What kind of lights does outdoor retail signage need?

When you have retail signage outdoors, the sign needs to be visible even when the sun isn’t shining. It’s a good idea to consider adding sign lights or some form of outdoor lighting designed to help improve the visibility of the sign at all times.

Many businesses have started using LED lighting or even just using outdoor lighted business signs instead-but commercial lighting is important. If the sign isn’t visible, it will not serve its purpose.

Technology has continually advanced over the years, and this includes outdoor sign lighting options. So how do you know what kind of lights you need for your outdoor retail signage? It really will depend on your overall setup but also may depend on your desired look as well as your budget.

We’ve got some helpful details for you to check out here! And here is an article about helpful retail signage ideas

Types of Sign Lights for Outdoor Lighting

First, let’s take a look at the different types of sign lights and outdoor lighting that you might find available out there. You will find there are many selections from signage lighting. In some cases, the lighting system is built within the sign. You see this in neon signs or LED signage.

Of course, you also can affix direct lighting towards the sign. This is completed with things like floodlights, fluorescent fixtures, and other types of light fixtures that are set up near the sign to shine direct light over the sign for display.

The best lighting option will again depend on your signage among other things, but the effect is the same – increase curb appeal and visibility.

LED Signage or LED Lighting

This is a fairly broad category that can be put to work in multiple ways. In this regard, an LED sign will be similar to a neon sign but offers more energy efficiency when you compare them. It has been found that using LED as opposed to fluorescent lights or neon signs is far more cost-effective and can save money.

In most cases, LED sign use has an incredibly bright output, so the sign is highly visible. With that, the color rendering index is far more attractive as well. LEDs create eye-catching illumination that lasts, and it’s great for outdoor use. Using less energy and offering better visibility are just a couple of the many benefits these bulbs can offer.

LED signage can be used in different ways as well, whether you want to place a sign in the window of your business or you’re looking for a storefront sign. We want to spend a minute covering LED lighting because they are a great option compared to other lighting options out there. While you might decide that this type of illumination isn’t right for your sign, potential customers need to understand the benefits to choose the right fixtures.

Quality of Light

LED signage does far more than just offer illumination to signs. The light quality is far superior. It’s eye-catching, and it’s clear. This means you can see it well from a specific location and sometimes even quite a ways off. Customization tends to be easier with this type of light in a sign and can sometimes even be controlled with a remote.

Compared to fluorescent lamps, they are far more energy-efficient and require less maintenance and care. The lighting is softer and inviting rather than harsh. It’s also more even throughout the entire light fixture.

Compare LED to neon in this capacity, and neon lighting options tend to blur from a distance.

LED stands for light-emitting diode, and that diode tends to make people extremely happy with their light results.

Fence mesh banners also encourage passers-by to visit the site it’s placed on. Or prepare them to add this particular event to their upcoming schedule.

Lifespan and Maintenance

Durability refers to both the lasting quality of the fixtures as well as the overall maintenance required and in this case, LED lights win in both regards. Most LED lighting options that are worth using will produce up to 50,000 hours of light.

If you haven’t done the math, that’s more than 2,000 days of constant light, which translates to more than five years. This is assuming the light is running 24 hours. Or, if you consider that you use the lighting more like 12 hours a day (or even less), you will get 10+ years out of the LED lights.

In comparison, options like fluorescent lighting only last from 10,000-20,000 hours.

The maintenance requirements are also far less. LED signs and sign lighting require little to no maintenance, so you may never have to maintain them during the full 50,000-hour life span. They are reliable even in extreme cold or extreme heat and adverse weather.


Outdoor sign lighting requires electricity, right? Even LED strip lights or any other type of exterior sign lighting is going to require electricity to operate.

LED strip lights and other forms of LED sign lighting have been shown to reduce energy costs. The light-emitting diodes in this type of signage lighting produce approximately 100 lumens per watt used. This means that you need fewer watts to produce even better lighting. This makes LED signs and LED strip lights far more affordable as they use significantly less power than other industrial lighting options.

When you compare to sign lighting like neon, those get anywhere from 10-60 lumens per watt, so it’s a decrease of AT LEAST 40 lumens per watt.

