Glossary of Sign Terms, Signage Terminology

Insignia Menu Bar 1
Index Signage Slideshow for Insignia Sign Company
Facebook Logo Flickr Logo Twitter Logo Youtube Logo RSS Icon

   HDU Signs



   Joseph Westbrook

   Wes Stewart
   (Graphic Design / Documentation)

   KB Homes

Glossary of Sign Terms: Signage Terminology

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


Acrylic Signs: Acrylic is a clear plastic polymer that looks like glass, but is strong and durable.

ADA Signs (ADA Signage, ADA Compliant Signs): The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 created specific standards and regulations that businesses are required to follow or face fines and/or lawsuits. Many of these rules relate to accessibility, proper signage and more. Proper ADA signage includes: bathroom signs, braille signs, exit signs, parking signs and restroom signs.

Advertising Signs: Advertisement signs have one primary purpose, which is to attract and drive clients to your business. This type of signage must be easy to read, grab attention quickly and convey the correct message about the business.

Architectural Signs: These 3-dimensional forms of company signage provide a variety of information. Some examples include: entry monument signs, LED channel letters and illuminated directory signs. These signs have high visibility and are great for company branding and advertising.

Auto Dealership Signs: (See Car Dealership Signs)


Banners: (See Vinyl Banners)

Braille Signs: (See ADA Signs)

Building Codes (Building Permits): These are a set of state or local regulations that govern public safety and construction standards. Each governing agency has its own requirements and issue permits to allow a construction project to move forward.

Building Signs: There are a large variety of building signs with many purposes. The thing that they all have in common is that they are attached to a building. Some examples include: outdoor LED channel letters, neon signs, directory signs, cut vinyl lettering and custom vinyl banners.

Business Signs: This is a broad category of signage. Any sign that is developed to advertise your business or convey a message about a business can be included.


Cabinet Signs (Can Signs): These signs consist of a frame and surface which is used to display advertising material.

Car Dealership Signs: These signs are used to advertise, promote and provide information about car & auto dealerships.

Casino Signs: These signs are used to advertise, promote and provide information about casinos.

Ceramic Tile Signs: Ceramic is composed of clay and other materials that are exposed to heat. Some examples include: porcelain and bone china. These tiles fracture easily and can be earthy or shiny, depending on how they are prepared. These are typically hand-painted and used as number or address signs.

Channel Letters (Back Lit, Halo Lit, LED, Reverse, Standard): Channel Letters are 3-dimensional lettering of various fonts that are used to spell out words and phrases. These are often illuminated through various methods.

Church Signs: These signs are used to advertise, promote and provide information about churches.

Commercial Signs: (See Business Signs)

Construction Signs: These signs are used to provide information to people on freeways, highways and other construction zones. They usually convey a message of caution and/or instructions on where to travel.

Corrugated Plastic Signs: Corrugated plastic is a flexible, lightweight, cost effective, versatile and durable substance derived from hydrocarbons and petroleum products. It is best used for interior and short-term use for political signs, yard signs, construction signage, menu boards, trade shows, special event signs and more.

Custom Signs: Each client has special needs and requirements. Insignia has in-house graphic designers, technology and years of experience that allows us to customize and modify design, constructuion and/or installation of most signage.

Cut Vinyl Lettering: Die-cut lettering, computer cut vinyl lettering or self-stick letters are all created by the same process. Letters, words and phrases are cut into a piece of vinyl with a sticky adhesive back. These letters are cut out and applied to the surfaces of boats, trucks, cars, windows or walls.


Digital Graphics (Digital Graphic Design): Computer-generated images are applied to many types of signage. These can be stock images and designs or custom created.

Dimensional Letters: These are 3-dimensional letters (or techniques to enhance a 3-d appearance) that are used for various signage projects.

Directory Signs (Directional Signs): These signs are used to convey information on where to go. It could be a list of business names and room numbers or a list of retail businesses and which direction to travel. Other signs that fall in this category are lobby signs, exit signs, freeway signs, traffic signs and route signs.

Donor Recognition Plaques: These plaques are engraved and installed into a wall or floor design that is often used to be a permanent form of recognition, such as a war memorial or donor wall.


Education Signs: (See School Signs)

Entry Monuments: (See Monuments)

Exit Signs: (See ADA Signs)

Exterior Signs: (See Outdoor Signs)


Faux Finish (Finish): Insignia can customize a faux finish to any texture or patina. We can make signs look like granite, stone, rock, marble, sand, metal, wood, stucco and much more. We can finish HDU "foam" to look like any of a variety of wood species (such as mahogany or walnut) and to emulate marble, granite and cast metals. We are very skilled at making Medex look like a cast aluminum or bronze sign. Just imagine the possibilities with our faux finishing techniques.

