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Allen Sign Company

Turn-Key Sign Design, Sign Manufacturing, Sign Installation and Sign Service since 1979.

825 Market Street

Building M, Suite #250

Allen, TX  75013

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Lighting Choices for Monument Signs


There are many different ways that you can light up your sign:  neon, LEDs, H. I. D. (High Intensity Discharge), fiber optics, spotlighting, etc.  However, for most sign cabinets fluorescent lighting is still the best.  Recently there have been dramatic advances in fluorescent lighting that have not been widely utilized in the sign industry.

If you are aware of the recent developments in automobile headlights, how some headlights are brighter and more visible than traditional headlights, you can understand how simply selecting the proper light spectrum and intensity can dramatically affect the visibility aspects of your sign.

There are two important indexes for judging the importance of various lamps in illuminating your sign: Color Rendering Index (CRI) and the light’s color, expressed as degrees Kelvin (K).

In degrees Kelvin a lower number is a more “yellow/red” light, a higher number is a more “blue” light.

Interestingly, the color of “daylight” varies from the equator to the poles.  But it is generally accepted as about 6000K with a CRI of 100.

A CRI of 100 is perfectly matching the sun’s effect on colors.

In white neon the old standard has been that 6500K neon is best for lighting a sign face.  It has a CRI of 65.  The tri-phosphor “rare earth” neon Allen Signs Manufacturing uses to illuminate digital graphics, translucent paint, translucent vinyl, and color transparencies has a CRI of almost 100.

The “multi-vapor” HID lighting we use is 6000K with a CRI of almost 100.  These are the highest ratings obtainable with HID lighting.  Other forms of HID lighting have lower values.

Fluorescent lamps, the most common way to light a sign cabinet, offer choices.

Because of a general lack of knowledge most sign companies, and therefore the non-major-retailer signs, have gravitated to cool white, high output (CW HO) lamps.  They were the original color available, and they are cheaper.  Not a lot cheaper, but cheaper.

Unless you work for a very major corporation and have been paid to study this issue this information has not been readily available until now.

NBC SIGN FACE LIGHTED WITH 2 DIFFERENT LAMPSThanks to digital photography we are now able to show you what we are talking about without asking each potential customer to visit our lighting laboratory.

The left side of the picture is a sign lighted by Daylight HO lamps, the right side with CW HO lamps.  A thin black line has been placed where the two pictures are spliced together.

CW HO lamps are 4500K with a CRI of 50.

The best fluorescent lamp now available for a signs application is a “Daylight HO” lamp.  It is 6000K and has a CRI of 65, the highest value we can obtain with a fluorescent lamp.  (This color and CRI are also available in VHO lamps.)

These lamps are slightly more expensive, but they are what we use in the fluorescent lighted signs we manufacture.  If you have existing outdoor fluorescent signs you would be wise to have us install Daylight HO lamps in them.  Your signs will certainly be more noticeable.

Our simple goal is to get a potential customer to notice your sign first; rather than look at someone else’s sign and never notice yours.

Fluorescent, HID, and Neon Brightness


Glass tubes 8 mm to 18 mm thick are used to make “neon” lamps, 18 mm to 30 mm thick to make so-called “cold-cathode” lamps, thicker to make “fluorescent” lamps.

Other than size and the type of electrode used, there is no difference between neon and fluorescent lamps of the same color output.  The size and/or color does change the energy requirements, however, which is why they use different power sources.  All things being equal, the thinner the tube, the more light it puts out.

Unless there are over-riding lumen requirements, or landlord restrictions, we will adjust your lighting to give you the brightest sign possible.

We always space fluorescent lighting tubes, and HID lighting, 25% closer than virtually all other sign manufacturers, much closer than the "cheap" manufacturers, to insure a bright sign.

Again, our simple goal is to get a potential customer to notice your sign first; rather than look at someone else’s sign and never notice yours.   When you use electricity it should attract customers.

We can make you an even brighter sign, click our Brighter Signs tab to the left.

SolarBrite™ Long-life Internal LED Lighting


Many companies manufacture LEDs.  There are over 5,000 varied LEDs available, and they vary greatly as to brightness, lux, light-dispersal (viewing) angle, useful lifetime, and lifetime.

Some are very cheap, some are quite expensive.

Signs Manufacturing™ only uses SolarBrite™ long-lasting LEDs that are rated to retain 80% of their brightness for 60,000+ hours.  These are the most expensive, but highest value, conventional LEDs.  Our selection of LEDs is what makes our signs brighter, and last longer.

As an example, a White SolarBrite™ LED is 280 lux, compared to our BrighterSigns™ neon's 235 lux, or standard neon's 140 lux.  "Lux" is the candle-power of light shining on a surface.

However, with visible light sources "nits" are more important than "lux."  As explained below, Signs Manufacturing Corporation's SolarBrite™ LEDs are 8,000 to 13,000 nits, depending on color.

A SolarBrite™ long-life LED incorporates a new kind of chip, different from all other LEDs.  Signs Manufacturing™ is an industry leader in the implementation of new technology in advertising.

SolarBrite™ LEDs utilize military specification coatings on the circuit boards the LEDs are attached to, preventing corrosion and electrical problems.

Like neon, LEDs are also affected by voltage.  For instance, an LED will also burn nearly 100% brighter if you double the power feeding it.  The LED will last about 1/6 as long, however, making this alternative quite expensive in total cost.  We power our SolarBrite™ LEDs properly.

Incandescent Lighting


Incandescent (household) lamps begin disappearing in 2012, starting with the 100 watt lamp, and will be mostly gone by 2014.

The Government has mandated that all these lamps, with 22 exceptions, must begin being at least 25% more energy efficient starting in 2014, 70% more efficient by 2020.

"Sign Service" lamps are exempt, but whether or not lamp manufacturers will recognize a big enough market to continue to make just them is problematic.

Also, Sign Service lamps not the type of lamps used to externally light signs.

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