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Illuminated Sign Benefits with an illuminated coffee sign

Illuminated Sign Benefits

FEBRUARY 27, 2019| SpeedPro

Bring a whole new meaning to the phrase “lighten up” with illuminated signs and graphics for your business.

These custom signage pieces are certainly trendy, lending an extra aesthetic touch to conventional commercial buildings and storefronts. They can entice your customers, add depth to your story and enhance your brand. Let’s take a look at the benefits of backlit signage and discuss the competitive advantages this sign type supports even beyond their unique appearance.

What Is Backlit Signage?

Backlit signs are graphics, letters and sign text illuminated from within. This signage type requires no external lighting — so no spot or strobe lights are pointed directly at a sign to make it visible.

What is backlit signage

There are a number of fabrication techniques used to create backlit signage. The most conventional involves fitting custom fabric overlays into specialty frames that are then installed over LED lights, turning backlit systems into a complete, self-lighting machine.

Also known as illuminated or lightbox signs, this signage type can light up a room — literally. Signs are one of the first things the average consumer notices about a storefront or building. According to the International Sign Association (ISA), the world’s largest professional organization dedicated to the signage industry, four design elements sway prospective consumers to react to your sign graphics and — ideally — step inside:

  • Detectable: Can consumers see your sign, day or night, rain or shine?
  • Conspicuous: Do your business signs blend in with their backdrops — or worse, get lost in a sea of competitors?
  • Legible: Can passive eyes read the letters and words on your sign, quickly and clearly?
  • Comprehensible: Is the sign’s overall message or purpose easily understandable?

Backlit graphics check all of the ISA’s “successful” sign benchmarks. The signs’ fixtures brighten and bolden, ensuring their text and graphics stand out, read clearly and satisfy their overall function to direct, impart or advertise key business information.

Consider just a few of the dozens of applications for illuminated backlit signs:

  • Signature storefronts
  • Corporate logos
  • Trade show or expo signs and displays
  • Restaurants or cafes
  • Sports complexes
  • Artistic productions
  • Outdoor night events
  • Large venues
  • University and campus signs

Why Should I Use Backlit Signs for My Business?

Illuminated signs are contemporary and eye-catching. Signs are an important element in a business’ overall presentation, with consumers requiring split seconds to register appearances and form an opinion based purely on sign looks.

Backlighting Carries All Sorts Of Enhancements

It’s essential to put your best foot forward. Compared to conventional, unlit signage, backlighting carries all sorts of enhancements:

  • Durability. SpeedPro uses high-resolution base fabrics and UV-resistant inks on all backlit signage orders. High-resolution bases ensure overlaid graphics and text remain sharp and clear, whether seen from long-distances or when standing right beneath a sign. The average LED light fixture should keep signage glowing between 30,000-50,000 hours. Higher-quality commercial-grade LEDs can exceed even that.
  • Cost-effective. Today’s backlit signage displays are incredibly economical to install and maintain. Energy-efficient LED bulbs power the sign’s luminosity, sometimes costing just over a dollar a day. A business’ current signs can even be retrofitted to include the necessary illumination components, providing even further cost-savings compared to creating a brand new business or storefront sign. Consult a visual-communications studio on the latest illuminated signage designs and products to get the most bang for your buck.
  • Compliant. City regulations and street codes effect what kinds of backlit signs can be installed and where they can be installed. However, the vast majority of commercial illuminated signs comply with standard National Electric Codes and municipality electrical requirements. What’s more, LED-backlit signage doesn’t have the potential for gas leaks, as is the case with neon lights. Gas leaks can diminish the quality and brightness of a storefront’s sign as well as risk violations and citations if found non-compliant with city codes.
  • Backlit signage is versatile. Illuminated signs are safe for indoor and outdoor installation. Buildings can use them for compliance or wayfinding purposes, as well as for branded lobbies, conference rooms or meeting space signs. Various sign types carry distinct visual effects as well, from 3D, contour cut-like detailing to flashing, multi-colored bulbs. Wherever there’s a nearby power source, backlit graphics are viable.

