Lighting and Illumination

The following article originally appeared on the Small Business Administration website in February 2001, but it was subsequently removed.

The primary purpose of signage is to communicate to your targeted audience in a legible, readable and conspicuous manner while remaining pleasing to the eye. To accomplish this task during all hours, your signs must be illuminated. For the follow reasons, give careful thought to your choice of signage lighting and source of illumination:

  • A sign that is easily detected and read, no matter the time or weather, will pay for itself many times over during the course of your business.
  • Electric signs are energy efficient, using light sources that are similar to the energy-efficient lamps utilized inside your store. Cabinet signs are most often illuminated with fluorescent lamps. Lighted letters and logos are normally illuminated with neon tubing. Both of these forms of electric-discharge lighting are highly energy efficient.
  • Lighted signs consume electric energy at night, when there is excess generating capacity, and therefore do not contribute to the power shortages that have occurred in some areas of the country.
  • During the 1973 energy crisis, it was proven that illuminated signs are important to the safety of a community. The communities that passed ordinances to turn off signs quickly reversed their position when crime increased and business volume dropped.
  • Illuminated signs can be readily maintained by your sign company. Many sign companies offer maintenance contracts so you can average your costs and avoid occasional large expenses, which you might be tempted to defer during a slow month while assuring that your signs will be properly illuminated to maximize the benefit to your business.

In summary. . .
Lighting and illuminating your signage adds a cost component; however, it can also maximize your signage investment. There are many facts to consider; for answers to your specific questions, please consult your signage supplier, who can provide professional insight.


Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov on Unsplash

Wade Swormstedt

Wade Swormstedt

Wade is Executive Director of the Foundation for the Advancement of the Sign Industry. Formerly he was Editor and Publisher of Signs of the Times magazine.

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Posted in Signs' Advertising Value, Small Business Administration, Visibility and Legibility.