Electric Signs Tips and Tricks

www.holidaysigns.com-richmond-VA-signage-electric-sign-tips-and-tricks“How-To’s” on Attracting the Most Customers with Signs

Electric Signs Tips and Tricks

   Holiday Signs helps Virginia commerce to thrive by being experts in the field of custom electric signage, and incorporating this strong expertise into every project. I’ve compiled some helpful series on various sign topics from our blog that may help as you consider signage options. Within these interesting and technical articles lie many electric signs tips and tricks:

www.holidaysigns.com-reston-virginia-retail-electric-signs-design-manufacture-installOur Approach to Selling Signs:

Part 1- Image

Part 2- Budget

Part 3- Environment

Part 4- Viewing Distance & Sight Lines

Part 5- Prototypes & DemonstrationsMWV Signage

Signage in Historic Restorations:

Part 1- The Virginia Repertory Theater Project

Part 2- The Hotel John Marshall Project

Part 3- The Altria Theater Project

Iconic Signs:

Part 1- Winding Brook and

Reynolds Crossing Projectswww.holidaysigns.com-richmond-va-retirement-center-signage-lucy-corr-wayfinding-branding

Part 2- Harper’s Mill Project

Benefits of Utilizing Electronic Message Centers:

Part 1- Community Awareness

Part 2- Co-op Advertising

Part 3- Mass Exposure

Part 4- Owning Your Own Marketing Machine

Part 5- Building Top of Mind Awareness

Part 6- Promoting Loss Leaderswww.holidaysigns.com-northern-virginia-church-sign-companies

Church Signage:

Part 1- New Life Community Church Project

Part 2- Grace Church Project

Part 3- Using Memorial Brick Programs to Fund New Signs

Part 4- Lifepoint Church Project

College & University Signage:

Part 1- Ferrum College Project

Part 2- Shenandoah University Project

Channel Letter Design:

Part 1- Consider Shadows in Your Designswww.holidaysigns.com-richmond-va-acac-channel-letters-architectural-signage

Part 2- Consider Viewing Angle in Designing Wall Signage

Sign Makeovers:

Part 1- Banks

Part 2- Shopping Centers

Sign Permitting:

Part 1- Pioneer Bank Project

Part 2- Floor & Decor Project



Holiday Signs Sales Staff

(800) 229-9443




Channel Letter Pics- Alexandria, Virginia


Holiday Signs is Central Virginia’s premier custom electric sign company and, just in case you haven’t noticed, we work in your town too!

We’ve been turning traffic into customers for over 40 years and look forward to the chance to help your organization attract attention in your part of Virginia.


January 2015-We Work In Your Town-Alexandria, VA footer



Mark Hackley, Account Executive




Sign Case Studies:

The Hotel John Marshall

The Altria Theater

Manassas Entrance Signage, Part 1

Manassas Entrance Signage, Part 2

Iconic Signs in Virginia

Shenandoah University, Leesburg Campus

Branding Multi-Story Buildings in Virginia




Channel letter pics Virginia

Are Solar Power Signs Feasible for Signage Off the Grid?


www.holidaysigns.com-richmond-virginia-washington-DC-solar-powered-signs-electric-signage-off-the-gridAre Solar Power Signs Feasible for Signage Off the Grid?

January 2015- General Signage-Solar Powered Signs pic 2SUN POWER
  Photovoltaic (PV) powered signs (solar-powered signs), can operate independently off the grid generating electricity directly from sunlight. Recent technological advances in low voltage LED lighting and thin-film solar cell technology are combining to make solar options a bit easier to digest from the viewpoint of electric sign buyers.

  Science involved with the solar cell process dates back to 1839 when French physicist, Edmond Becquerel, discovered the photovoltaic effect. By the 1950’s Bell Labs of the United States had introduced the first practical applications, and today’s PV cells help provide power for many commercial, industrial, municipal and residential applications, including exterior signage.

January 2015- General Signage-Solar Powered Signs blog blurb

  I’m sure you’ve seen an electronic message sign on Virginia’s Interstate Highway System with photovoltaic cells angled to the sky for off-grid power supply. The Virginia Department of Transportation has been using solar powered signs for years. And we have used solar power lighting in certain sign applications as well.