These are just a handful of reasons to buy backlit signs for your business. Other common questions businesses owners and building managers have when considering backlit signs — as well as their answers — include:

  1. Isn’t backlit signage more expensive? Yes, backlit signs will be more expensive to order than an unlit decal, hanging or boulevard signage. However, illuminated signs are the hands-down superior choice concerning visibility, readability, distinction and comprehension — the four elements the industry’s own design and compliance experts cite as essential to a successful business or building sign. Ask yourself: What’s the point of saving money on brand new signs no one can read them?
  2. Won’t backlit signs look worse than conventional ones once they fade or flicker? LED light amounts should not deteriorate over time like other bulb types do. This is because LED bulbs don’t contain glowing filaments, the electrical components responsible for the diminishing or inconsistent light waves of aging incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. If sign fading or flickering is a significant concern, opt only for LED-backlighting types to ensure your sign’s condition represents your building or business to its fullest.
  3. Is it hard to install and maintain illuminated signs? No, it is not hard to place and keep up your backlit storefront signage. Backlit signs require nearly identical care as their conventional, unlit graphics counterparts. Namely, keep an eye on your signs during and after harsh weather, and conduct occasional, gentle surface cleanings to maintain sign clarity and sheen.

Backlit Signage Styles

Illuminated signs come in a range of choices and fabrication styles. The most popular include:

  • Lightbox: As the name suggests, lightbox signs consists of a square or rectangular acrylic frames with LED lights positioned either inside the box or installed on the box’s back plate. Sign graphics are printed on vinyl sheets, which can be easily placed onto the forward or visible face of the lightbox. When turned on, LED lights shine through the box and illuminate the text from behind.
  • Stencil Cut: Stencil-cut backlit signage carves letters and graphics directly into the sign’s acrylic face. LED lights are then installed in the sign’s back panel, and when the sign is turned on, the light shines through the open lettering and graphics, making the letters and graphics themselves glow.
  • Face Illuminated: Face-illuminated signs are one of the most common backlit options available today. Rather than mount sign letters and graphics on larger acrylic boxes or frames and lighting the box, face illuminated signs light up the graphics and letters themselves. Each letter comes with accompanying, interior LED bulbs illuminating it in its entirety from within. Face-illuminated signs result in glowing text against dark backdrops, showcasing the letters themselves.
  • Halo: Halo backlights are made of LED lights installed behind each sign letter or image. Light shines through the individual letter’s opaque vinyl backings, creating a 360-degree halo-like glow surrounding each sign letter.
  • Neon: Neon lights are made from elongated interior tubes encased in glass or plastic and filled with a rarefied-neon gas mix. When electrical charges pass through the gas mixture, neon signs light up, creating their bright, iconically colorful hues. Note, however, that neon signage should only be installed on the inside of buildings and businesses, never outside with direct contact to the elements.

Advantages of Backlit Signage

Advantages Of Backlit Signage

Illuminated and backlit signs bring their storefronts a number of business-critical benefits — benefits conventional signs simply can’t replicate on their own — such as:

1. Luxe, Professional Appearance

LED lights emit a steady glow that can be read clearly up close and from afar. The acrylic or aluminum frames are sturdy and durable, cut and shaped to house the vinyl graphics overlays where your imagination is the only real design restriction.

Backlit signs imbue your business, storefront or building with this high-end, professional and unique appearance. For the brightest and most impressive signage displays, consider consulting the ISA’s own sign design and brightness recommendations.

2. Go the Extra Branding Mile

Lighting is an often neglected aspect of business ambiance. Convey both the personality and purpose of yours by utilizing custom illuminated signs that highlight your brand.

Include on-brand colors, fonts and corporate logos. Consider LED bulbs with a high color-rendering index (CRI) rating to fully match current color schemes, then sit back and relax while your branded collateral works its magic.

3. Beat the Elements

Backlit signage will ensure your store or company stands out at night or in inclement weather. Gray, gloomy skies, wintery afternoons or night-darkened streets come alive with your glowing sign, calling to customers when other sign graphics types would remain obscured.

