Art SignWorks, Inc.
41785 Elm Street
Suite 302
Murrieta, CA 92562
Phone 951-698-8484

Monday-Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm, Pacific Time.

© Art Sign Works

Glossary of Terms Used in the Sign Industry

Glossary Of Terms

We take great pride in making our clients feel confident about their signs during the design phase and the production process. To help you gain a better understanding of what’s happening to your sign, we’ve compiled a glossary of terms that we commonly use in our industry. Some of these are specific to Art Sign Works.

  • 1-SHOT Enamel Paint

    Made by Matthews Paint Company, i 1-SHOT Sign Enamels is a superior oil-based sign lettering enamel made especially for outside signs. It is preferred by more sign and graphic artists than any other product. 1-SHOT makes 44 different standard colors; in addition, Art Sign Works mixes its own pastels and combined hues and fonts from these out-of-the-can colors. .

  • 2-D Signs

    Flat 2-D signs (art and text on same flat surface as background). Artwork and text are either cut-out vinyl adhered to substrate, or painted or printed directly on the substrate. 2-D signs can also use digitally printed vinyl (full color photo images) adhered to a flat substrate, or these images can be directly printed on a smooth white substrate with a large flat bed printer. Art Sign Works makes flat signs with Aluminum, acrylic, MDO or Foam PVC (like Sintra) as the substrate. We use vinyl overlays direct print, or paint the art and letters using computer generated vinyl masks as a stencil.

  • 2.5-D (2 1/2 Dimensional) Carving-Flat Relief

    This technique is used widely for most our our sandblasted signs (Product Line 1) and many of our CNC routed signs. Signs which use it are referred to as Dimensional signs, as contrasted with 2-D (flat surface or printed signs). signs. 2.5-D signs have either multi-level (up to 5 levels) raised flat borders, artwork and letters, or engraved artwork and letters, or both. These are sometimes referred as flat relief, since all sign surfaces are flat rather than curved or rounded.

    When completed, 2-5 D sr CNC routing results in several layers (2 to as many as 5 layers) , all of which are flat (not rounded). Typical differences in depth are 0.1 to 0.5 inches per layer. This creates a 3 dimensional look, but does not have curved or rounded 3-D surfaces like 3-D bas-relief carving (see entry below). 2.5 D relief is accomplished by CNC routing and sandblasting. . From a distance a sign with 2.5-D carving gives the impression of 3-D but without the complexity and cost 3-D (either the labor of hand-carving or of programming the CNC router). For multi-layer sandblasting, the mask is removed in a sequence of steps with sandblasting done after each sectional area of the sandblask mask is removed. The first area of the mask removed is the deepest relief; the sec

    ond area removed is a little higher (less depth), etc. The area of the sign where the mask is not removed at all is the original surface of the substrate (not blasted at all). For single-layer sandblasting, the mask area to be removed is removed all at the same time, so there is only two levels of depth, the original surface (no blast) and the blasted area, which is usually 0.4 to 0.5 in deep.

    For CNC routing, 2.5 D carving is created by keeping the z-axis fized while moving the spinning tool in the spindle in the x- and y-axes, creating a flat layer at a constant depth. This is different than 3 D carving, where the z-axis is continuously moved up and down to create a curved surface while the tool moves in x and y. Each layer is created by adjusting the z position to a different fixed depth.

    2.5-D multi-layer raised relief CNC routing utilizes 2-D vector art (EPS or AI files)., which is readily made by tracing a drawing or photo, or using commercially available clip art. This is done by using Adobe Illustrator and then ASPIRE computer programs. In contrast, 3-D carving requires either (1) developing 3 D art computer models in-house with sophisticated software), (2) purchasing either "off-the-shelf" 3D computer software models from a commercial supplier (we use several sources) , or less common, (3) an experienced wood carver/sculptor who carves the 3-D art by hand with chisels and rasps. We use all three of these approaches, depending on the sign. 3-D cast bronze plaques are made with a sculptet using clay, which is then used to make a negative mold, which is used to pour the molton cast bronze.

  • 3D (three-dimensional) Carving

    Either hand-carving or machine carving in three dimensions.Use of sandblasting ( to perform finished 3D carving is very difficult to do and inaccurate; however we do use what we call sandblast-carving (sometimes referred to as sand carving) to get initial shapes,).

    For machine Computer-Numerically-Controlled (CNC) carving, this is accomplished with a tool control procedure where the tool bit can be moved independently continuously in the up-and-down z-axis while still traveling an x/y-axis tool path. 3D carving can create reliefs and hand-chiseled looks while removing material from a substrate.3D carving can create either an engraved look (also called intaglio or incised carving), where the art and lettering material is removed below the background , or a bas-relief raised look, where the art or lettering is elevated above the background (background substrate is removed).

  • ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)

    Legislation enacted by the U.S. federal government in 1991 with the goal of removing barriers that limit a disabled individual's ability to engage in normal daily activity in the physical, public environment. Title III of the ADA deals with related signage and wayfinding issues.

  • ADAA (Americans with Disabilities Accessibility Guidelines)

    A set of U.S. standards enacted in 1990 with the goal of ensuring equal access to public places and facilities for all persons. For signage and wayfinding, the ADAA defines proper letter forms and letter heights for best legibility, proper Braille and tactile lettering forms, and also appropriate signage materials and finishes.

  • ANSI (American National Standards Institute)

    A private, nonprofit organization in the U.S. that works to develop manufacturing and quality standards across multiple industries. The organization also works with the committees of other nations to develop standards that facilitate international trade and telecommunications.

  • Acrylic paint

    A fast-drying paint containing pigment suspended in an acrylic polymer emulsion .Acrylic paints can be diluted with water, but become water-resistant when dry. Depending on how much the paint is diluted (with water), the finished acrylic painting can resemble a watercolor or an oil painting.

  • Adhesive

    Applying a pressure sensitive vinyl to the surface of wood, HDU or a ceramic to apply a paint stencil or sandblast mask .

  • Adobe Acrobat®

    Popular software package used for viewing and printing Portable Document Format (PDF) files. The advantage of a PDF file is that it allows anyone to view and print a document as it was originally intended without having to install the program or fonts used to create the file. Adobe Acrobat is a product of Adobe Systems®, Inc.

  • Air-brushing

    An airbrush is a small, air-operated tool that sprays various media including ink and dye, but most often paint by a process of atomization. Spray guns developed from the airbrush and is still considered a type of airbrush.(Wikepedia Encyclopedia).ArtSignWorks uses artist airbrushes, along with artist brushes, for fine detail on CarvedArt, flat art, ans sculptured appliqués. Airbrushes are also used to provide shading of colors on sandblasted backgrounds.

  • American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

    A private, nonprofit organization in the U.S. that works to develop manufacturing and quality standards across multiple industries. The organization also works with the committees of other nations to develop standards that facilitate international trade and telecommunications.

  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

    Legislation enacted by the U.S. federal government in 1991 with the goal of removing barriers that limit a disabled individual's ability to engage in normal daily activity in the physical, public environment. Title III of the ADA deals with related signage and wayfinding issues.

  • Appliqué

    Applique (or appliqué), pronounced as aa-pli-kay'(French),as used on this website, is a technique of attaching an sculpture or other sign piece onto the sign substrate with epoxy, or alternatively, a printed piece of vinyl. It comes from the ancient process in which pieces of fabric are sewn onto a foundation piece of fabric to create designs. This was particularly suitable for work which is to be seen from a distance, for example, Banner-making.The word appliqué comes from the French word appliquer, meaning to put on or to lay on. As a method of decoration, appliqué has been a popular technique and has a long history, with the earliest known example being a canopy of leather in Egypt believed to date from 980 BC. However, it is highly likely that other cultures were using appliqué before this time(from Wikepedia).
    On this website, we use term appliqué to refer to pieces of cut,sandblasted, possibly edge-routed and/or hand-carved wood or HDU which are epoxied onto a signs flat background. These are generally in high-relief, from 1 to 2 inches high. these include separate cut-out letters/numbers,art icons, and occasionally ceramic pieces. These are epoxied to the sign to ensure long-life in all-weather conditions. Appliques allow deeper relief (i.e., higher elevation) than CarvedArt, and easier access to the art for large signs. They also enable a flat, smooth background to be preserved, which CarvedArt and sandblasted letters do not. M8000 in the Product Gallery shows 4 appliqués mounted on the sign.

    Alternatively, we often use the term appliqué to refer to pieces of digitally printe d full-color vinyl, such as a photograph, a detailed drawing or painting, that is mounted on a wood, HDU, aluminumm or plastic sign substrate. This saves a large amount of labor and cost compared to hand-painting the image, and lasts about as long.

  • Art Sign Works, Inc.

    The name of our company with headquarters and factory in Murrieta, CA. We design and manufacture custom High-Density-Urethane (HDU, wood, metal and metal-plated signs and plaques with steel, aluminum and wrought iron hardware .

  • Artist brush

    A small paintbrush with a thin wooden handle and a painting brush end usually made of animal hair (camel, sable,squirrel, mongoose, synthetic). There are a wide variety of sizes and shapes for different types of painting (oil, watercolor, acrylic, ceramic glaze, lacquer, stain). We use flat, round, script/liner, lettering, and filbert shaped brushes.

  • Aspire

    A 3D object modeling software program made by Vetric in the UK. Used by ArtSignWorks to design 2,5 D and 3D signs that can be made with a Computer-Numerically-Controlled (CNC) Router.

  • Background

    As used on this website, background refers to that part of the sign or plaque not covered by letters, numbers, borders, or art icons or scenes.For Product Lines 1,2 and 3,and some of 4, the background is sandblasted, producing either a wood-grain pattern (natural or produced with a Grain0frame for HDU) or a sand-stone like texture which is lower than the letters, numbers, borders, and artwork.

  • Bas-relief

    A type of sculpture in which form projects from a background.There are three degrees or types of relief: high, low, and sunken. In high relief, the forms stand far out from the background. In low relief (best known as bas-relief), they are shallow. In sunken relief, also called hollow or intaglio; the backgrounds are not cut back and the points in highest relief are level with the original surface of the material being carved.We use intaglio for CarvedArt icons; however, with respect the background of the art scene, the carving appears to be in bas-relief.

    Basso-rilievo (Italian for low-relief; French, bas-relief) is a form of surface-ornamentation in which the projection is very slight. The finest known specimen of low relief is the frieze around the cella of the Parthenon; large portions of it are to be seen in the British Museum. The lowest kind of relief is that described by the Tuscan term rilievo-stíacciato (depressed or flattened relief). This scarcely rises from the surface upon which it is carved, and is mostly an art of fine lines and delicate indications. Donatello's Florentine Madonnas and saints are among the best examples(this explanation is from the Catholic Encyclopedia).

  • Bolt-Through

    Bolt and the nut are manufactured to controlled specifications, and high and predictable strength is provided by such connections.

  • Braille

    A system of small raised dots that represent the alphabet, punctuation and numbers for the visually impaired. The ADA stipulates the use of Braille on signage in certain instances.

