Designing an exterior sign isn’t as simple as adding your logo to an outdoor-friendly surface. In many cases, your business name is the priority—not your logo. Or if you use your logo, it may need to be modified to ensure it works on a larger scale. Your sign also needs to be stylized and visible from many blocks away. One of the fastest-growing trends is to layer a backlit ID cabinet on top of a digital sign. Here are 6 tips for designing the perfect sign and choosing between flat, push through, and channel letter signs.
#1 Identify Your Creative Constraints
Before you hire a sign designer, check your lease and local ordinances to ensure you understand what your creative constraints are. Ideally, determine what this is before you sign your lease. The last thing you want is to invest in a sign, only to find out that it isn’t allowed.
Banners or flags may not be allowed, or only allowed with restrictions.
A canopy may not be allowed, or mounting may limit the size.
The size of your sign may be restricted.
How and where you can mount your sign may be restricted.
The number of signs you can place externally may be limited.
Some strip malls require all businesses to have matching signs.
You may need to invest in a sign permit.
#2 Rethink Your Brand Colors
Your brand colors may not work for your exterior signs as they may not effectively contrast with the building or background. This might mean that you go a few shades lighter or darker, or that you incorporate white, black, or another neutral color to ensure your letters, logo, and graphics pop. For example, if your logo is a shade of red and you will be mounting your sign to a red brick building, you won’t have the contrast required for visibility. Even if it’s backlit, it won’t pop.
A skilled designer will help you determine your best options. To simplify their job, be sure to provide photos or videos of where you plan to mount your signs.
#3 Flat, Push Through, or Channel Letter Signs
Even with a multi-purpose digital sign, you may want to add an ID cabinet with your business name. To increase viewing range, your ID cabinet can be LED backlit.
At Mega LED Technology, your top options include:
Flat lettering—don’t let the name fool you, as flat lettering is highly effective. Our ID cabinets are made from durable Lexan with vinyl letters layered on top. The Lexan can be any color you want, with white being a top option for contrast. Then your business name, text, logo, or design graphics are added on in vinyl. To ensure maximum visibility, the Lexan is LED backlit.
Push through—push through lettering gives your sign a bit more dimension. As the name suggests, the letters look like they have been pushed through the Lexan background. Unlike flat vinyl lettering, the letters will also illuminate from the LED backlighting.
Channel lettering—channel lettering also provides a three-dimensional look. However, the letters are mounted to the Lexan instead of pushing through the Lexan. Although mounted, they are still illuminated by the LED backlighting.
Not to worry if you can’t decide between flat, push through, or channel letter signs. Just let your sign designer know your options and they will identify a creative solution. Or we can design your sign for you!
Just like you may need to adjust your logo colors, you may need to utilize a different font for your new sign. This is particularly true if your branded font is cursive, but it may also be required for less artistic fonts. The objective is to ensure that your sign is visually appealing, properly spaced, and easy to read. You may even need to use more than one font on your sign. For example, a more artistic font for your business name and a standard block-style font for your tagline or address.
Your designer can create a virtual mock-up of what your sign will look like with a few different fonts. It’s about striking the perfect balance between your branded design and an appealing, large-scale, and exterior-friendly alternative.
#5 Negative Space
Even if your ID cabinet is oversized, less is more. It’s always tempting to fill up space, but negative space is essential when creating signage. We touched on this a bit when selecting your font, but the overall size and scale of the words, logo, and design are essential for readability and visual engagement. This is why many flat, push through, and channel letter signs are designed with white backgrounds. The white provides the contrast and negative space required for an effective design. Since the ID cabinet is backlit, you have more contrasting color options to choose from.
#6 Layered to Perfection
If you have the space and budget, consider having a 2 or 3 layered—1 or 2 sided monument sign designed. This is a framed sign set that can be mounted to a brick, aluminum, or pole base.
Brick Base—brick and stone bases are wide and will obstruct the view of what is directly behind them. For a less obstructed view, you can also mount to masonry columns.
Aluminum Base—aluminum is sleek and stylish. Choose from a base that is the full width of your signs, or a bit thinner for a less obstructed view.
Pole Mounted Base—steel poles are a common base for outdoor signs of every kind, especially signs that are higher off of the ground. Poles blend in the most and have the least obstructed view.
Ready To Have Your New Sign Designed?
If you would like to learn more about LED backlit flat, push through, or channel letter signs—reach out to Mega LED Technology. We custom build our signs from scratch, have an expansive portfolio, and can provide design and virtual mock-up. Our quotes are free—let’s get started!