Glossary Of Sign Terms
ACRYLIC: A resilient, and weather-resistant plastic, similar to glass, used to make electronic signs.
ANIMATED SIGN: A sign used to depict motion, moving graphics and other animation.
AWNING SIGN: A sign mounted on a building to serve an additional purpose, such as protectiong from rain.
BACKLIGHTED LETTER: An illuminated reverse channel letter. Light from the letter is directed against the surface behind the letter producing a halo lighting effect around the letter.
BANNER: A sign composed of lightweight material. Promotional banners include those used to announce open houses and grand openings, make special announcements, or communicate events. Ornamental banners use images or colors of a decorative nature.
BENCH SIGN: A sign located on the seat or back of a bench or seat placed on or adjacent to a public right-of-way.
BUILDING CODE: Provincial and/or local regulations governing public health, welfare and safety of construction and maintenance.
BUILDING FASCIA: That portion of any elevation of a building extending vertically from the grade to the top parapet wall or eaves, and horizontally across the entire width of the building elevation, including slanted wall surfaces sometimes referred to as a mansard.
BUILDING MOUNTED SIGN: A sign that is mounted to a building.
CABINET SIGN: A sign structure consisting of the frame and face(s), not including the internal components, embellishments or support structure.
CANOPY SIGN: 1) A building-mounted sign functioning as a marquee. 2) A sign mounted on a marquee or canopy.
CHANNEL LETTER: A manufactured three-dimensional letter that may accommodate a light source.
COLD CATHODE: 1.) Electric discharge lighting, which uses an electrode with a large metal mass to emit electrons. Neon tubing is a cold cathode type. 2.) Generic term employed to specify custom interior lighting produced through the use of larger diameter cold cathode tubing.
CONSPICUITY: The characteristics of the sign that enable an observer to differentiate the sign from its surrounding environment.
CONTRAST: The difference or degree of difference between things having similar or comparable natures, such as light and dark areas, colors, or typefaces.
DIMENSIONAL LETTER: A specification description of a letter, logo or symbol, either cut out, cast, molded or fabricated in material such as metal or plastic to create a raised condition.
DIRECTIONAL SIGN: Used to provide direction to pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
DIRECTORY SIGN: A sign that identifies the names and locations of tenants in a multi-tenant building or in a development made up of a group of buildings.
DOUBLE-FACED SIGN: A sign with parallel opposing faces.
ELECTRONIC MESSAGE CENTER: A customizable message sign. These signs include displays using incandescent lamps, LEDs, LCDs or a flipper matrix.
FACE: The surface area on a sign where advertising copy is distributed.
FASCIA SIGN: A building mounted sign.
FLANGE: Part of the formed sign face that enters the cabinet.
FLASHING SIGN: A sign with an intermittent or flashing lights. Typically, the sign’s message is constantly repeated, and the sign is most often used as a primary attention-getting device.
FLAT CUTOUT LETTER: A dimensional letter cut from sheet or plate stock.
FREESTANDING SIGN: A sign that is not attached to a building.
FRONT LIGHTED LETTER: An illuminated channel letter with translucent face.
FULL SERVICE SIGN COMPANIES: Sign companies that complete the entire signage project, including surveying, designing, engineering, permitting, manufacturing, installing, and maintaining signs.
GROUND SIGN: A freestanding sign with no visible support structure.
HIGH-RISE SIGN: A tall freestanding sign.
INTERNALLY ILLUMINATED SIGN: A sign that is illuminated by a light source that is contained inside the sign.
ISA: International Sign Association.
JEWELITE: Manufacturer of trim cap for channel letters.
LEXAN: Brand of Polycarbonate.
LOGO: A design that represents goods, identity, or service.
MARQUEE: A permanent canopy often of metal and glass projecting over an entrance.
MARQUEE SIGN: 1) a sign mounted on a permanent canopy, 2) a traditional industry term for the variable message section of a canopy sign, 3) an integral sign and permanent canopy.
MENU BOARD: A customizable message sign that allows retailers to list products and prices
MESSAGE AREA: The area within the sign panel describing the limits of the message.