  • Braille bullets

    Small plastic or metal beads that can be placed in the face of a sign to create informational Braille text as required by the ADA. (Also known as ballpoint Braille or Braille beads.)

  • Brushstrokes

    Individual color markings made by an artist's brush;most noticeable when ther is one color overlayed or dry-brushed on another.

  • CMYK

    Abbreviation for the ink colors cyan (blue), magenta (red), yellow and black. Combinations of these four colors of inks are used in printing to create all other colors.

  • CNC

    Computer-Numerically-Controlled. Sign or other item to be produced is designed using 2D or 3D software on a computer, and design data is transmitted to a computer which drives a cutting tool in 3 dimensions to create a 3D product that looks exactly like the computer design. A CNC machine has various tool bits, including various types of router shapes, drills, cutters, etc. Art Sign Works has 5 large table CNC machines, up to 5 ft x 12 ft in size.

  • CNC - Computer Numerically Controlled

    Numerical control (NC) is the automation of machine tools that are operated by abstractly programmed commands encoded on a storage medium such as a computer disk or flash drive, as opposed to controlled manually via handwheels or levers, or by using manual control of power tools (such as a drill, saw or router). Most NC today is computer numerical control (CNC), in which computers play an integral part of the control.

    In modern CNC systems,such as we use in Art Sign Works, end-to-end component design is highly automated using computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) programs. The programs produce a computer file that is interpreted to extract the commands needed to operate a particular machine via a post-processor, and then loaded into the CNC machines for production. Since any particular component might require the use of a number of different tools – router, drills, saws, etc., modern machines often combine multiple tools into a single "cell". In other cases, a number of different machines are used with an external controller and human or robotic operators that move the component from machine to machine. In either case, the complex series of steps needed to produce any part is highly automated and produces a part that closely matches the original CAD design.

    Art Sign Works employs five large table (to 5 ft x 12 ft) 3D Shopbot routers/carvers . We also use a CNC vinyl cutter (2D) We outsource CNC fine engraving and CNC water-jet cutters, and CNC full-color digital printing on vinyl. All of these 4 types of CNC machines can use the same CAD design files, which we develop using Adobe Illustrator (2D) or Aspire (3D). The CNC routers perform nearly all of the 2.5D and 3D carving for wood, HDU and plastic, including planing, cutting, edging, shaping, background removal, 2.5-D and 3-D carving, and drilling.

  • Carve

    To remove wood or HDU by hand with a knife, a gouge, or a chisel (as in wood-carving). More generally, sanding, using a file or rasp, sand-blasting, Dremel rotary tools, and even routing can be considered a form of carving, i.e., removing material so that the remaining material is the object d'art.

  • CarvedArt

    A term used by ArtSignWorks to describe its process of creating low-relief, three dimensional art scenes in HDU (primarily), but sometimes in Redwood or Cedar (See bas-relief). First, the scene or object is composed designed by an artist on a computer. Then, the design is cut into a sandblast mask which can be peeled off at different times during the sandblast process, creating multiple layers of removed material (as many as five). Wire screens may be used during this process to create different patterns in the material.Then, an artist hand-carves the wood or HDU with a knife, gouges, chisels, and sandpaper to create 3-D detail, smooth between layers where appropriate, and create different textures. The CarvedArt icon is then hand-sanded with very fine sandpaper,painted twice with primer, and then hand-painted two or more coats using artists brushes and 1-SHOT oil enamels.There is only about 1/2 inch of depth in the CarvedArt icon, but it gives the impression of greater depth due to the paint and texture.

  • Cedar

    We use Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata),one of North America's great renewable resources. It has true, straight grain, and its heartwood has natural decay resistance.Light weight, easy to work, easy to finish, possessing outstanding dimensional stability, Western Red Cedar is well-suited to outdoor signs where attractive appearance and resistance to weather is important. However, when sand-blasted, cedar does not have the dramatic grain pattern the Coastal Redwood hasd.

  • Clear All Heart

    Clear All Heart is the finest grade of redwood. It is all heartwood and the graded face of each piece is free of knots.

  • Curved Text

    Text which is laid out with the base of the letters on a curved line, rather than a straight line. This can be a circle or more general curve.

  • Cut-Out Lettering

    Lettering or graphic elements that are cut out of a HDU or Wood and epoxied on a sign substrate. See stand-off letters..

  • Cutout or Cut-Out

    This term refers to separately cutting out letters or artwork from HDU or wood sheets (usually with a scroll saw), then routing edges and sanding the front and sides of the cutout piece.Letters are usually flat and smooth on the front surface can also have a sandblasted or hand-carved pattern on them, for examople, cutout prismatic letters.Artwork can be of the Silhouette Art type (like a letter), with a flat smooth fron surface, or of the CarvedArt type (bas-relief scupture), or a high-relief hand-carved sculpture. All cutout letters or artwork are considered appliqués, and they are mounted on the sign substrate either directly using epoxy and/or screws , or in a standoff mode (there is airspace between the appliqué and the sign substrate) using aluminum dowels or pins, or sometimes small HDU blocks.

  • Desk Nameplate

    A small plaque placed on a person's desk which displays his or her name and sometimes title or position. These can be nade of plastic, metal, or wood.

  • Dimensional

    In the sign business, it denotes "three-dimensional". in that the letters, numbers, artwork, or other sign features are elevated or raised above the background (sometimes lower than the background). Elevated features can be done by making separate letters or carved artwork and mounting them on top of the background or sandblasting to remove the backgound leaving other features elevated. Depressed letters, numbers or art can be routed, sand-blasted, engraved, or carved into the background. dimensional signs are contrasted with most other signs which have a flat surface, with letters and art painted or applied with vinyl stick-ons.

  • Door Nameplate

    A small plaque or sign placed on or next to a door (usually an office door) which displays their name and sometimes title or postion. These can be nade of plastic, metal, or wood. Sometimes names and titles are omitted and the nameplate becomes a sign denoting the name of a functional group for a company, e.g., Finance or Marketing. These usually are made of plastic or cardboard.

  • Enamel (Oil)

    An enamel paint is a paint that dries to an especially hard, usually glossy, finish.
    This is a commonly used, yet fanciful term, implying that an ordinary latex or oil-based paint has the same properties as true, fired vitreous enamel.Typically the term "enamel paint" is used to describe oil-based covering products, usually with a significant amount of gloss in them, however recently many latex or water-based paints have adopted the term as well. The term today means "hard surfaced paint" and usually is in reference to paint brands of higher quality, or spray paints.We use 1-SHOTs oil-based enamels.

  • Engraved

    Engraving is the practice of incising a design onto a hard, flat surface, by cutting grooves into it. On this web-site, we use the term very loosely, to indicate removal of wood or HDU in a pattern (letters, numbers, designs, artwork) either by a CNC or manual router, by hand-carving with a chisel, or by reverse sandblasting.each of these has its own characteristic look. Our most complex engraving jobs are performed with our computer controlled router and 3D software.The engraving art form has been practiced for millenia.
    The techniques today an be traced back to "Cavo-rilievo (Italian for hollow relief; French, relief-en-creux), which is a method of concave sculpture in which the highest part or outline is on a level with the surface, while the roundness is considerably below it. Cavo-rilievo was practiced chiefly by the Egyptians whose hollow reliefs are known by the Greek term Koilanaglyphs.We achieve this effect using either our CNC router or by hand-carving.

  • Epoxy

    Epoxy adhesives are a major part of the class of adhesives called "structural adhesives" or "engineering adhesives" (which also includes polyurethane, acrylic, cyanoacrylate, and other chemistries.) These high performance adhesives are used in the construction of airplanes, automobiles, golf clubs, skis, snow boards, and many other applications where high strength bonds are required. Epoxy adhesives can be developed that meet almost any application. They are exceptional adhesives for wood, metal, glass, stone, and some plastics. Epoxy adhesives are almost unmatched in heat and chemical resistance among common adhesives. ArtSignWorks uses a special-purpose, high-strength epoxy to join HDU pieces and wood -to-wood joints. The oepoxy is stronger than the materials being joined.

  • Exotic wood

    This term is applied to hardwoods grown in Central America, South America, Asia, the East Indies, and Africa. These include hundreds of different species, many with interesting grain patterns. They are used for hardwood floors, furniture, paneling, and small items such as pens.Some have grain structures similar to American hardwoods such as Cherry and Walnut. artSignWorks uses Mahogany, Cherry, walnut and Rosewood for its Desk and Door nameplate plaques. We only use tree-farmed wood and never use wood from an endangered species.

  • Finish Coat

    The final coat of paint or varnish or other coating used on a sign;it is the coat most exposed to UV radiation, moisture, and cold.

  • Font Style

    A font is a set of characters (letters, numbers,symbols, punctuation), all incorporating the same basic motif according to design, size, appearance, and other attributes associated with the entire set. Each character may be represented artistically in the form of outlines or bitmaps that may be drawn on the screen or paper. There are over 30,000 font styles, and more are created every day. These are generally divided into families, such as sans serif (no serifs),slab serif, script, modern, engraved, blackletter, geralde, venetian, funny, etc.ArtSignWorks has a standard set of 28 fonts that span a much larger set, but we also have 3000 additional fonts in our library.

  • Gloss

    Gloss is an optical property, which is based on the interaction of light with physical characteristics of a surface. It is actually the ability of a surface to reflect light into the specular direction. The factors that affects gloss are the refractive index of the material, the angle of incident light and the surface topography.

    Gloss can be said as a view of material appearance. Materials with smooth surfaces appear glossy, while very rough surfaces reflect no specular light and therefore appear matte. Gloss is also expressed as lustre or sheen in certain fields of application.We use gloss finishes occasionally for CarvedArt in Product Line 2 and ceramic glazes in Product Line 5. Generally, however our paints and varnishes are semi-gloss, satin, or flat, in order of descending glossiness.

  • Grain-frame

    This is a device with wires strung lengthwise along a frame, which is placed between the HDU and the sandblast nozzle. The wires greate a shadow, blocking the abrasuive, and creating ridges which look very similar to the grain structure of redwood when sandblasted. We use both a commercial product, GRAIN•FRAIM™, and a smaller homebuilt version.

  • Hand- Painting

    A process whereby artwork is painted on HDU, wood or ceramics using artist's brushes, which can provide fine detail, interesting textures, brush marks, and surface color mixing. This is distinguished from air-brushing, roller-painting, brush painting (large paintbrush), dip painting (dip object in a paint vat), and spray-painting (large areas). We may use any of these six techniques on our signs and wrought iron fixtures.

  • Hand-carve

    A process for removing wood or HDU by means of a knife, a gouge, a chisel, or a veiner. This is traditional wood-carving, without using any power tools. Hand-carving gives precision control and can create fine details. Hand-carving is distinguished from power-carving using Dremel rotary tools, a router, a power sander, or a sandblast nozzle, all which remove material but lack the precision and style of hand-carving. We use hand-carving for the CarvedArt bas-reliefs in Product Line 2, and the other techniques for Product Lines 1, 3, 4, and 6.

