Outdoor Sign Lighting

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Why Choose A Lighted Outdoor Sign?

At first, you might wonder why you need a lighted sign at night. Let’s take a look at the advantages of having a lighted sign no matter what kind of business you run.

Continued Recognition After You Close

Thanks to our proximity to the mountains, sunset comes early along the Front Range. Sunsets occur around 4:30 in the middle of winter, which means that more than half the day is dark.

If your business is open during traditional work times — 8:00 to 5:00 or 10:00 to 7:00 — you might wonder what the purpose is to have it lighted after you’ve shut your doors for the night. After all, you’re closed; why have the sign on?

The fact is that you want to keep a lighted business sign on as much as possible, because you always want to keep your name and logo in front of the world. If you’re a vacuum shop, you want to be the first and only one that people think of when their vacuum goes out. Keeping that sign on when they head to the grocery at night will put your business in front of others out there that might blend in otherwise. And speaking of blending in…

Signs Can Be More Important At Night

While outdoor business light signs are eye-catching during the day, they’re actually more important at night. During the day, light up signs are competing with everything else: the shape of the building, the banners in the windows, and the unlighted sign of the businesses on either side of you.

At night, however, lighted business signs stand out better than ever, jumping out more than anything else around. While you storefront might have a hard time grabbing attention during the day, you’ll outshine everything else around when you choose the most attractive backlit sign available from a custom sign shop.

Your  Business Might Thrive at Night

While fast food restaurants are more popular during the day in order to accommodate people’s lunch hours, it’s the sit-down restaurants that have to compete for attention at night. These lights need to be big and bright in order to catch the eyes of Fort Collins residents and the many visitors we get to the area. And if they already know where they’re going to eat that night, your sign can help them determine where to eat next time.

There are some businesses that simply don’t see any business during the day but thrive at night. The first ones that come to mind are bars, which need to stand out during Colorado nights. Fort Collins has a lot of great bars, many of which are in Old Town. And because there’s so much direct competition — bars can be right next to each other in some instance — it’s important to have a sign that really stands out from all the others. When a person is driving down Linden looking for the bar they’re supposed to be meeting friends at, you really don’t want to frustrate them by making it hard to find it in the dead of night.

Of course, there are the 24-hour places that need that lighted business sign on all the time. Gas stations, convenience stores, and coffee shops might be open at all hours, and an inviting outdoor illuminated sign is a great way to draw people in even during the middle of the night.

The Fort Collins Night Crew

If you’ve ever had to get out for a late-night run to the local pharmacy to get something to soothe a cough, you’ve probably been surprised at the number of cars on the road. You might have even thought “shouldn’t these people be at home sleeping?”

Most people don’t think about their fellow citizens who work at night, but there are a lot of them. Around 8% of the population works the night shift (up until 11:00pm) or the graveyard shift (typically 11:00pm to 7:00pm). This includes hospital workers, stockers, bakers, factory workers, and many other jobs that get done while the rest of us sleep. The primary times that those who work at night are seeing your sign is in when they drive to and from work in complete darkness, which means it’s the best time to make an impression on them with an attractive lighted business sign.

College Students

Northern Colorado is just full of students. There are three major colleges within an hour of each other, in Fort Collins, Greeley, and Boulder. They are one of the primary drivers of nighttime commerce in each of these towns, and Fort Collins certainly isn’t the exception. In addition to the bars we mentioned above, they’re also important for keeping late-night eateries and coffee shops in business.

While proximity certainly plays a big part in where they’ll head late at night, you can’t underestimate the importance of cool when it comes to college students. They are influenced by signage, and it’s not just the art students who know what looks good when it comes to design. But before they can be swayed by it, they need to see it. An outdoor illuminated sign, especially a backlit one, is quite striking and really appeals to every age group.

Make Your Business Look Professional

When you look at the most successful businesses, they all have lighted outdoor business signs. People like to support small business, but they also like to make use of a business that says “we know what we’re doing and will treat you professionally” before they even step through the front door. A professional custom sign can instill confidence in potential customers.

