling. Of course, it may be you’re only aiming to make your menu board look special and you aren’t actually changing your menu offerings. In that case, you may not need a whole new board. Instead, try dressing up what you have.
Fill in the board’s open spaces with festive extras. Attach snowflakes, winter scenes, or sparkles. Or simply twine bubble lights around the board’s frame. (Note that you should always ensure that your additions won’t damage your sign face. Check with your specialist if you have any doubts.)
Dry erase menu boards
Naturally, when your menu board is designed with change in mind, you’ll have a lot of leeway for your holiday specials. However, what you will need is someone with a steady hand and an artistic eye to make your menu board shine.
First step—choose the colors you’ll use and purchase the appropriate markers. If you have a lot of board space to fill, be sure to buy enough markers to complete the project. Plus, you’ll want enough to make changes or touch-ups as necessary.
There are so many ways you could go with a dry erase menu board. You could take advantage of the base of your menu boards to color in a winter scene—complete with snowflake swirls and a snow-dusted outdoor vista. Or, you could simply use holiday colors to rewrite your usual offerings on the board. Holiday-themed questions that patrons can answer to win extra punches on their loyalty cards could also take their places on the board.
Magnetic menu boards
Magnetic menu boards offer you a good chance to change your menu. Plus, you may be able to swap out the board’s design with something more appropriate to the holidays. First, start by deciding what your holiday menu items will be and creating the corresponding magnetic strips. Once you know what your holiday offerings are, try laying the corresponding magnets out on a nearby table to mastermind the layout.
Now comes the fun part—adding holiday-themed magnets. Select magnets that match with your establishment’s theme. And arrange the layout so that your holiday magnets promote cohesiveness and holiday cheer simultaneously. As we mentioned with static printed menu boards, you may want to think in advance for these boards. That way, you’ll have time to choose and purchase holiday-themed additions.
Digital screen menu boards
If you’re looking for a holiday menu board that allows for a lot of change, a digital screen menu board is just the thing. Plus, adding video to your menu board can even be an option with a digital board. So, if you already have a holiday marketing reel designed for your Facebook page, you may be able to reuse it on your signage.
For a cozy coffee shop, create a video with gently falling snowflakes to truly evoke some seasonal warmth. And don’t forget to feature one of your signature offerings prominently in the video, too.
If you’re a cafe, customizing your menu boards for the holidays could begin with high-quality photos of your food alongside holiday props. However, some restaurants may choose to keep food photos off the menu board—opting instead to use specific colors, fonts, and non-photo images to display holiday cheer.
Whatever type of menu signage you have, plan your holiday changes in advance. If you’ll need to make purchases to get your menu boards prepared, that gives you time to do so. But even if you don’t have to buy anything, planning ahead is still a good idea. It gives you time to roll out the changes by the proper date, without a stressful last-minute scramble. Need more seasonal tips for your signs? Check out How To Make Your Signage Seasonal Without Spending A Lot Of Money.
There are only a few weeks left until winter and best of all, Christmas. It’s a time of transition where the world around us changes in many ways. But what does this mean for your marketing and your signage in particular?
Signs are all about communicating with potential clients and existing customers. As a business owner, you should use all the opportunities you can to connect with your audience. To help you stay on top of your advertising, check out our tips for designing signs for winter.
The challenges of winter
Before we jump into the solutions, let’s first define the problem so that you know what you’re dealing with. Afterward, you will be in a better position to counteract them. So, what are the difficulties you are dealing with when designing signs for winter?
The slow season
First, many industries thrive in some seasons and stagnate in others. Sometimes this is because people only really use the products or services in certain types of weather. Otherwise, it could be the general off-season for tourism in the region.
In winter, everyone might be fleeing the town or city for warmer weather. Unfortunately, this can leave seasonal businesses in the lurch. For example, companies that often struggle in winter are landscapers, pool cleaning services, ice cream stores, plant nurseries.
Many small businesses simply close their doors for the off-season. But in some cases, you could be able to take steps to turn things around.
Harsh and cold weather
One of the critical reasons why winter can be a slow season is the cold and harsh weather. Of course, the impact of this is enhanced in areas like Michigan, where winter can get rough.
Aside from this, did you know that it can affect your signage too? Certain conditions can damage and wear down your sign.
