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Illuminated Vs Non-Illuminated Signage: What You Should Know

Illuminated Vs Non-Illuminated Signage: What You Should Know

If you’re getting ready to order signs to promote your company, you may not have thought about one important question: will they be illuminated or non-illuminated? Sign shops offer both types of signs, and there are plenty of compelling reasons to choose one over the other. Keep reading to learn what makes each of these types of signs unique, what they’re used for, and how you can order them.

What You Should Know About Illuminated Signs

Illuminated signs include any type of signage with built-in lighting. This can include channel lettering, backlit signs, electronic signs, and more.

There are 3 common types of lighting used for illuminated signs:

  • Light-emitting diodes, or LED
  • Fluorescent lights or standard lightbulbs
  • Neon lights

Advantages of Illuminated Signs

Illuminated signs don’t just look great – they also offer many advantages over your typical unlit signs.

  • They’re easy to see, even at night and in dark conditions. Unlike plain signs that might be difficult to spot when the sun goes down or during a storm, a lit sign will always stand out.
  • They draw attention. It’s hard to miss illuminated signs when driving by or walking down the street, and that makes it much easier for you to get your message across.
  • They increase the reach of your marketing campaigns, both figuratively and literally. Not only do more people tend to see illuminated signs, but they’re also easier to spot at a distance.
  • They can used indoors as well as outdoors. While most illuminated signs are used on the outside of buildings or in high-traffic street locations, you can also use them inside buildings. Try putting them to work as emergency signage, directional signage, or eye-catching pieces of art.

What You Should Know About Non-Illuminated Signs

Non-illuminated signs are any signs that don’t have their own internal light source. You can still light them up, but you’ll need an external light like a spotlight or lamp to do it.

Non-illuminated signs are typically made from the same materials as their illuminated counterparts. They can also be designed with visual tricks like contrasting colours to make them more visible in low-light conditions, even without a built-in light source. Professional sign makers know how to design these signs for maximum impact, so don’t be afraid to ask for guidance if you need it!

Benefits of Non-Illuminated Signs

Non-illuminated signs also have some notable benefits.

  • They’re cheaper than illuminated signs. They don’t use electricity and require much less repair and maintenance work over time.
  • They offer more flexibility. Without the constraints introduced by internal lighting, you can make non-illuminated signs in any shape, size, or colour you want.
  • They’re easy to move around. You can use them in both indoor and outdoor settings, and they don’t need to be placed close to a power source.
  • They work great for 9-to-5 businesses. Since these establishments don’t see traffic outside of daylight hours, they don’t need to worry about attracting customers in dark conditions.

Differences Between Both

The main thing that sets illuminated signs apart from non-illuminated ones is their lighting. Because these signs come with their own light source, they glow brightly in all conditions and are always easy to spot. That kind of visibility can be extremely valuable for a small business struggling to stand out.

However, this extra visibility comes with a higher price tag. Running an illuminated sign 24 hours a day uses a lot of extra electricity, and these signs also need extensive maintenance to keep them working properly. These extra costs are often worth it thanks to the extra revenue they bring in, but it’s important to verify whether that’s true in your specific situation.

Neither type of sign is always better than the other. The best sign company for your needs is one that takes your unique needs into account when recommending signage products to you.

Which One Is Right for Your Business?

Illuminated and non-illuminated signs both have their strengths and weaknesses. Which one is the right choice for your business comes down to a few key factors.

First, some cities do not allow illuminated signs to be displayed in certain areas. If your city has similar bylaws, you’ll probably have to stick to standard signs to comply with them. You can still grab your customers’ attention in other ways – just ask your local banner sign company for tips on how to use other signage to your advantage.

Second, some businesses don’t operate outside of daylight hours. If this is the case for you, you might not get much use out of an illuminated sign. An unlit sign will get the same job done for less money, making it the best option in this case. If your business relies heavily on nighttime foot traffic, though, you’ll definitely want to invest in a sign that will continue to attract customers even after the sun has gone down.

Lastly, consider your budget. While illuminated signs aren’t hugely expensive, the extra wiring and specialized installation they require does drive the price up a bit. You’ll also incur ongoing costs to keep your sign lit up. If you don’t think you can afford these extra expenses right now, it might be best to go with a non-illuminated sign for now. You can always upgrade your signage later on when you have more money to work with.

Trust Sign & Graphics for Illuminated and Non-Illuminated Signage

Whether you decide to go with an illuminated sign or a standard unlit one, it’s important to choose a sign company you know you can trust to do the job right.

The Sign & Graphics Manufaktur is your go-to sign company. We produce custom signs and designs for businesses in all sorts of industries around the GTA. Our professional team of designers, fabricators, and installers will help you take your sign project from initial concept to final product. Contact us today to discuss your signage needs and learn more about how we can help your business put its best foot forward.


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