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Sign Technology

Sign technology refers to the ways in which signs are put into use and ultimately produced in order to promote the commercial value of commodities. This, again, needs to be studied under three specific subheadings, viz. Materials, Processes, and Lighting, each of which have been discussed in details below.

Materials:

Several options are available so far as signs are concerned. These include:

i. Acrylic

Being lightweight yet durable, Acrylic is in high demand for commercial signage owing to its versatility. Acrylic products are available in a wide range of thickness, color, shapes, and finishes, and are perfect for being used for professional purposes.

ii. Alumalite

Alumalite is usually preferred when large signboards need to be used. In spite of being light, they are extremely rigid and strong. These boards can be easily mounted and can be polished so that they shine. Consequently, in recent times, the demand for alumalite is on the rise.

iii. Aluminum

One of the most important driving factors behind choosing aluminum as signage material is its ability to be completely customized. Its smooth, sleek, professional finish is waterproof, rustproof and chemically resistant, making it a great choice for both interior and exterior commercial signs.

iv. ARMOUR- Wood

ARMOUR-Wood is produced from a strong solid wood core which is inserted between two sheets of factory sealed aluminum. Being solid, rigid, and strong, they are a perfect choice when it comes to the traditionally shaped signs such as rectangles or squares. They are amongst the strongest of sign materials available.

v. Dibond Plastic

Dibond commercial signs are also characterized by their strength. However, the fact that sets them apart is that they are extremely light in weight as well. Dibond signs are produced by inserting dibond plastic cores into two sheets of factory produced aluminium. Therefore, they are extremely durable and can be chosen for long-term purposes.

vi. Dura- Wood Plyboard

This material is preferred when the classic look of wood finish is desired yet with all the advancements that are required to protect that look. It is made from high-quality MDO plywood and vinyl covered to produce a far superior commercial business sign than wood signs of years gone by. Thus, Dura-Wood is now preferred by consumers who wish to add beauty to their signs but along with adequate amount of protection in order to ensure longevity.

vii. HDU ( High Density Urethane)

The purpose of HDU is to give a dimensional effect to sign boards. The raised letters of these signs seek to give it a carved look. A synthetic petroleum based material, HDU foam is flexible, strong and durable, making it a great choice for its use in Signage. Moreover, HDU signs can be easily customized and are extremely affordable.

viii. Sandblasted Redwood

Redwood is a naturally beautiful and light weight while being quite strong at the same time. This makes it an appropriate choice for signs that are meant to look classic, rustic and yet aesthetic. Commercial business signs that are produced from sandblasted redwood command attention and are recognized because of this traditional signage material.

ix. Vinyl

Vinyl letters are amongst the most popular materials used for signage. Being available in all colors, sizes and font types, they are highly adept to customization and are extremely economical.

x. Commercial Decal

Decals are described as large stickers and can easily be applied to a variety of surfaces. Store windows, vehicles, interior walls and even products, custom decals are their own kind of commercial signage. Commercial decals add flexibility and can be produced in any size, shape or color while being cost effective at the same time.

Other available materials used for commercial signage include polycarbonate, polypropylene, polystyrene, thermoplastics, stainless steel, plexiglass and so on.

Processes:

Several processes are involves in the production of commercial signs. Since these are highly advanced processes and require detailed explanations, which can not be adequately expressed due to space constraints, these processes shall only be named as follows:

  • i. CNC routing
  • ii. Laser cutting
  • iii. Abrasive blasting
  • iv. Plotter cutting
  • v. Printmaking, Screen printing, or sign painting
  • vi. Channel lettering
  • vii. Vacuum forming
  • viii. Steam welding / rolling
  • ix. Laminating prints
  • These include only a handful of the processes involved in the production of signage. There exist several other options, but these have been listed because of being the most practiced and commonly used techniques in this field.

Lighting:

Lighting is used in the sphere of commercial signage for increasing visibility and attracting customers. The two major kinds of lights used for this purpose are as follows:

  • i. Neon Lights, that were introduced in 1910, and were used widely for advertisement and signage through out the century
  • ii. LED or light emitting diodes, the use of which is progressively on the rise in recent times.

Lights being visually provocative are extremely important in sign technology. Their importance is highly valued and this can be easily proven by the rampant use of lighting in signage.

Signage Conventions

Signage conventions may be studied under the two broad headings of Pictograms and Sign Shape, each of which has been discussed in details in the following paragraphs.

Pictograms

Pictograms refer to the use of particular iconic images or symbolic pictures in signs in order to communicate specific messages to the target groups. Every country possesses certain statutory or legal conditions by which the use of pictograms is regulated or controlled. Each pictogram, therefore, has to abide by certain laws concerning the use of color, shapes or sizes. Instances of such conventions include the ADA Accessibility Guidelines of the United States whereby rules are established and regularized as to the use and deployment of pictograms.

When no texts are included into the body of the Superior Signs Services, one must ensure the use of such pictograms as may be interpreted and understood by members belonging to all cultures or language communities. The use of standardized color codes or shapes may ensure that the pictograms are successfully understood by all. In other words, in order to be informative and comprehensible, pictograms must always try to have an universal appeal.

Sign Shape

Though the shape of sign boards are hardly paid much attention to, they serve to communicate several messages in themselves. With their regular use over a long period of time, certain signs have been conventionally associated with certain specific messages. For instance-

a. Rectangles:

Rectangular sign boards are usually used to provide general information to the public.

b. Circles

Circular signs are used for providing instructions to the public, be it mandatory or optional

c. Triangles

Triangles are conventionally used to convey warnings or alert the public against a potential threat.

The use of these shapes, may however, very from culture to culture.

Commercial signs are evidently one of the most efficient ways of marketing products and promoting them. It is through a well designed, elaborately worked out sign that men of commerce may hope to have upon their potential customers any desired effect. In this context, the choice of available material becomes a matter of concern. Professionals can choose from amongst a variety of options available to them in order to find the perfect material used for their signs. It would be appropriate at this juncture to have an overview as to the options available to businessmen with regard to the materials used for signage which may be studied under the sub heading of Sign Technology.