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Signage Glossary

At Instant Signs, we’re dedicated to offering you a plethora of signage solutions tailored to meet your unique needs. We understand that diving into the world of signage might be a little daunting due to the terminology used. That’s why we’ve created this signage glossary, ensuring you are well-informed and well-equipped to make decisions about the perfect signage for your business or location.

Feel free to reach out to our team if you have any questions or require further clarity on any term! We’re here to help.

Types of Signs:


A lightweight sign constructed of cloth or plastic and displaying graphics or slogans, usually used for temporary signage.

Channel Letter Signs

Custom-made metal or acrylic letters that can be illuminated.

Dimensional Letters

3D letters that stand out from their backdrop for added depth and visibility.

Directional Signage

Similar to wayfinding, these signs provide clear directions to a specific location or area.

Foam Letter Signs

Custom letters crafted from various types of foam, suitable for indoor and outdoor usage.

Interior Light Boxes

Illuminated frames used indoors to highlight graphics or advertisements.

Interior Signs

Signs specifically designed for indoor usage.

Monument Signs

Ground signs with a solid base, typically made of masonry, concrete, or stone, often positioned at the entrance of businesses or communities.

Pole or Pylon Signs

Tall signs supported by one or two poles, further categorized into single-pole mount and twin-pole mount pylon signs.

Sign Boxes

Encased or enframed signs, usually illuminated, to make messages stand out.

Wayfinding Signs

Signs meant to guide visitors through a particular environment or to specific destinations.

Materials and Components:

Acrylic letter Signs

Letters made from a durable plastic material, offering a glossy finish.


Lightweight, durable, and corrosion-resistant metal often used in signage.

High-Density Foam

A sturdy foam, ideal for creating signs with depth.

Indoor-Rated Foam

Foam specifically designed to withstand indoor conditions.

Outdoor-Rated Foam

Sturdy foam crafted to endure outdoor elements.

High-Density Urethane (HDU)

A type of foam known for its strength and durability in exterior applications.

Metal Laminate

Thin sheets of metal used to provide a metallic finish to signs.

Polycarbonate Plastic

A strong and lightweight plastic often used for sign faces.

Sign Lighting and Installation:

Covered Pole Sign

A pole sign built with a protective and customizable covering around its structural pole.

Freestanding Sign

A sign that is not attached to a building and stands on its own without any external support.

Front-Lit Sign

Channel letter signs where the illumination emanates from each letter’s interior and are visible through the sign’s front.

Individually Mounted Channel Letters

Channel letters that are mounted directly to a surface without a raceway.

LED Lighting

Light-emitting diodes used for illuminating signs, known for their energy efficiency.

Open Face Lit Sign

Channel letter signs where the illumination source (LED) is visible within the sign’s acrylic letters.

Raceway-Mounted Channel Letters

Channel letters that are mounted and wired on a metal box called a raceway.

Reverse-Lit Sign

Channel letter signs where the illumination emanates from behind the letters or graphics.

Temporary Sign

A sign intended for short-term usage, often made of lighter materials.

Sign Licensing and Regulations:

C-45 License

In California, the C-45 license allows individuals to pull sign permits and bid on certain sign fabrication and installation projects.

Public Works Contractor

A contractor registered with the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) for public works projects.

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