You need to keep this in mind when you’re designing the products.
Issues with visibility
Multiple weather conditions that are common during winter can decrease outdoor visibility. So, they can impact how well your audience can read your signs or whether they can see them at all. It’s crucial that you plan to combat this with your design.
Conditions to watch out for are:
- Ice storms
But undoubtedly winter isn’t the off-season for everyone. It is the time when snow removal services, Christmas decor stores, ski stores, and more get the time to shine.
If you are in one of these industries, you need to leap to take advantage of this.
That’s why competition for seasonal products and services can be fierce. Therefore, you need to find ways to stand out from the pack.
Tips on designing signs for winter
In general, you want to keep these challenges in mind when you’re designing your signs for winter. To do this, you need to consider different elements of the design, like colors, fonts, and graphics.
These hints will be particularly handy if you’re designing new signs to be put up during or before winter. But you can also use them to change and update your existing signage, which is especially hassle-free if you are using digital signs.
#1 Go bright and bold
We’ve mentioned that visibility can be significantly decreased during winter. One way to compensate for this is by choosing the colors on your signs wisely. Preferably, you shouldn’t use just any palettes. Instead, you should use colors that have been optimized for winter.
You want to use shades that stand out against the snow and the other conditions. In a winter wonderland, the environment is typically coated in white and other muted colors.
The critical phrase here is contrast. In other words, you should use colors that are strikingly different. That’s why you want to stick with dark and bright colors on your designs mainly.
You don’t want to limit your palette to only darker hues. But instead, use these strategically to make your signs more noticeable.
#2 Push the right products and services
Clearly, a central decision in designing signs is selecting the content. You have to decide carefully what the purpose of the sign is and what you want to communicate. One of the key goals is certainly advertising.
Generally, you should try to sell products or services that work all year round or even ones that are specifically tailored for winter. For example, offer a spiced hot chocolate drink or heater repairs.
Once you’ve set this in place, make sure that you brag about it in your advertisements. You want to let your community know that you’re getting into the winter and festive spirit too.
You should make these products a central part of your signage. Highlight them using text, colors, graphics, and layout.
#3 Seasonal greetings
Show your customers that you care by adding a seasonal greeting to your design. Add a small message that will warm their hearts. By doing this, you can encourage new customers to support your business.
You can keep it simple by adding “Happy Holidays” or something similar to the start of your text.
#4 Winter images and graphics
Typically, graphics and images are a crucial part of any signage. They aren’t equally vital for all sign types. Images are usually less critical for informational and directional products but more so for promotional ones.
You can refresh your designs by adding some winter-themed graphics.
Ideas of images that you can use are:
- Snow, snowflakes, and ice
- Santa Clause themed graphics
- Christmas trees
- Fires and fireplaces
- Warm and cozy clothing
- Skis and sleds
- Holly, mistletoe, and pinecones
- Steaming hot drinks like cocoa
- Decor items like garlands, ornaments, and string lights
#5 Winter sports for the win
All in all, you should try to think of any seasonal event, activity, or theme that can help you make your designs relevant. In the US, you can’t do this without considering sports. It’s one of those things that brings people together and gets them excited.
So it’s a fantastic idea to add some references to winter sports in your signs. You can do this by adding graphics, symbols, and showing support for your local team.
For example, you can embrace sports like:
- Ice hockey
- Ice skating
#6 Light it up
Twinkling lights are synonymous with Christmas cheer. Just think of light shows, string lights, and flickering candles. So one way to show your business’s festive spirit is to include some customized lighting on your signs.
Aside from this, illumination plays a critical role in making signage more visible even in the worst weather conditions. For this purpose, you want to choose lights that are brighter, more intense, and illuminates the majority of the sign.
A few lighting solutions to consider are:
- Sticking some temporary strip lights to your signs
- Using LED’s
- Incorporate an electronic message center
- Hanging string lights over your signage
- Adjust your lighting for shorter days
- Or use illuminated products like lightboxes, digital signs, or electronic message boards.
Many of these are more permanent design features. But others can potentially work as quick, easy, and temporary enhancements.
It’s essential that you also check all your existing lighting and replacing lights and bulbs that are beginning to dim.
