Skip to main content

Welcome to our short guide on illuminated signs. Here we explore the 5 most popular types of illuminated signs in use today.

Illuminated Signs Defined

Illuminated signs, as the name suggests, are types of signage that use light to enhance visibility and readability, especially in low-light conditions or during the night.

These signs come in various forms, such as neon signs, LED signs, backlit dimensional letters, and digital signs.

Illuminated Signs: The 5 Most Popular Types

Here are the most popular types of illuminated signs in use right now.

1. Monochrome LED Signs

Monochrome LED signs are a type of illuminated signage that is used by businesses around the world. They are popular because of their simplicity.

These signs deliver information in a straightforward manner, making them perfect for businesses that need to communicate essential information to customers.

This information can include things like opening hours, sales, or important announcements.

Monochrome LED = One LED Color Only

In the world of LED signs, monochrome refers to signs that use only one color of LED. The most common colors are red, blue, green, or white.

These signs are highly effective due to their crisp, clear, and bright displays, which can easily catch viewers’ eyes from a distance.

As a result, monochrome LED signs are commonly seen in settings like parking garages or school zones, where direct and clear communication is crucial.

Monochrome LEDs are Efficient

Monochrome LED signs are also popular because they are energy-efficient and durable. LED technology consumes less energy than traditional incandescent or neon lighting, and the lifespan of LED lights is significantly longer.

Additionally, monochrome LEDs perform well in different weather conditions, making them a popular choice for both indoor and outdoor signage.

2. Channel Letter Signs

Channel letter signs are a popular form of illuminated signage, denoted by their 3-dimensional, individually cut letters.

They are often used by businesses to display a company name or logo. You see them all the time on storefronts, in shopping malls, and on commercial buildings.

How Channel Letter Signs Are Made

The construction of a channel letter sign involves creating individual characters from durable materials like aluminum or plastic. The sides of these characters, known as the ‘returns,’ are then covered with aluminum, while the front or the ‘face’ is often a translucent acrylic material.

This construction allows light to shine through the face of the letters, making them highly visible, especially at night.

There are three primary types of channel letter signs.

The First is Front-Lit Channel Letters

This is the most common type, where the illumination is directed out of the front face of the letters. These letters create a bright and easily readable sign that stands out against its backdrop.

Reverse-Lit (or Halo-Lit) Channel Letters

In this design, the illumination comes from behind the letters, creating a ‘halo’ effect around them. The light is usually softer and has a more sophisticated appearance.

Combination (or Front/Back Lit) Channel Letters

These signs combine the above two types, with illumination from both the front face and the back.

Channel letter signs are custom-made, which gives businesses the opportunity to order unique letters that fit their brand image. The letters can be crafted in almost any font, color, size, or shape.

Additionally, channel letter signs are highly durable and require minimal maintenance, making them a potentially cost-effective choice for businesses.

3. Digital Signs

Digital signs are dynamic illuminated signs that rely on LCD, LED, or projection technology to display digital text, images, video, and more.

In fact, one of the main strengths of digital signage is dynamic content capability. Unlike traditional static signs, digital signs can display changing content that is updated in real-time.

This is hugely important for businesses that frequently change their messaging. For instance, a restaurant may have daily specials they want to promote.

Digital Signs Have Multimedia Capability 

Digital signs are also very good at engaging audiences with multimedia content. In addition to text, images, and video, they can run animations and even stream live feeds. This makes them particularly effective at catching viewers’ attention.

Digital Signage Is Interactive

Moreover, digital signage is interactive, or at least it has the capacity to be. Some digital signs are equipped with touch screens and movement detection, allowing customers to interact with the sign and explore more information.

Although there are higher upfront costs associated with their purchase and installation, digital signs can be a cost-effective solution over the long term. The ability to update content remotely, without the need for printing or physical installation, can result in significant savings in terms of time and resources.

4. Illuminated Pole Signs

Illuminated pole signs, also known as pylon or freestanding signs, are a popular and effective form of outdoor signage.

As the name suggests, they are mounted on a pole or a similar structure. And these signs are usually large, bold, and designed to catch the attention of people passing by, whether on foot or in a vehicle.

Pole signs are often used near highways, intersections, and parking lots. Due to their size and height, illuminated pole signs serve as effective landmarks, helping to guide customers to businesses.

Pole Sign Materials

Pole signs usually have a sturdy pole made of steel or aluminum to support the weight of the sign cabinet. The cabinet houses the sign’s message or logo, which is usually fabricated from materials like acrylic or polycarbonate.

The illumination within the sign is usually provided by energy-efficient LEDs or fluorescent lamps.

Pole Sign Customization Options

Illuminated pole signs offer excellent customization options, allowing you to choose the size, design, and color.

Furthermore, they provide a unique advantage in terms of lighting customization; the illumination can also be programmed to flash or pulse to attract more attention.

Although they require a significant initial investment, illuminated pole signs can offer an excellent return on investment due to their high visibility and durability. They are designed to withstand various weather conditions and generally require minimal maintenance.

5. Neon Signs

Neon signs are a popular and time-tested form of illuminated signage that has been used for over a century. Their enduring popularity is not without reason. Neon signs offer a unique blend of creativity and visibility.

How Do Neon Signs Work?

Neon signs are made using glass tubes filled with neon or other types of inert gas. During the manufacturing process, these tubes are bent into different shapes, letters, or abstract designs.

After installation, a high-voltage electrical current is passed through the gas in the tube, which causes a radiant glow to occur.

The color of the glow depends on the type of gas used, as well as the color of the glass tube or the coating inside it. Neon gas produces a bright red color, while other gases like argon and helium can produce different colors.

The glass tubes can also be coated with phosphorescent materials to produce a wide range of vibrant colors.

Why Are Neon Signs Popular?

One key advantage of neon signs is their aesthetic appeal. Their warm, radiant glow creates a welcoming ambiance that is hard to replicate with other forms of lighting. Moreover, the flexibility of the glass tubes allows for an incredible range of designs.

Even with the advent of newer technologies, neon signs have remained a popular choice due to their unique charm. They are particularly favored in settings like restaurants, bars, theaters, and retail stores.

However, neon signs do have their challenges. They require a higher voltage than LED or fluorescent lights and can be more fragile due to their glass construction. They also require skilled craftsmanship to repair, making them potentially more expensive to maintain than other types of signage.

For those who appreciate the charm of neon signage, they are an excellent choice that has withstood the test of time.

Why Is Illuminated Signage Important For Your Business?

Today, the tactics and tools used in advertising may vary, but the ultimate goal is almost always the same – to win over your audience.

Achieving this aim is how you remain relevant, especially in an increasingly interconnected world with highly competitive markets. The question is, how do you do so?

Supplement Your Marketing Strategy

One way to win over your audience is to make use of illuminated signs, which highlight your business, especially in busy areas.

Illuminated signs are effective, thanks to their visibility and relative affordability compared to traditional billboards.

Moreover, high-quality illuminated signs create a positive impression to benefit your business. As we move further into the digital age, businesses that embrace modern technologies like LED and digital signage are often perceived as being more up-to-date.

Thus, these signs do more than just advertise – they communicate the values and culture of the businesses behind the signs.

Whether you’re a small retail store, a large corporation, or anything in between, the importance of effective illuminated signage cannot be overstated.

Contact YAHAM

For superb LED illuminated signage, call YAHAM at 702-909-6059 or visit our Contact page.