At Bob's we understand that not everyone is versed in "sign speak", here in our signage dictionary you will find brief descriptions of many types of signage.

A
ADVANCE NOTICE SIGN
A sign used to give advance notice prior to a roadway, street, or building entrance. Similar to a directional sign, but usually announces a single destination. This may also be called an approach sign.
 
ANIMATED SIGN
A sign that shows motion or changes in text or color, often through the use of electric or electronic methods.
 
AWNING
A shelter usually constructed of non rigid materials on a supporting framework that projects from and is supported by the exterior wall of a building. An awning may or may not be illuminated and/or decorated with graphics to serve as a sign. There are also glass and metal awnings. This may also called canopy.
 
 
B
BACK-LIGHTED SIGN
A sign consisting of a cabinet containing a light source surrounded by one or more translucent faces, which may be illuminated for visibility.
 
BACK-TO-BACK
Two or more sign faces mounted on a common structure but facing in opposite directions; many pole signs are back-to-back or double-sided.
 
BANNER
A sign made of fabric, plastic, or other non rigid material which has no enclosing framework. It may be painted, screen-printed, digitally printed, or decorated with vinyl.
 
BILLBOARD
A large outdoor board used for posting advertising.
 
BLADE SIGN
A type of projecting sign mounted on a building facade or storefront pole or attached to a surface perpendicular to the sign's surface and to the normal flow of traffic.
 
BROADSIDE
A large advertising poster.
 

C
CANOPY
See awning.
 
CHANGEABLE COPY SIGN
A sign on which the copy can be changed, either manually through the use of attachable letters (usually plastic), mechanically using rotating panel elements, or 7 electronically using computer-controlled incandescent bulbs, light-emitting diodes (LED), liquid crystal displays (LCD), plasma screen, etc. See also LED sign, LCD sign.
 
CONSTRUCTION SITE SIGN
Announces project credits and information regarding a construction project such as architect, developer, consultants, financing, etc. Typically painted, vinyl, or digital print mounted onto plywood or exterior-grade particle board substrate. Also called job site sign.
 
D
DIGITAL COLOR SIGNAGE
Computerized output (usually sheet materials) that can be applied to fabric, vinyl, paper, high-pressure laminates, fiberglass embedment, and other material.
 
DIRECTIONAL SIGN
A sign intended to provide directional information. While a directional sign may be considered any on-premise sign that provides such information, the Highway Beautification Act sets guidelines for the size, placement, and content of purely directional signs.
 
DIRECTORY SIGN
Usually a list of names of people, offices, or destinations at a specific building, facility or public venue. May provide text listings or include maps, site plans, or diagrams.
 
"DISABLED" ACCESS/PARKING SIGNS
Commonly used misnomer for identifying facilities for persons with disabilities. These misnomers include "disabled access", "disabled parking", etc. "Accessible parking" is the term used in many areas. Legal requirements vary from state to state.
 
DONOR RECOGNITION SIGN
A sign, plaque, or display to recognize and honor the contributions of a person(s) or organization to an entity, project, or a facility.
 
DOUBLE-FACE OR DOUBLE-SIDED SIGN
A sign with two parallel but opposing faces; a back-to-back sign.
 

E
ELECTRIC CHANGEABLE MESSAGE SIGN
A misnomer for an electronic message center.
 
ELECTRIC SIGN
A sign that contains electrical fixtures or connections.
 
ELECTRONIC MESSAGE CENTER
A sign that uses computer-generated messages or other electric means of changing text.
 
ELECTRONIC MESSAGE SIGNS OR EMC
Dynamic, changeable signs.
 
ENTRANCE CANOPY
A canopy or awning attached to the facade of a building to provide shelter and to define the building entrance. Often used as a means for identifying a building.
 

F
FASCIA-MOUNTED SIGN

A flat sign that is mounted on a wall and whose face runs parallel to the wall . A fascia-mounted sign might project from the wall that it is mounted on. See also wall sign.
 
FIBER-OPTIC DISPLAY
A type of sign that transmits the message using light directed through threadlike fibers of glass or plastic. The big draw/advantage of fiber-optic displays is their ability to be shaped into awesome images without defusing the light.
 
FRANGIBLE SIGN MOUNT
A break-away sign mount, commonly used on posts along roadways to break away on impact and cause less damage in accidents.

G
GATEWAY SIGN

Typically a sign at the entry to a neighborhood or large facility, announcing the entrance to a grand destination. Also called precinct sign.
 
GROUND SIGN
A freestanding sign that is mounted on poles or braces, with no other support.
 
H
HANGING SIGN
A double-face sign that hangs from a bracket or support and projects from a wall, building, or pole. See also projecting sign.
 