LED Lights Safety

Safety probably isn’t something you even think about when you plan sign lighting, but we want to point it out as it does make a difference.

Old school sign lighting that uses neon or fluorescents isn’t safe should a bulb break or crack or burst. The thing is, these lights are inside of sharp and fragile glass canisters. Fluorescent lights have to be disposed of in a very careful way as they are known to contain mercury and exposure could be dangerous and toxic.

Neon lights are much the same. While they don’t contain mercury, they do contain gas that could affect your skin if it were to be impacted. The canisters are also still fragile, so care is required.

An LED, on the other hand, has nothing toxic, and the exterior is not fragile at all. There is glass that breaks easily, no mercury, and it is much more safety overall.

We’ve focused a lot on LED-style lighting fixture details here because they are a popular retail signage option. Now, let’s also take a look at some of the other signage lighting out there.

Flood Lights

​Some businesses choose to use floodlights for their outdoor sign lighting. If you have a sign in place near the road that isn’t as visible as you like it to be, or when it gets dark, floodlights could help with this.

Floodlighting usually is implanted into the ground and then directed towards the sign to spotlight it. Floodlighting can be installed in other ways too. They are bright and act as a spotlight. Typically one or two floodlights towards a sign will be sufficient to produce effective lighting in the area.

Much like shades, these can be purchased in varying styles, colors, and sizes as well.

Choosing Your Retail Signage Lighting

When you’re choosing your lights, there are several things to consider to determine what types of outdoor signage lighting you might need on your business sign, including hanging retail signage that may have more complex lighting requirements.

Your lighting needs will most likely be specific to you and your business signage, but we have some great tips for helping you make a decision.

Local Temperatures and Weather

One thing you might want to take into account when you consider your lighting needs is the type of weather your lights might be subjected to. If you plan to use a lighted sign like LED, fluorescent, neon, or even fiber optics, you need to know how weather conditions could affect them.

In some cases, extreme temperatures or adverse weather could cause certain light not to function properly.

Even if you choose to go with shade lamps rather than a lit sign, it’s important to know these details as you will want to choose bulbs you can depend on for lighting purposes, right? You may want to choose an LED bulb for your fixtures for this purpose.

Remember that LED is less susceptible to weather, including those extreme temps, humidity, moisture, and more.


​Consider the location of your business as well as the lighting. Are you in a location where big LED or neon (or any other material) lights just don’t fit in? Some areas and businesses tend to take a more sophisticated approach, and in this case, fixtures work better around the signs in place as the purpose of the look tends to be sleek and stylish as opposed to bright.

You still want illumination, but in this case, you may be better off with light fixtures around the signs rather than signs like LED, neon, or fluorescent that bring illumination from the inside out.

Consider the location of your business as well as the location of the sign and what will best fit in this scenario for lighting purposes. It’s all about choosing your illumination right to set the scene for your area and your business.


Your budget may impact the lighting that you choose. However, you will be pleased to know that you can find energy-efficient lighting that is going to save your lighting costs in the long run.

Having custom signs designed and then choosing the lighting that works for your location and your sign can be done within your budget. You just need to find a sign expert that you can trust to help you create the lighting that you’re looking for.

Signs can be made in a lot of different options, as can your lights. Once you’ve checked out some of the basics, it’s time to take action.

The Process to Light a Business Sign

Now, we’ve covered a lot of detail here, including various fixtures, the lighting choices, and other related topics on the light. So, where do you start? This next section will include a step-by-step breakdown for choosing your lights and implementing them for your business.

Keep in mind this is a basic process. We will try to provide every tip, but each business is different, so some steps may require extra effort or customization to get your light perfectly set up.

Choose Light or a Light Source

Start by choosing your light and your light source. Will you be using lights that create the sign? or adding lights around the signage?

Some businesses like to have their name and company logos all lit up with LED and other styles, while some prefer to add fixtures surrounding their signage to enhance the overall look.

This is your starting point. Do you already have signage in place that you are looking to improve, or are you starting from square one? If you’re starting from square one, will you be using a fully lit sign or creating a traditional sign and then adding lighting fixtures around it?

Start with that question. If you are undecided, you might consider chatting with a professional to give you tips or recommendations on the topic. You can also check out surrounding businesses and see what they are doing. What do you feel will make the best fit in the area?