  • Hand-sand

    A process for removing wood or HDU by means of a fine file or rasp or small pieces of sandpaper held in an artisan's hand or sandpaper holder. Hand-sanding gives precision control, including removing thin amounts of material from small areas. It is used in conjunction with hand-sanding, above. and . Hand-carving is distinguished from power-sanding, using Dremel rotary tools, hand-held power sanders, and belt and rotary sanders, all of which remove material but lack the precision and style of hand-sanding. We use hand-sanding for the CarvedArt bas-reliefs in Product Line 2 and the sculptures in Product Line 8, and also for fine sanding to achieve smoothness of letters and borders for Product Lines 1,2, 3,4, 6 and 8.

  • Hanging Sign Stand

    A wrought-iron stand consisting of two vertical posts inserted into the ground connected by an upper crossbeam from which a sign can be hung from two chains. A second crossbeam is installed below the bottom of the sign to increase rigidity. There is scrollwork on both crossbeams to provide additional bracing. The top beam may be curved or flat. ArtSignWorks makes 6 models of hanging sign stands (see Product Line 7).

  • High Density Urethane(HDU)

    In the process, once a chemical formula is created, the liquid is poured into a large mold and cast into a bun. A blowing agent serves as a catalyst, activating other chemical components. When they're activated, the substances rise, and tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide form, turning the urethane from its initial state into a foam. The urethane stabilizes after cooling and forms in large blocks that are cut into 4 x 8-, 4 x 10-, 5 x 8- and 5 x 10-ft. panels and to a signmaker's desired thickness.

    After this reaction, the urethane has a closed-cell structure -- which enables resistance to damage -- comprising millions of tiny cells. These cells create a lightweight structure that's inert and unaffected by temperatures or commonly used solvents.
    HDU is the material of choice of signmakers who make dimensional signs.Aproximately 95% of dimensional signs today are made from HDU;the remaining 5 % from wood. HDU has major advantages over wood for signs.It is lightweight yet remarkably strong (but not as strong as wood for the densities we use),easily machined and carved, unaffected by temperature,waterproof, and easy to dand and paint This material(in higher densities) is also used for surfboards and aerospace applications.HDU is manufactured in 4-40-lb/ft3 densities.ArtSignWorks uses SignFoam3, manufactured by Sign Arts, Inc, in 15 and 18 lb/ft2 densities. 15 lb/ft3 densities are used for smaller signs, cut-out letters and large carvings, while 18 lb/ft3 density SignFoam, which is stronger and more dent-resistant, is used for signs in such high-traffic areas as swimming pools and golf courses, where accidental damage is more likely.

  • High-relief

    The type of sculpture or carving which projects from a background.There are three degrees or types of relief: high, low, and sunken. In high relief, the sculpture stands far out from the background.Typically they are half the thickness of the object being depicted. In most of our our high-relief sign carvings, the carving is 1.5 to 6 inches elevated higher than the background. In low relief (best known as bas-relief), they are shallow (5-20% of the thickness), typically 1/2 in higher than the background. In sunken relief, also called hollow or intaglio; the backgrounds are not carved out in a elliptical "dish" pattern so that the points in highest relief are level with the original surface of the material being carved.

    ArtSignWorks uses high-relief for wood or HDU sculptures which are appliqués (epoxied on) a sign surface for Product Line 8, These are made by either hand-carving or by our CNC router. Low or bas-relief, which is achieved with multi-level sandblasting or simetimes by CNC routing.

    A familiar example of bas-relief is the patterns on our coins, which are very slightly raised above the background in true 3D. The most extreme example of high-relief is a 3D sculpture, sometimes referred to as "sculpture in the round".

  • Icon

    Art Sign Works uses a loose definition of icon, in that it is synonomous with artwork; it is an image of an object (animal, plant, flower, person, building, natural feature, mythological object, religious or pariotic symbol,logo, etc.), or a image of a group of objects set in a scene Art Sign Works sandblasts, reverse sandblasts, carves, sculpts, or paints icons onto a sign.

    More exactly, an icon (from Greek åἰêþí, eikon, "image") is an image, picture, or representation; it is a sign or likeness that stands for an object by signifying or representing it; in computers an icon is a symbol on the monitor used to signify a command .In Eastern Orthodoxy and other icon-painting Christian traditions, the icon is generally a flat panel painting depicting a holy being or object such as Jesus, Mary, saints, angels, or the cross. Icons may also be cast in metal, carved in stone, embroidered on cloth, done in mosaic work, printed on paper or metal, etc.(from Wikapedia)

  • J-bolt

    A 'J' shaped bolt that is threaded on the long straight portion of the 'J.'

  • JPEG

    In computing, JPEG (pronounced JAY-peg) is a commonly used standard method of compression for photographic images. JPEG is used for lossy compression of images, although, variations on the standard baseline JPEG allow for lossless compression. The file format which employs this compression is commonly also called JPEG; the most common file extensions for this format are .jpeg, .jfif, .jpg, .JPG, or .JPE although .jpg is the most common on all platforms.ArtSignWorks stores all photos and drawings as JPEG images, and prefers photos or drawings be transmitted to ArtSignWorks in JPEG or PDF format.

  • JPEG (Joint Photographic Exports Group)

    A common file format for color digital images. The JPEG standard utilizes a 'lossy' data compression method, meaning that in order to reduce the overall size of the file a small amount of sharpness from the original image is sacrificed.

  • Kelvin

    1. A unit of measure expressed in degrees used to denote the color temperature of a light source. 2. A unit of thermal temperature expressed in degrees.

  • L-Bracket

    A wrought iron fixture which has a horizontal cross-beam with two chains so that a sign can be hung from it and viewed from both sides. It has a vertical beam extending above and below the cross-beam which fits against a wall or square post, which is used to attach the bracket using screws or bolts. There is scroll work to strengthen the vertical-horizontal beam connections. The product Line 7 Catalog has photos of six types of L-brackets ranging from 20 inches to 33 inches wide. L-brackets are often used to hang business signs above a sidewalk.

  • Matthews Acrylic Paint (MAP) is a two-part automotive-type acrylic polyurethane paint. Its low VOC version meets
    t 2.8 or 3.5 VOC compliance regulations on sign projects, MAP low VOC topcoats offer unsurpassed color and gloss retention while protecting against ultraviolet rays, chemicals, and extreme weather and climates. Matthews Low VOC Topcoats provide exceptional durability over a variety of substrates including metal, wood, HDU, and many first surface plastics.

  • MDO

    Medium Density Overlay.(MDO) is an engineered plywood with a resin treated fiber applied to both faces. This gives an extremely smooth finish that is easy to paint. In addition it's rated for exterior use, which means it is safe from the elements, insects, or other outdoor hazards, making it a perfect choice for signs.It can be used as a facesheet for flat signs (painted without sandblasting) or as a substrate for cut-out letters or appliqué. It is also used as a backsheet to a larger sign to strengthen and toughen HDU sheets (since it is stronger than 15 /ft2 HDU) and thinner Redwood and Cedar planks. MDO is typically 5 ply and 1/2 inch thick and costs 2 to 3 times as much as regular plywood.It comes in 4 ft by 8 ft sheets, like HDU does.

  • MDO (medium density overlay)

    An exterior grade plywood sheet that has been given a resin-impregnated overlay on one or both sides to improve its paintability.

  • NEC (National Electric Code)

    A set of codes and standards set forth by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) for the safe use of electrical wiring and equipment.

  • Nameplate

    A small plaque which can be placed on an door (office or condominium)which lists a person's nasme and sometimes title or position. ArtSignWorks makes nameplates in Product Line 4.

  • OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)

    A U.S. federal government agency that monitors and enforces workplace safety laws.

  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

    A U.S. federal government agency that monitors and enforces workplace safety laws.

  • Outline Art

    See Silhouette Art

  • PDF

    Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format proprietary to Adobe Systems for representing two-dimensional documents in a device independent and resolution independent fixed-layout document format. Each PDF file encapsulates a complete description of a 2D document that includes the text, fonts, images, and 2D vector graphics that compose the document. These are hardware and operating system independent, which ensures that a valid PDF will render exactly the same regardless of its origin or destination. Adobe holds a number of patents relating to the PDF format and claims that it is an open standard, licensing them on a royalty-free basis for use in developing software that complies with its PDF specification.ArtSignWorks uses PDF to write most of its documents including the Catalogs, Summary Price List, Terms & Conditions, etc. A Client should have Adobe 7 installed to rea these; you can get a free download by going to You can get it free by downloading it from Adobe's website Acrobat Reader 7.0.8 Download. .

  • PL

    Abbreviation for Product Line-see below

  • PMS (Pantone Matching System)

    A standardized color scheme used in the printing industry to ensure the consistency of color from design to final print.

  • POP (point of purchase) sign

    In-store advertising designed to stimulate impulse purchases by shoppers inside a store. The term applies to a store's internal sign system, as well as special displays and dispensers created by and for specific product manufacturers. Also known as "point-of-sale advertising."

  • PPI (pixels per inch)

    The number of pixels in a raster image that will occur in one line in the span of one inch. The higher the PPI, the greater the resolution and the less distinguishable each pixel becomes.

  • Pantone Matching System (PMS)

    A standardized color scheme used in the printing industry to ensure the consistency of color from design to final print.

  • Plant marker

    A small sign (usually 2 inches high by 4 inches wide) mounted on a stake and placed in the ground close to a flower or plant that you wish to identify or provide other information. Used extensively in nurseries, botanical gardens, grrenhouses, rose gardens, and some residential gardens. ArtSignWorks offers plant markers with wrought-iron in Product Line 6.

  • Plaque

    A small sign, usually used for personal rather than commercial advertising purposes. These are often placed on walls in the home, office, etc in interior spaces, but there are also some placed on exterior walls or other vertical surfaces(e.g., memorial, commemorative, or award plaques). These are often bronze,stone, ceramic or wood.On this website, the term plaque is used rather loosely, meaning a small sign not used for advertising a commercial firm which is usually mounted indoors on a wall. ArtSignWorks makes HDU, wood and ceramic plaques in Product Lines 1,6,3,4,and 5, respectively.

  • Plexiglas

    The trade name for a brand of acrylic sheeting, which (like Kleenex) is often mistakenly used as a generic term.

  • Pressure-Sensitive Graphics

    Pressure-sensitive vinyl film is cut by ca omputer-controlled vinyl cutter or sometimes by hand to a desired design or pattern and then adhered in the sign's substrate.ArtSignWorks uses this as a stencil for painting or ceramic glazing; cutting outlines with a scroll saw; using the vinyl as a sand-blast resist; and as a template for hand-carving letters and icons or sculptures.

