Different backlit sign styles - lightbox, stencil-cut, face-illuminated, halo, neon

Types of Backlit Display Signs

DECEMBER 12, 2019| SpeedPro Cleveland West



High-quality signage is crucial for any business that wants to make a positive impression on potential customers. As marketing tools, signs are highly effective. Not only can they bring customers into the store, but they can also help you close a sale when they are inside.

Backlit signs make it possible to connect with consumers throughout the day and night. Each different style of sign promotes a different aesthetic, so the style must work well with a business’ message and layout. To decide what backlit style is right for you, you’ll need to know all your options and the types of signage that support backlighting, along with being aware of all the benefits of backlighting.


Different Backlit Sign Styles

A few backlit styles have earned widespread popularity in the signage industry. As you decide what sort of signage you want for your organization, you’ll need to be aware of your options to find the one that best matches your company’s needs.

Below are some of the styles that have proven to be effective communicators of companies’ brands and messages.

  • Lightbox: These fabric graphics usually consist of LED lights, vinyl sheets with graphics printed on them and acrylic frames. The lights will either sit on the box’s back plate or inside the box itself. The vinyl sheets that contain the graphics are on the front of the box. LED lightboxes will illuminate the text and graphics, making your messaging more visible and attractive.
  • Stencil-cut: This kind of signage uses a stencil to etch graphics and letters into the sign’s acrylic face. After the sign maker has carved the design into the front of the sign, they install LED lights in the back panel. Once the sign’s lights are on, the backlit letters and graphics will glow as the light shines through the openings, revealing your designs.
  • Face-illuminated: These face-illuminated signs light up the letters and graphics themselves. The LED bulbs will be inside the letters, brightening the entirety of them from within. This lighting is perfect for calling attention to letters that are on darker backdrops.
  • Halo: Installing LED lighting behind every graphic or letter on a sign creates halo backlighting. Since a signage company will craft each letter or graphic out of an opaque vinyl backing, the light will shine through the backing and create a 360-degree glow resembling a halo.
  • Neon: Neon-style backlit signs consist of elongated interior tubes encased in plastic or glass and filled with a rarefied-neon gas mix. The combination of electrical charges and gas mixture will create the bright, iconic colors of neon signs. This sort of signage will need to remain indoors and not exposed to the elements.


With all the different available styles, your backlit signage can provide several benefits to your organization. If you’re thinking about adding backlit signage to your advertising strategy, consider the following advantages.

Benefits of Backlit Signs


Whether you’re putting up a sign along the highway, over your storefront or along an interior wall, backlit signage gives your sign a high-end, professional look.

The steady glow of the sign makes the sign easy to read from any distance, providing a consistency customers value. Adding to the reliability of the signs, they have sturdy acrylic or aluminum frames that are flexible enough to fit any of your vinyl graphic overlays. The durability of the frames will protect against damage and keep your signs looking as professional as they did on the first day you bought them.


Anytime there’s inclement weather, non-backlit signage loses its effectiveness. As the skies darken and rain or snow start to fall, you still want your sign to be visible. People don’t stop their lives for the weather, so neither should your signs.

A backlit sign’s glow will pierce through fog or rain, calling attention to your message regardless of the weather. The best signage will have high-resolution base fabrics, ultra-durable fabric overlays and UV-resistant inks to ensure they’ll be able to handle anything the outdoors can throw at them. The backlighting and features built into the signage make for attractive signs that will hold up throughout the years.


A backlit sign will be able to add depth to your logos and lettering that may have gone visually stale over the years. With the lighting these signs provide, you can create signage that contains movement and animation, along with color-fluctuating bulbs and flashing lights. These innovations make your advertisements more eye-catching and assist you as you try to keep your signage looking fresh to customers who pass by your signs every day.

If you use LED backlighting, you can do even more with it. This style doesn’t constrain lights to one long, illuminated tube, but instead uses dozens of light fixtures. You can program these multiple fixtures to light up in unique patterns, which will draw more eyes to your message. For added appeal, you can include texture and dimension to your illuminated signage with contour cut-mimicking or 3D signage design.


Just because it goes dark doesn’t mean your sign has to become ineffective. With illuminated signage, a sign in your store window or along the road can display your message even in the dead of night. Though your business is probably not open 24 hours a day, a ’round-the-clock presence will increase brand awareness, making people more likely to stop in when you are open.


Anytime you’ve driven around your city or along the highway, you’ve probably seen countless signs all trying to get you to visit a store, vote for a candidate, take advantage of a sale or sign up for a program. Because your sign will have lots of competition, it needs to stand out from the crowd. Including backlighting in your signage will make your sign more visible and more likely to register in viewers’ minds, not getting lost in the crowd.

