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February 26, 2015

How To Improve Signage Night Visibility


Your potential customer just showed you his front lit channel letter sign artwork. You notice the design calls for burgundy vinyl covering the face.

What should you tell your customer about the potential night visibility performance of that color? Tell them the night visibility will probably not be optimal.

The issue is that certain vinyl colors have much better night visibility than others (even with properly installed illumination). And it is always best to inform your customer of this issue in advance.

Which face vinyl colors may not have a vibrant night appearance?

Here are a few examples: *Dark Blue *Burgundy *Black *Purple

If your customer asks your advice on which channel letter vinyl color has clear and distinct night visibility, white is a safe choice. Your customer may insist on using a darker vinyl color (possibly to match a company color branding configuration). If that is the case, another option is to use light face acrylic with a dark vinyl overlay slightly smaller than the face. That is called a “reveal” letter configuration.

The letter below has a reveal configuration – blue vinyl on white acrylic:


This configuration (darker vinyl over lighter acrylic) generates a very visible letter set. This photo shows a reveal channel letter configuration sign at night – it has a prominent appearance despite the use of a dark vinyl overlay:  

Another option is to utilize perforated vinyl. This product can provide a dark day face appearance with a lighter night presentation.

Check these day/night photos:  

Perforated Vinyl – Day Appearance 

 Perforated Vinyl – Night Appearance

Here is another example. This letter has a standard white acrylic face:  

Here is that same letter with full cover dark blue vinyl:  

Again, here is the same letter with a reveal blue vinyl configuration – note the visibility improvement:  

Here is the same letter’s day appearance with perforated vinyl:  

Last, here is the letter’s night appearance with perforated vinyl:  

So the bottom line is – a dark vinyl face covering will impact your customer’s night sign visibility. Your customer’s sign has to compete with other signage for attention – why use a color which will reduce readership and impressions? Ask them to consider a lighter vinyl color or a vinyl configuration that will improve the visibility.