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Commercial Building Signs: Do I Need Illumnated Signs?

To illuminate your signs or not - a question we're often asked. Ultimately, this comes down to brand, industry, location and budget.

Whether you’ve just taken over a new commercial premises or you’re looking to give your building a facelift with some new signage, you’re probably wondering whether you should illuminate your signs or not. 

It should come as no surprise that nothing excites us more than big, bold illuminated signs that glow well into the night - but as self-proclaimed signage nerds, we’re probably a little biased! And as well as greater visibility at night, there are lots more reasons to have your signs illuminated from discoverability and prestige to brand differentiation.

The only downside of illuminated signage is cost. This can be 2 or 3 times more expensive than its non-illuminated counterpart, depending on the type of sign and lighting system. So while brighter is often better, it ultimately comes down to your budget and whether the benefits of lighting up your sign are worth the extra investment.

In this blog, we share 4 questions that will help you to understand whether illuminated signs are important for your brand.

1. What sector are you in?

While every sector can benefit from illuminated signage, there are certain industries where they are even more important, particularly those which rely on attracting people into the premises during the evening.

The highly-competitive hospitality industry is one of those examples where illuminated signs are one of the most effective tools used to draw people into your business. Think about all the pub, bar and restaurant signs that you see - they’re most likely illuminated. And you probably walk or drive straight past those that aren’t without even noticing.

Retail signs should also be illuminated where budget allows. This is especially important if you’re open early in the morning or during the evening, particularly as the dark winter evenings come around. 

Other types of businesses that should seriously consider investing in illuminated signage are stadiums and arenas, hotels, petrol stations, casinos, nightclubs, takeaway outlets, and many more.

2. Is your business on a busy road or street?

The location of your building is another important factor when deciding whether to light up your signage, regardless of your industry and opening hours. If you’re building is on a busy road, high street or retail park, then a bright illuminated sign will attract attention from those passing by.

Retail units, especially those in retail parks, office buildings, warehouses, distribution centres, and new housing developments can all benefit from the increased visibility that comes with having your signs illuminated.

3. Are you a prestigious brand?

Research has shown that most people form a first impression within 10 seconds of seeing your business. A well-made illuminated sign not only demands attention, but also elevates your brand in your customers’ mind, making your business appear to be more upmarket and prestigious.

There are many different lighting options available to help achieve the desired effect. For example, halo effect lighting provides a soft and sophisticated glow around the letters, while internally lit lighting shows confidence and ultimate prestige. Lightboxes, fret cut sign trays, trough lighting and downlighting are some other options.

If you’re unsure about how to achieve the ultimate glow on your sign, then one of our team members will happily assist.

4. What's your budget?

And finally, budget. Illuminated signs are always going to be more of an investment than non-illuminated signage.

Saying that, there are different lighting options available for varying budgets. A simple and cost-effective way of having an illuminated sign is using trough or spot lighting. This works quite nicely for more traditional brands, such as a good old-fashioned pub. But of course it’s not going to work for every brand.

Built up illuminated letters are generally the most expensive, but the end result is high impact and seriously impressive. In terms of lighting, they are incredibly versatile and can be face-lit, edge-lit or halo-lit. Or for large-scale signage, for example at a retail park, an illuminated flex face sign works well.

Final thoughts

Whether or not you should have illuminated signage for your business really does come down to your answers to the above questions. 

If you have the budget and you’re in a prime location where you have passing traffic when it’s dark, then we highly recommend illuminated signage. If you’re open after dark, then it’s almost a must!

If you’d like to speak to one of our team members about your illuminated signage project, then complete our online form and we’ll get back to you.

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