With the holidays just around the corner, it’s a perfect time to plan for incorporating them into your business signage. If you’re looking for ways to display holiday cheer in and around your location, your existing signs are a natural option. But just what can you do to deck them out for the season? Let’s break down your signage decor in two ways. We’ll explore tangible/3D decor ideas. Then, we’ll look into visual/2D or intangible decor.
Tangible and 3D decor
This is the decor you’ll actually be able to hold and touch—and it will take up space. Granted, it won’t necessarily take up very much space, but it will take up space nonetheless.
A prime example? Planting whimsical snowmen figures by the monument sign at your office’s entrance. That will certainly take up space, and if your work involves children (e.g. dentist’s office, school, library, etc.) it will be a fun way to get their attention. Another option is to place a wreath near your business sign on your building’s facade, as you see in the second photo here.
On top and wound around
Monument signs, post and panel signs, and pylon signs are all candidates for garlands or greenery. Twining holiday-themed items around your posts or poles is one way to go. And don’t forget you can add lights, too. Even lights alone could have a striking effect—especially when the evening darkness falls sooner thanks to daylight savings time.
Small signs and indoor signs
These ideas also hold true for smaller signs, whether indoors or out. Additionally, if you’re working with indoor signs, you can feel free to use decor items that might not hold up outside.
Cozy plaid ribbons can be tied around desktop signs or A-frame signs. And they can also be tied into bows and applied to wall plaques. Image a hallway full of offices—each office’s occupant identified by the plaque outside their door. Now image what a striking appearance you could achieve down the hall by placing a festive plaid bow on each plaque.
Intangible and 2D decor
Now it’s time for the second type of holiday decor that your signs can sport—holiday-themed visuals. Unlike draping garlands over your monument signs or affixing wreaths to your pylons, deploying intangible decor and 2D decor will consist of items that are less touchable.
This could include selecting holiday-themed graphics for your billboard. Or, it could look like changing your sign messaging or LED display. But it could also mean selecting add-ons to your already existing physical signage—like sprawling holiday chalk paintings across your cafe’s menu board.
Your LED display changes will be mostly intangible. You can see them, but you can’t really touch them. Theoretically, you could actually reach out and touch your menu board chalk paint (why would you though?). So, we’ll concede that that’s tangible. But unlike garlands and wreaths, it’s 2D visual decor.
Time off for the holidays
Of course, you may also need to rope in some special holiday signage to let your clients and customers know that you’re closed or are only working special hours. After all, you’ll likely be taking some time off this season. But there’s no reason your “out of the office” signs have to be boring or spiritless. Instead, infuse them with humor and cheer.
Use humor or a play on words
It’s the perfect time for your company signs to display a sense of humor. That is, if humor is appropriate in your line of work (it isn’t in every industry, of course). For instance, you could paste a cheery sign in your office’s front window (or on your door). It could say, “We will resume our awesome work after the holidays are past.” And you may even want to leave the date on which clients can expect you back in the office.
If you’re a bank, or otherwise in the financial services industry, a laughable statement could be, “We’re not Scrooge—we close for the holidays.” A changeable message sign or LED display is a perfect place for more wordplay or humor. Try something like, “Closed until ___ [insert date] so our team can be Home for the Holidays.”
Beyond the building
Another fun idea is to get temporary signs for your business’s branded vehicles. You might opt for magnets or explore some other temporary solution with your sign specialist. It’s a creative way to extend the festivity beyond the four walls of your physical location.
Match your decor with your company
Keep in mind you may be able to match your holiday decor with the colors of your logo or other elements of your company. Even more importantly, you’ll want to ensure that the image your decor projects matches with your company image.
Choosing whimsical decor may be appropriate for certain companies. But it’s doubtful that all companies should go that route. If you run a funeral home, for instance, you may need to select holiday decorations that are subdued and classic.
Talk it out
Don’t stick with just our ideas. Ask co-workers and employees for ideas to get everyone thinking creatively. Plus, you can always ask your sign specialist if they can recommend any sign types that would be easy to personalize for the holidays.
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.