  Here are a few applications where utilizing solar power for signage in Virginia is practical:

  • Powering signs in remote locations;
  • Powering signs with critical functions during power outages.


  Just ten miles away from our custom electric sign shop in Chester, Virginia, The Village of Ettrick in Chesterfield County recentlywww.holidaysigns.com-richmond-va-solar-powered-monument-signs-spotlit-signage chose a solar powered system that we provided to spot-light the village’s main entrance signs.

  And not only town managers are going solar. Facilities managers of financial institutions, schools, shopping centers, and hotels are utilizing solar power options in certain cases.  Hospitals are using PV technology to illuminate wayfinding signs so the public can see critical ER directional signage 24/7 regardless of remoteness of location or power outages off emergency back-up.

  A few years ago, we were approached by a hospital about powering electric signs located in remote areas far away from local utilities. Their options were to dig super long trenches to the nearest electric connections or consider solar power.  Both options were expensive at the time, but rapidly falling prices are making solar options more affordable. The average price of solar power systems has dropped dramatically over the course of the last six years, with a 33% decrease since 2011, making the costs of using solar to power electric signs a more viable option.

  Some ideas for solar signs:



Photos courtesy PVI Solar

If you liked this article, here are some others you may like:


Mark Hackley,

Account Executive






www.holidaysigns.com-richmond-va-SWAM-vendors-electric-signage-scoreboards-college-athleticsKEEPING SCORE AT VCU

A Closer Look at a Complicated Digital Display Installation

According to today’s Associated Press Top 25 Men’s College Basketball poll, the VCU Rams are Ranked 16th in the US. Before the start of this year’s season, Holiday Signs was involved in assembling and installing the team’s 7-ton center-hung basketball scoreboard with video display, a 30” high by 100′ long ribbon display, and ten sets of ceiling-hung speaker clusters. Our contract was with Daktronics, but we were requested as the preferred installer by VCU because we installed the original scoreboard system 15 years ago when the building was constructed.


There were several technically challenging aspects of the project.  First, the schedule was very tight and required working around events that were being hosted at the facility.  It took a lot of coordination between the VCU Director of Facilities, Daktronics, rigging teams, electricians, freight deliveries and installation crews that could work with and around other trades to get the project completed on time.  

www.holidaysigns.com-richmond-va-VCU-Daktronics-LED-DisplaysSecond, we had to work over the wood floor of the basketball court and only certain types of lift equipment could be used so as not to damage the court.  The types of lift equipment approved weren’t suitable for lifting a 5,000 lb. hoist for the center hung scoreboard.  We researched equipment that would be able to spread the load across the floor and got approval from the court manufacturer to utilize the special equipment needed for the job.  

Once the hoist was placed on the court, we were able to run all the cables to the ceiling supports and lift it up.  A steel frame was constructed and fastened to the hoist structure and then all the scoreboard and video sections were attached to the frame.  Each speaker cluster weighing from 600 to 800 lb. was raised into position with motorized chain hoists and clamped to the steel I-beam supports in the ceiling.www.holidaysigns.com-richmond-va-custom-LED-Display-and-speaker-install-for-VCU

Third, the center hung scoreboard hoist was delivered with the motor already in place.  When the job was completed it was discovered that the scoreboard was not high enough from the court surface to meet NCAA requirements.  The Holiday Signs installation crew made a recommendation that the motor be repositioned with some minor mounting modifications rather than reconfiguring the whole scoreboard structure.  The hoist engineer said it could be done, so we made the modifications and laid the motor on its side rather than standing upright and we got the clearance we needed without a lot of extra expense and the project was completed on time.

Go Rams!




Allen Twedt, Project Manager




If you liked this, you may also like to read about some other technically challenging projects:




January 2015-Technically Challenging- VCU GYM footer


Branding Multiple Sites- Part 1: Signs for Regional Industrial Properties

www.holidaysigns.com-chester-virginia-architectural-signs-industrial-signage-identification-wayfinding-systems-VABranding Multiple Sites

Part 1- Signs for Regional Industrial Properties

   A Virginia property management firm needed help with branding a client’s industrial parks, and reached out to Holidaywww.holidaysigns.com-signs-for-industrial-parks-MD-VA-DC-NC Signs for some guidance. Amy Marsden with Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) originally contacted Holiday Signs‘ project manager, Allen Twedt, early last year and Allen met with her on-site at one of their properties in Ashland, Virginia.  JLL is the property manager for a real estate firm in California called IndCor.  IndCor had recently purchased a number of properties in the Baltimore, Northern Virginia, Richmond, and Tidewater areas.