#7 Craft your palettes
Next, you must choose and create a color palette that is ideally suited for either winter and the holidays or both. Have some fun and get creative with the colors that you use. You aren’t stuck only using red and green to show festive cheer.
One option is to use wintery colors. In this case, we’re specifically talking about themes that match the shades in the natural environment. First, you can use icy colors like icy blue and grey. Second, you can use earthy palettes like brown, orange, and dark grey.
Another option is to go with warm colors. Doing this will help you to create pleasant associations with your business. They will be drawn to the warmth. Colors like red and orange will work well. Dark jewel tones are also an incredibly popular choice.
Nowadays, winter and the holidays are often associated with a bit of sparkle and shine. Therefore, you can incorporate glitter and metallic colors into your designs.
Plus, you can evoke a winter wonderland look and feel by using appropriate palettes that include white, light grey, cream, and pastels like light blue and peach.
If you want more ideas, take a look at these winter-themed color palettes.
#8 Wintery fonts
No matter the type of sign, using seasonal fonts can be the perfect way to increase their relevance.
Luckily, there is a huge variety of ready-made fonts available online that you can use. You might need to pay for some of them. But others are on-the-house.
The following are fonts that you should keep in mind:
#9 Festive touches
You don’t necessarily have to go all out with your winter and Christmas themed designs. Instead, including tiny touches can make all the difference.
One fun idea for adding some holiday flair to your signs is by temporarily adding festive touches to your logo. You don’t have to change it completely, and you can revert to the old one afterward.
However, it can work well to modify it by, for example, adding Christmassy or wintery colors, graphics like snowflakes and sprigs of holly, and so on.
#10 Choosing the best signs for winter
Overall, when you’re putting up new signs in winter or just before it, you should be careful about the ones you choose. Unfortunately, not all signage stands up as well as others during cold and harsh weather.
Yes, your sign making company can produce most signs with weatherproof materials and other protective measures. But some types will still work better than others.
A few of the options that we recommend are:
- Any illuminated signs like channel letters, LED signs, or lightboxes.
- Digital signs such as electronic message boards so that you can easily change the content and because they are great at drawing attention.
- All the different kinds of indoor signs.
#11 Weatherproof materials
Additionally, you need to consider your hardware as part of the design process. Preferably, you only want to use materials that can withstand the cold and harsh weather during winter.
Generally, you should ask your sign company for help and advice.
If you are given the option to choose the material for your signage, we recommend the following weather-resistant materials:
- Stainless steel
#12 Protective measures
Besides choosing durable materials, there are other protective measures that you can try. These can keep your signs safe, working, and in the best possible shape.
Tips include but aren’t limited to:
- Securely fasten and mount all your signage
- Apply water repellent to your signs
- Mount your signage out of the wind.
- Regularly clean any dirt or debris from the boards.
- Move vulnerable signs indoors when a storm starts.
- Prevent moisture build-up
#13 Seasonal promotions
Seasonal offers, sales, and events are a great way to spice up your business during the slow season. These limited promotions work really well to entice customers to buy your products or services.
Therefore, it’s important that you advertise them on your signage. You can include related information and images in the design.
24/7/365- Make every season count
‘Tis the season to connect. Design your signs or update your old ones to show your community that you are getting ready for winter with them. Plus, you can show them that you are as excited about the festive celebrations as they are.
You can get much more out of your boards by designing them with year-long use in mind and following some of our tips. If you want to add more lighting to your signs to achieve this, take a look at three fun ways to use illuminated box signs + design tips.
Winter is slowly approaching. The temperatures are gradually dropping, and the conditions are becoming harsher. These changes can take a toll on everything in the environment, which includes your outdoor signage too.
Many types of signs are at an increased risk of damage caused by frost, wind, and snow. Now is the perfect time to start implementing protective measures.
Because we know how important signage is for any business, we are going to show you how you can protect your signs in cold and harsh weather.
The risks of cold and harsh weather
As you know, winter in the Northern hemisphere can be a bit rough. Depending on where you live, you have to contend with all kinds of conditions like snow, sleet, and wind.
For example, here in Michigan, winter storms are not uncommon, which can even include real blizzards. The 2019-2020 winter is expected to come with an “arctic cold.” On average, it is about 27 °F. But the temperatures can drop lower.
