Neon vs LED Sign Lighting: Which is better for my business?

The most common options for lighting interior signage is through LED and Neon lights.

Before we dive into the differences, let’s start with why you even need lighting?

When you’re walking or driving by, let’s face it, an illuminated sign is going to capture your attention way faster than an unlit sign. That means the difference in choosing your store or your competitors.

But why do I need lighting? I’m only open during the daytime.

Even during the day, lighting can make a big impact. If your lobby sign is illuminated, it’s going to make a much bigger and memorable first impression on your customers.

Also, just because you close at 5pm doesn’t mean potential customers aren’t walking/driving by after that. They’re  not choosing to work with you because they didn’t notice your office.

Let your signage work for you even when you’re not there!

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So how do you know which type of lighting to pick?

Well, let’s start with the perks of our top choice, LED lights:

  • Last Longer

  • Don’t contain harmful gases

  • Brighter

  • Use less energy

  • Don’t need to be replaced regularly

  • Ability to change colors

Things to consider about Neon:

  • Neon contains mercury which is harmful to the environment

  • Made of glass and easily broken

  • The one perk is the nostalgia of the old school look and warm light

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LED lights can be utilized in several ways to create unique effects depending on which layers of the sign they are used on. Here’s some examples of how you can incorporate LED lighting into your custom sign to really make it stand out.

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If you’re not sure how to best utilize lighting with your particular logo or design, simply give us a call and speak with one of our designers. Or go ahead and start the quoting process at the link below, and one of our designers will review your information and be ready with some options to discuss.

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Travelling for a Cause

Once a week there seems to be a regional or national protest that happens some place in the country. We decided to find out a little more about these protests and the people who join them :)

Created by ShieldCo  • View larger version

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Political Signage

Everyone hates political signage.... or do they? We decided to have a little fun and run a survey to find out more about our hatred or love of political signage. Check out to see some of our results! 

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Metal Army Fight Song

Metal Army Fight Song

Location- Leland, North Carolina

Original Request- Would love to have another one of the custom metal Army fight songs cut for my husband to hang in our house.

Agreed Upon Specifications

Final Images of Design

Final Specs of Design

Width- 31.5"

Height- 43"

Layers- 1 Layer

Color/Finish- Brushed Aluminum

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Aluminum vs Stainless Steel: Which is Better?

Metal signs speak volumes. Their sturdiness, malleability, and sleek finish add a level of finesse to business signs. Making the best decisions about the design of your business’ sign shouldn’t be your sole consideration. The type of metal used also plays a major role in how long it will last in external weather conditions. Aluminum and steel are two of the best metals to use in metal signs. The table below compares both types of metals so that you can make an informed decision about the best metal to use for your sign.


Aluminum vs Stainless Steel

Strength to weight ratio

(Force per unit area divided by density)

Aluminum has a tensile strength of 276 MPa and a density of 2.81gcm-3. Aluminum is, therefore, lighter than steel.

Stainless steel has a tensile strength of 505 MPa and a density of 8 gcm-3. Stainless steel is, therefore, stronger than aluminum.


Aluminum creates a passivation layer that helps it resist oxidation and corrosion. Aluminum comes in multiple different alloys with the bulk of all aluminum being 5052 and 6061. 5052 is considered marine grade and is more resistant to corrosion than 6061.

Stainless steel contains chromium which has corrosion resistance properties. Stainless also comes in different alloy, with the bulk of all stainless being 304 and 316. 304 is the most common type of stainless steel. 316 has a greater resistance to corrosion. 316 costs costs more than 304, but it will last longer.


Aluminum is more expensive than stainless steel, when you compare it by weight. However, aluminum is about 1/3rd the weight of stainless steel, and when you compare the cost of the same volume of material, stainless steel is much more expensive, usually by about 30%


5052 aluminum is very malleable. 6061 is likely to crack if bent. Aluminum is weaker than stainless steel and therefore is more likely to bend.

Stainless steel is more likely to keep it’s shape than aluminum,

Electrical Conductivity

Aluminum conducts electricity well.

Steel is one of the poorest conductors of electricity amongst all the metals.


Aluminum is more difficult to weld than steel. When choosing an aluminum to weld, choose 5052, it is easier to weld than 6061.

Steel is less difficult to weld than aluminum.

How can we help you? Click the button below to get started on a free quote and we will help you however we can!


What does this mean for you?

Aluminum is a better metal to use for outdoor signs because it has better weather resistance than steel. Steel, however, has superior strength. So, if you’re comfortable with rust developing on your sign overtime in favor of something stronger, steel is your best option. Both metals can be used for indoor signs.

Essentially, the choice you make depends on what you’re willing to live with. Both metals will give you the refined look you desire. Their strength and weather resistance are the ultimate decision factors.


