What is a backlit sign? What material is it made from?
A backlit sign is typically one that is placed in front of a light source. The sign itself will be semi-translucent to allow the light to shine through and illuminate whatever may be printed on the sign.
The most common setup is a light box that consists of a light source within a structure that in some way accommodates a rigid piece of material to be placed or slid into it. You often see these roadside advertising small businesses. The sign itself can either be printed onto a milky white rigid material (think acrylic) or a vinyl overlay that is applied to the light box or setup.
Our backlit sign uses the vinyl overlay or decal approach. Meaning that your sign will be printed onto a piece of adhesive vinyl and can be applied to a translucent rigid material for a lightbox or to a window or other surface that has a light source behind it. The material itself is called flexcon litecal and is a durable material that provides light diffusion and ultimately gorgeous signs.
All of the FAQ on this page will deal with the backlit film we offer and not the alternative solution of printing on a translucent rigid sign or a similar signage solution.
How thick are the backlit signs?
The actual backlit film is 3.5 mil (.0035 inches) and would easiest to visualize as the thickness of a few sheets of normal printer paper.
Can you cut my backlit sign to a custom or specific shape? Any restrictions?
Yes! There are several different shape options to choose from for your backlit decal, including Square/Rectangle, Rounded Corners (¼” or 1” radius), Circle/Oval, Custom or Custom with Border.
The Custom shape option (previously known, or sometimes referred to, as Contour Cut) allows you to either upload a custom shape to our design tool or have us create a custom shape for your sign based off of your design. The Custom with Border shape option (previously known, or sometimes referred to, as Halo Cut) is similar to the Custom shape option but will leave a small border around the edge of your design.
What sizes do you offer? What is the maximum and minimum size you offer?
For the most part we can essentially do any size you might be looking for. Though your backlit sign can’t be smaller than 8”x8” due to the size of our industrial printers. On the other end of the spectrum you backlit sign can’t exceed 60”x400”.
My design is really detailed and contains a number of colors. Will this increase my cost?
Because we print all of our signs in full color it doesn’t matter how detailed or how many colors your design might have. Your design will not impact the final cost of your sign. Factors that may influence cost are options selected, quantity, size of your sign and any applicable taxes and shipping.
What is the default color of your custom backlit sign?
The default color of our backlit vinyl material is white. You can print any color on the sign. If you wanted it to be all black, you simply need to make your design with a black background. The same would apply to any other color.
Is it possible to make my backlit sign double sided?
No. Due to the material and how it is designed to function, making a double sided sign is not possible. The material is designed to have a light behind it and only be seen from one direction. If your lightbox has two sides, you’ll need to purchase 2 of our backlit decals.
What is the lifespan of your backlit signs?
The typical lifespan of our custom backlit signs is 3+ years. This lifespan will vary depending on installation, maintenance and usage. The factor that will have the biggest impact on the lifespan of your sign is the usage. Signs that are used for exterior use and continually exposed to the elements will have a shorter lifespan. This is particularly true in harsher climates. Nonetheless, even under these circumstances we’ve seen these signs last for many years.
Will the exposure to sun or the elements ruin my backlit sign?
We print all of our signs with UV ink that should ensure that your sign remains vibrant for the lifespan of your sign. Any sign will begin to show it’s age at some point but we’re confident that you’ll be pleasantly surprised how long your sign remains looking as good as new.
Will the light source itself impact the sign in any way?
The light source shouldn’t hurt nor damage your sign in any way. While it’s common sense not to normally put a sign so close to a light source due to the heat your backlit sign is designed for just this use. The only way the actual light source may impact your sign is the visual impact it conveys. Notwithstanding, your design will in large part drive this visual impact and not the light itself.
Is backlit film the same as a backlit overlay?
Backlit film and backlit overlays are oftentimes synonymous. The only difference is that sometimes, backlit overlays are non-adhesive. Still, both are intended to convey the same functionality of a sign that is used in conjunction with an existing light source and/or rigid piece of material.
Will my backlit sign damage or ruin my window/surface where it is applied?
The major advantage to using a backlit film is the ability to change out the sign according to your needs. This can be due to a brand redesign or even the changing of tenants using the existing lightbox. Regardless of the reason, your backlit sign should come away from the surface fairly easily. It shouldn’t result in any damage to the actual surface. The only damage that might occur is through misuse or human error if a sharp edge is used to aid removal.
