Electrical Spotlight: Basics of Lighting Monument Signs

Basics of Lighting Monument Signs

Illumination of a monument sign can be performed in three distinct ways. From these three methods come a plethora of choices when it comes to illuminating your monument design. Knowing how these choices work together (or fight against each other) is important to recommending the right illumination method for your customer’s monument sign.

  • External Illumination—This method of using light fixtures mounted on the ground or from above that cast light upon the monument structure or the sign faces.
  • Internal Illumination—The process involves installing illumination devices (LEDs, LED lamps or florescent lamps) inside of a sign cabinet or channel letter that sends light outward to the viewer through a variety of sign face, back and return fabrication processes.
  • Passive Illumination—Passive illumination is the use of special reflective materials that do not require a direct power source to make the sign appear as if it’s illuminated at night. When viewed from behind a light source—such as in a car with its headlights on—the material appears to illuminate.
  • Use the “Free Light”—Halo glows are usually “almost free” in most internally illuminated options. If the inside of the cabinet is illuminated, the light being generated can be managed to create this cool effect without a lot of extra cost.

You can add a halo glow to a cabinet (just like you see on a reverse pan channel letter) by doing a little planning up front. If it’s full-face illumination, you will probably have enough free light floating around inside of that cabinet to leak some of it out the back perimeter of the cabinet.

  • Test it in the Shop—The best advice is to make sure you can light up your sign ideas in your shop, under your control of climate and overhead lighting. Adding or moving LEDs that create halos and faint glows from routed push-through letters are difficult to adjust in the field. Fully assembling and illuminating your sign prior to leaving the shop will ensure that your illumination will look right and work right in the field.

For more on this topic from Matt Charboneau, click HERE.