Sounds chilly, right? Let’s look at the specific conditions you need to be concerned about.
Weather conditions to watch out for:
- Fog: It is basically a cloud that is floating at ground level. Typically, the phenomenon is more common when the seasons turn, especially when autumn changes to winter. Significantly it can cause moisture build-up.
- Rain: Once again, the main problem with rain is moisture. It can seep in between the parts and panels of a sign. If the metal isn’t protected, it can rust. Unfortunately, it can also damage the quality of an image.
- Snow: There are two critical ways in which these frosty flakes can cause trouble. First, snow is pretty heavy, so it can weigh down your signs. Second, when it melts, it can leave your products wet and damp.
- Cold: Lower temperatures also pose a risk to signs. Extreme drops and increases in temperature are especially hazardous. Materials like plastics can crack if they heat up or cool too quickly.
- Ice and frost: Like snow, ice and frost can cause trouble in several ways. They can cause mechanical or physical damage to the boards and scratch the surface. Clearly, the cold that accompanies it is also an issue, not to mention the moisture.
Tips for protecting different kinds of signs
All of these conditions put your outdoor signs at risk. The more they are exposed to the elements, the bigger the potential problems.
Luckily, there are various steps you can take to keep them safe.
Due to variations in structure and material, the weather can affect different signs in different ways. That’s why we will cover some of the common sign types and how you can protect each one.
On the whole, banners are one of the most popular sign types. They are incredibly cheap, versatile, flexible, customizable, and easy to find. In general, they are one of those products that work as well inside as they do outside.
However, some harsh weather conditions might be too much to withstand. These signs are lightweight and cover a large surface area. Hence, banners take tremendous strain from any wind.
If not tied down securely, they can fly away. Or in some cases, the wind can rip them apart.
To prevent this, we recommend that you try some of these measures:
- Did you hang the banner over a street or corridor? In this case, only use heavyweight material and consider using steel cables to tie it down.
- Try to install the signs against a solid surface. In general, this will help to reduce the exposure to wind.
- If you did secure it against a flat surface, make sure it is sitting as tightly to it as possible. You can mount it with grommets and pull it tight to make sure there is as little space as possible for air to enter.
- Consider using bungee cords instead of rope to hang the banners. The material is slightly elastic, so it has a bit of stretch in high winds.
- Interweave the rope or cord through more than one grommet.
- Regularly check the lines and tighten them if necessary. Higher tensions mean less movement and less chance of ripping.
Electronic signs are brilliant inventions. These products have improved visibility and viewing distances during the night and day. But they are very vulnerable to harsh weather.
Moisture from rain, fog, and snow can affect the way they work. And temperature fluctuations can cause havoc to their hardware. On top of this, any conditions that apply force to the surface pose a risk.
Therefore, to protect your electronic signs, you should take the following steps:
- Check that your sign company used hardware that’s appropriate for outdoor use.
- Inspect and regularly maintain all of your digital signage. Pay extra attention to the seals and make sure there aren’t any spaces between their parts where moisture can seep in.
- LED’s for outdoor signs usually work optimally at a temperature between 59°F and 77 °F. The temperatures usually drop below that during winter. So ask your sign company if they have any heating or heat maintenance solutions.
- Overall, the most effective solution is to build or buy weather-resistant enclosures for your electronic signs. It should have a tight seal, good ventilation, heating systems, and consist of rust-resistant materials.
- Securely mount the sign so that it won’t be carried off by the wind. Aside from this, you don’t want any smaller parts to break off, either.
- Another critical step in thermal management is using suitable insulation. You can pack foam insulation into the sides and back of the enclosure to help to keep the heat in.
Metal panel signs
Another staple of the industry is metal panel signs. Businesses use them for a variety of purposes, from advertising to giving directions. Once again, they are relatively expensive and durable. Yet they aren’t immune to damage from harsh weather conditions.
Here are some strategies that you can try:
- Choose the right material. Aluminum and stainless steel are particularly weatherproof. Both of these are rust-resistant, so they should work well in areas where there is frequent rain and snow.
- If you use other metals like iron or bronze, you must coat it with a waterproof sealant that will prevent corrosion.
- You need to weld the panels together correctly. They should sit tightly so that they won’t be pulled apart. Plus, you should seal the connection so that it won’t rust.
