LED signs make your business stand out, this much is true. But there are important considerations you need to make before you set up your own LED messageboard—decisions that can make or break your advertising efforts.
Top-notch content. Rock-solid design and manufacturing. Fast, efficient customer support. These factors are all crucial, but there are a handful of physical factors that also play a role in making your LED sink or swim. Let’s take a look.
How big or small your sign is determines whether your patrons have to strain to read your message, or if they can see it from 4 blocks away.
Small signs—more so than large signs—require bigger font to make up for their physical limitations. Rather than trying to cram a paragraph onto your LED sign, go for a more clear and concise message. Shorter but BIGGER sales messages get read more than long, meandering ones (or ones that make your reader squint).
Even large signs need to be optimized for readability. Small font on a big sign meant to advertise to passing commuters on the highway just can’t get the job done. That fraction of a second more it takes motorists to decipher your microscopic message means nobody will have any idea what you’re trying to say.
And that’s bad for business.
There are positives and negatives to just about any location you could choose for your LED sign. While some spots might maximize exposure, they might not be the best overall for your ad campaigns or announcements. Here are just a few of the most common factors:
- Trees and other structures: This might surprise you, but we’ve seen companies install a brand new, beautiful LED sign in the winter, only to discover their investment is totally obscured by formerly bare trees once spring rolled around. Besides seasonal changes, trees and shrubs will grow significantly over the years (although slowly). Even man-made structures may change or be expanded, blocking your once-prime real estate. Just keep that in mind when you’re scouting locations for your sign.
- Street traffic speed and composition: Is the street near your LED sign primarily made up of cars, buses, trucks, bicycles or pedestrians? How fast are those vehicles/people moving? These questions will help you optimize the font size, speed and content type for your LED sign.
- Proximity to traffic lights and intersections: How close is the nearest intersection? What’s the optimal angle for stopped traffic to view your LED sign? How long is the typical driver stopped at the intersection, and how can you use that wait time to maximize the readability of your sales message? Not every business has the luxury of being situated next to a bustling intersection, but you’ve got to make do.
LED signs fight a constant battle against the sun (until nighttime, at least), both against physical damage and for your readers’ attention. Because your LED’s daytime brightness level has to compete with the sun, you need to choose a sign that’s bright enough to be readable during the day WITHOUT burning out too fast.
That also extends to the night, when hyper-bright LEDs are distracting and annoying. Use your best judgment and adjust accordingly, lest your provoke the ire of passing drivers. Remember, you want a messageboard, not a spotlight.
Viewing Distance and Height
You must determine just how close passersby will be to your LED sign. Otherwise, you’ll never be able to create effective content that’s just right for those people, and you’ll have no idea how big your LED should be, or which resolution is ideal.
Billboard LEDs often have a wider pixel pitch, because they’re designed to be viewed from afar, yet still appear very high resolution. Meanwhile, a low-lying LED sign should naturally be smaller, and therefore have less room for pixels. That means its pitch should be smaller too, to accommodate as many pixels as possible to create a crisp, vivid image.
Like we mentioned above, LEDs will fade and burn out over time. Buying through a reputable dealer or manufacturer—especially those based in the US—is your best bet to get high-quality, long-lasting LEDs.
The way your sign makes use of its various modules also plays a role in its life expectancy, and how viewers see your sign’s message. For example, signs with a flat finish on the face of its LED panels absorb the most sunlight, leading to a better contrast ratio for your sign—and higher readability.
Another key way manufacturers reduce washout from sunlight is by installing a louver shade on the top of the LED, protecting the face of the sign from direct sunlight.
It’s All Connected
LED signs can be a one-size-fits-all solution for many businesses, but only if you put in the groundwork before you install one. You need to have a clear idea of the where, why and how before installation, or you’re going to wind up disappointed and frustrated with your results.
That being said, the most successful businesses who adopt LED signs for their advertising needs all have one thing in common—they did their due diligence researching signs and manufacturers, and chose the most trusted name in LEDs they could find.