Glossary of Terms

Access Panel

A hinged or removable panel that provides access to the interior of a sign cabinet, allowing for inspection and servicing of its internal components. (Also called access door).

Backroom (Coaching) sign

Signage usually placed in a backroom or break room with messages for enhancing employee performance.

Benefit Sign

A sign that points out facts about the merchandise in question, whether it has to do with construction or performance.

Clearance area sign

Signage that distinguishes areas containing price-reduced products.


Abbreviation for the ink colors: cyan (blue), magenta (red), yellow and black. Combinations of these four colors of inks are used in printing to create all other colors.

Customer profile sign:

Signage that displays interesting information about a company’s better known customers.

Digital signage:

A form of electronic display showing advertising and public information in private and public areas (e.g. shopping malls, hospitals, colleges, retailers, small shops, waiting rooms, restaurants) both outdoors and indoor.

Digitally Printed Vinyl Decal:

Vinyl film with printed graphics, which is then applied to another surface. Typically used when complex logos are used.

Education sign:

Signage that teaches your customer about various topics (e.g. how a product works, how it was made, whether it is safe for the environment).


It's a process of working ornamental designs upon cloth or other material with a needle and thread.

Emotional sign:

Signage that forges an emotional connection with the customer.

Employee performance sign:

Signage that communicates to employees when the employer cannot.

Entertaining sign:

Signage that conveys humorous verbiage or images to the customer.


Short for the Encapsulated Post Script, the common file type that vector files are saved as in order to share such file among different graphic design programs.

Exposed Neon:

Neon that has no protective covering or enclosure.

Exterior Illuminated:

A sign that is illuminated by a light source that is directed towards, and shines on the face of a sign.


The surface area on a sign where advertising copy is displayed.

Flex Face:

A sign face made of a flexible material stretched over a supporting frame.

Floor sign:

A graphic or image displayed on the floor usually at the front of the establishment or the point of sale area.

Hal O Illuminated Channel Letter:

An illuminated reverse channel letter (open or translucent back) so light from the letter is directed against the surface behind the letter producing a halo lighting effect around the letter. Also referred to as Silhouette lighted or halo lighted.

Incentive sign:

Signage that conveys a promise of a reward to employees.

Informational sign:

Signage that used to establish a store’s personality, to build and reinforce a relationship with the customer, and to help cement a position in the community.

Internally Illuminated:

A sign that is illuminated by a light source that is contained inside the light.

Job Site Sign:

Announces project credits and information regarding a construction project such as architect, developer, consultants, financing, etc.


Short for Joint Photographic Exports Group, is a graphics for file format designed for use with photographs and other color bitmap files.

LED Module:

Short for Light Emitting Diode, A small electronic device that emits light when electrically charged.


Polycarbonate plastic sheeting

Mission/purpose statement signage:

Signage that states a store’s core values and fundamental beliefs.

Monument Sign:

A freestanding sign that stands directly on the ground or ground foundation.

Negative Space:

Empty or unused space (having no lettering or graphics) within the sign face.


Electric discharge, cold cathode tubing manufactured into shapes that form letters, parts of letters, skeleton tubing, outline lighting, and other decorative elements or art forms, in various colors and diameters and filled with inert gasses.


Describes any material or substance through which light does not pass.

Pan face:

A plastic sign face molded into a three dimensional shape. Also called molded face or molded and embossed face, debossed face.

Pantone Matching System:

Also shortened to simply PMS, is a standardized series of thousands of colors, each with specific color formulations as and identification numbers.


Short for Portable Document Format, are files that allows the reader to view and print a document as originally designed without having to install the original design program or fonts used to create the file. Software for viewing PDF files is Adobe Acrobat Reader.


An inscribed, commemorative plate or tablet, usually of metal.


Signage that attracts interest, encourages message retention and drive sales; also, great at motivating additional purchases.

Pole Cover:

An enclosure for concealing and/or for decorating poles or other structural supports of a ground sign.

Pole Sign:

A freestanding sign, usually double-faced, mounted on a round pole, square tube, or other fabricated member.

Policy sign:

Signage that answers questions: Can this item be returned? How do I special order something? What happens if my expensive purchase doesn’t work?

Post and Panel Sign:

A sign fabricated by using one or more visible posts to support the sign body.

Price only sign:

Signage that only displays pricing with no additional information (e.g. 10.99”).

Price proposition sign:

Signage that only include numbers.

Product benefit sign:

Signage that states the advantages of a product or service to the customer.

Project Sign:

A sign that is attached to a building but extends beyond the building.

Proud papa sign:

Signage that showcases in a prominent location the products that the store is most proud of.

QR Code:

A machine-readable code consisting of an array of black and white squares, typically used for storing URLs or other information for reading by a smartphone or camera.


A metal structure enclosing the electric components of a sign. It may also serve as a mounting structure for the sign.

Raster File Types:

.jpg, .gif, .png, .tif . Vector files are best for logos, icons, lettering, or any hard-edged

Reminder sign:

Signage that reminds a customer of something they might need or want, like batteries for a toy.


A framing member mounted around the perimeter of a sign face, and attached to the sign cabinet structure.


The side of a channel letter.

Screen Printing

It is to force ink or metal onto (a surface) through a prepared screen of fine material so as to create a picture or pattern.

Sign Band:

A horizontal area above as a multi-tenant’s buildings’ entrances, architecturally designed to accommodate signage in a sign centric manner.


Any device used in mounting letters or signs that separate them from the surface to which are being installed.

Story sign:

Signage that tells a story about a product; like where it comes from, how it was developed.


The material out of which the face is made. Wood, metal sheeting, paper and acrylic are some examples of sign substrates.

Testimonial sign:

Signage that captures the feedback of a customer promoting a store’s product and/or service.

Threshold area:

The area within the first 10-20 feet of the entrance of the store (the number of feet varies only because of the size of the store).

Threshold sign:

Signage that appears within the first 10-15 feet of entering a store.

Time & Temp:

A variable message sign which displays current time and temperature in a stationary or alternating manner.


The electronic component that changes the voltage coming into the sign (the primary voltage) into a higher or lower level (the secondary voltage) necessary to power the sign.

Translucent Vinyl:

Allows the passage of some light through the vinyl illuminating the vinyl, without being transparent.

U-Channel Post:

A standardized steel post with the pre-drilled holes for easy sign installation

Vector art:

Ideal for printing since it is made from a series of mathematical curves, it will print very crisply even when resized. Whereas a low-resolution rastor graphic will blur or pixelate excessively of when enlarged.

Vector File Types:

.ai, .eps, .pdf, .svg

Wayfinding (Directional) sign:

Signage that tells customers “the way” to what they’re looking for.

Window Graphics:

A graphic or image placed usually on a customer facing window with messaging on sales, new products, upcoming events, etc.: used to drive traffic into the store.