Back in the day, and not too far back, the only viable LED color for sign lighting was red. Improvements in the technology have yielded brighter and more consistent whites, and the price has gone down significantly.
Add LEDs to a well-made thin-panel plexiglass-faced sign cabinet, hide the power source, print a vibrant image and you’ve got the perfect interior sign. Lou Fiore, owner of Speedway Custom Photo Lab in Daytona Beach, Fla., put this winning combination together for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, also based in Daytona Beach.
Fiore bought the panel from Tec Art Industries, Wixom, Mich. The panel has a cover sheet of plexiglass that can be removed so the graphic can be easily placed inside. The graphic is taped along the top edge and allowed to hang. Then, the cover sheet is attached with eight stainless steel standoffs.
“Tec Art was extremely helpful with the specifications and manufacture of the panel. It arrived here in a huge crate and worked right out of the box,” explains Fiore. “I printed the graphic on LexJet Premium Solvent Backlit Gloss on my Epson GS6000 64″ low-solvent printer. The LexJet backlit material prints a nicely saturated image and the extra thickness of the material makes it easy to handle such a large graphic.”
Fiore adds that the customer’s electrician created a hidden panel for the power supply so that no wires are visible, providing a clean, professional look in the university’s conference room. The power supply is 12 volts and the estimated power consumption is about 80 watts.
The LED lighting is housed on the top and bottom horizontal edges. The edges are also chamfered at 45-degree angles to help provide the edge lighting effect.
“There’s no adhesive involved because they’ll change it out every few months and all we have to do is tape a new backlit graphic inside. The only thing we had to do was make the hanging cleats for it. You lift it up, it comes off the wall and you put it back up on the cleats so that it’s flush against the wall,” adds Fiore.