Can my backlit sign be used outside? / Is there anywhere I can’t use my sign?
Yes, our backlit signs are used for indoor and outdoor use. The only restrictions to using your backlit signs will be the actual ability to adhere it to the desired surface. Surfaces which are porous and/or non-smooth will not work with your backlit sign. Assuming that you choose a non-porous and smooth surface (typically glass or acrylic) your use of the sign should be very versatile depending on your light source.
What are the typical uses of backlit signs?
The most common use of a backlit sign is a lightbox that is roadside. Many businesses use these to advertise to passing traffic both during the day and night. Another very common use is storefront signage that may detail store hours and advertise promotions and sales. Other interior uses can include illuminated signs such as directional, exit and safety type signage that needs to be seen regardless of whether it is light or dark inside the building. Hospitals commonly use backlit signs as do hotels, shopping malls (the advertisements that line the walls and walkways), bus stops and other darker public transportation locations like subways, city centers, movie theaters and retail locations of all types.
What happens if the backlit sign gets wet? Will this ruin the sign?
No, our backlit signs are intended for both inside and outside use. Rain and other elements will not ruin the sign but, as discussed above, will impact the lifespan of your sign depending on the frequency and severity of the climate.
Will the backlit sign impact the transparency of my window/storefront?
Yes and no. The backlit sign itself is semi-translucent to allow the design to be seen with a light source behind it. A backlit sign that covers your entire storefront will show as opaque in nature unless there is a light source behind it. This will largely depend on your unique setup and where and how you are actually using the backlit sign.
Can I place my backlit sign on the inside of my storefront/window and have it be visible to those outside?
No. Unlike several of our decals that allow for a reverse print, backlit signs, much like opaque window decals, can’t be reverse printed due to the material used. The graphic will be printed on the front of the material.
Can I remove my backlit sign and reposition it?
No. Removing the actual backlit film and trying to reposition it on the same light box or a different one altogether will not work. The backlit film is not intended to be reusable.
Of course if the film is applied to a rigid piece and you are moving both of them without removing the decal from the rigid material then it is possible. You simply will need to verify that the new lightbox or location will be compatible with the existing specifications of your rigid piece of material.
Installation & Care
How do I install my backlit sign? Does my backlit sign have a backing? / How do I remove it?
Installation of your backlit sign is fairly easy. After ensuring that the surface where it will be applied has been cleaned and allowed to air dry, remove the thin backing protecting the adhesive side of the backlit sign. Then using a spray bottle with water and a few drops of baby soap, liberally spray both the adhesive side of the decal and the surface you plan to apply it to. Carefully use a squeegee to squeeze out excess water and any air from behind the decal. Prior to using the squeegee, you should be able to peel it back up for any necessary repositioning. Most important to a clean, professional installation is spraying a lot of water on the decal and moving slowly and carefully.
Does installation require more than one person?
For larger signs we recommend that at least two people install the backlit sign. This will help ensure that the sign doesn’t stick to itself pre-installation and that the sign can be peeled away immediately to avoid large air bubbles or pockets. One person can focus on applying the sign and removing air bubbles while the second person holds the sign in such a manner that it doesn’t stick to the surface before it should.
How do I store my backlit sign(s)?
Your backlit sign is semi-permanent in nature. Thus, prior to installation your backlit sign can be either rolled or stored flat in a cool, dry location. If rolled during storage nothing heavy should be placed on top of the sign. Doing so, along with folding the sign, will result in permanent creases.
Post-installation storage is not necessary as the backlit sign is a one-time use only product.
How do I clean my backlit sign(s)?
Your backlit sign can be cleaned regularly with a non-abrasive and damp cloth or rag. Simply wipe it in a gentle fashion and remove built up dirt or grime. Often this can be done at the same time as any necessary maintenance for your light source.
How do I remove my backlit sign? Will it leave behind a huge mess and lots of residue?
The majority of backlit signs can be peeled away without any problem. In some cases a sharp edge or heat (like a blow dryer) may be needed to help remove signs that have been in place for an extended period of time. Lastly, a standard window clean and rag can remove any residual adhesive.
Can I wash my window with the backlit sign still installed?
Yes, as outlined above regular cleaning will help your backlit sign remain vibrant while it is in place. Nonetheless, power washers should be avoided so as to not damage the adhesive ability of the sign itself.