Part 3: Lighting & Assembly
As our previous post relates, the frame is the foundation for a tensioned fabric sign, and getting this step right is critical to all the steps that come after. In this post we will review key important details to pay attention to when selecting and specifying your tensioned fabric signs.
The Art of Illuminating a Tensioned Fabric Sign
After determining a sign’s shape and size (the frame), its surface texture (the fabric cover), and its text, color and images (the graphics), the next element in the designer’s tool chest is lighting.
Whether used for highlighting logos, adding a color-changing or over-all glowing impression, or other illumination effect, lighting adds a powerfully attractive element to any sign. Illuminated signs have always had a greater visual impact on the show floor than non-illuminated ones.
Modern LED and CFL light fixtures are ideal illumination technologies for tensioned fabric signs. With excellent brightness, reliability, moderate heat, and variety of shape and size, modern LED and CFL lamps have advanced rapidly, to the point where now there are many suitable options that are easily available.
Lighting adds impact, and directs a viewers attention to where you most want it. An illuminated sign compels us to look, and designers know how to use this to increase the effectiveness of their tensioned fabric signs.
Make sure your sign utilizes lighting to the fullest advantage by paying attention to these factors:
- Light Fixtures – Successful illumination of a sign increases the impact of the sign. Use the right fixture to attain the effect that will most enhance your sign. Fixtures vary in light color and brightness and in the beam angle. Experienced designers know which fixture will provide the light output the design requires. For example, narrow-beam LED light fixtures work well in narrow flat sign shapes and broad-beam lamps work better in wide dimensional signs.
- Hot Spots and Cool Shadows – Having a bright light can make your sign more noticeable, but it can also cause unsightly bright spots. Make sure that your light fixtures are properly diffused for even illumination across the sign surface. Frames for illuminated signs are made differently than those for non-illuminated ones. Structure and light fixture placement need to be coordinated so that the frame supports do not create shadows on the sign surface.
- Brightness and Color Modulation – Brightness is measured in lumens and color is measured in temperature. Many LEDs lights are dimmable or color-changing and can be controlled with programmable power supplies. Choose the lighting type that will best serve your design requirements.
- Wire Management – Planning for light fixtures should include a drawing showing how the wiring is to be run and where the power supplies and controller/receivers are located. Wiring that is not properly managed can create shadows or lay against the fabric cover, interrupting an otherwise smooth surface.
The Art of Assembly of a Tensioned Fabric Sign.
A well-labeled frame will assemble in a fraction of the time of a poorly labeled one. A sign designed to easily snap together may take a bit longer to engineer and manufacture, but will be much quicker to assemble and install at shows. The cost savings at each event will rapidly compensate for the additional cost of a well-made sign.
- Assembly Drawings – Everyone knows time is money, so a detailed assembly drawing that helps you assemble your tensioned fabric sign faster is ideal, and should be something you can expect to receive from your tensioned fabric sign vendor.
- Color-coded labels – Frames that are properly labeled can be assembled even without drawings. Of course it is better to use the assembly drawing, but having a well-labeled frame can save time and reduce stress when time is short or crews are unable to access written instructions.
Contact us to see how we can help with your tensioned fabric sign.