Get the Edge Over the Competition

How do people choose a business to work with? It usually comes down to which business they’ve worked with before. Until that other business loses their trust, it can honestly be very difficult to get someone to switch over to you.

But when that trust is broken, or someone new moves to town, having an impressive lighted sign can really give you an advantage over the competition. If you’ve kept your outdoor sign in front of people no matter the time of day, subconsciously you’ll be the first one they think about when they need your services.

Of course, it’s also important that they…

See It Through the Weather

There are some parts of the country where it’s sunny all day and clear all night. But this ain’t Phoenix!

While we’d much rather live here than there, it means our signs have to work even harder to hold up to the harsh Colorado weather. Signs have to be seen through the haze and blowing snow that comes with living in our state. While the weather is never going to completely obscure any shop sign, a bright lighted business sign is certainly going to get noticed a lot more by someone when they’re squinting through the blowing snow. Unlighted signs are simply going to be missed under the conditions.

They Provide Extra Lighting

Further down on this page we’re going to discuss the energy that custom light up signs use and if they’re worth the cost of keeping them on all the time. Before we do that though, we’d like to bring one aspect of a lighted business sign that often goes overlooked: it works as security lighting! Instead of having high-intensity, ugly light blazing all night, a good custom light up sign from Action Signs can go a long way to providing the extra little bit of security to protect your business at night.

Why Pay For Quality?

Hopefully, we’ve convinced you that a lighted outdoor sign for your business is the way to go. It’s an excellent way to get your business into the minds of Northern Colorado residents and hopefully get them to step through your doors when they’re in need of your services.

So who should you go with when it comes time to decide on lighted outdoor signs? Is it okay to just head to Hobby Lobby and get those large metal letters with light bulbs inside? Besides starting an electrical sign (those are meant for indoor use), here are a few reasons you’ll want to make sure you’re getting quality materials from a local sign shop.

What If It Doesn’t Turn On?

Can a lighted sign that doesn’t turn on be considered a lighted sign? The fact is that a sign that looks like it should be lighted but isn’t can be very confusing to customers, even if your interior lights are on and there are people inside. While their first thought should probably be “well, the sign doesn’t work,” it’s more likely they’ll think “they closed early” or “they’re having a private party.”

On the other hand, what if they do immediately realize that it’s the sign’s fault? Well, in that case, they simply think that you didn’t spring for a quality light up sign. And that might sully your reputation in their mind.

(Side note: let’s say that some day a breaker trips or you forget to turn your sign on. Backlit signs are nice because they still have a very distinctive design that doesn’t require lighting to look great. While they look better with backlighting, they still look really good without.)

What if Only Part of it Turns On?

Partially turning on — aka burned-out letters — is the only thing worse than not turning a sign on at all. We’ve all driven past signs that have had parts that don’t light up, and it just doesn’t make you feel good about the business, does it? Sure, the sign might only be broken for a night, but you still feel sorry for them. So, as funny as the “Burlington Cat Factory” or the “S__ucks Coffee” sign is, a business needs to make sure that this is a problem that doesn’t show up for a very long time. Go with a quality print shop and the right electrician and you shouldn’t have to worry about your sign spelling something crazy for quite a while.

What If It Doesn’t Hold Up?

Okay, we were wrong. There is something that’s worse than only having part of the sign turn on, and that’s part of the sign that has broken off.

A good sign needs to be robust, because we experience so many different types of weather here in Colorado. The snow blows in all around a sign, so it has be protected from the snow when it melts. We get our fair share of rain as well. Since we’re at such a high elevation, the UV rays from the sun are more powerful than in most parts of the country. And let’s not forget about the powerful Chinook winds that come in from the west. All of these are trying to knock your outdoor lighted sign off the face of the building or cause it to fail. At best the lettering just gets knocked off-center; at worst someone gets hit with it. Getting a high-quality custom-made sign for your business ensures that it’s going to stay up there longer. You want your sign to stay up long enough for your logo to go out of style, and then you can change both at the same time!

But What About Energy?