   Approximately 40 properties needed upgraded signage for site identification that met the IndCor signage standards.

www.holidaysigns.com-chester-va-industrial-park-signage-regional-architecturalECONOMICAL APPROACH
   Allen did the preliminary surveys and took photos of the existing signs so the Holiday Signs art department could create “before” & “after” layouts for side-by-side comparisons and final approvals.  Holiday Signs was able to explain and show the client that re-facing the existing signs at all of the sites would be much more economical than starting from scratch—approximately 35% of the cost of erecting new signs.

   All the signs are non-illuminated.  We took the existing signs and covered them with ACM panels that we decorated with the IndCor colors.  Many of the locations had tenant panels as well.

   The field surveys were critical so that we could fabricate and decorate the panels in our shop in Chester, Virginia.  Wewww.holidaysigns.com-richmond-VA-Baltimore-MD-DC-Industrial-Entrance-Signs-Directional-Systems-architectural-post-and-panel-type packaged all the sign components for each region and went from location to location doing the installations.  The crew also did onsite re-painting of the cabinet fillers and base details for a new finished look.

   The customer was so pleased with the concept, delivery time, no permit requirements and overall savings that they didn’t even look for another quote.  This relationship has continued and this week we are installing a $60,000.00 sign package for the same client who purchased a large office/warehouse complex in the White Oak Technology Park in Henrico, Virginia.


If you liked this, here are some more you may like:

Using Dimensional Letters as Your Main Signage

Our Approach to Selling Signs, Part 1: Deciding What’s Right

Our Approach to Selling Signs, Part 2: Budgeting

Our Approach to Selling Signs, Part 3: Environment

Our Approach to Selling Signs, Part 4: Viewing Distance & Sight Lines

Our Approach to Selling Signs, Part 5, Prototypes and Demonstrations



Mark Hackley, Account Executive










Branding multiple sites/ Designers, manufacturers and installers of Custom Architectural Signage/ Sign Systems/ DC MD VA NC

Virginia Banks Meet for 2015 Economic Outlook

 Virginia Banks Meet for 2015 Economic Outlook

Around 500 bankers and others following the financial industry met in Richmond last week to hear two speakers offer their insight to economic signs for 2015. John Reinhart, CEO/Executive Director of the Virginia Port Authority, and Jeffrey M. Lacker, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, both spoke during a luncheon hosted by the Virginia Bankers Association and their sponsors.

Here is a summary of Mr. Lacker’s speech:

  • GDP growth has averaged a low 2 ¼ percent since the end of the recession in 2009 because of 2 primary factors: 1) Now that the flow of working baby boomers has trickled down, population growth within the prime working age group of 25-54 is in decline; 2) Productivity per employee has decreased and its 1.4% annual increase is well below pre-recession averages.

However, there are reasons to believe that growth in GDP could rise to between 2 ½ and 3 percent this year:

  • Recent increase in consumer spending, decreases in personal savings, and employee confidence in finding employment shown by “quits” being up 20% could indicate economic growth ahead. Many key labor market indicators have also strengthened in support of 2015 economic growth.
  • The economy still faces risk though: a sluggish housing market, potentially weaker exports and decreased government spending could work against any growth in the economy.
  • Inflation is currently below targets of 2 percent but is likely to move closer to 2 percent after energy prices stabilize.
  • Appropriate path for interest rates is a big unknown but at some point the rate will rise and “economic outlook can change rapidly, and judgments about appropriate policy need to respond accordingly.”

To me, it sounds like a positive economy in 2015 has some hope, but there are still many unknowns. One sure way to stay ahead of the game is to invest in your brand. Now more than ever, the way you look from the road makes an impact on people doing business with you…or not. Make your economic forecast brighter with new signs in 2015!

Contact Us

Virginia Bank Signage Case Study

Other Virginia Sign Case Studies

We Work In Your Town! (Click to see sign project examples across Virginia)


Read Mr. Lacker’s entire 2015 Economic Outlook Speech here

How Does Cold Weather Affect my Sign ?

