Thursday, May 30, 2013

Why LED Signs: Common Misconceptions About LED Signs

- Scott Hofheins

I would like to talk about some common misconceptions about LED signs and some reasons people may avoid making the initial investment. The LED sign industry is not always the most transparent arena to get information from, and I believe this has only added to the confusion for many in the public.

LED Sign are Distracting
This claim may have made more sense in the past than it does today. Any new technology held against the backdrop of the old will stand out. However, LED signs are no more distracting these days than traditional signage was for over 100 years. We live in a country where businesses, for the most part, try to be responsible citizens of the community. Most do not “strobe” their LED signs to gain attention, or put up borderline offensive material to turn your head. This choice may not always be done out of goodwill, but because it just makes good business sense.

We are in an era where communication is so fast that it’s creating a “small town” environment on a national scale where everyone knows everyone, and a bad reputation can spread like wild fire. Most (but not all) businesses don’t want to risk a bad reputation by mis-managing their LED sign so poorly that they actually creating a negative blatant distraction. Personally, I find sign twirlers on the street corner more distracting than LED signs.

LED Signs Cause Accidents
This has been around since the infancy of LED signage. A significant number of studies have been done since the famous SBA “Electronic Message Centre (EMC’s)” paper was released in 2001. The recent studies continue to show that LED signs are safe and do not cause accidents. This has also included digital billboards, the sworn enemy of so many sign ordinances across the country. I remember researching sign code at the beginning of my LED sign career that specifically outlawed LED signs with Red or Green colors, because people might mistake them for traffic lights. Unfortunately these types of codes are still out there, not as common, but still out there. The fact is, it has been proven over and over again that LED signs do not cause accidents.

LED Signs are Too Bright
I wrote a bit about this in my last post regarding the responsible use of LED signage. Brightness control is standard on virtually every LED sign in the market. This takes us down a familiar path that we discussed earlier. Businesses want the public to read the content of the LED sign, not just see a big blurry flood-light at night. In the end, most businesses will understand that an extremely bright sign at night does them no good. Most local codes correctly prohibit operation of LED signs at full brightness at night.

LED Signs Turn Respectable Towns Into Las Vegas
This is a classic, and I’ll reference my last post again. To summarize: Broken LED signs look tacky. LED signs with poorly designed content look tacky. Cheap, sub-par LED signs look tacky. Good quality, well manufactured and operated LED signs look great, and function at minimum as a very much needed upgrade to manual changeable copy boards. Functioning at full capacity, they are a tasteful upgrade to traditional signage that allows better communication to both consumers and the general community.

LED Signs are Too Expensive
Yes, LED signs are more expensive investment than traditional signage. However, they are not as expensive as they used to be. Newer technology and the growth of the industry offer much more bang for the buck. There are also a growing number of financing options available for LED signs with some companies working exclusively in the LED sign market. These options help lessen the risk, while providing the opportunity to increase sales with a fully installed unit onsite.

Return on Investment
I’ve interviewed many LED sign owners and discussed this specific subject. In almost every case the owner received a complete return on the initial investment much quicker than expected. Many owners have used a portion (or in some cases, all) their advertising budget to invest in the LED sign. This was money they were going to spend anyway, re-directed to a sign in hopes of reaching a larger local audience. When the sign is up and running many businesses report a direct correlation to specific promotions on the sign, to specific sales increases and find that the money was well invested.  

Restrictive Sign Codes
Some sign codes ban LED signs altogether, others regulate the operation of the sign. Some areas may require messages play at least 10 seconds, others only allow “static images”. LED signs can still be a benefit in these situations. Static images can be just as effective as animations, especially if the content is professional and sharp. In the end, a sign that can change content for specific promotions, is better than a sign that can’t change at all or has to be changed manually.

LED Signs are Too Complicated
This depends on the quality of the product and support the sign company and/or manufacturer offer. LED sign technology continues to get better and more easier to work with. The software is 100% better than it was 5 years ago, and the hardware designs are getting streamlined and easier to work with. The key is to find a good sign company who provides a good solid product. Doing the research and using resources like this blog will help.

I know I haven’t covered everything, so please feel free to comment on any more items I missed or additional points of view. I would love to do another post on this subject. I’m a big fan of truth.


I hope this post has been informative and helpful. As usual, I welcome ALL constructive comments. Please feel free to comment and add anything I’ve missed, or additional tips you may have regarding this topic. Please visit for many other resources, white papers, and of course: Great looking LED Signs!

**All posts/thoughts/writings are strictly the viewpoint of me and me alone and do not reflect nor speak for Vantage LED’s beliefs, attitudes, thoughts, etc. unless specifically stated.

No comments:

Post a Comment