Earlier we told you that your custom light up signs can double as security lighting for your business. Not only can you cut down on the number of security lights you put up, but you can advertise your business all night long at the same time.

Energy is, of course, on everyone’s mind today. For some people it’s a matter of the environment, for others it’s about money. For most people, it’s a healthy combination.

We heard you, and we take that into account when it comes to custom lighted signs. We design them with energy savings in mind, and we consider ourselves lighting experts for both appearance and energy savings. While incandescent bulbs lose 90% of their energy as heat, LEDs and comparable lighting are exponentially more energy efficient. We use the latest in lighting technology so that you can save money and energy while keeping your storefront more secure.

How Can A Sign Shop Help?

If you’ve decided that an outdoor lighted sign is right for your business…great! We’d love to talk to you about it and get you a same-day quote.

If you need a bit more convincing about what a local sign shop can do for you, let’s take a look at the expertise you can expect from a company that has done hundreds of interior and exterior sines in Fort Collins and along the Front Range.


If you’re just getting your business started and don’t even have a logo yet, we can help. Our expert designers can create just about everything you need, including logos and places to put them such as banners, car wraps, trade show displays, and more

Of course, designing the sign can be a challenge even if you have your logo and all marketing materials in place. Logos that were designed to be read on the web or in a print ad might not blow up very well for a large outdoor lighted sign. We’ll discuss this with you and ask about any allowances that can be made in changing the logo or font for the sign. We know that the branding of your business is important to you; at the same time, readability is also incredibly important when customers are looking for your business from across the parking lot.

What about colors, you might wonder? We know you’ve probably put a lot of thought into the colors of your logo, and might have even had a marketing company come up with rules regarding what colors can and can’t be used on letterhead, websites, and elsewhere. Again, we’ll work with you to ensure that you’re happy with the colors and how they read from a distance. We have tricks that can be used (including, yes, lighting) that can make your sign pop while staying true to the spirit of your business’ logo. With our expertise, we’ll make your business’ exterior look as good as it possibly can!


You probably spent a lot of time finding the perfect location for your business, but there’s another location that important: the location of your sign. Because we’ve installed so many signs and are familiar with the way that people’s eyes interact with them, we can help you find the perfect level at which to place your sign. Too low or high and people won’t see it nearly as well, so we’ll be sure to help you with this part of “sigh theory.”


As we mentioned above, the materials from which a sign should be made are directed in part by the part of the country in which it will be used. Due to Colorado’s strong winds, heavy snows, and blistering sun, we make sure that the sign holds up while the electrical components are kept safe and dry. We make our signs from the finest materials, including glass, UV-resistant plastics, aluminum, and more. We know you don’t want to have to replace your custom signage anytime soon, so we build it to last.

Direction of Lighting

The direction of lighting can make a huge difference on how a lighted business sign looks. You don’t want a sign for a bakery to look scary because of the harsh shadows, but that might be perfect for an escape room. We can show you some good examples of how a backlit sign will differ from one that’s lit directly, or one that is lit internally.

Make It Noticeable, But Not Too Noticeable

Some of you might remember what happened in Denver about 14 years ago, before Qwest became Centurylink. The Qwest sign was so white and bright atop the 53-floor building that it was keeping Denverites awake at night. They say that no publicity is bad publicity, but yeah, you don’t want to make your customers angry. The sign was changed to a nicer and softer blue to handle the complaints.

All that to say that your sign should be noticeable, but not annoying. You want people to be able to focus on it, without it hurting their eyes. And you certainly don’t want it to be so overwhelming that people blame parking lot accidents on it. Our sign shop can help you find the perfect balance for your outdoor lighted business sign.

We Know The Regulations

Here’s another good thing about working with a local company: we know the regulations. We’ve installed exterior signs in Fort Collins, Loveland, Cheyenne, Greeley, and Longmont, and we’re familiar with the local and state regulations that will and will not fly with officials. You don’t want to have a custom lighted sign built in a different state only to find out that it’s going to get you fined. Working locally has its privileges!