  • Primer

    A primer is an initial coat of a liquid coating (itis not a paint!) applied to HDU and painted wood. Primers are designed to adhere to the substrate and create a uniform surface for the top coat. Primers penetrate and adhere to raw surfaces, evening up porosity so that the final paint film doesn't look blotchy. The primers for HDU are not neededto seal or protect the HDU, but to fill surface imperfections so thand sanding before painting gives a smoother, more even surface.For HDU, ArtSignWorks uses Sign Prime, made by Sign Arts products especially for SignFoam3.We use a latex primer for outside painted wood signs. we do not use a primer on naturally finished wood, but we do use a clear coating which evens porosity so that stains are not blotchy.

  • Product Line

    Contains a range of products which use similar materials and fabrication techniques. ArtSignWorks presently has 8 Product Lines, sometimes abbreviated as PL1, PL2, etc

  • Proof

    A picture or color drawing of the design of the sign. The proof should be accurate enough so that when the finished sign is done, it will bear a reasonable resemblance to the actual sign.This means shapes, colors, letter and number fonts, and artwork size, shape and color should be very similar or the same between PROOF and finished sign. ArtSignWorks uses the VinylExpress design & production program to prepare PROOFs, so that what you see in a PROOF you will get in the finished sign.

  • Raised

    Letters or artwork which is elevated above the background or surface of the sign.This can be done by sand-blasting the background or by placing separate cut-out or stand-off letters on the sign surface.

  • Redwood

    The California Coastal Redwood (species Sequoia sempervirens) is an evergreen, long-lived, monoecious tree living for up to 2,000 years, and is commonly considered the tallest tree in the world, reaching up to 112 m (367 ft) in height and 7 m (23 ft) diameter at the base. It is thought to be named after the Cherokee Indian leader, Sequoyah, though this is uncertain.(Wikipedia Encyclopedia)It grows only in the Coast region of northern California, from the San Francisco Bay area on the south to the Orego border.

    The California Coastal Redwood has been the wood of choice for sandblasted wood signs for the last 50 years, because of its beautiful color, interesting and dramatic grain pattern when sandblasted, and its resistance to rot and decay.Until about 50 years ago, redwood was used to construct entire homes in California; today, because of its expense, it is used for some (very expensive) decks and specialty items, like hot tubs. ArtSignWorks uses only clear, all-heart, kiln-dried, vertical grain Redwood for its Product Line 3 signs, which we recommend to be finished naturally (rather than painted), to show off the beauty of the wood. We also offer signs of Redwood in Product Line 8.

  • Roller

    A paint roller, used to apply paint on some backgrounds, borders, and raised letters for larger signs.We use the smallest ones available.

  • Router

    A router is a high-speed rotating tool with special bits which can carve decorative edges on signs annd separate letters. CNC (Computer-Numerically-Controlled) Routers, with specialized bits, can also perform as interior shaping tools so that they can carve out a 3-D model automatically. ArtSignWorks uses routers attached to router tables which are manually controlled by a master craftsman.

  • Sandblast

    A technique which uses a high-pressure air to blow abrasive particles at high speed through a hose and a nozzle so that the particles impinge on a target surface. The particles "abrade", or remove material on the surface of the target material. Sandblasting can be used to remove rust from metal, paint from metal, grease and other contaminants from metal, stone or concrete, and to remove the surface layers of HDU and wood.ArtSignWorks uses sandblasting as a very important tool in selectively removing HDU or wood surface layers. It can be use to remove the background (leaving letters and art elevated), or to remove material for letters and art (leaving the backgound elevated), similar to engraving. It can also be used to sculpt and carve when the nozzle is held close to the surface (at low pressure).

  • Sandblast Mask

    This is heavy vinyl to protect the substrate from being sand-blasted. The areas to be sand-blasted have the vinyl removed by a process called weeding, which exposes the HDU or wood to the sandblast stream of particles. ArtSignWorks uses Hartco sandblast resist.

  • Sandblast carve

    Also called Sancarve. Small area sandblasting, where the nozzle is held only a few inches from the material. This is done at low-pressures, around 15 psi, with a conical nozzle. It is a delicate process and must be performed by a skilled craftsmen, because it is easy to remove too much material and ruin a HDU or wood sculpture.

  • Sandblast levels

    This refers to several different depth of sandblasting to create a dimensional icon or scene. The sandblast is weeded in a series of sandblast operations, each one going deeper into the substrate. The last vinyl removed is for the highest layer (that closest to the sign surface).ArtSignworks uses this techniques as the first step in creating a CarvedArt icon, because it is much faster in removing entire layers than hand-sanding or hand carving.ArtSignWorks routinely does five layers. This technique, aling with sandblast-carving, is also used to rough out high-relief sculptures.

  • Sandblast nozzle

    The nozzle is the "working end' where the ablative material comes out at high speed and impinges on the HDU or wood to be removed. ArtSignWorks uses both a wide-beam nozzle, to achieve uniform removal over a background, and a narrow-beam nozzle, for selective removal over a smaller area (sometomes referred to as sandblast carving).

  • Scene

    As used on this website, an art scene contain multiple objects against a background of sky, trees, ocean, lakes, mountains, etc.This is contrasted with an art object (usually a person, animal, vehicle, building, etc) with no background depicted.An art scene is usually enclosed by an oval border or separate area on a sign separated by a border from the lettering area, wheras an art object or icon may be placed directly on the background anywhere on the sign. Product Lines 2 and 3 can have CarvedArt scenes and Product line 8 can have flat painted or CArvedArt scenes. Product Lines 1 and 3 can have Silhouette Art objects, Product Lines 2 and 3 can have CarvedArt objects, and Product Line 8 can have Silhouette Art, CarvedArt, flat painted art, or scultured applique art objects.

  • Scroll Saw

    This electric bench saw uses a very thin blade and small teeth to cut intricate and precise curves in HDU and wood.It is the most precise saw we use.

  • Sculpture

    A sculpture is a three-dimensional, human-made object selected for special recognition as art (Wikipedia Encyclopedia). in sign-making, it refers to an elaborate, high-relief or separate body carving, usually of HDU (most common) or wood.HDU sculptures are made using a combination of power and hand tools, including a jigsaw or scroll saw, sandblasting, a power-sander, Dremel rotary sander, hand rasps and files, knives, gouges,chisels, and hand-sanding. HDU sculpures are usually painted with acrylics or oil enamels,but wooden sculptures may be stained and varnished. ArtSignWorks uses HDU and oil enamels exclusively for sculptures, because it is much easier to work with and will last much longer with little maintenance than wood.

  • Semi-Gloss

    A finish paint or clear coating (such as varnish or polyurethane) which reflects light specularlyoff its surface, but not as much as a gloss surface.Coatings with lower reflectivity are called satin, and those with lowest flat.See Gloss.

  • Serif

    In typography, serifs are the structural details on the end of strokes that make up letters and symbols. A serif font (or seriffed font) has these features. A typeface (font) without serifs is called sans-serif (from French sans: "without"). Some typography sources refer to sans-serif typefaces as grotesque (or in German, grotesk) or gothic, and serif typefaces as roman; however, these terms are no longer commonly used, except in specific font names.In the Roman alphabet, serifs originated with the carving of words into stone in ancient Italy. The explanation proposed by Father Edward Catich in his 1968 book The Origin of the Serif is now broadly, though not universally, accepted: serifs exist because the letters were first brushed onto stone, and then the stone carvers followed the brush marks.For signs, fonts with serifs look more formal and pleasing to the eye.Most of ArtSignWorks' standard non-script fonts have serifs, with the exceptions of Staccato, Standout, Arial Black, Auburn, Comic Sans, and Dom Bold (see Fig 16 in Catalog for Product Line 1).

  • Shadow Art

    Another name for Silhouette or Outline art. See Silhouette Art.

  • Shaped Text

    Text which has letter fonts which vary in size and height from one part of the text line to another. Letters may be larger at both ends, and smaller in the middle, or vice-versa. Sometimes letters are largest at the beginning and uniformly get smaller until the end of that line, giving a sense of perspective towards a vanishing point.

  • Sign Frame

    A wrought-iron decorative holder that has a band of iron enclosing and touching the ceramic or wood plaque. The holder can be used to hang the sign from a nail or screw a wall.See Product Lines 4 and 5.

  • Sign Holder

    Synonomous with Sign Frame.

  • Sign Stand

    A separate stand using one or two posts to display a sign. The sign may be attached directly to a bracket on the post(s) or hung from a cross-beam between the two posts. See Product Line 7.

  • SignFoam3

    A High-Density-Urethane (HDU)product built by Sign Arts Company especially for the sign industry. Art Sign Works uses an equivalent product called Precision Board Plus, made by Coast Enterprises in Coastal Mesa.

  • Silhouette Art

    An art icon which is flat, like letters or numbers, (not carved) and raised above the background by protecting it with resist vinyl during sandblasting. The art can be solid (like a shadow) or an outline (with interior areas sandblasted).However, it is not multi-layer sandblasted, nor is it hand-carved. It can be painted one or several colors, but generally does not have the detail of painting and blending of colors that CarvedArt has. Silhouette Art is priced as if it were letters or numbers, the least expensive art. It tends to be more highly stylized and dramatic than CarvedArt or Sculptured art appliqués (for Product Line 8).

  • Slanted Text

    Text that has one end of the textline higher than the other, or the line is slanted, usually 15 or 20 degrees from the horizontal. The right end of the text line is usually higher than the left end.The letters are also slanted the opposite direction so they appear vertical.

  • Spray-Painting

    Spray-painting is a wider area version of air-brushing. ArtSignworks uses spray-painting to put on the prime coat for signs and to paint wrought iron. See air-brushing.

  • Stain

    A dark liquid, either water or oil-based, used to darken or change the color of wood. ArtSignWorks may use MinWax oil stains on selective parts of wood signs or plaques, for Product Lines 3,4 and 8.

  • Stake

    A stake is a sharp metal, wood, or plastic object that can be driven into moderately-loose soil. For this website, it refers to our zinc-coated steel stakes which the upright posts for the sign stands can be attached to, providing a stable frame that the sign can be hung from or attached to. See Product Line 7.

  • Stand-off

    These are separate cutout letters, numbers or art icons cut from HDU or wood that are mounted above the sign surface with a typical airspace between 1 and 2 inches. The standoffs are achieved using either aluminum pins or dowels, or small HDU blocks (hidden frrom view because they are smaller than and in the interior of the cutout). The HDU blocks are epoxied to the cutout and the substrate.Building standoffs for cutouts, especially aluminum dowels, is very labor intensive and add expense to the sign.

  • Stencil

    A special type of template, used as a pattern placed on a substrate on which it is desired to paint or ink letters, designs, or artwork. The stencil covers thoses areas which we do not want paint or ink on. Art Sign Works uses adhesive vinyl as its stencil material for flat letter painting on signs.

  • Substrate

    The sign face plate on which letters and artwork is placed or carved. These can be carved into, painted, stained, metal-plated, or gold or silver-leaf gilded. or epoxied onto the substrate. Art Sign Works uses these substrates: HDU (Product Lines 1,2, 5, 6 and 7); wood (Product Lines 3, 5 and 7); EPS (Product Line 6) and aluminum, acrylic, HPTE, and MDO plywood (Product Line 5).