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Colors and Custom Metal Signage

“As the sun colors flowers, so does art color life.” ~John Lubbock

Color enhances everything. It helps you tell a story without having to use words. Custom metal signs sometimes need pops of color to send the right message for the intended audience.  However, according to Corky Binggeli and Patricia Greichen, authors of the book Interior Graphic Standards, “Color choices for sign messages, backgrounds, and graphics should be chosen to ensure adequate contrast and legibility.” They further state that signage guidelines dictate “a 70 percent contrast ratio of message to background.”   Therefore, while colors for custom metal signs should complement the space they’re in, they should also use contrasting colors. This article presents some guidelines for choosing the right colors for your metal sign.

Contrasting Colors

The color wheel acts shows the relationship between colors. Contrasting colors are found in different segments of the color wheel.  Yellow, for instance, is in the warm portion of the color wheel while purple is in the cool portion. 

Jacci Howard Bear in an article entitled Contrasting Colors published on states that “Colors don’t have to be direct opposites or have a set amount of separation to be considered contrasting or complementary. In design, it’s more about perception and feeling.” Therefore, you don’t need to stick to the rule of contrasting colors being on the opposite ends of the color wheel. You can work with colors that you think go well together, but using the color wheel as a guide can be very helpful.

Light Reflectancy

Paul Arthur and Romedi Passini crafted an ingenious method for determining the right colors to use in signs. They documented it in their book Wayfinding: People, Signs and Architecture. They created a table of light reflectancy readings in percentages. These readings are used to calculate the brightness differential.

A brightness differential of 70 percent or more guarantees greater legibility. Color combinations with a brightness differential less than 70 percent shouldn’t be used. The light reflectancy table is shown below.

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Let’s use white and purple as an example.

Therefore, this color combination can be used. In this case, a dark purple would have to be used against the white background so that the words stand out.


Choosing the right color combination for your sign can seem like a daunting task. A consistent brand will use the company’s colors in all areas of branding, including signs. The trick is to ensure that you have the right color combinations for your brand from the get-go. The team of sign experts at ShieldCo can create an impactful metal sign in any color combination you choose. Call or email us today to schedule a free consultation.


Need a sign? Click the Free Quote button below! 

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Using Custom Metal Signs as Wall Décor

Using Custom Metal Signs as Wall Décor

Custom metal signs add character to any space. The malleability of the metal makes it fairly easy to shape it into any desired shape or pattern. Metal signs don’t have to be limited to the conventional words with a little logo attached. They can be taken to new dimensions with the right artistic mind. Some examples are shown below. 

Images from ShieldCo


Images from Pinterest


Why is wall art important in interior design?

Interior design is more than just choosing the right furniture, fluffing a few pillows, and painting some walls. It should be treated like an art form, worthy of the same type of attention painters give to the most minute details in their work.  

Wall art, believe it or not, is an important part of interior design. The benefits of making wall art a more prominent consideration in your interior design plans are detailed below.

Provides a Color Palette for the Room

Even metal wall art can be used to inspire your color choices for a room.  The pictures above show that it is possible to have wall art that is either purely metallic or has a combination of colors.  If a variety of colors are present, choose the dominant color and shades you can use as accents. These are the colors that you’ll use to decorate the space. Decorating in this way will help you creating a unified design.

Creates a Focal Point

Wall art, when used correctly, creates a focal point around which the entire design is based. It gives visitors a sense of what to expect from the space. Size is, therefore, an important consideration. A metal piece that is too small will look small against the surrounding furniture. Contrastingly, a metal piece that is too big will be too prominent in the room. Take wall measurements to ensure that your metal wall art utilizes the right amount of space.

Adds Texture

Wall art that incorporates a variety of media adds texture to a space. The depth these pieces add will determine the tone of the room. Rough textures add intimacy to a space while smooth textures add sleekness.


Metal signs can become works of art. An expert at ShieldCo can help you create a metal sign piece that is perfect for wall art. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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Geometrically Intriguing Custom Metal Signs

Geometric patterns are a growing trend in interior design. Their sharp edges and bod shapes add a level of intrigue to a space that other design elements often can’t provide. Custom metal signs provide one of the best opportunities to create geometrically intriguing wall art for interior spaces. You can even put your business’ name and logo against a fun geometric pattern. Reasons for geometric designs being meaningful in interior design are highlighted in this article.


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Visual Interest

Entering a space that only has paint on the walls can be pretty boring. This is especially true when there are no pops of color in the space. Office spaces tend to shy away from using color because businesses don’t want to overwhelm customers. Adding a geometric custom metal sign can add just the right amount of interest to a seemingly dull space.

The Golden Ratio of Proportions

Geometric wall art sometimes forms a part of the golden ratio of proportion in interior design. The most commonly used ratio is: 60 percent neutral colors, 30 percent darkly colored furniture, 5 percent accents in warm colors, 5 percent accents in bright colors. Geometric custom metal signs can be used as accents in a design. A design accent doesn’t play a prominent role in the design, but helps to break up the space.

Patterns and Themes

Shapes of design elements can influence the layout of a space. Custom metal signs used as wall art can inspire a pattern and theme for a room. A designer can choose to use the sign’s pattern as inspiration for the way the furniture in the room is arranged. Another option is to use the sign’s colors to influence the color choices for the space.

