Sometimes people come to us and ask where they should invest their money when it comes to custom signs. Is it better to have a fancy outdoor business sign that shines all night? Or is it better to spend money on a flashy custom aluminum sign that hangs behind the front desk? How much should be spent on banners, or is a wrapped car that sits outside the building good enough?

The fact is, each type of sign is made to do something different, and the type of sign you get might just depend on the type of business you have. Today we’re going to take a quick look at the purposes of outdoor lighted business signs and how they differ from custom indoor signs.

The Angle Is Important

When it comes to signs, it’s important to take angle into consideration. With outdoor signs, they’re going to be viewed straight on from across the parking lot but also have to look good as people get closer and are viewing from a lower angle. It’s important for the sign to be read from the parking lot, but it’s also important for people to be able to read it if they’re simply walking through the strip mall. And it’s important that it doesn’t look too weird from below.

With a custom interior sign, the different angles a customer might see it from also have to be considered. Like all business signs, they should look perfect when viewed from the front. But in contrast to an outdoor sign that’s viewed from below, business signs are more likely to be viewed from the side as customers walk past it. You want to make sure that the lighting source is well hidden so that it doesn’t become a distraction or shine directly into a customer’s eyes as they walk past.


Weather can play a big part in the ways that exterior and interior signs are built. Because they’re outside 365 days a year, exterior signs have to be built to hold up to the harsh Colorado climate, whether it’s heavy snow, high-altitude UV radiation, or blasting Chinook winds.

Custom indoor signs don’t have to worry about holding up to the weather, so they can use considerably more detailed elements like thinner glass, corrosive metals, and less-weather-sensitive lighting. And speaking of lighting…


The most effective use of outdoor lighted signs is usually to have them light from within. This gives them a glow that can be seen all night long. Whether each individual letter is lit or it’s a single-panel sign that’s lit from within, it’s always a good idea to go with a sign that is illuminated in some way. Exterior business signs can also be lit from below with flood lights.

Indoor lighted signs can also be lit from within, but you can go even further and use the angle available from indoor lighting sources to create looks that are difficult to achieve outside. For instance, while outdoor signs can’t usually be lit from above, interior signs can be hit with special lights that are hidden in the ceiling. Of course, the fact that indoor signs don’t have to hold up against weather means that you have more lighting options.

How Much Information?

In general, outdoor signs aren’t meant to convey a lot of information. Most of the time their purpose is to convey the least amount of information that still gets the point across (usually the name of the business, but sometimes simply the service that the business offers). Most storefronts have a limited amount of space; the less information they convey, the bigger they can make the sign and attract more eyes. The outdoor sign lighting has to get attention, not convey much information.

Interior business signs have a bit more wiggle room. A business can choose to have just the company logo, but more information can be conveyed or a motto can be added. For instance, the exterior sign might just say “Auto Repair” but the interior sign might detail the many different types of repair that are offered.

Reputation vs Marketing

Having high-quality exterior and interior business signs is important for any company that wants to attract walk-in business and impress people once they are inside. In some ways, they’re actually serving very different purposes. Exterior signs are a more about marketing, getting your business name out there and drawing people in. Interior signs are meant to impress anyone who stops by and sees it, making it more of a reputation management tool.

Contact Your Local Sign Shop!

You can see how each of these can be important for a business. If you’re ready to make the best use of both interior and exterior business sign, contact Action Signs today!