Most of us are more likely to associate Michigan winters with colorful and joyful Christmas gift wrapping. However, it’s also important to consider your car wrap under these extreme weather conditions.
With temperatures as low as 3 degrees or under and up to 9 inches of snow, Michigan winters are certainly tough on us – and our cars.
A vinyl wrap is a great way to protect your car’s paint job or as branding/advertisement for your business. However, a vinyl that’s not well cared for can have the opposite effect.
To get the most out of your wrap and to give it the longest lifespan possible, you should follow some common-sense steps to protect it during winter.
How long do car wraps last in Michigan?
Generally, a car wrap lasts anywhere from 5 to 7 years. It depends on the quality of the wrap as well as how well you take care of it. Since winter conditions, like cold and snow, don’t have much effect on a car wrap, your wrap should have the maximum lifespan if you care for it well.
How to keep your car wrap fresh through the Michigan winter
Store your car inside whenever possible
Your car’s wrap is its first line of defense against the elements. That also means your wrap is the first thing that gets worn down. Try to limit your car’s exposure to only when you’re actually driving.
While the cold of snow in itself shouldn’t do much harm to a high-quality vinyl wrap, it can indirectly make wrap care much harder. If there are already small tears in your wrap, the snow can also go underneath and interfere with its adhesion.
Prevention is better than cure, as they say.
Be gentle when clearing snow from your car
No matter how hard you try, chances are your car will get snowed under at least once. Although it’s considered a normal way to clear off snow, almost all wrap professionals will warn you against using scrapers. In fact, scraping, in general, is a no-no, no matter what you use.
Instead, opt for something like a snow brush. It’s almost just as effective as a scraper but much easier on your wrap (and paint job). If your car got snowed on, clear it as soon as possible, before it turns into a crusty ice layer. Soft snow is much easier and safer to get off.
Wash your car regularly
Like most states with heavy winter snow, Michigan roads are treated with de-icing chemicals. Chemicals like sodium-, magnesium-, or calcium chloride and calcium magnesium- and potassium acetate are used to stop a layer of ice from forming or to break up an existing layer. These chemicals are sometimes referred to as, or are ingredients, of road salt.
While they’re very effective at de-icing roads, unfortunately, they can also get kicked up and stick to your vehicle wrap. They can then slowly start to erode your wrap and spoil your car’s finish.
You should aim to wash your car every other week to get rid of them. Washing your car or finding a car wash that’s open in winter might be tough, but it’s a must for winter wrap care.
Fix any tears or holes ASAP
Even tiny tears or holes in your wrap can snowball into bigger troubles over time, on top of looking bad. For one, small tears will inevitably get larger with time until they are fixed.
Secondly, snow, dust, grime, or other particles can work its way in between the wrap and the car. This can increase the rate of your wrap’s deterioration. Even worse, the wrap can trap the particles causing them to slowly wearing away your car’s finish.
Can you install a wrap during winter?
Although it’s possible to DIY car wrap your vehicle, we don’t recommend it. For one, it’s a very tricky process and you need to get it 100% right. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with ugly air pockets or creases and there’s a good chance you’ll have to get a new wrap.
In winter, it’s even trickier because car wraps don’t apply well in cold weather. If you let a professional do it (which you should) you should make sure they have proper facilities. They should be able to keep their workshop to a minimum temperature of around 50-70 degrees.
If the temperature goes below this, the wrap won’t be as pliable and the adhesive won’t have the same sticking power. This can lead to it becoming brittle and a much shorter lifespan.
Take care of your wrap and it will take care of you
As you can see, winter car wrap care isn’t rocket science. In fact, you probably already take some of these steps as general winter car care. Hopefully, this information just enforces why you should take care during this trying time and make these tips a habit.
If you do, you’ll be rewarded with a car wrap that stays looking better for longer and protects your finish along the way.
Business owners have plenty of things to think about, and compliance with applicable regulations is one of them. Do they have the right permits? Are they reporting revenue correctly? And when it comes to compliance, companies and organizations also need to think about their signage—what is and isn’t allowed?