  • TCO (Temporary Certificate of Occupancy)

    This typically allows a new building to be occupied before it is fully complete and therefore requires life safety signs to be in place to protect the public at large.

  • TIFF (tagged image file format)

    standard graphics file format used for scanned bit-mapped images.

  • Template

    A pattern with which multiple copies of a letters, shapes, and artwork can be made. templates can be made of paper, plastic, metal, vinyl, etc.A good template enables an accurate copy to be made of the original object from which the template was made. ArtSignworks uses adhesive vinyl cut-outs for its templates.

  • Top Coating

    The coating intended for the front surface of a sign or plaque; i.e, the surface contacting the air.

  • UV resistance

    Ability to withstand decay due to the damaging effect of the ultraviolet rays of the sun.

  • V-carve

    Description of the shape of the profile of a cross-section of stroke on a letter, when letter is engraved in substrate (e.g., wood, HDU, stone, metal).The center of the cross-section is the deepext, and he sides of the cross-section are 2 straight lines going from the center to the edge of the cross-section (on the substrate surface)., in a V-shape. The Romans first used V-carving on stone. V-carving is similar to prismatic carving, but there are slight differences between the two in that V-carving has the same V-angle for all strokes and all letters, wheras in prismatic carving the angle varies with stroke width, but both make a "V".V-carving can be done with a CNC router or by hand-carving.

  • Vinyl Express

    A commercial software product developed by Scanvec Amiable, that is used to design signs and to drive the vinyl cutter.

  • Vinyl cutter

    This is a computer controlled blade cutter that cuts intricate art and letter patterns on a large continuous feed vinyl sheet.It cancut thin vinyl for paint or scroll saw cutting stencils, or thick sandblast-resist vinyl for sandblasting. Many sign companies also use them to cut out vinyl stick-on appliques for plastic or metal sign substrates; ArtSignWorks does not offer these type of signs. A high-quality vinyl cutter is capable of high precision and accuracy (better than 0.1 mm) and very complex and dense patterns. Vinyl cutters cut vinyl widths from 20 inches to 52 inches, and lengths to 20 feet.

  • Weed

    The process of removing pieces of cut sandblast resist adhesive vinyl from the HDU or wood substrate, so the material is exposed to the ablative stream of particles. Only areas that are weeded can be sandblasted.

  • Wrought Iron

    Wrought iron is commercially pure iron, having a very small carbon content (carbon content does not exceed 0.15 percent), but usually contains some slag. It is tough, malleable, ductile and can be easily welded.Common usage is for 'wrought iron' to mean iron of this composition. However, strictly, it should be confined to iron that has been wrought (i.e. worked) into a finished product. The unwrought commodity is according to its form 'bar iron', 'rod iron', etc. Wrought iron has been used for thousands of years, and represents the "iron" that is referred to throughout history.Ornamental ironwork is often referred to as "wrought iron," even though today it is more likely to be made from mild steel. The word “wrought” is the old past tense of the verb to work. As irregular past-tense forms in English have historically been phased out over long periods of time, wrought became worked. Wrought iron literally means Worked iron.(from Wikipedia).We use this definition for the material in Product Line 7.

  • abatement

    Related to signage, it is the removal or correction of a sign that violates local community code or standards.

  • abrasion resistance

    The ability of a given surface to resist scratching or scuffing due to contact or friction with another material. It is one measure of durability.

  • access panel

    A hinged or removable panel that when opened provides access to the interior of a sign allowing for the inspection and servicing of its internal components. (Also called access door.)

  • achromatic

    Literally means without color. Black, white and grays are achromatic.

  • acrylic

    Generic term for a type of durable plastic commonly used in sign making. Noted for its excellent clarity, acrylic can also be manufactured in a wide range of transparent and opaque colors. Its ability to be easily machined, shaped and painted explains acrylic's popularity. Plexiglas® and Acrylite® are well-known commercial brands of the material.

  • additive colors

    Red, green and blue are the three additive colors of light. All other colors of light are created by combinations of these three. If the three additive colors come together in equal proportions, the resulting light is white. (Also called additive primaries. See also primary colors.)

  • additive primaries

    Red, green and blue are the three additive colors of light. All other colors of light are created by combinations of these three. If the three additive colors come together in equal proportions, the resulting light is white. (Also called additive colors. See also primary colors.)

  • adhesion

    The force that holds the surface of one material to another. The strength of adhesion is affected by the type and condition of the surfaces in question and the adhesive used. Generally the surfaces need to be clean and porous enough to allow for a certain amount of penetration by the adhesive.

  • advance notice sign

    A sign indicating the approach of a specific destination such as a highway, street intersection or building entrance. Different to a directional sign in that it announces a single destination. (Also called an approach sign.)

  • aesthetics

    The general perception of an sign's artistic merit or beauty, both on its own and in relation to its surroundings. The design, construction, materials and colors of a sign all factor into its aesthetic appeal.

  • aluminum

    A lightweight metal material used in sign panels, poles and frames. It is strong and durable in relation to its weight, and resistant to rust and corrosion.

  • ambient light

    The sum of all non-directional light in a given area emitted by all sources at a given time. A high level of ambient light can have an impact on a sign's readability, and can be a consideration in a sign's design. Outdoor sunlight creates a high level of ambient light.

  • amortization

    When a previously conforming sign is subsequently deemed to be non-conforming, the owner of the sign is notified and given a grace period during which he may continue to keep and use the sign. At the end of the grace period the sign must be removed. This process is referred to as amortization. The legality and enforceability of amortization depends state and local law, and other possible conditions.

  • anchor

    In general, any device that connects and secures one object to another. An example would be the devices used to secure signds to walls or monument bases. (See also expansion anchor and studs,

  • approach

    The distance at which a sign becomes readable to a viewer to the point where the sign is no longer readable as the viewer passes by.

  • approach sign

    A sign indicating the approach of a specific destination such as a highway, street intersection, or building entrance. Different to a directional sign in that it announces a single destination. (Also called an advance notice sign.)

  • architectural signage

    A term used to describe signage in a built environment having the purpose of providing wayfinding or other site specific information.

  • artwork

    A generic term which is the end product of the creation of an image or likeness of a figure, an animal, a plant, a vehicle, an object, a symbol, a scene, a crest, a badge, an insignia, or a scene, t on a sign or a plaque by using one or more of the following; machine carving, fine painting, hand-carving, engraving ,direct printing on a substrate, ot printing on a giclee applique

  • aspect ratio

    The width-to-height ratio of an image. For example, a high definition television image has an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 (commonly referenced as 16:9), meaning that for every 1.78 inches of image width the image extends 1 inch in height.

  • back-to-back sign

    A sign having two faces mounted in opposite directions. Pole signs typically have back-to-back faces. (Also called a double-faced sign.)

  • background panel

    A sign panel to which text or graphical elements are affixed.

  • ballpoint Braille

    Small plastic or metal beads that can be placed in the face of a sign to create informational Braille text as required by the ADA. (Also known as Braille bullets or Braille beads.)

  • base plate

    A flat, thick piece of metal, usually steel and square or rectangular in shape, welded to the bottom of a sign support structure and then anchored with bolts to a concrete foundation or other substructure.

  • bevel

    1. A slant or angle on a surface. 2. A cut made at the edge of a material to form an angle that is not 90

  • bid package

    Documents from a prospective customer that state for the contractor the requirements and conditions of the project under bid. These documents communicate such details as design intent, desired materials, installation criteria and other project specifics. They also include standardized bidding forms and bidding instructions. (Also called front end documents.).

  • billboard

    A large (15 square feet in area or larger) outdoor sign used for advertising and typically seen along highways, main streets and other high traffic areas. An advertiser will rent a billboard and display their advertisement on it for a set length of time.

  • blade sign

    A type of projecting sign mounted such that the face of the sign is perpendicular to the normal flow of traffic.

  • blank

    An uninstalled sign panel with no lettering or graphics applied. (Also called an insert.)

  • blind fasteners

    Fasteners used to mount signs to walls and others surfaces while remaining hidden from view. (Also called concealed fasteners.)

  • blistering

    The appearance of bumps and bubbles on a surface covered in a coating such as paint, or a material such as vinyl. It is the result of the coating or material losing adhesion and separating from the surface underneath.

  • block color

    An area of solid color having no gradation.

  • border

    A line or band of color or material that defines that outer edges of a sign and/or elements within the sign.

  • box sign

    A sign that is self enclosed in a typically square or rectangular structure with or without internal lighting. Can be single- or double-faced. (See also light box.)

  • brand equity

    The value a customer places on a branded product or service. It is the qualitative sum of everything that a customer thinks, feels and knows about the product or service. The value of brand equity can be determined by comparing the expected future revenue of the branded product/service against the expected future revenue from an equivalent but non-branded product/service. (See also branding.)

  • branding

    The process of creating a unique, positive and recognizable identity for a product or service. Along with marketing and advertising, creating a visual identity through signage is an important part of the branding process. (See also brand equity.)

  • breakaway foundation

    A type of sign foundation that allows a sign pole or other attached support structure to break away cleanly if struck by a motor vehicle, thereby reducing the force of impact to the occupants inside the vehicle. Required by law in many areas. (Also called a frangible sign mount.)

  • building code

    Regulations issued by state and local governments that establish standards for the construction, modification and repair of buildings and other structures in the interest of public health, safety and general welfare. (See also content neutral time, place and manner regulations.)

  • building mounted sign

    Any sign that is applied or attached to a building in some manner.

  • built-up letter

    A lettering technique in which the outline of the letter is made first and then filled in.

  • burnish

    To polish by friction, i.e. to rub with pressure. No abrasive compound or material is used when burnishing. (See also buff.)

  • butt joint

    The type of joint formed when two pieces of material (wood, metal, etc.) come together flush and edge-to-edge.

  • carved letters

    Lettering that is chiseled, routed, engraved or sandblasted into the substrate of a sign face either by hand or by computer controlled machinery.

  • carved signs

    Any sign made by the routing, engraving, sandblasting or chiseling of lettering, shapes and/or patterns into the substrate of a sign face either by hand or by computer controlled machinery.

  • casting

    The process by which a material such as metal or plastic is poured into a mold while in a liquid state and then allowed to solidify, thereby taking the shape of the mold and creating a copy of the original object from which the mold was made. (See also die-casting.)

  • cladding

    A cover added to conceal or decorate the base or supporting structure of a sign.

  • coat-out

    Painting the substrate of a sign with a coat of primer prior to applying the lettering and graphics.

  • color contrast

    The subjective degree of difference in hue, intensity and saturation of two colors when seen next to each other.

  • color separation

    The process of decomposing and separating a color graphic or image into its four constituent CMYK ink colors such that each color ends up with its own printing plate. The plates are then used in a printing press to reproduce the image on paper.

  • concealed fasteners

    Fasteners used to mount signs to walls and others surfaces while remaining hidden from view. (Also called blind fasteners.)

