Lighting is essential for most signage. Why spend the money on a sign if people can’t see it? Lighting allows your sign to be visible and readable day and night, in all kinds of weather. When a sign is illuminated, drivers can read it more quickly. Another benefit of an illuminated sign is that 24-hours a day it is advertising your business. Even when your business is closed, that constant reminder helps build memory of your business.
Signs are generally illuminated by one or a combination of three basic methods: by lamps mounted outside and oriented to shine on the sign’s face, by internal illumination that shines through the sign’s face, or by illuminated elements such as exposed bulbs, LEDs, or neon-style tubing. A wide variety of illumination methods are available, and rapidly developing technology is creating a virtually unlimited variety of possibilities, many of which are very economical to install and maintain, as well as being energy-efficient.
LED (Light Emitting Diodes) lights are very popular. These small lights use very little energy compared to Neon, LFL (Linear Fluorescent Lamps) or traditional bulbs in a goose neck lamp. LED technology has demonstrated significantly higher efficiency, light output and color quality. This is why we are seeing their use from flashlights to auto tail lights.
Neon lighting is still popular in today’s sign industry. This method is good for creating all manners of designs (particularly with all types of curves and bends). Channel letters have been lit with neon inside, but more and more of this type installation going to the LEDs for the light source due to significant operational cost savings.
The goose neck lamp is the oldest of the lighting methods. We still see their use when a customer prefers the retro look of the “Days Gone By” or needs to light up a routed or flat pan sign and is desired by customer or demanded by lease restrictions/covenants/permit regulations.
When you select the color scheme for your business, you should consider your sign’s illumination options at the same time, because the illumination you choose can have an effect on the sign’s appearance. Some businesses want their sign’s colors to match their print and other media advertising exactly. Some forms of illumination are much better than others at accurately displaying color. If accurate portrayal of your business’s colors is important, you should choose an illumination source with a high Color Rendering Index (CRI) rating.
A properly lighted sign should be bright enough that it can compete with other signs in the area without being annoying. Some cities impose limits on brightness, so before designing a sign you should check to see what those limits might be to determine whether your sign will be visible at night.