Today, we want to share some info to help you get informed and (we hope) enable you to be more compliant in the long run. Plus, we’ll talk about how to figure out what regulations apply to you in your locality.
1 – Building sign regulations
Here’s something that you want to know about. The exterior of your business is not always yours to do with as you wish. And it’s a great idea to get this down before you invest in building signage that’s unexpectedly prohibited. How do we know? Because the issue came up in Detroit in 2017.
Take it from the Detroit Free Press on the topic of signage spread across certain buildings: “…nearly all of these commercial wall signs from the likes of Apple, Shinola, Meijer, Fifth Third Bank and the Detroit Pistons will have to come down by Dec. 31 as the city cracks down on building owners who have been violating what was once a seldom-enforced ordinance against such advertising.”
Obviously, it’s better to know what is and isn’t allowed before you install signage than to discover it after you’ve already invested time and money into the arrangement.
2 – Rules that apply to awnings and sidewalks (or walkways)
It’s also important to know that the space outside your business, whether in the air or on the ground, is also not yours to dispose of at your pleasure. Just ask NYC businesses about the awnings issues that arose last year. Check it out from the Bklyner —Merchants Take Down Signs As Panic Over Fines Sweeps City. As they report, the sign-related ticket for one business weighed in at a hefty $6,000.
Sidewalk signs like A-frames aren’t necessarily allowed either. A-frames became a subject of interest in Chicago in 2018 according to Block Club Chicago. Alisa Hauser reported that one business owner was hit with a $450 fine for his A-frame. At the time, A-frames weren’t allowed outside businesses, although she reported the city’s aldermen were considering a change to that rule.
3 – Window sign rules— it’s a sign. Or is it?
A friendly piece of advice. What you call art, others may call a “sign” instead. And while a difference in terminology can sometimes be harmless, other times it can be vital. If you’re differing with the government on the definition of a sign, then that’s something you’ll need to give due attention to.
Case in point—a soon-to-be sushi restaurant in Massachusetts. This building’s window signs became a contested subject related to zoning regulations. Did the Chinese characters on the windows count as signs or as art? They were ruled to count as signs.
Plus, when it comes to window signs particularly, you should know that there may be restrictions on the percentage of the window your sign is allowed to take up. For instance, take the City of Phoenix as an example: “Window signs generally are prohibited if they exceed 30 percent of any window area or placed on glass doors.”
How can I discover the rules and regulations that apply to me?
Different localities could have different rules and regulations, so you’ll want to find out what applies to you in your particular location. Here are some ways to get started.
First, check with your sign company. As a specialist in the industry, they may be able to fill you in on the rules that will apply to you and to the type of sign you’re installing. They may also be able to point you toward the proper permitting agency to secure any necessary permissions.
Second, check with your local government. This is something you can do when you’re getting started. But it should also help later on when you simply want to keep abreast of any recent developments. If you’re not sure of the exact department to contact, call or drop by your locality’s administration office and tell them what you’re looking to find out. They should be able to point you in the right direction.
Third, you may be able to find the answer to some of your questions online. In fact, you may even be able to discover the sign code for your area. Or you might find specific directions for the department to contact.
To make this easy, let’s just take Detroit as an example. Need to find out about sign regulations in the Motor City? You need the City of Detroit’s own website. That way, you can get the info straight from the government itself.
Or, if you have a technical mind and you just love to read long legal documents, check out the draft form of the proposed new sign ordinance. At 100+ plus pages, it’ll be a hefty read. On the other hand, you can also use the government’s website to learn more about sign permits.
Of course, not everyone lives in Detroit. But the basic principles we gave in this example should hold true. If the information is not available on the internet (and it may be, so you should check), give your local administration a call so they can point you in the right direction.
Keeping up with changes
Naturally, sign codes don’t stay the same forever. Though from a compliance perspective, it might be nice if they did. Just how can you keep up with the changes? Well, again, use the internet and your local government to help you out.