Plus, illuminated signs are made from high-resolution base fabrics, UV-resistant inks and ultra-durable fabric overlays. These signs are built to last over the years regardless of outdoor environments, and they can even contain specialty LED systems if signs will be installed in particularly humid or wet settings.

4. 24/7 Advertising

Illuminated signs lend your business increased visibility, especially at night and from afar. Drivers will catch and read your branded messages much easier, and other long-distance viewers will still be able to recognize your signs, enticed to turn from passive prospects into in-store visitors.

This advertising is brought to you at a fraction of the price of traditional branding activities — and it happens without pause, on a 24/7 basis, even after your business closes shop for the day.

5. Add Visual Effects

Give new depth to old logos and letters with backlit signage. Illuminated signs create and support visual effects that conventional, unlit signs simply can’t — from movement and animation to flashing lights and color-fluctuating bulbs. LED backlighting is particularly versatile, as LED-lighting systems are made up of dozens of individual light fixtures, not a single piece of long, illuminated tubing, and can, therefore, be programmed to light up independently.

Illuminated signs also support 3D or contour cut-mimicking signage design, adding unmatched texture and dimension to your storefront space or interior walls.

6. Stand out From the Crowd

Businesses must distinguish themselves from their competition — but for the right reasons.

Capturing attention is important, but so is conveying professionalism and personality. Illuminated signs assist in this brand amplification and visibility, even to passive eyes. They provide a clear, comprehensible visual to attract customers into your storefront no matter the time or weather. And they do so with more customization and design options than a regular sign.

Consider the real-estate agent who lights their listing signage so houses are more eye-catching and readable, even at night, or the new coffee shop competing down the street from the established chain brand. How about the small thrift store wedged between two much larger retail storefronts in a strip mall? Illuminated signs help these businesses stand out and claim space, creatively and with impact.

7. Don’t Need to Sacrifice Aesthetics for the Environment

Today’s LED lights produce 160-170 lumens of brightness per watt consumed. Fewerwatts requires less electricity, meaning you’ll reduce your energy footprint while seeing a decrease in your lighting and electricity costs. Illuminated backlighting saves further money on your indoor heating and cooling bills since LED lights produce far less heat than any other bulb type.

What’s more, LED lights do not contain any of the toxic or hazardous gases, like argon or mercury, that both neon and fluorescent systems do. LED lights can also be completely — and cleanly — recycled.

Across its entire, 25,000-hour projected lifespan, an LED-illuminated sign can reduce sign owners’ energy costs between 72 to 80 percent over a 60W traditional incandescent bulb. Even CFL bulbs prove to be more cost-effective than an incandescent bulb with an energy cost savings of about 75 percent.

8. Surprise and Delight — and Be More Memorable

Illuminated signs are called that for a reason. Besides their simple function to light up letters, images and logos, backlit signs illuminate a story — your story. Your storefront holds a unique and attention-grabbing feature that relays information, tells a story, captivates, enthralls and establishes a familiar connection with its target consumers. Illuminated signs only amplify that process.

Signs are one of the first things potential customers will take in about your store or company. Maximize that impact with backlit storefront signage doing all of the branding and marketing work described above, turning store exteriors into a persistent advertising effort.

Memorability is vital outside of your storefront as well. In places like trade shows, conferences or large industry expos, you’re vying for attention amidst a sea of competition. Everyone has a booth adorned with branded graphics, banners and tabletop materials. Break away from the pack with backlit, indoor signage custom-made for trade show environments.

Brighten Your Storefront — and Your Business’ Potential — With Backlit Signage From SpeedPro

SpeedPro’s nationwide network of visual communications studios can help you upgrade your signs beyond simple shapes and letters. We see backlighting as an extension of a business’ identity — and, therefore, its brand. Get the spotlight yours needs today.

Find your nearest SpeedPro studio or request a quote online for custom backlit signage.

Brighten Your Storefront and Your Business' Potential With Backlit Signage From SpeedPro

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