- Typically, it works best to use a single metal panel.
Nowadays, businesses usually rely on metal, acrylic, and other fabricated materials for their signage. But there is nothing wrong with wood signs. You can still work wonders with these. However, they are often less resistant than some of the “newer” contenders.
You need to take several steps to keep them safe.
First, you should seal the wood with a laminate or water repellent. Usually, it’s safer to go with more than one coat.
Second, you can attach plastic or metal caps to the edges of the signs. The trim will keep water from seeping in and prevent the wood from warping and swelling. Aside from this, it can be useful for protecting the sign in storms with debris flying around.
Third, you have to remove rot, mold, or mildew as soon as it appears. Inspect your sign every few weeks or after a few days when there has been heavy snowfall or rain.
More tips and tricks
Now we can look at some additional tricks that you can use with different kinds of signs and materials.
Commission high-quality signage
The better the quality of your sign, the better it will be able to withstand wear and tear and the ravages of harsh weather. Therefore, if you don’t want to replace signage frequently, make sure you hire a good sign company.
Moreover, you need to choose materials and designs that are appropriate for the outdoors. There is a reason why fabricators recommend specific products for outdoors use. You can’t always the same signs in the interior and exterior of your business.
Replace old products
Everything has an expected lifetime. You can take protective measures to prolong their usefulness. But eventually, you’ll have to get new. If you don’t want the boards to look worn out and shabby be sure to replace your sign once it is nearing its end.
Overall, you can reduce the risk of damage if you use several measures at once. While this may take more time and effort up front, it is a sensible decision in the long-run. There are a variety of weather conditions that can cause problems, and different strategies are needed for each.
Focus on the mounting
No matter what type of sign you are dealing with, you should make sure to mount it securely. The weight of frost, ice, and snow can distort structures, loosening or breaking parts off. Overall, wind can affect signage in much the same way.
Therefore, you need to pay attention to the way you install your signage.
Poles are one of the most durable ways to mount signs. Attach your board to more than one leg for extra security.
Preferably, you should choose metal for the material. Carbon steel is a fantastic choice as it can withstand floods, as well as hurricane-and-tornado force winds.
Besides this, it’s a good idea to fix the base of the structure in cement or concrete.
Prevent water build-up
This strategy is particularly essential whenever snow or ice is beginning to melt. The water can damage many materials, and the added weight can also become too much. In some cases, it can even wear away at the support structures for the sign.
Regularly clear away any water from depressions on the product. And consider installing a cover like an awning over it if the problem becomes excessive.
Preventing water build-up is vital in the case of freestanding signs or products that you install on the ground like monument signs. To do this, you should place them on well-draining soil. Or even dig a trench around them to direct the water.
On the move
Admittedly sometimes, the best solution is to take the sign away. Usually, this is the only guaranteed way to protect your posters from harsh weather. You can store the boards at night when the temperature drops or when a storm starts picking up.
If this sounds like the right plan for you, consider investing mainly in freestanding and mobile signs like A-frame sidewalk signs. Alternatively, you can install some wheels to the frame of the sign so you can roll it inside.
Aside from protecting the products, you can benefit from being able to relocate it as you see fit.
Above all, don’t wait until it’s too late. Without a doubt, it’s better if you could implement preventative measures before the harsh weather strikes. Once the damage is done, you might only be able to slow its progress.
Use the environment
Last but not least, you want to use the features of the environment to your advantage. By doing this, you will be working smarter, not harder. You can exploit existing cover without needing to construct any additional structures.
For example, keep your eye out for:
- Surrounding buildings
Try to put your signs in spots that are less exposed but still visible.
Stay ahead of the game
The cold and harsh winter weather can cause significant damage to unprotected outdoor signs. This isn’t the only challenge. It can also make it trickier to install new signs.
However, business rarely stands still. Therefore, you should consider reaching out to expert hands to help you keep your signage in tip-top shape year-round.
But it’s not all bad news. The festive season is also on its way. This means that there are fun and merry times ahead. Plus, new opportunities for you to promote and grow your company. So check out: how to make your signage seasonal without spending a lot of money.
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.
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.
Signs are all about communicating. Different kinds of signs are better geared toward conveying different types of messages. One of the best ways to communicate lots of information is through LED message centers.