Fleet Vehicle Wraps (Fleet Vehicle Graphics): Wrapping a large number of cars, trucks or vans with an eye-catching design can be a positive form of advertising and corporate branding.

Flex Face Signs (Panaflex Signs): A durable, flexible and translucent material is fastened to a sign cabinet and backlit. These make great outdoor signs.

Foam Plex Lettering: These are 3-dimensional letters cut from a plex-laminated durable high density foam rubber (polyurethane) that can be used for interior and outside signs.

Freeway Signs: (See Directional Signs)


Glass Signs: These are signs that are constructed from glass or on glass.

Government Signs: These are signs that are used by government agencies and entities, such as construction signs, directory signs and channel letters.

Graphics: (See Digital Graphics)


Hand-Carved Signs: These are signs composed of relatively soft material, such as wood or foam, that can be shaped with hand tools.

Hand-Painted Signs: These are signs that are painted and colored with hand tools.

High Density Urethane (HDU) Signs: HDU is a synthetic, petroleum derived, product that is lightweight, strong, easily manipulated with tools and machines, unaffected by temperature, mold resistant, fireproof and waterproof. It is great material for both indoor and outdoor signs of all types.

High Pressure Laminate Signs: These are signs made of pressed plastic. The are lightweight, durable, water resistant and vandal resistant. They are commonly used for outdoor trail entrance signs.

High Rise Signs:: These are outdoor signs that are typically on the side of tall buildings. Special equipment and training is necessary to install these signs because of the difficult conditions present during sign installation.

Highway Signs: (See Directional Signs)

Home (House) Signs: (See Real Estate Signs)

Hotel Signs (Motel Signs): These are signs that are used to advertise the location of a hotel or motel with the proper business image, such as an entry monument. These are directory signs that tell a client where different places are, such as a pool, room or cafeteria. ADA compliant signage is also necessary to follow the guidelines of the American with Disabilities Act.


Illuminated Signs (Lighted Signs): These are signs that are lit in some fashion, such as LED lights, par cans or neon.

Inspections: These are on-site visits usually conducted by a government agency to verify that any construction or signage project is following the guidelines and laws set down by these agencies.

Interior Signs (Inside Signs): These are signs that are used for inside spaces, such as offices, door entrances, restrooms or directories.




Large Format Printing: Special software and equipment is necessary to design and print material that is much larger than a standard sheet of paper. Large vinyl banners, fleet vehicle wraps and interior window designs are some examples of this type of printing.

LED Signs: LED, or light-emitting-diode, is a semiconductor that emits light when electricity runs through it. They can be manufactured to glow any color of the rainbow and they generate much less heat than a traditional incandescent bulb.

Lighted Signs: (See Illuminated Signs)

Lobby Signs: These are interior office signs usually positioned at the lobby area or entrance of a building to direct clients to the correct location within the building.

Logo: A logo is a visual and identifiable representation of a business. It is used as a visual cue to easily identify a business. A logo should be simple enough to be seen when small and detailed enough to be visually appealing when enlarged. Insignia has significant experience working with and developing business logos.


Magnetic Signs: These are signs with a magnetic backing that can be easily adhered to a metal surface, such as a vehicle. Because they are not permanently installed, they are mobile and are great for tradeshows, kiosks and other mobile marketing venues.

Marquee Signs: These are outdoor entry signs placed in a high visibility location. They typically showcase event information. These should be durable signs that are easily accessed.

Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF, Medex) Signs: MDF is an engineered blend of homogeneous wood fibers and resin to create a durable material that can be sandblasted, engraved or fabricated to make authentic looking wood signs that have a much reduced chance of cracking, splitting or rotting.

Menu Boards (Restaurant Menu Boards): These are highly visible and often laminated material that displays a restaurant's product and pricing to clients. They can be indoor or outdoor signs.

Message Boards: These signs display information. Whether it is today's specials or the score of a football game, they need to be legible and visible.

Metal Signs (Aluminum Signs, Steel Signs): Whether its copper, aluminum, steel, brass or any other metal alloy, these signs are made of metal. The can be carved, cut or stamped to create a durable sign.

Monuments (Monument Signs): These stand-alone signs are typically placed in a highly visible location near the entrance of a business. They often have the business name and logo and provide an opportunity to market and brand a location.


