Outdoor Signage – An Overview of the Different Types of Signage & Options

  • Posted on: June 2, 2015
  • by: S42Dev

Categorized as:

When it comes to outdoor signage there is an overwhelming variety. Trying to decide on which type of signage to use can become extremely stressful for many businesses. That's why Westmount Signs & Printing decided to put together an overview of different signage types and options. Illustrated below are the pros and cons of each type of outdoor sign. If one catches your eye, we are just the company to help you make your signage dream a reality! If you would like to discuss a potential project or ask a few question, feel free to

All of the signs you see below have been created by us here at Westmount Signs & Printing! If one catches your eye, we are just the company to help you make your signage dream a reality! If you would like to discuss a potential project or ask a few question, feel free to contact us!

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Type of Sign


A-Frame Signs

Sometimes simple is the best way to go
Very inexpensive! A-frames are a classic and inexpensive alternative to effective advertising. They are easily noticeable on streets and can help direct your potential customers. A-frame signs are also very customizable, which can help you establish your own unique business.
A-frame signs are not meant for long distance. They are not large enough. A-frame signs are also not always tall enough to attract customers well.

Back-Lit Signs

Tire source Stand out at night with a back-lit sign. Read more about this sign's properties.
While a little more costly, the payback is worth it. Back-lit signs can advertise day and night, giving your potential customers something to look at.
Location is everything for these types of signs. If you don’t have a good location, your back-lit sign will go to waste due to being drowned out by other signs, not being seen by anyone or having the wrong colours.


A banner is multipurpose and draws the eye well.
These signs are good for all occasions! Banners can be used in indoor and outdoor events, for advertising or otherwise. They literally have a wide reach and can be customized with fonts and graphics to aid their purpose.
Their bulk can be a pain to pin up and take down. Planning a banner can also be a challenge if you are designing one on your own. They're also not a long term product, so if you're planning on using something for a long time a banner may not be for you.

Channel Letters

Channel letters are an excellent way to share your brand name for all to see
Channel letters are 3 dimensional, modern, individual and stand out from the crowd. They have aluminum sides (returns) and backs with acrylic or aluminum. The faces have acrylic with vinyl cut acrylics and a 1” trim. They look good during the day and are really impressive at night if they include LED lighting which can be built into the letters. You can also make channel letters reversed by directing the light out of the back of the letters onto the building or carrier to give a halo effect. Channel letters can be mounted directly to a building or adhered to a carrier as well.
Channel letters are generally more expensive than other options because they have to be hand-made. Some letters can be computer generated but the hand-made option provides better quality. The letters need to be wired together out of sight so the installation often takes longer as the installer weaves the wires together in and out of the wall where they'll be installed. It can also be challenging to hide the power packs. Sometimes channel letters cannot be installed directly onto a building so a carrier has to be added to attach the letters to which can add to the cost. Another disadvantage to channel letters is that when you change your branding or name you cannot reuse the existing sign. Lastly, if you do plan to use halo lit channel letters they need to be pin mounted, which adds more to the installation.

Electronic Signs

backlit Electronic signs are programmable and good for an area surrounded by technology.
If you want your company to stand out, electronic signs are a great way to do it. Programmable, personable and futuristic, these signs can communicate multiple messages without needing to print off a different sign.
Electronic signs are very expensive and require a lot of maintenance. When they break, it is best to fix the problem right away otherwise the sign could steer potential customers away from your business. In colder climates the lifespan of electric signs is not long, so be sure not to invest in a cheaper no name brand product.

Illuminated Signs

Johnny Fresco Channel letters (1)

Give your sign a glowing look at night with an illuminated sign.