Cold Temperatures and Signage

How does cold weather affect my sign?  Good question. With temperatures dropping to 5 degrees in Central Virginia tonight, and with cold temperatures across the Commonwealth all week, I thought it would be appropriate to write a short blog about cold temperatures and signage.

Hopefully signs you already have in place were fabricated using materials designed for weather extremes, both cold and hot, but here are a few things you should consider if you are in the process of having new signs made and installed during cold weather:

Concrete Footers-www.holidaysigns.com-cold-weather-virginia-signs-electric-neon

Big signs that are already in place have deep foundations, so they should be fine in the cold. Make sure smaller signs with posts, columns, or masonry bases are engineered for the height and overall size of your sign structure and have adequate foundations below the frost line, which deepens as you head from the oceanfront to the mountains: 12” in Tidewater, 24” in Northern Virginia and 30” in Harrisonburg, and at least 36″ farther west.

Even small, single or double-post signs like those used for traffic signs and  wayfinding systems should have concrete footers extending below the frost line to prevent unwanted movement that can make them go crooked or crack during freeze-thaw cycles.

If you are pouring a new foundation for a sign, temperatures need to be above freezing during cure time.

Paint and Vinyl Application-

45 degrees Fahrenheit seems to be the magic number for paint and vinyl application. For an enamel paint or vinyl adhesive to properly bind with the surface, surface temperatures are recommended to be above 45 degrees.

Flexible Faces-

On large signs with flex faces (signs larger than 10′ tall or 24′ wide for instance) re-tensioning may become necessary for faces installed during cold weather. To prolong the need for re-tensioning, avoid installations in temperatures under 45 degrees F.

Neon Sign Operation-

Neon gas is bright red when heated inside the neon tube. Red colored neon signs perform fine in the cold. It’s the signs using argon gas that have problems in cold temperatures.  Yellows, blues, greens, and whites will dim or discolor in the cold. This problem can be prevented by retrofitting your neon signs to LED. Not only will you avoid hurting your image, you’ll also save lots of money in power consumption!

Snow, Ice and Road Salt Residue-

Cold weather brings snow and ice.

Salt and road chemicals can deteriorate sign finishes just like they do vehicles. Plus chemical residues on signs look awful. Pay close attention to your monument signage and any other low-profile type signs on your property. After a winter storm, when the temps climb above freezing, consider cleaning off all the road salt. A teaspoon of dish detergent in warm water and a sponge can do miracles. It’s not a bad idea to wax painted metal signage with a high quality auto wax. I recommend a product called Nu-Finish that comes in a bright orange plastic container that’s available at most auto supply stores.

Have a cold day!



Using 3-D Dimensional Letters for Your Main Signage

December 2015- Branding- Dimensional LettersUsing Dimensional Letters for Your Main Signage

December 2015- Branding- Dimensional Letters-Generic Sales pic 4TO 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 December 2015- Branding- Dimensional Letters-Generic Sales pic 2gold 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.


December 2015- Branding- Dimensional Letters-Generic Sales blog blDecember 2015- Branding- Dimensional Letters-Generic Sales pic 3ARGUMENTS FOR DIMENSIONAL LETTERS
Initial Cost
   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. 

Low-Profile Organizations
   Some organizations aren’t as concerned about glitz, making dimensional letters great choices for branding corporate December 2015- Branding- Dimensional Letters-VAheadquarters, education and healthcare properties.

Code Restrictions
   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!


December 2015- Branding- Dimensional Letters-Generic Sales footer


If you liked this, you may also enjoy one of these:

High Rise Branding

Historic Re-Branding

Facility Wayfinding Made Easy

Flexible LED Case Study

Be Careful of Sign Shadows!

Budgeting for Digital Signs



Mark Hackley, Account Executive












SIGNS I can have in my CITY or COUNTY commercial district or business district or retail district?

Sign Code Sign Ordinance Sign Restrictions for my city or county in Virginia? Signage and the

Architectural Review Board or Appropriateness Committee in my area of Virginia VA or NC DC MD?

How do I apply for a sign permit and are there sign consultants or engineering consultants

that can help me in the sign permitting process in VIRGINIA? Licensed Electrical Sign Contractors??