Scour, search, ask
For the nerdy folks among us, you may be able to keep up on your own if you know where to look. Scanning publicly-available meeting minutes for your locality’s governing body could give you a heads up when changes have been made. Also, calling the appropriate authorities is still a good idea if you can’t find the info you’re looking for online. And you may even want to call the authorities either way—just to be sure you’re not missing something. Check with your sign company, too, because they may know about changes before you do.
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
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.
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.
Electronic signs for schools are one way to keep students, parents, and the community informed. You may have seen plenty of these message displays whether in your own community or elsewhere. Create your electronic signs for schools thoughtfully so that the end result meets or exceeds your expectations.
Things you may want to do
Here are some thoughts that may help you shape your signage plan. We’re going to explore them in the form of do’s and don’ts for your signage journey.
#1 Do prioritize accuracy
Ensure your information is accurate. There’s no way you want to accidentally stick the incorrect date for a school event on your sign. Even though you can change it later, you can’t guarantee that you’ll reach everyone with the update.
#2 Do spell every word correctly (and double-check)
Be sure to check your spelling and grammar before you release your sign’s message to the world. It’s a great idea to get a second or third pair of eyes on the sign’s text before you make it public. Naturally, messing this up could be embarrassing and lead to misunderstanding.
Keep in mind that you are an educational institution. As such, there’s a presumption that you know what you’re doing when it comes to teaching students. The very best way to undermine the confidence of outsiders is to demonstrate publicly that you don’t know how to spell words. After all, if you’re supposed to be teaching spelling to your students, and you can’t seem to spell yourself, what are passersby supposed to think?
Example: Spelling done right
Take as an example, this sign for McKinley Elementary. Not only is their sign simple and easy to read, but it also incorporates a possessive plural noun ending in s—not an easy task! So, congratulations to the message creators for pulling it off well.
#3 Do ensure the visuals are clear
Make sure your sign’s text is legible. Also, provide enough contrast between your text and your background. You want viewers to be able to make out your text easily.
Example: steer clear of signage that’s hard-to-read
Granted, it may be the lighting, the perspective, or the photo quality, but this school sign doesn’t give the immediate impression of being striking and easy to take in at a glance. Try to form your signs so they create an easy, enjoyable experience for the viewer.
#4 Do share items of community interest
You can share community news/events even if they aren’t always school-related. Remember that your sign is a platform for broadcasting information. And it doesn’t have to all be intimately tied to your school. You can share information to help keep the community safe—like reminding people that there’s a burn ban in effect. Or you can congratulate community members or groups for a job well done—like congratulating the local minor league baseball team on a win, perhaps.
Things you don’t want to do
Now let’s dive into a few things to steer clear of with your electronic signs for schools.
#1 Don’t underdo it
Don’t create text so small that passing drivers can’t read it easily. The last thing you need to do is contribute to unsafe driving practices by creating a distraction for drivers. Make your text large enough that it can be taken in readily.
#2 Don’t overdo it
Try not to fill your sign with so much information that it can’t be digested. Naturally, you want to let viewers know what they need to know. But there is such a thing as too much information. So, don’t go overboard.
Example: A three-word message with impact
Here’s a school that made a statement in just three words. Thanks to the repetition and the exclamation points, we get the idea—they want people picking up books.
#3 Don’t leave out key information
Naturally, you want viewers to see your sign and take action (if action is appropriate). Don’t leave viewers hanging by giving them just enough to be interested, but not enough to actually take the next step. Are you hosting an event? Then, be sure you place as much information as necessary about the location, date, and time of day so no one’s lost about what’s actually going on when.
Example you don’t want to repeat: electronic sign gone south
Here’s a parting admonition—make sure your school’s electronic sign has appropriate security surrounding it. You don’t want to repeat this Texas story. Hackers made their way into a road sign and displayed their own text.
Electronic signs for schools and more
Once you’ve begun planning your electronic signs for schools, remember that there are other signage options, too. Banners can help you promote events, and yard signs can assist with that, too. Gather ideas for fundraiser signage with our How To Advertise Fundraisers For Your School Or Nonprofit Event. And learn about incorporating signage into classrooms with The Educator’s Guide To Effective Signs For Schools & Classrooms.