HEADER SIGN
A separate board above the rest of a sign that gives it a headline or contains a different advertising message for the same product. Often seen in point-of-purchase advertising.

I
IDENTIFICATION SIGN

A sign giving the name of the business for purposes of identification.
 
ILLUMINATED SIGN
A sign which is lighted by either an internal electrical source or external flood lights.
 
INCIDENTAL SIGN
Signs, usually smaller in size and of a noncommercial nature, that appear in almost every location the public might be found. Examples of incidental signs: hours of operation, location of rest rooms, and entrance and exit signs.
 
 
INTERPRETIVE SIGN OR KIOSK
A sign that provides permanent cultural or historic information in addition to building or site identification.
 
J
JOB SITE SIGN

See construction site sign.
 
L
LCD (LIQUID CRYSTAL DISPLAY) SIGN

A type of changeable copy sign utilizing liquid crystals that become opaque or clear when exposed to a controlled voltage. Although LCDs are common in calculators, digital watches and time and temperature displays.
 
LED (LIGHT EMITTING DIODE) SIGN
Consists of a small light source that emits colored light (usually red, but also green, yellow, blue and white) from a very small amount of electricity and is used for electronic "message" signs. These signs allow for scrolling/changing messages to be used in commercial applications. Useful for interior and exterior message displays. See also electronic message signs.
 
LIFE SAFETY SIGNS
Used for police, fire, security, evacuation, and other life safety information, subject to local code enforcement and review.
 

M
MEMORIAL SIGN

A building sign or plaque noting such information as the name of the building or structure, when it was built, and by whom.
 
MENU BOARD
A changeable point-of-purchase advertising display that allows retailers to list products and prices.
 
MESSAGE CENTER
Any sign that displays changeable copy through electronic or mechanical means.
 
MONUMENT SIGN
A freestanding sign sitting directly on the ground or mounted on a low base. Usually identifies facility, building, or entrance.
 

N
NAME PLATE

A sign that identifies only the name, occupation, and/or professional title of the occupant of a desk, office, or building. A building name plate might also have the name of the building and other directional information such as the address.
 

P
POINT-OF-PURCHASE SIGNS/ADVERTISING SIGNS

In-store advertising designed to stimulate impulse purchases by shoppers inside a store.  
 
POLE SIGN
A freestanding sign, usually double-faced, mounted on a round pole, square tube, or other fabricated member without any other type of support.
 
PORTABLE SIGN
A freestanding, on-premise sign, not designed to be permanently affixed in place.
 
POST AND PANEL SIGN
A sign panel with one or more posts.
 
POSTER
A sign typically printed on paper and intended for indoor use.
 
PRECINCT SIGN
See gateway sign.
 
PROJECTING SIGN
A sign that is attached to a building but extends beyond the building structure. See also blade sign.
 
PYLON
A freestanding sign that is not a pole or ground sign.

R
REFLECTOR SIGN

A sign that has been coated with a highly reflective material.
 
REGULATORY SIGNS
Signs informing the public with of traffic laws and other regulations.
 
REVOLVING SIGN
A sign that has the ability to turn 360 degrees, all or a portion of the sign may revolve at a steady or variable speed.
 
RGB DISPLAY/SIGN
Stands for red-green-blue. High-quality electronic screen display that uses the three primary colors to produce a full-color display.
 
ROOF SIGN
A sign structure that is erected on or above a roof, or that is installed directly on a roof's surface.
 

S
SINGLE-FACE SIGN
A sign that has one face, rather than back-to-back faces on a common frame or back-to-back messages on the same piece of material.
 
SITE SIGN
See construction site sign.
 
SNIPE SIGN
An overlay sign added to an existing sign, as an added message to the main sign, for example: a band across a corner saying "under new management".
 
SPECTACULAR SIGN
An extra-large outdoor sign that has lighting and/or motion effects, or an interior sales display that includes special lights and motion elements.
 
SPINNER SIGN
A sign, either freestanding or wall-mounted, where the messages rotate in the wind. A spinner sign is not an animated sign.
 
STONE SIGNS
Sandstone, granite, marble, limestone, and other common stone material. Letters can be stud-mounted to stone or they can be carved or incised into the face of the stone.
 
STREAMER
A long, narrow banner for interior or window displays only.
 

T
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.
 
TEMPORARY SIGN
Any sign that is not to be permanently installed. Examples would include: banners and signs at construction sites.
 
TRIPLE MESSAGE SIGN
A type of sign that has 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.
 

W
WALL MOUNT OR WALL SIGN
A single-face sign mounted on a wall. In the most figurative sense, a sign that is painted on a wall. This may also include flat signs that are placed on or attached to the wall of a building.
 
WINDOW SIGN
A sign that is mounted for display on a window, and intended to be viewed from the outside.