Before you create any type of sign, you need to do some research on how to use it. To make it easier for you, here is our guide to helping you use LED message signs for your business.
All about LED message signs
Let’s start with the basics. LED message signs are also called message centers, digital displays, reader boards, or electronic signs. These are flat panels that use an array of light-emitting diodes as pixels for a video display.
A light-emitting diode (LED) is a semiconductor device that emits visible light when an electric current passes through it. It isn’t particularly bright, and it is usually monochromatic, so each little bulb will only project one color.
These are computerized signs. Therefore, they will need to be programmed, and you can change their content as much as you want.
Most businesses use these signs to display mainly text. This is a very efficient way to use them. However, you can include graphics too.
Benefits of electronic message centers
You always need to weigh the pros and cons of different types of signs. It will help you make the right decision every time. First, figure out what you are looking for, and then whether the specific sign will fit the bill.
So if you’re wondering, here are the key benefits of using LED message centers:
- You can set up a schedule for when you want specific messages to appear. For example, show specific content only on Fridays from 9:00-11:00 am.
- They are incredibly flexible, and you can change the content an endless number of times. Best of all, you can do this whenever you want to.
- LEDs are long-lasting and are an energy-efficient alternative to traditional lighting like neon.
- These signs are very cost-effective, mainly because you need to replace them less often. And you don’t have to pay each time you want to make any small change.
- Depending on the manufacturer and sign company, you will be able to choose between a range of shades of red and amber. Some specific products might be able to display other colors as well.
- More options for reuse
- Signs with illumination are far more likely to catch the eye of any passersby.
- The lighting improves visibility during the day and night. Therefore, you will have a 24-hour presence.
- You can usually control the brightness and dimming of the sign with software.
On the other hand, these signs might require a slightly larger initial investment than with other types of signage. However, it is all about long term planning and utility.
If we had to pick two words to describe LED message signs, they would be flexible and versatile. Who doesn’t need a bit more of those?
Uses of LED message signs
As we’ve said, all signs are meant to convey information. But some are just better at relaying certain types of info. This is typically based on the structure, appearance, size of the product. But also significantly on the amount and type of content that you can display on one board.
Based on all these features, here are some of the best uses for LED message signs:
- To make announcements about your business
- For advertising sales
- Promoting new products or services
- Displaying trading information like your opening hours
- Showing the time and date
- Notifying people about events
- Welcoming customers
- Giving directions or instructions inside your business
- For general advertisements
These are just a few examples. In most cases, if you think it, you can display it.
Where should you mount LED message signs?
The question plays a significant role in making sure that you get the most out of your display.
Once again, in this respect, these signs stand out for their versatility. These signs are pretty durable and can work well in a variety of settings. The primary limitation is that you will need to connect it to electricity. You will also need to link it to a computer of some kind with an ethernet cable.
Indoors vs. outdoors
Luckily, you can use these signs indoors or outdoors as long as you can still connect them. So ask yourself, where will it achieve its maximum effect?
Exterior signs are far better at reaching new potential customers. That’s why this is your best bet if advertising is your main goal. But it’s also an ideal way to communicate with existing clients to let them know that your store or office is open, for example.
Interior message centers are brilliant tools for communicating with your staff and customers in your building. For instance, you can notify employees about meetings and let clients know whether certain counters in your store are open or closed.
Plus, you can also advertise sales and promotions and direct people to the related products.
Mobile or fixed
Believe it or not, these signs don’t have to be permanently fixed in place.
Many businesses actually mount these boards on trucks or other vehicles. Generally, this allows you to reach a much wider audience as it moves around. You only need to figure a way to keep it connected.
Despite this, most people still prefer to mount these signs right outside or close to their place of business.
Another factor to consider when creating your LED message sign is whether you want it to be freestanding or not. These signs work particularly well if you combine them with other types of products. For example, you can mount the panel on a monument sign.
Overall, this is a fantastic way to make sure that you connect the message with your brand.
Regulations for LED message signs
No matter what product you choose, you need to pay attention to local codes and regulations. Before you install a sign, you have to check zoning laws in your area. Plus, take a look at the conditions of your tenancy contract.