MESSAGE CENTER: An electronically or mechanically variable message sign enabling changes to be made from locations other than at the sign.
MOBILE SIGN: A portable sign mounted on a trailer.
NESA: National Electric Sign Association, the now known as the International Sign Association (ISA).
OFF-PREMISE SIGN: Any sign that is not appurtenant to the use of the property, a product sold, or the sale or lease of the property on which it is displayed, and that does not identify the place of business as purveyor of the merchandise, services, etc., advertised upon the sign.
ON-PREMISE SIGN: A device whose message and design relates to a business, an event, goods, profession or service being conducted, sold or offered on the same property as there the sign is erected.
OPEN CHANNEL LETTER: A dimensional letter that has no face and, if illuminated with the light source visible. A clear face for physical protection of internal components may be used.
PAN FACE: A plastic sign face molded into a three dimensional shape. Also called molded face, molded and embossed face, molded and debossed face.
PERMANENT SIGN: A sign attached to a building, structure, or the ground in a manner that enables the sign to resist environmental loads, such as wind, and precludes ready removal or movement of the sign.
POINT-OF-PURCHASE SIGN: Signage that advertises a product at its point of sale, or “point of purchase” location.
POLE SIGN: A freestanding sign with visible support structure.
POLYCARBONATE: Type of acrylic used to form faces.
PORTABLE SIGN: A moveable sign, not permanently attached to the ground or building, with a power-cord for connection to an electrical source, and readily removable using ordinary hand tools.
PROJECTING SIGN: A building mounted sign with the faces of the sign perpendicular to the building fascia.
RACEWAY: An electrical enclosure that may also serve as a mounting structure for the sign.
READABILITY: The quality that enables the observer to correctly perceive the message. In transportation engineering, this word is being replaced by conspicuity.
RECALL: The ability of a viewer to remember the message even when they are not viewing it.
REGULATORY SIGN: A sign having the primary purpose of conveying information concerning rules, ordinances or laws.
RETAINER: A framing member mounted around the perimeter of a sign face, and attached to the sign cabinet structure. It is designed to attach the face to the cabinet and/or intended to provide a decorating trim piece.
RETURN: The sides of a channel letter.
REVERSE CHANNEL LETTER: A fabricated dimensional letter with opaque face and side walls.
ROOF SIGN: A building mounted sign erected on the roof of a building.
SIDEWALK/SANDWICH SIGN: A moveable sign not secured or attached to the ground or surface upon which it is located, but supported by its own frame and most often forming the cross-sectional shape of an A.
SIGN: Any visual display with words or symbols designed to convey information or attract attention.
SIGN BAND: A horizontal area above a multi-tenants’ building’s entrances, architecturally designed to accommodate signage in a sign centric manner.
SIGN FACE: The area of a sign on which copy is intended to be placed.
SINGLE-FACE SIGN: A sign with only one face plane.
STATIONARY SIGN: A sign with a power-cord for attachment to a source of electrical power that is not readily moveable or portable.
TEMPORARY SIGN: Any sign not intended for permanent installation.
TIME AND TEMPERATURE DISPLAY: A variable message sign which displays current time and temperature in a stationary or alternating manner. Some also display simple messages
TRAFFIC COUNT: The recording of the vehicles and pedestrians passing a given point, usually in a day.
TRANSFORMER: Electrical equipment that converts input voltage and current to a different output voltage and current.
TRIM CAP: 1″ plastic trim that is added to cut out plastic letter that adds dimension, and enables to attach it to a channel letter.
UNDER-CANOPY SIGN: A sign designed to be mounted underneath a canopy.
VARIABLE MESSAGE SIGN: A sign that includes provisions for message changes. Also called changeable copy panel, changeable copy sign, time and temperature sign, electronic message center, menu board.
VARIANCE: Special administrative procedure by which one may obtain an exception to zoning rules such as height, setback and type of use.
VISIBILITY: The quality of a letter, number, graphic, or symbol, which enables the observer to distinguish it from its surrounds or background.
WALL SIGN: A building mounted sign.