  • conforming sign

    A sign that has been legally installed in accordance with all applicable federal, state and local regulations.

  • conspicuity

    The effectiveness of sign in standing out from its surrounding environment and capturing the attention of the passerby.

  • content neutral time, place and manner regulations

    Those sign regulations which specify, without consideration of the sign's content or message, how, when and where a sign can be displayed, including such parameters as height, size and location. (See also building code.)

  • contrast

    1. The amount of difference between the lightest and darkest areas in an image or scene. 2. The visual characteristics of an object such as size, shape and color that make it distinguishable from other objects near it and the background it is set against.

  • copy

    As a whole, the written message on a sign. (See also artwork.)

  • curing

    The process of drying or hardening ink, glue or other substances through the application of heat or ultraviolet light.

  • debossed lettering

    Sign lettering where the lettering has been engraved, carved or otherwise recessed into the sign substrate. (See also embossed lettering.)

  • decal

    Screen printed lettering and graphics that can be transferred and affixed to another surface through the application of water or heat.

  • density

    The ratio between the mass (weight) of a substance to the volume of space it occupies. In sign making, the term is commonly applied to foam boards and is expressed in pounds per cubic foot.

  • design

    The clear and complete specifications for the appearance, structure and implementation of a sign. A design may include technical drawings, illustrations and written descriptions of the sign.

  • design intent drawings

    Drawings of a sign that show the basic size, profile and parts of it, but provide no further design details. Design intent drawings are typically included as part of the bid package from the customer.

  • die-cutting

    The process of cutting material such as paper or vinyl using a steel blade (called a die) manufactured to cut a specific shape. The die-cutting process is typically used when a large number of items must be cut to the same shape or size.

  • dimensional letter

    Any letter, logo or symbol that has a raised profile in relation to the sign substrate.

  • directional sign

    A sign providing information, either written or visual, that helps direct a person to a destination.

  • directory sign

    A sign that provides an organized list of names of people, offices or facilities located within a given building or area. Usually located at a public access point such as a building lobby, a directory sign may provide simple text listings or also include maps and other wayfinding information.

  • double-faced sign

    A sign having two faces mounted in opposite directions. Pole signs are typically doubled-faced. (Also called a back-to-back sign.)

  • drop shadow

    The visual effect of creating a false shadow behind a letter or object by placing a darker colored but identically shaped copy of it behind it but slightly offset up or down and to one side.

  • electric sign

    Any sign that contains and utilizes electrical components.

  • embellishment

    In signage, it refers to any element of a sign face that provides a decorative effect.

  • emboss

    To create raised lettering or graphics in relief on the substrate of a sign through stamping, hammering or molding.

  • enamel

    A colored, powdered glass-based compound that is fused to the surface of metal or glass for decoration and protection. An enamel finish is typically opaque.

  • engine-turned

    A process of using a tool such as a drill press to create uniform circle or swirl patterns on metal or gold leaf finish.

  • engrave

    To incise (cut) a design into the surface of hard material such as metal using a handheld or machine controlled tool called a burin.

  • erect

    To construct and install a sign and its supporting structure.

  • etching

    The removal of selected portions of a layer of material from a substrate using a chemical or electrolytic process. Typically, a stencil is used to mark the areas to be etched and protect the other areas. (See also acid etching.) Engraving and carving into wood or an HDU substrate is not considered etching.

  • expansion anchor

    A type of anchor that is designed to expand inside the drilled hole it is placed, thereby securing itself by the resulting pressure and friction against the sides of the hole. Typically used to anchor awnings to concrete or masonry.

  • extender

    An additive that increases the volume of ink without lowering its viscosity or one that improves the workability of an ink.

  • eyelet

    A small metal or plastic ring that is inserted into a hole made in another piece of material. It prevents fraying of the material around the hole and provides a durable, easily threaded opening for rope or twine. (Also called a grommet.)

  • fabricate

    To manufacture a sign or major sign components.

  • fabricated letter

    A dimensional letter typically fabricated from sheet metal.

  • facade

    The exterior walls of a building, especially the front or the most prominent side of the building.

  • face

    Typically refers to the most prominent message area of a sign but may refer generically to any message area. (Also called sign face. See also panel.)

  • fascia sign

    A sign mounted to a wall or other vertical surface. A flat sign that is mounted on a wall and the face of which runs parallel to the wall. A fascia sign does not typically project from the wall.

  • fasteners

    General term for nuts, bolts, clips and any other mechanical device that helps hold a sign together.

  • fingerpost sign

    A post-mounted directional sign having one or more panels each of which point in the direction of a particular destination.

  • fire retardant

    A chemical compound applied to a material that reduces the material's flammability and retards the ability of fire to spread across its surface. Fire retardant does not make the material fire proof.

  • first surface

    That element or layer that comprises the outermost surface of a sign.

  • flange

    On a sign, it typically refers to the 90

  • flat cutout letter

    A non-illuminated letter cut from a metal sheet or plate stock.

  • flex face

    A sign face made of a flexible material stretched over a supporting frame. (See also flexible face material.)

  • font

    A set of letters and numerals sharing the same design characteristics. Examples of font sets include Times New Roman and Arial. (Also called typeface.)

  • footing

    The base of a sign's supporting structure. The footing is typically secured to a foundation or other anchor such as a building's roof.

  • foundation

    A concrete substructure that anchors a sign and its supporting structure to the ground. (See also footing.)

  • four-color process

    A halftone printing process that uses the four essential ink colors of cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK) to create a full range of colors on a printed surface. (Also called process color.)

  • frangible sign mount

    A type of sign foundation that allows a sign pole or other attached support structure to break away cleanly if struck by a motor vehicle, thereby reducing the force of impact to the occupants inside the vehicle. Required by law in many areas. (Also called a breakaway foundation.)

  • freestanding sign

    A sign that is not attached to a building, has its own support structure and is typically secured to a foundation or with guy wires.

  • gateway sign

    A sign marking the entrance to a town, neighborhood, development, park or other public area. (Also called precinct sign.)

  • gilding

    The artful process of applying a thin layer of gold or gold-like material to a surface by mechanical or chemical means for the purpose of ornamentation. (See also gold foil.)

  • glossimeter

    A device used to measure the amount of light reflected off a given surface. (See also gloss.)

  • gold leaf

    A very thin type of foil made of gold and used in gilding.

  • gradation

    The smooth transition from one color to another color, from black to white, or from color to the absence of color. (Also called gradient.)

  • ground sign

    A freestanding sign that is not secured to a foundation or other secondary support structure.

  • hairline joint

    The thinnest possible joint between two edges.

  • halo

    A glowing ring of light surrounding a object such as a channel letter which has been lit from behind. (See also halo lighting.)

  • hanging sign

    A projecting double-faced sign mounted to a wall or pole and hung from a bracket or support arm. (Also known as a projecting sign.)

  • height

    The measured distance between the highest point of a sign to the highest point of the grade underneath the sign.

  • high-rise sign

    A freestanding sign tall enough to be seen from a distance, especially by motorists.

  • hue

    A given color's tendency towards any of the four base wavelengths of visible light: red, yellow, blue and green. For example, if yellow appears more dominate in an orange colored ink, then that color orange would be said to have a yellowish hue. Hue is one of the three attributes of color along with brightness and saturation.

  • identification sign

    A sign that provides the name of the business displaying the sign.

  • incidental sign

    A sign intended for informational purposes as opposed to commercial or advertising purposes. Typically smaller in size, examples of incidental signs include parking signs, restroom signs and entrance and exit signs.

  • incise

    To decorate a surface by carving or cutting into it using sharpened tools of varying size and shapes. (See also engrave.)

  • inscribe

    To write, print, incise or stamp letters and words onto or into a given surface.

  • interior sign

    Any sign located within a building or structure.

  • italic

    A font style characterized by a distinct slant in the letters and numbers. (Example: ABC123.)

  • kerning

    The act of moving printed or mounted letters further apart or closer together in order to achieve a desired effect. (See also letter spacing, tracking and justified.)

  • lacquer

    A clear glossy coating applied to material for appearance and protection. Known for its ability to dry quickly. Similar to varnish but provides a harder finish.

  • lamination

    The process of binding together two or more layers of material by means of one or more of the following: heat, pressure and adhesive bonding. (See also delamination.)

  • landscape format

    An image or sign panel where the length is appreciably greater than the height is said to be in landscape format.

  • layout

    The overall arrangement of the graphics and lettering on the face of a sign.

  • letter spacing

    A typographic term for the space between letters and words.

  • logo

    A visually distinctive name and/or symbol that identifies a business, product or service. (See also trademark.)

  • low profile sign

    A freestanding sign built close to the ground or on top of a base sitting directly on the ground. Often incorporates the support structure into the overall design. (See also monument sign.)

  • mall signage

    A general term for on-premise signs located within a multi-tenant building or mall.

  • margin

    The space between the any lettering or graphics and the border of the sign face.

  • marquee sign

    A permanent structure attached to the front of a building and which incorporates a large message center. Typically illuminated and often ornate in design, a marquee sign projects over the entrance of the building and provides a canopy over at least a portion of the sidewalk or street. Marquee signs are often used by movie theaters and concert halls.

  • matte

    Having a dull or non-shiny surface or finish.

  • memorial sign

    A sign, typically a plaque, which commemorates a person, place or event.

  • menu board

    A changeable point-of-purchase sign that provides a list of products and prices. It is a type of sign commonly seen in sandwich shops and other fast service restaurants where it is used to display the menu. (See also variable message sign.)

  • message area

    Any segment or surface of a sign that conveys meaning to the viewer either through words or graphics.

  • message center

    Any sign designed such that the copy (message) can be changed as needed through mechanical or electronic means. (See also variable message sign.)

  • mock-up

    A full scale model of a structure. A sign mock-up is created to test and review in detail the appearance, legibility and other aspects of a final design. It is typically made of cheaper, less durable material than the final sign but given the same colors and finishes. (See also model.)

  • monument sign

    A freestanding sign that stands directly on the ground or ground level foundation. A monument sign is often used to mark a place of significance or the entrance to a location. (See also low profile sign.)

  • mural

    A wall surface that has been decorated with a direct application of paint, tile or printed graphics.

  • negative space

    Empty or unused space (having no lettering or graphics) within the sign face. (Also called white space. See also positive space.)

  • notched

    Describes channel letters that have been cut out in the back in order to fit over a raceway, conduit or other object protruding from the mounting wall or substrate.

  • off-premise sign

    A sign that is not located on or directly adjacent to the business or property to which it relates. A billboard is an example of an off-premise sign. (See also on-premise sign.)

  • oil canning

    Refers to the occurrence of slight buckling or waviness in a metal surface due to insufficient thickness of the material or inadequate support behind it.

  • on-premise sign

    Any sign that is located on or directly adjacent to the business or property to which it relates. (See also off-premise sign.)

  • opaque

    Describes any material or substance through which light does not pass, i.e. it is neither transparent nor translucent.