You might also need to check in with the International Dark-Sky Associations guidelines on light pollution and LED signage.
Creating content for LED message signs
Next up, let’s look at how to create content that will convey the right message.
As with any signage product, this means that you need to look at the content itself. However, that’s not all.
Among other things, you need to think of all of the following characteristics.
A top priority for any sign is to check that the audience can understand the message. Clarity is king. There is little to no reason to create signage if people don’t get the point.
Here are our top tips for creating content for your LED message sign:
- Try to be unambiguous
- Use as few words as possible
- Don’t use long and complicated phrases
- Choose powerful and impactful words
- Decide what your primary message will be for the sign and focus on it. Make sure it appears more or less once per minute.
Keep in mind how much time people will have to read the sign.
The nature of the message needs to be adapted to the location of the sign. For example, people will have much more time to interpret an electronic display while they are waiting in line at a counter.
In contrast, they will need to be able to understand the message at a glance if they are going to read it while driving.
Ideally, you want to convey the entire message in 10 or so seconds. If you are using different slides, work out how much screen time you can give each to fit within this frame.
You can’t necessarily use the same font and font size as you would on your other signs. The results won’t always be the same.
Remember that the display quality of these signs won’t be the same as those of LCD screens like televisions. So 3D, ornamental, and embossed text will probably look pixelated on these message centers.
Instead, choose a two-dimensional font with little embellishment to get the most out of the sign.
One of the first things you need to decide is whether you are going to get a monochrome sign or one with multiple colors.
This isn’t only an aesthetic consideration but a financial one too. LED message centers that can display multiple colors can cost you much more. Therefore, you want to think carefully about this decision.
Can you use pictures to sell your products or services?
If you can, and you have a substantial budget, then this could be a good option for you. Otherwise, monochrome signs will probably be the better option.
However, remember that if you really want graphics, but don’t necessarily want them to change, you could combine a simple, text-based LED display with another type of sign.
Relying on lighting can make your sign more visible and help you convey your message. But only if you use it correctly.
Sunlight can make it much more difficult to make out the content. A solution to this is to use maximum brightness during the day.
Unfortunately, this can be a driving hazard at night but will also be less efficient and even unnecessary.
To make your life easier, we recommend that you install an ambient light sensor that you can use to control the brightness automatically.
Pixel pitch is an essential term when it comes to any digital sign. You can think of this as the resolution of the display.
The pitch is based on the distance between each pixel, which is made up of a few diodes. So the smaller this number is, the better the resolution of the sign will be. This will also correspond with the character size.
You should always try to strive to place signs at the optimal viewing distance for the audience. For LED message centers, this will be the point at which the different pixels blend to create a smooth image.
At this position, the image will be much more appealing to the viewer and will thus be much more impactful. To achieve this, you have to optimize the pitch for the sign.
The farther away the audience will be from the panel, the larger the pitch should be. On the other hand, the closer people will be, the smaller the resolution and the characters need to be to prevent pixelation.
The pitch goes hand in hand with the matrix of LED signs. It is the number of pixels high by the number of pixels wide your board will be. Therefore, two panels with the same outside dimensions but not the same pitch will each have a different matrix.
In static signs, the matrix will determine how much total space you have to work with. And it will determine how many lines of text you can put on the sign and how many characters will fit on each.
As you can see, this can get pretty complicated. That’s why you must consult your sign company on the best matrix and pitch for your specific sign.
Movement can play an important part in the success or failure of your LED message sign.
Yes, it can be a great way to catch someone’s attention and to hold their interest. However, you need to be careful with how you use it.
Many people use scrolling texts on message centers. But this can actually make your sign less effective, not more so. Text that moves across the board can be more difficult and even impossible to read at a glance.
Instead, you can include motion with clips, animations, or transitions between slides. In sum, it works wonderfully as a way to capture attention before you display your primary message.
Keep it running smoothly
There are lots of things you can do on your end to make sure that your LED message sign conveys the right message. You can do this by tweaking the content, picking the right location, and choosing the best formatting, among other things.
But you will also need the help of a professional sign company. Not only can they help create the sign, they’ll be able to install and program the panel to run to the best of its capabilities.
Besides this, an expert company will be able to provide you with other necessary information – like how to combine the message center with other signs for optimal effect.