What Are My Lighting Options?


Illumination for signs makes them far more visible and in busy high streets can be particularly effective - in winter with longer evenings potentially even a necessity for some businesses. With so many options it can often be difficult to decide which option is best for you. Don’t worry, here at Butler Signs we can help find the best option to suit you.

Trough Lights

Trough lights have become probably the most commonly used signage lighting in modern signage.

A trough light is basically a tube of LEDs that runs the length of either your sign or the main detail of your sign - such as just the business name. The trough section is usually made of aluminium which can be powder coated to just about any colour, and can be fitted either to a section of signage, or attached by sand off fittings to a wall.

Spot Lights

Spot lighting options such as swan neck cowl lights used to be the more common method of illuminating signs (before LED technology became much more powerful and affordable) and are still frequently used by businesses that want to maintain a more traditional appearance.

Given that spot lights only illuminate a small area hey are generally less favourable. There are more modern versions of spot lighting available, but they tend to be best used to accent logos or architecture than really advertising a business name.

Light Box

Probably as a result of LEDs becoming more affordable and a trend for retro designs lightboxes have had something of a revival of interest lately.

Lightboxes can be particularly eye-catching as they shine outwards towards an onlooker, rather than inwards towards itself. Traditionally light boxes can be quite bulky signs because of the space needed around florescent lighting tubes, but modern LED light mean we can provide very compact slim line lightbox units.

Fret Cut Sign Trays

Fret cut sign trays can include lighting to get a similar effect to a light box, with a company name and logo shining out towards customers, but keeping a darkened panel as a background.

The effect is particularly useful if your logo is a lighter or brighter colour typically presented on a darker background.

Halo Lighting

Halo lighting refers to lights being placed behind a sign (or elements of a sign) so that the light cast behind it gives the panel a glow being it.

This can be combined with flat cut letters so that each letter and/or logo element has a soft glowing halo. This is worth considering if you like the idea of a fret cut tray but have a darker coloured logo as it will retain the darker colouring for your logo.

Up Lighting / Ground Lighting

If you have something like a post mounted sign or a totem you might want to consider a ground positioned up lighting system.

They are only appropriate in certain locations but having the light cast upwards from the floor gives quite an atmospheric look that can be very effective.

LED Screens

If money is no object there are a wide variety of LED screen solutions that can be used for signage. While they are currently fairly expensive, they are slowly becoming more affordable and therefore more common.

Being a digital screen means that they can be used to display video adverts too, which will always gain more attention than a static sign.

Edge Lit Acrylic Panels

By running a light down the edge of a clear acrylic panel, any images carved into the panel will catch the light and give a soft edge glow. This is an excellent choice for statement pieces inside buildings.

Modern LEDs can often include colour changing options too so you can achieve some really eye-catching pieces.

Why Not Neon?

You may have noticed that Neon signs are not particularly common or popular. While neon signage does provide it’s own style and a certain charm that some people enjoy, it is very expensive and very delicate. Neon signage requires glass tubes to be bent into the specific shape of the required text or logo, this is difficult and intricate work that few have the skills to create these days.

The glass is then filled with an inert gas and a drop of mercury which glows when an electrical charge is run through it - the slightest crack in the glass and the sign will no longer work.

Also modern technology has garnered an alternate option - EL Wire, a pliable wire that emit a coloured light. This allows a much easier method of creating the effect of a Neon sign without nearly as much cost or hassle. In fact EL wire is so easy to use it has been used by a lot of hobbyists to create DIY signs for the home.

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