  • open channel letter

    A channel letter with returns that project forward from face of letter such that the neon tubing is visible.

  • paint

    1. The general term for pigmented coatings that are applied to an object or surface while in a liquid state and then allowed to dry into a colored, protective finish. 2. The process of applying a liquid coating to an object or surface.

  • painted wall sign

    A sign that is painted directly onto an exterior wall of a building.

  • pan channel letter

    A dimensional letter that is constructed with integrated face, back and sidewalls so as to make the letter appear as a single solid unit.

  • panel

    Any visible surface of a sign on which copy and/or art is present. One or more panels make up the sign face.

  • parapet

    A low wall built along the edge of a building's roof.

  • parapet sign

    A sign mounted on the parapet of a building. (See also building mounted sign.)

  • patina

    The thin layer of color, corrosion or texture that develops on a metal surface as a result of natural (exposure to the elements over time) or artificial (chemical treatment) oxidization. The color of patina on bronze is typically brown while patina on copper is typically green or green-gray.

  • pattern

    A full-scale design layout of a sign or its components such as the neon tubing or lettering. (See also pounce pattern.)

  • pegged out

    A term describing letters mounted using pegs or pins such that they stand off from the substrate to which they are attached. (Also called pinned out.)

  • permanent sign

    Any sign that is affixed to a building or structure in such a manner as to give it the support necessary to resist environmental loads over time and to preclude easy removal.

  • permit

    A legal document (license) granted by the appropriate government agency that gives official permission to take a specific action, e.g. erect a sign.

  • pictogram

    A symbol or simple illustration used to represents an object or concept. Commonly found in ADA and DOT signage. An example of a pictogram would be the wheelchair symbol seen on some ADA signs, the presence of which indicates a handicap accessible location.

  • pigment

    A natural or synthetic insoluble compound used to infuse color into other materials such as paints and inks. (See also dye and stain.)

  • pinned out

    A term describing letters mounted using pins or pegs such that they stand off from the substrate to which they are attached. (Also called pegged out.)

  • planning permission

    Authorization required from the Local Planning Authority to install an illuminated sign or billboard. (See also permit.)

  • plastic

    A generic term for a wide range of synthetic materials which consist of long chains of polymers that are moldable and soften when heated. Many plastics used in the sign industry are of the thermoplastic variety, which means they can melt and solidify repeatedly.

  • plywood

    A common type of wood product sold in 4' x 8' sheets. Plywood is made of a number of thin sheets of wood laminated together with the grain of the adjacent layers perpendicular, except for the two outside plies, which are parallel to provide stability.

  • point-of-purchase (POP) sign

    In-store advertising designed to stimulate impulse purchases by shoppers inside a store. The term applies to a store's internal sign system, as well as special displays and dispensers created by and for specific product manufacturers. Also known as "point-of-sale advertising."

  • pole sign

    A freestanding sign, usually double-faced, mounted on a round pole, square tube, or other fabricated member without any type of secondary support.

  • portable sign

    A freestanding, on-premise sign, not designed to be permanently affixed in place. These could include free-standing signs or notices as well as point-of-purchase signs.

  • portrait format

    Proportion of a sign in which height is appreciably longer than width. (See also landscape format.)

  • positive space

    The copy and art on a sign face. The opposite of negative space.

  • post and panel sign

    A sign panel with one or more posts.

  • post mounted sign

    A sign that is attached to one or more sign poles.

  • poured in place

    Refers to concrete footings for signs. Wet concrete is delivered or mixed on site and poured into a form, creating desired shape. Normal curing and finishing techniques are applied as necessary. Alternative to pre-cast concrete, which is formed, poured, cured and finished off site, then brought to site and installed.

  • powder coating

    A specific process for applying paint to a surface that creates a very durable protective surface.

  • precinct sign

    A sign marking the entrance to a town, neighborhood, development, park or other public area. (Also called gateway sign.)

  • primary colors

    The three colors from which all other colors can be created. In paint pigments, the primary colors are yellow, red and blue. In four-color process printing, all colors are mixed from yellow, magenta(red) and cyan(blue). In light, the primary colors are red, green and blue. See also RGB display, additive colors.

  • projecting sign

    A sign that is attached to a building but extends beyond the building structure. Regulators often set a predetermined distance that a sign must extend beyond a building for it to be considered a projecting sign. A decorated awning is an example of a projecting sign. (Also called blade sign.)

  • quality assurance

    All those planned and systematic actions necessary to provide adequate confidence that a product or service will satisfy given requirements for quality.

  • quarter round

    Wood or metal molding and trim which in profile is the equivalent of a quarter circle.

  • readability

    The quality of a sign's overall design that allows the viewer to correctly interpret the information presented on it. Also, the optimum time and distance in which this can be done. Letter size and style, legibility of typeface, color contrast between letters and background, and a sign's layout all contribute to readability. (See also conspicuity.)

  • readerboard

    A readerboard is a sign on which copy can be changed manually. It usually consists of a panel on which individual letters or pictorials are mounted. Like a window sign, it can advertise special prices or items. It can also be placed so that it can be easily seen from a passing motor vehicle.

  • recall

    In signage, this refers to the ability of a viewer to remember the message even when they are not viewing it.

  • recognition

    Refers to the ability of a viewer to identify the message.

  • reflectorized sign

    A sign that has been coated with a highly reflective material. (See also reflective sheeting.)

  • registered trademark

    A trademark that has been officially registered with the government by its owner. Indicated by the symbol ®. (See also trademark.)

  • regulatory sign

    Signs installed by various government bodies to inform the public of traffic laws and other regulations.

  • relief

    The projection of art from a flat surface. The shortened form of "bas-relief."

  • rendering

    An artistic sketch or representation of a design concept.

  • resolution

    1. In digital images, the number of pixels shown on a screen; the higher the number of pixels in a given space (i.e., the greater the density of pixels), the more precise the pictured image. 2. In plotting, the degree of accuracy with which a plotter will place a knife-head in relation to a theoretical, perfect location of a coordinate.

  • retainer

    The projecting rim around the sign face that holds it in place.

  • retardant

    An additive that slows the drying time of ink.

  • retractable awning

    A cantilevered structure, entirely supported from a building, and constructed so that the awning cover and supporting frame retracts completely against the building. This relieves the awning from wind, rain and snow pressure and loads normally associated with extended fixed frame awning or canopies.

  • reveal

    An indented detail on a sign.

  • reverse channel letter

    A channel letter that has a face and sides but no back, and is pinned out from a background surface. When the neon tube inside the letter is illuminated, it produces a halo effect around the letter.

  • revolving sign

    A sign that has the ability to turn 360 degrees because of the presence of an electric motor to drive its movable parts. All or a portion of the sign may revolve at a steady or variable speed.

  • roof sign

    A sign structure that is erected on or above a roof or that is installed directly on a roof's surface.

  • router-cut sign

    Describing a sign cut with a hand router or by a computerized router, using various shaped cutting blades (in a variety of sign materials).

  • routing

    Elimination of material in a substrate, using a tool bit that has been machined for this purpose. In computerized sign making, using a CAD/CAM machine, a tool is programmed to eliminate material along a tool path created along x-,y-,and z-axes.

  • sandblasting

    A method for decorating glass or wood. A rubberized stencil of the artwork is either hand- or computer-cut and applied to the substrate, which is then sprayed with a pressurized stream of sand or synthetic particles to texture the unprotected area. Once the desired depth has been achieved on the item being blasted, the stencil is removed, and if on wood, the surfaces may be painted.

  • sandwich sign

    A moveable sign not secured or attached to the ground or surface upon which it is located, but supported by its own frame and most often forming the cross-sectional shape of an A. (Also known as sidewalk sign.)

  • sans serif

    Any typeface that lacks serifs. In most sans serif fonts, there is little differentiation between the width of strokes within the letter. Helvetica and Futura are familiar sans serif fonts.

  • schematic design

    A conceptual design developed at the beginning of a project which demonstrates a design approach or strategy. (Also known as schematics.)

  • scoring

    Cutting or notching a material prior to bending it. Sufficient scoring of some substrates will also allow them to be broken cleanly without cutting them all the way through.

  • screen

    A frame over which fabric is stretched for use in screen printing. The screen supports the stencil or emulsion through which the ink is forced by the squeegee, created the print.

  • screen printing

    Graphic application method capable of printing great detail and color on a variety of substrates such as paper, plastics, aluminum, vinyl and banner materials.

  • seam

    A line formed by the joining together of two separate pieces of the same or different materials at their edges, as with flexible-face fabric material or wood, metal or plastic sheet. (See also butt joint.)

  • second-surface

    Refers to a sign made of a clear substrate, such as acrylic, where the art is applied in reverse on what can be an interior face of the sign, providing extra protection from the environment. Some large exterior signs are painted that way,as are many smaller identification, wayfinding, restroom and evacuation signs that are subject to handling on a regular basis.

  • serif

    A small line or embellishment finishing off the strokes of letters in some fonts (like this one). Well-known serif fonts include Souvenir, Times Roman and Garamond.

  • service

    The general maintenance of a sign. It may include cleaning, repainting, replacement of bulbs or lamps and repairs, which may be provided on a regular basis under contract.

  • service cover

    In an electric sign cabinet, a panel that allows ready access to the bulbs or lamps and the electrical connections for their replacement and maintenance.

  • setback

    In a sign or development code, the distance between the primary face of the sign and the property line or right of way. The distance is measured in a straight line from the base/bottom of the sign. Most municipalities require that signs comply with specified setbacks or that a variance from the regulations be applied for and secured.

  • shade

    A color made darker than the original by adding black to it.

  • shadow

    Duplication of an image that is slightly offset. Drop shadow is a simple copy and offset; block shadow joins the outlines of the original and duplicate to create a 3D-relief effect; and cast shadow alters the shape and size of the duplicate to imitate shadows cast from varied placement of light, as the sun does on a sundial.

  • sheet metal

    Traditionally, drawings prepared by specific trades to describe the quantity, shape, size and materials and other details to be manufactured, built, or constructed. In signage, it now refers to drawings prepared by fabricators describing their intended methods of construction and sequence of assembly to be reviewed by designer and owner for approval prior to construction and fabrication. The essential reason for shop drawings is to be sure the original design concept is accurately carried out in the construction process. (See also template.)

  • shop drawings

    Drawings prepared by trades to describe the quantity, shape, size, materials and other details of a product's construction. In signage, it refers to drawings prepared by fabricators describing their intended methods of construction and sequence of assembly to be reviewed by designer and owner for approval prior to construction and fabrication. Shop drawings help assure that the original design concept is accurately carried out in the construction process.

  • sidewalk sign

    A moveable sign not secured or attached to the ground or surface upon which it is located, but supported by its own frame and most often forming the cross-sectional shape of an A. (Also known as sandwich sign.)

  • sign

    Any device, structure, display or placard which is affixed to, placed on or in proximity to, or displayed from within a building to attract the attention of the public for the purposes fo advertising, identifying or communicating information about goods and services.