Natural Stone Signs: Whether it is granite, marble or other naturally occuring rock, letters and images are sandblasted into the material to provide information.

Neon Signs: Neon and argon are stable naturally occuring gases that when exposed to electricity in a controlled environment using tubes generate colored light.

Non-Profit Signs: (See Donor Recognition Plaques)


Office Signs: These are a variety of signs that are placed within an office environment. They include cut vinyl lettering and dimensional letters.

Open Sign: These signs tell clients that you are open for business and should invite them to enter your establishment.

Outdoor Signs (Exterior Signs): These signs need to be durable and visible from long distances to attract potential clients. These include entry monuments and channel letters.


Panaflex Signs: (See Flex Face Signs)

Parking Signs: (See ADA Signs)

Plaques: (See Donor Recognition Plaques)

Plastic Signs: (See Corrugated Plastic Signs)

Pole Signs (Pylon Signs): These signs use poles or pylons to support the visible parts of a sign. They can be small like political signs are large like a restaurant sign visible from a freeway off-ramp.

Political Signs: These signs and banners are used to support a specific political person or cause. They do not need to last a long time. They need to be visible, visually appealing and affordable in large amounts.


Quality Control (QC): Government agents will visit the location to verify that the signage project is following legal guidelines. Also, Insignia will visit the location to verify that the signage produced by Insignia has completed all aspects of an agreed upon contract.


Real Estate Signs (Residential Signs): These signs attract people looking to purchase a home. Real estate developers and agents need to attract a potential house purchaser with well-lit visible entry monuments, directional signs and other forms of signage.

Restaurant Signs (Retail Signs, Retail Chain Signs): Family restaurants and food retail establishments need to market themselves in a crowded field of competitors. Proper visible and visually appealing outdoor signage is a key part of this strategy.

Restroom Signs: (See ADA Signs)

Retail Signs (Retail Chain Signs): (See Restaurant Signs)

Road Signs (Route Signs): (See Directional Signs)


Sandblasting Signs (Sandblasted Signs): Sandblasting is a technique used to shape material, such as glass and wood into a variety of shapes. This creates a unique identity to each individual sign. Insignia is an industry leader in this technique.

Safety Signs: A variety of signs are needed to maintain a safe environment in areas such as construction zones, hotels and restaurants. These signs describe slower speeds, areas to stay away from and more.

School Signs (Education Signs): Schools and educational facilities require a variety of signage to follow government mandated rules and protocols. These promote safety, security and help direct the flow of traffic.

Shopping Center Signs (Mall Signs, Outlet Centers): Shopping centers and malls require a large variety of signs that direct traffic, promote individual retail stores and promote safety.

Sign Cabinets: (See Cabinet Signs)

Sign Company (Signs Companies): Sign companies focus on manufacturing signs. Some are better than others. It is important to contract with a signage company that understands the entire process from planning and permitting to manufacturing and installation. And moreoever, it is key to use a company that improves the marketability and financial bottom line of a business.

Sign Design: (See Digital Graphics)

Sign Graphics: (See Digital Graphics)

Sign Media (Sign Substrates): There are a variety of materials that a sign can be made from, including: acrylic, glass, metal, stone, vinyl, wood and much more.

Sign Services: (See Sign Company)

Stone Signs: (See Natural Stone Signs)

Street Signs: (See Directional Signs)

Swimming Pool Depth Marker (Swimming Pool Depth Markings): These markers that show the depth of a pool are created by media sandblasting of material such as granite, marble and concrete.


3D Letters: (See Dimensional Letters)

Tile Signs: (See Ceramic Tile Signs)

Traffic Signs: (See Directional Signs)



Vehicle Wraps: (See Fleet Vehicle Wraps)

Vinyl Banners: (See Vinyl Signs)

Vinyl Lettering: (See Cut Vinyl Lettering)

Vinyl Signs: Vinyl is affordable and useful to make signage. It is a petroleum-based material. You can print on it and make vinyl banners, cut vinyl lettering and other vinyl signage.


Window Signs: These signs are typically cut vinyl lettering or etched glass by sandblasting that decorates a glass door or window.

Wood Signs (Wooden Signs): Wood is a soft durable material that can be easily molded into a variety of shapes through sandblasting and hand carving. These are a common form of signage.



Yard Signs: These signs are outdoor signs. Examples include: political signs, pole signs and construction signs. They are typically for short-term use.


Providing sign design and manufacturing nationwide from Orange County, CA
LED Channel Letters, Custom Illuminated Signs | Diamond Crest SEO Consulting