Unlike back-lit signs, illuminated signs only use electricity at night, when they need it. By day, they advertise traditionally. This duality is good for companies who want to maintain a tradition or custom for their customers.
Illuminated signs, like any electronic sign, will require maintenance. This sign will need to be monitored carefully at night to ensure they are not left broken. These signs are also more expensive to manufacture as each component of the sign must be custom made, and LED lights can be costly. Though that is a drawback be assured that at Westmount we use the best LED's in the industry that have the best light beam distribution to ensure our signs glow the brightest and longest. We also provide a 5 year warranty on our LED lights to ensure you you're receiving a top quality product.

Individual Cut Letters

Individual cut letters help to elevate your sign so it stands out. Read on to find out more!

Individual cut letters are a great way to show off a unique font or design. They offer a professional, clean cut look for your business and draw attention, especially if installed with LED lighting.
They are expensive to install especially if you decide to install them with LED lighting. Also, because each individual piece is custom made they can sometimes be difficult to install on uneven surfaces. If that's the case a carrier will need to be made as a backer which the letters will be installed on before being hung on the wall which can add to the overall cost of the sign.

Lawn Signs

lawn Lawn signs make the most of everyday landscapes. See what lawn signs can do for you!
Looking for a way to use all that green space? Then lawn signs are definitely the solution for you. Lawn signs can attract potential customers or supporters through their easy access, easy installation advertising. They are also cheaper than most signs, making them easy to mass-produce.
Lawn signs, once installed, are open to the weather and the public. These signs tend to be more flimsy than a standard plastic or metal sign so keep this in mind when deciding whether to use them or not. There are also local by-laws restricting the installation of lawn signs on public and private property so be sure to do some research on the installation laws in your area to avoid receiving a fine.

Pylon Signs

Upper Cut Pylon signs advertise many businesses at once. Read on to find out more.

This sign is guaranteed to reach customers from a distance. Pylon signs will help to advertise your business before the customer even reaches your building. They can also be easily maintained with their compartment/reader board setup. You can also charge your tenants a monthly fee to have their business placed on the sign which can be a source of revenue for you.
Pylon are generally rather expensive because of their size. They also group many different signs together, so it is more than likely that your sign will encounter competition. Be sure to stand out in a pylon sign. Also, like lawn signs there are by-laws in place that may prohibit certain pylon signs so make sure you research the laws in your area before making a final decision. At Westmount signs we can actually manage the entire permit process on your behalf if you desire. Contact us today to find out more.

Reader boards

readerReader boards deliver specific messages to passersby.

Reader boards are customizable and fun to work with. They are easy to maintain and are handy for all sorts of businesses.
The biggest issue with reader boards is that it may become difficult or uncomfortable in the winter to change the sign, especially once the temperature hits below zero. It is also important to properly store all the letters for a reader board otherwise pieces may get lost or stolen.

Window Lettering and Graphics

Make the most of window space with window lettering and graphics.
This type of signage is excellent for details. It's a great opportunity to add pictures that reflect your business and the services/products you offer that may not be able to fit on another type of sign. They work great as a compliment to other signs as well.
The graphics can be a challenge to install, and are impossible to install once temperatures reach below 5 degrees Celsius. They are also very difficult to remove if you decide to go with something different. Full window graphics can also block out the sun unless you use perforated vinyl which is more expensive and doesn't last as long in a Canadian environment.

"Excellent work by the guys at Westmount Signs! Great service and attention to detail. Highly recommended!"

-Robert Carey, Creative Director of Sandvine Incorperated

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Westmount Signs: Outdoor Signage Connoisseurs

Westmount Signs & Printing is located in Waterloo and serves the surrounding areas such as Kitchener or Cambridge. We have a ton of experience creating, installing and maintaining signs of all different types. Outdoor signage is definitely one of the most important ways of advertising a business but our services don't stop there! We also offer services with interior signs, vehicle graphics, digital printing, and installation and maintenance for all types of signage. If you would like to get started on a project or would like a free estimate for a possible idea, go ahead and contact us at sales@westmountsigns.com or try phoning us at 519-885-1400. We make sure we are available to talk and help you with any problems you may be having.