TO LIGHT OR NOT TO LIGHT, THAT IS THE QUESTION
Retailers need to stand out in their commercial neighborhoods and use eye-catching signs for branding and advertising. So choosing internally illuminated electric signs and graphics for their stores is routine business.
Many of the biggest regional retail chains in our area opt for bright LED channel letters to gain the most effective name recognition. Smaller local retailers also require brilliant internally-lit signs and letters to brand their stores and get noticed, but sometimes there are good reasons to forego internal lighting and utilize non-illuminated or spot-lit dimensional lettering.
Dimensional lettering is any type of wall or monument lettering that is not painted or printed directly on the wall or sign surface. Dimensional graphics can be cut from thick aluminum sheet or they can be custom-fabricated from sheet aluminum with welded returns. They can be painted in standard and custom colors, gilded with gold leaf, left natural, anodized, or finished with a brushed aluminum effect. Metals other than aluminum can be used for special effects like brass, bronze, copper, or steel. Sometimes special patinas, rusts and chromes are used to achieve uniqueness.
Dimensional letters can also be made of routed or molded plastic or cast metal. They can be mounted flush with the wall or with stud stand-offs that cast deeper shadows. Spot lighting can be used to light up the letters at night.
ARGUMENTS FOR DIMENSIONAL LETTERS
When I first started my own small business, I couldn’t afford an electric sign. My location was visible from a busy street with the heaviest traffic during morning and evening rush hours, so I decided to make a sign using large dimensional letters mounted on a rectangular backer panel to hang over the main entrance that worked great starting out.
Operating and Maintenance Cost
Certainly the value in custom electric signs is the night-time brilliance of putting your name in lights, but lighting up a sign or system of signs costs money to power and maintain. Two big benefits of non-electric signs and letters include their lower initial cost and alleviation of electrical maintenance and repair bills down the road. Even if spot-lit, the cost to light and maintain non-illuminated dimensional letters is usually less than channel letters, if a less glitzy image works.
Some organizations aren’t as concerned about glitz, making dimensional letters great choices for branding corporate headquarters, education and healthcare properties.
There are many areas in Virginia where internally illuminated signs are not allowed. In these situations, unlit or spot-lit dimensional letters are a good alternative.
Contact us for more information about electric or non-electric signs for your business or organization in Virginia!
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Mark Hackley, Account Executive
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