Geometry plays an important role in sign design. The geometric patterns that are used in metal signs can inspire the design of the entire space. The team at ShieldCo can help you determine the right geometric shape to use for your business’ interior custom metal sign. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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The Value of Investing in Illumination for Your Custom Metal Sign

Metal signs are already stunning on their own. Their vibrant finishes, bold lettering, refined edges, and perfect color blends result in a sign that truly makes an impact. That impact is greatly diminished, however, if the appropriate lighting isn’t used. Illuminated signs have numerous benefits and shouldn’t be overlooked. This article highlights some of the most important benefits.

Increase Visibility

On-premise signs are one of the most cost-effective forms of advertising. A well-built sign may seem like a huge investment initially, but it is an investment that does pay off in the long term. In fact, a study conducted in 2011 revealed that most mobile customers who shop on impulse stopped at fast food restaurants because they saw the restaurant’s sin while driving past.

The marketing impact of a business sign is non-existent if the sign can’t be sign. Your beautiful metal sign is practically invisible at night or in poorly lit conditions. Illumination using LED lights, or other lighting options, solves this problem.  People won’t miss your sign in these conditions if it is well-lit.

Give Your Sign a Dramatic Change

Simplicity works in your favor when creating a business sign. Simple typography and a legible design are crucial. Think about the Crate and Barrel sign. It is literally the words “crate and barrel” running along the building. Lighting enables you to add some extra oomph to such a simple sign design. You can use LED lights to add strong pops of color. You could also use halo lighting to make the sign glow.

Create Optical Illusions

There are some interesting lighting tricks that you can play with LED lights. Angling the lights in various ways to cast shadows in the right places can help you make a dramatic impact. There are other tricks that you can also discuss with lighting experts.

What type of lighting should you choose?

There are 3 types of lighting available for metal signs: neon, fluorescent, and LED. LED is by far the best option for the following reasons:

·         They last longer.

·         They don’t contain harmful gases. Neon lights contain mercury which is harmful to the environment.

·         They are brighter.

·         They use less energy.

·         They don’t need to be replaced regularly.

A well-lit sign adds tremendous marketing prospects to your business. It makes your business easy to find in poorly lit conditions and allows you to add some interesting design elements without changing the entire sign. Speak with a ShieldCo representative today to find out how we can add lighting to your custom metal sign.


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The 6 Components of an Urban Wayfinding System

Urban wayfinding has several components. Good urban planners pay attention to all of these components and work assiduously to make them work in harmony.   Each component uses the right colors, typography, shapes, logos, materials and nomenclature. If you are an urban planner, ensure that you use the right types of signs for each of these areas so that people who visit your area can navigate easily.

Gateways and Area Identification

City, regional and district gateways are the first places that should have well-built signs. People should know when they are both entering and leaving these major areas.  Both the entry and exit signs should follow the same format and have the same type of look and material. Signs for city gateways can be freestanding or attached to other landmarks including bridges, buildings and parks. District gateways can include cultural districts, commercial districts, or political districts. The point is to make these areas easy to identify.

Vehicular Wayfinding

Vehicular wayfinding signs are along roadways and direct motorists to districts, cities, parks, heritage areas, destinations and parking. Visibility at high speeds is a must. Vehicular wayfinding signs fall into 3 categories: Controlled Access Road Signs, Regional Signs, Large Scale Signs and Downtown and Neighborhood Signs.

Controlled Access Road Signs direct motorists to destinations along highways. They must follow Federal Highway Administration guidelines even though they are administered by individual states. Regional Signs guide motorists to parks, agricultural facilities, institutional and commercial destinations, and heritage areas outside of urban areas. Distance is typically included on these signs and they are administered either by state bodies, counties, or a combination of counties and towns. Large Scale Signs direct motorists to large scale destination and urban districts.  Finally, Downtown and Neighborhood Signs direct motorists to localized destinations and parking. They can also direct motorists back to interstate and state roads.

Pedestrian Wayfinding

Pedestrian wayfinding signs help pedestrians navigate within a district or neighborhood. There are three types of Pedestrian Wayfinding Signs: Pedestrian Directional Signs, Map Signs and Directories. The names are self-explanatory.

Destination Identity

These signs characterize destinations.  There are 5 types of Destination Identity Signs: Institutional Identity, Gateway, Interpretive Identity, On-Premise Commercial Landmarks, and Parking.  Institutional Identity signs clearly identify government, cultural, educational, transportation or health buildings. Gateway signs are often placed at the entrances of educational, corporate, transportation, and healthcare locations. Interpretive identity signs require some form of interpretation. On-Premise Commercial Landmark signs clearly identify commercial or corporate offices and also serve as landmarks. Parking signs identify parking areas within the district.

Urban and Street Identity

These signs include: street signs, regulatory signs, street furniture, public art, civic banner programs, and visitor centers.

Media and Print Support

Media and print support integrates physical elements, websites, mobile media, print maps and directories with tangible urban design elements.


ShieldCo designs custom metal signs that would be perfect for your state, county, or urban district signs. Contact one of our representatives today to get a quotation for your specific needs.

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