  • sign band

    A horizontal area above a multi-tenant building entrance, architecturally designed to accommodate signage in a signcentric manner.

  • sign cabinet

    The enclosure of an electric sign, not including the components and mounting structure. (See also box sign and light box.)

  • sign can

    An informal term for sign cabinet.

  • sign code

    A sign code may be part of a government body's land use planning regulations, or it may be a separate document designed to interact with other land use codes. As part of the police powers granted to local governments, a sign code normally seeks to promote the health, safety and welfare of the public. Sign codes may regulate size, placement, illumination, structure and aesthetics of sign content and design.

  • sign face

    Typically refers to the most prominent message area of a sign but may refer generically to any message area. (Also called face. See also panel.)

  • sign location map

    Usually a site plan or floor plan indicating where signs will be placed (called "sign locations").

  • sign location plan

    See sign location map.

  • signage

    Interchangeable terms used to describe signs. Any group of posted commands, warnigns, information or directions.

  • signature building

    Architectural design of a building or structure that reinforces signage.

  • signcentric design

    Building architectural design which makes the signage the prominent visual feature.

  • silhouette

    The overall shape or profile of a sign, or a block of copy within a sign.

  • single face sign

    A sign consisting of one face, rather than back-to-back faces on a common frame or back-to-back messages on the same piece of material.

  • skeleton

    The metal frame on which a sign is installed.

  • snipe sign

    An overlay sign added to an existing sign layout, as an additional message to the main sign, for example a band across a corner saying "coming soon." Also a term for illegal posting of handbills and posters without permits.

  • spacer

    Any device used in mounting letters or signs that separates them from the surface to which they are being installed. A spacer allows letters to be pinned out.

  • specifications

    May include General Requirements, Products and Execution sections for sign specification package. Similar to architectural construction format per CSI (Construction Specifications Institute) standards.

  • spectacular

    An extra large outdoor sign that incorporates special lighting and/or motion effects, or an interior sales display that also includes special lights and motion elements.

  • stain

    Wood stain is a type of paint that is very "thin," that is, low in viscosity, and formulated so that the pigment penetrates the surface rather than remaining in a film on top of the surface. Stain is predominantly pigment or dye and solvent with little binder, designed primarily to add color without providing a surface coating.

  • stainless steel

    As the name implies, this is a special steel alloy that is made more stainless than regular steel, due to higher concentrations of chromium and nickel.

  • standard frame

    The structural supports found inside a sign cabinet.

  • stationary sign

    A sign with a power cord for attachment to a source of electrical power that is not readily moveable or portable.

  • stippling

    A method for taking out brush marks and creating a transparent look on windows. Paint is mixed with linseed oil to slow the drying process, then brushed on the surface to be stippled. A stippler is created by wrapping a piece of cheesecloth or other lint-free cotton rag around a wad of cotton, which is then either held firmly in the hand or securely attached to a short stick, taking care that the work surface of the stippler is wrinkle-free. Stippling is done by daubing the stippler over the wet, painted surface.

  • stroke

    A single movement of the hand or arm, or of a marking tool. Stroke refers to a pass of the squeegee in screen printing, and a pass of the brush in painting. (See also stroke width.)

  • stroke width

    The width of the major lines comprising a letterform. A wider stroke width is used to make a bolder letter; a narrower stroke width is used to make a lighter letter.

  • structure

    In the sign industry, a fabrication designed for and capable of supporting a sign. Can refer to internal or external skeleton (exoskeleton) of sign as well as support pole or mechanism.

  • styrene

    Refers to polystyrene, a usually colorless, rigid plastic that can be molded into objects, used in the manufacture of EPS monument signs (Product Line 6).

  • substrate

    The material out of which the face is made. Wood, metal sheeting, paper and acrylic are some examples of sign substrates.

  • supports

    Insulators that support a neon tube, as well as hold it away from the background surface and provide some impact resistance. (See also stand-offs.)

  • symmetry

    The balance of design elements in which one side equals or mirrors the other.

  • tack

    The stickiness of an adhesive under a given condition. Some adhesives require a particular temperature range for maximum tack.

  • tactile sign

    A sign, or an area within a larger sign or area, that conveys its message through raised or engraved artwork, making it accessible to the visually impaired. Required by A.D.A. for all permanently identified rooms

  • tagged image file format (TIFF)

    Standard graphics file format used for scanned bit-mapped images.

  • target audience

    The profile of the most desired consumer prospects for a product or service, listed by characteristics such as demography, lifestyle, brand or media consumption, purchase behavior, etc. This is common to all media.

  • template

    A full-sized pattern, layout or computerized output showing the exact size and placement of letters. Typically used for installing dimensional letters, signs or architectural elements.

  • tensile strength

    The maximum load a material can withstand before it breaks. (Also called breaking strength.)

  • thinner

    Any liquid used to reduce the thickness of paint or ink.

  • three-dimensional (3D) engraving

    A routing procedure where the tool bit can be moved independently along the up-and-down z-axis while still traveling an x/y-axis tool path. 3D engraving can create relieves and hand-chiseled looks while removing material from a substrate.

  • thumbnail

    A type of rough sketch of a design made prior to developing more finalized presentations. Some sign artists prepare several thumbnail sketches of a job, varying their layouts and fonts, before preparing one or two more complete ideas to take to a client.

  • tiling

    The digital process of dividing a large image into individual sections to print with overlap.

  • time, place, and manner (TPM) regulations

    Consistently applicable non-discriminatory sign regulations that specify, without reference to the content of the message, when, how and where a sign can be displayed, with physical standards, such as but not limited to height, size and location, that allow the sign to be readable.

  • tint

    A color made lighter than the original by adding white to it.

  • tone

    The effect on a color brought about by blending it with another color.

  • top coating

    The coating intended for the front, side or top of a fabric or membrane.

  • tracking

    The ability of a computer, at the operator's instruction, to add or subtract minute increments of space between letters. (See also letter spacing and kerning.)

  • trade area

    Most retail businesses have a relatively fixed area that customers come from to do business at their store. In general; the trade area is either the living or work locale for the customer. The selling zone of place-based retail business will be dynamic for two reasons; the customer is moving residences or jobs or the customer is passing through on a trip that intersects the trade area. The trade area for most small businesses is 3 to 5 miles.

  • trademark

    Used by a business to distinguish itself and its products from competition. A trademark may include a name, symbol, word or combination of those. Protected by the federal government and considered to have financial value, a sign maker should only reproduce a trademark with the company's permission and should discourage customers who seek to imitate well-known trademarks too closely. (See also logo and registered trademark.)

  • translucent

    The property of a material such as vinyl, paint or ink that allows the passage of some light through it without being transparent. Internally illuminated signs rely on translucent paints and vinyls.

  • transparent

    The property of a material that allows light and images through and may also show a color tint.

  • trapping

    In screen printing, to overlap one color on another. Trapping may result in the creation of a third color in the overlap area, or, if opaque links are used, the edge of the first color may be hidden for purposes of registration. (See also bleed.)

  • triple message sign

    A type of sign consisting of rotating triangular louvers. The louvers turn in unison showing three different messages as the three faces are exposed. Allows for three times the static advertising/communication power at one location.

  • typeface

    A set of letters and numerals sharing the same design characteristics. Examples of font sets include Times New Roman and Arial. (Also called font.)

  • ultimate strength

    The maximum strength under which an awning material is capable of sustaining a gradual and uniformly applied load.

  • ultraviolet light (UV)

    Part of the spectrum ranging form 185 to 450 nanometers. UV has both a negative and positive influence on the sign industry. When UV strikes certain surfaces, such as the phosphors in neon and fluorescent tubes, it is transformed into visible light. UV is also used for curing some screen printing inks and paints. On the other hand, UV light is the prime cause of pigment failure in some paints and vinyls, especially red ones.

  • variable message sign

    A sign on which the copy can be changed, either manually through the use of attachable letters (usually plastic) or electronically using incandescent bulbs or light emitting diodes. (See also marquee sign, readerboard. changeable copy panel, changeable copy sign, electronic message center, menu board.)

  • variance

    A method by which a government body formally deviates from the terms of its sign or zoning ordinance. Typically, obtaining a variance for a sign requires the applicant to show that it would not be contrary to the public interest or that a literal enforcement of the regulations would result in unnecessary and undue hardship (due to conditions unique to the property).

  • varnish

    A protective clear coating for outdoor naturally finished Redwood and Western Red Cedar signs A Marine Spar Varnish is iften used. Art SignWorks uses multiple coats of Matthews Polyurethane Clearcoat (gloss or satin) (a synthetic coating) which is very water resistant and provides UV protection, rather than varnish.

  • vinyl

    Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) film that, in sign making, is backed with an adhesive that creates a strong bond to a surface when pressure is applied. Many different integral colors are available with adhesives having different levels of aggressiveness (adhesion) for various applications from permanent to semi-permanent to temporary.

  • vinyl letters

    Letters cut from adhesive-backed material, in dozens of opaque, translucent, metallized, and transparent colors and patterns.

  • visibility

    The quality of a letter, number, graphic, or symbol, which enables the observer to distinguish it from its surrounds or background.

  • wall mounted sign

    A single-face sign mounted on a wall. (See also wall sign.)

  • wall sign

    In the most literal sense, a sign that is painted on a wall. The term is often expanded to include flat signs that are placed on or attached to the wall of a building. These latter signs are also called fascia-mounted signs and wall mounts. (Also known as a wall mounted sign.)

  • water resistant

    Describing a face that has been treated to make it resistant to damage or deterioration caused by water.

  • waterproof

    The use of the term in relation to treated cotton ducks is prohibited by the "Fair Trade Practices Act" unless the product shall be impervious to the passage of any water so long as the fabric may endure. "Water Resistant" is the proper designation for cloths treated to resist water penetration and leakage.

  • weep hole

    A small opening or hole in the bottom of a letter or a sign cabinet, placed at the lowest point to prevent water from accumulating in a unit.

  • weld

    The process that connects pieces of material by heating until molten and fusing together.

  • welt

    A strip of material seamed to a pocket opening as a finishing and a fabric strengthening device.

  • white space

    Empty or unused space (having no lettering or graphics) within the sign face. (Also called negative space. See also positive space.)

  • wickability

    The property of a fiber that allows moisture to move rapidly along the fiber surface and pass quickly through the fabric.

  • wind load

    The basic term for describing the design strength of a sign. Standard windload is 30 PSF (pounds per square foot), which can withstand winds up to approximately 90 MPH. Heavy windload is 55 PSF, which can withstand approximately 110 MPH.

  • window sign

    A sign that is mounted for display on a window and intended to be viewed from the outside.

  • wood lag screws

    Screws which are tapered to a point and do not utilize nuts. Their strength is proportional to the hardness of the wood in which they are embedded. In many awning applications that require fastening to wood framing, wood lag screws may be the best available option.

  • word space

    Horizontal space between words.

  • x-height

    In a given typeface, the height of the lowercase letters which do not have ascenders or descenders.

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