Finding the right way to describe your ideal sign when considering new options, can sometimes present problems if there seems to be a language barrier. That could be the result of not having a sufficient knowledge base of Sign industry terminology. Depending on the type of sign you have in mind, the various elements and terms associated can differ greatly. First, here is a list of possible types of signs by name.
· Pole sign
· Pylon Sign
· Channel Letters
· LED Message Center/EMC
· Wall Sign
· Post and Panel
Many types of signs use Sign Cabinets. A sign cabinet is a framed-out structure usually made from aluminum pieces called extrusion. These are the sides of the cabinet with ‘channels’ at the inside edge of the frame where faces can be installed into the cabinet. Cabinet extrusions have typical depths and those sizes are readily available and because they are produced in great quantities are easier to come by and cost less. But when a custom depth is called for, the cost is more due to being made special for the sign.
A sign cabinet may include a pole cradle for installation. That is a structure built within the frame to mount the cabinet onto a foundation pole. This is not only for Pole signs. Sometimes a monument sign will have a pole that is hidden so a sign cabinet can be more easily installed.
If the sign will be illuminated, then LED light modules would be installed within the cabinet to emit the light through the faces. These come in a variety of Types and colors depending on the situation. In order that the light will be evenly spread on the face of a sign, the modules must be at least three to six inches back from the face. This is also a factor in figuring out the depth a cabinet needs to be.
The faces of the Sign cabinet are made of various materials. The most common is an acrylic face with vinyl graphics. This type of face requires translucent graphics, either paint or vinyl to be applied. Special gradient color or logos would usually require digitally printed translucent vinyl graphics.
If a sign cabinet is being installed on a tall pole or is quite large, then another type of face is a Flex Face material. This is a flexible PVC banner fascia that stretches across the face of a sign and resembles the skin of a drum. The extrusion framing for this type of material is different due to a special type of channel for installation. These are usually either digitally printed with graphics or have cut vinyl applied.
A way to add dimension to a sign is to use an aluminum face that has routed out (cut out) lettering which is then either backed with acrylic for the light to shine through or has routed acrylic that ‘pushes through’ the face for an even more appealing effect. The acrylic usually has a translucent vinyl applied for the desired color.
Cabinets themselves are painted to your specifications. The most common paint match used is Pantone or PMS but there are others such as Matthews or Sherwin Williams, etc. One note about paint on any sign in outdoor conditions is that there will always be fading over time. No sign is immune to fading completely so be sure to realize that at some point you may need to have the cabinet repainted or the faces replaced. This is a normal part of sign maintenance over the years.
Electric is a key component in any illuminated sign. There will be additional power supplies within the cabinet for the LED modules. Be sure to ask if your sign will be UL listed. In this way it will meet safety and insurance requirements for the electrical components within the sign. The manufacturer should be able to provide you with a UL number for your sign. Or is should be displayed on the sign cabinet somewhere.
Sign Cabinet terminology includes:
· Extrusion or frame
· Pole cradle or saddle mount
· Faces/acrylic, polycarb, lexan, Flex Face, composite aluminum
· Graphics/Cut or Digitally printed vinyl, paint
· Push thru
· LED modules/Power supplies
· UL listed
In the next article, we will explore terminology related to Channel Letters.
Today, Akers Signs offers an extensive array of options when it comes to helping our customers find the right direction for their signage. Our Sales Team is happy to help with any questions about sign cabinets and more. Do not hesitate to give us a call or send us an inquiry today!