So you’ve chosen your intentions for the sign as a whole, now let’s plan the light. Whether your sign is lit or you are adding fixtures, you need to choose the light source. We talked extensively about LEDs earlier, but you may determine that you prefer to use something like fiber optics, fluorescent, or neon. There are also incandescent and HID lights.

The fact of the matter is that each of these is different and unique and they all have their pros and cons. Ultimately, you will make a decision based on your budget and your needs, and then you can work from there to get the sign and light fixtures (if needed) put into place.

If you chose to use a lighted sign, you can probably stop here. If you need more light or plan to add fixture options, keep going!

Choose a Style

Assuming you’ve chosen to use fixture light to accentuate or add to your signage, now you need to choose your style.

The style is going to be primarily related to the shade, but it could also be for the mounting apparatus. We will talk about the mounting pieces next, so in this step, just focus on the shade style.

You will find that there are tons of different options out there for shades. You can select based solely on a style you prefer, but some pointers could make a difference.

For example, if your shade is longer, it’s going to focus the light more. Longer shades will start to work almost like a spotlight with a focused beam that you can place to your liking.

A shorter shade will have the opposite effect, providing a larger lighting space or angle. These are more open, so the light is more of a surrounding light than a spotlight effect.

If you’re looking for more direct light to be focused on a specific spot, then use a deeper or longer shade. If you want more general and surrounding lighting, look for a more open shade.

Once you’ve chosen your shade style, you will need to then choose other aspects of the light.

Choose Your Mounting

Next, choose how you plan to mount the lights. This could vary depending on your needs as well.

Gooseneck mounts have a curved arm that comes out and then curves up or down. They can be placed above or below and then angled towards your signage.

Barn Lights have a slight curve in the arm, but it’s far less dramatic. Again, these could be placed above or below. They typically are not angled, so these work best with your open shades.

Something like a floodlighting setup typically goes in the ground, although they can be mounted. They are set back and pointed like a spotlight towards the sign. If you use floodlights, you may be more limited in shade options.

Bullet lights are designed to act as a spotlight with a very obvious point and angle. These are typically used with deep shades for a direct lighting purpose.

Mounting arms come in different lengths and styles. You can work with a professional sign company on your options, but the amount you choose will be based on the effect you want to create with your light and the type of setup you want to achieve.

Choose Your Color

Once you’ve settled on the shade and the mounting piece, you need a color to finish your light. Your options will vary here, and you can probably choose just about any color you want. Of course, there are traditional colors like white, brass, silver, black, and so on. Or you can settle on a different color.

We recommend keeping your color subtle and maybe going with something that matches or blends with the colors around. Maybe even a complimentary color. Remember, the focus is meant to be on the sign and not the lights, so choose a color that won’t distract.

Most shops will be able to provide you with basic options as well as custom color options. We recommend keeping it light and simple to accent the space.

Choose Final Touches

You’ve got your light picked out now you need to choose the final touches to perfect the details. How many lights will you need for this style? How do you plan to set them up with the sign?

You might also find that there are additional accessories that can come in handy for some uses so check out your options. You can choose your placement by figuring out ideal spacing and how you intend to aim the lights.

This is going to be preferential, but you can also work with a sign professional for recommendations to figure out the details. We are trained and skilled in this area and work to bring suitable solutions that meet your needs and still look great! Platon Graphics isn’t simply entrusted to supply you with quality digital printing, quick pivot time, eco friendly printing materials, assist with fulling administration yet in addition at an exceptionally cutthroat cost. Simply search “outdoor retail signage lights near me” and you’ll think that we are on the main page. Much obliged to you for your advantage in Platon Graphics, we expect to serve you later on !

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Use a Professional Sign Company

When you’re ready to get started, we recommend working with a retail signage company that can listen to your ideas and helps bring them to life.

Every business is different, and it makes sense that lighting needs will be different too. That’s where a custom solution can help create the best effect for your lighting needs.

We are here to help! With extensive experience in the signage and lighting industry, we can work with you to create a custom style or add to a sign that you already have in place to make it more attractive. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for all of your signage needs. We’re here to help!

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