Backlighting has the advantage of making it easier to see your sign even at night. You can also program it to present messages creatively. Both functionally and expressively, a backlit sign has the advantage over a non-backlit sign. If you want to one-up the competition, backlit signs are the ones for you.


You can convey your organization’s personality better with backlit signage. For example, you can program LED bulbs with a high color-rendering rating to match your brand’s color palette, which will further solidify your company’s identity in customers’ minds. The various lighting and design choices available to you with backlit signs can help you build a distinct identity.


Not only can your backlit signage help brand your company, but it can also help you tell your company’s story and delight customers with the creativity it brings. A sign can illuminate the journey and path your company is on, causing viewers to feel like they are on it with you. Turning a sign in your storefront into a storytelling device will make people connect with your company and establish trust.

Along with telling a story that surprises customers, a backlit sign will aid the memorability of your displays. Your storefronts will become etched in customers’ minds, and when you attend a trade show, conference or other kinds of industry expos, your booth will stick out from the rest. Backlighting complements the graphics and messaging your signage already uses, making it pop.


The LED lights that power Speedpro’s backlights do not contain any of the hazardous gases fluorescent or neon lighting systems do. If something damages your signage, you won’t need to worry about it emitting anything toxic. Additionally, once a light’s lifecycle ends, you can recycle it responsibly.

You can also reduce your energy footprint, as LED lighting requires very little energy. Because of LED-illuminated signs’ reduced energy use, sign owners can lower their energy costs anywhere between 72% to 80% over their 25,000-hour lifespan when compared to an incandescent bubble. You will not only reduce your footprint, but also save money while you’re doing it — a true win-win.


Many different types of signs employ backlighting to enhance their visibility and visual appeal. Whether you need to make an eye-catching display at a trade show or invite customers to come to visit your store, backlit signs can be an excellent option.

You can find backlit signs for both indoor and outdoor signage. As you decide what signage you need, you should know what options you have, both inside and out.


When you want to make an excellent first impression on customers and increase your brand recognition, outdoor signage is one of the options to achieve those goals.

The backlighting on these signs comes from LED lights installed inside or around their frame. For outdoor signage, you’ll appreciate backlighting’s ability to aid the readability of graphics and text, especially in inclement weather like fog or rain. Along with making it more visible to potential customers who are driving in bad weather, people will be able to see the signage at night, making for a presence that advertises 24/7.

Typically, backlit, outdoor signs will either be mounted on walls or on an H-frame. They will appear over storefronts, along roads and other parts of your building, to name only a few locations.

You can use these signs as wayfinding devices that direct people to your store. Additionally, they can act as advertisements showing off your latest products, services or special deals you have available. Most importantly, a well-designed, backlit sign combines professionalism with a unique personality to make an impression on a consumer’s mind.


Benefits of Indoor Signage

There are several signage options available for indoor signs. Unlike outdoor signs, indoor signs are not trying to make customers more aware of your store or invite them into it. Instead, they will often be there to create ambiance, pique a customer’s interest in your latest offerings and brand your space.

Below are some of the most common types of backlit indoor signage found in stores and at trade shows.

  • Backlit fabric towers: These eye-catching towers can stand by themselves, no matter where you put them. As their name suggests, they’ll grab attention and stand high above other displays, up to 12 feet tall. Backlit fabric towers come in a variety of sizes and shapes, allowing you to craft a backlit display that fits perfectly wherever you need. A benefit to this signage is that it takes up vertical space, leaving room for other signs.
  • Straight backlit displays: Backlit straight tension fabric displays, made out of aluminum tubing and a light curtain attached to a rectangular frame, are easy to set up and tear down no matter where you are. Backlit fabric graphics will cover the illuminated frame and make a positive visual impact on potential customers.
  • Backlit push-fit fabric displays: A display frame holds printed tension fabric over the backlit push-fit fabric displays. The backlighting comes from LED lighting attached to the frame. This kind of signage can be either single- or double-sided. When you select one of the displays, it can come in sizes ranging from tabletop displays to full standalone options. The frames are collapsible, making setup and take-down easy.
  • Backlit counters: If you need a centerpiece for your exhibit space or want to have a unique-looking reception desk, a backlit counter is perfect for you. They allow configuration into multiple designs for a sleek appearance. Additionally, these counters come with cabinets that provide functionality to the display. Though fabric is the most popular covering for counters, backlit vinyl graphics can add an extra flair.

No matter what you choose, backlit signs will make your images pop indoors and cause your signage to look high-end.


If you’re ready to add custom, backlit signage to your marketing strategy, Speedpro Cleveland West can help. Our company is the nation’s leader in large-format imagery, and we will be able to assist you in any of your signage needs.

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SpeedPro Cleveland West

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Jeff and Lori Kolenich