Sign & Digital Graphics

April '18

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20 • April 2018 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S ELECTRIC SIGNAGE "One of the differences to pay atten- tion to is that the reflectivity inside the sign has changed over time," he explains. "The sign will be dirty inside and a lot of companies—good intentions aside— probably don't wash and repaint those signs inside when they retrofit them." If the inside of the cabinet is dirty or rusty, you shouldn't anticipate the same amount of light level on the sign's face, according to Farmer. "They need to remember not to expect the same reflectivity out of an old sign and act based on the budget and their desired outcome," he says. Sign makers should also factor in how the lighting will be arranged into either scenario, retrofit or new. "The distance from the sign face to the light source determines whether you can use a double-sided LED module or if you need to use two single-sided LEDs," says Uline. "A general rule of thumb is six-inches to eight-inches from the mod- ule to the face based on that particular LED's specifications that indicate dis- tance from the face and row spacing. So, a 12-inch cabinet would be fine with a double-sided LED, but might be a prob- lem if the cabinet was 24 inches deep. Again, check with the manufacturer as to what would be the best application, they are the experts on what their product is capable of." Completing the Job One of the biggest factors in complet- ing a cabinet sign is making it stand out as the most noticeable in its surround- ings, especially in a location with com- peting signage such as a shopping center. is a good all-around choice that does well with most colors. The higher values such as 7,200 K to 8,000 K is where you would have a blue color spectrum that stands out. Using an 8,000 K LED on a red back- ground face will cause a big change in how that red will look when illuminated." Farmer references an example of a pole sign where "you have a clutter of signs up on poles out front of a strip cen- ter, for instance. The question is, how to get your sign to stand out," he says. "Of course, it's going to be the sign design and size as primary reasons, but bright- ness plays a role. The brighter the sign, the easier it is to read, provided it isn't so bright that the copy is washed out." Beyond the pure lighting aspect, sign makers should be cognizant of what is driving the power of the cabinet sign and how it is installed. "Initial awareness of power sup- ply mounting location, manufacturer mounting hardware/accessories to aid in ease of installation, module spacing rec- ommendations for various sign module options at available sign depth, whether true double-sided modules are available or if they will double up on single facing sign modules or LED sign sticks are all important," notes Ponzini. Power Supplies First, regarding the power supply according to Uline, "Most power sup- plies made today can operate between 120 volts to 277 volts with wattages as low as 20 watts to 180 watts for 12-volt systems. There are also 24-volt sys- tems that are coming out on the market designed to operate 24-volt LEDs, which (Image courtesy of US LED) Brightness becomes a very important element. "I would tell my customers that if their sign is brighter than the other signs in the shopping center by 25 to 50 percent, their sign is going to get noticed every time someone drives by," says Farmer. "If their sign has the same brightness as every other sign, their sign has only an equal chance of being noticed." Color can also play a big part in being noticed. And white LEDs should not be seen as equal across the board. "LEDs range in color from white, red, blue, green and yellow in various shades depending on the manufacturers," Uline explains, stating that the Kelvin (K) value of the LED can determine its proper use with a colored sign face. "Lower numbers such as 4,000 K or 5,000 K can be used for softer, warmer colors, whereas a 6,500 K "The brighter the sign, the easier it is to read, provided it isn't so bright that the copy is washed out," says Ron Farmer, CEO, US LED. (Image courtesy of US LED)

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