Abrasion Resistance

The resistance to scratching of a surface of paper by other paper surfaces or other materials.



The non-colors... black, white and gray.


Acid Resist

An acid-proof protective coating applied to metal plates prior to etching designs thereon. Bichromated solutions employed in photoengraving as sensitizers provide acid resist through the action of light on sensitized surface.


Advertising Media

The means by which an advertising message is carried to potential customers; including Internet, magazine, newspaper, radio, signage and television.



A term dealing with form, design, and/or quality of construction of a particular sign, building, site or structure, that presents a judgmental statement concerning the level of beauty or artistic value.


A-Frame / Sandwich / Sidewalk / Footpath Sign

A moveable sign that is supported by its own frame and usually forming the cross-sectional shape of an A.



The condition of type and or art materials as they level up on a horizontal or vertical line.



Aluminum is a metal utilised throughout the sign industry, from cut out letters, dimensional letters, sign boxes, illuminated signs, signboards, plaques etc.  It's lightweight, resistance to corrosion, low maintenance and relative inexpensive make it an ideal base material for a host of commercial applications.     see example


Aluminium Composite Panel

Dibond®, Alupanel® etc.  A sheet material with an aluminum skin and polyethylene core, excellent for signboards and cabinet signs, can be routed, rolled and folded into shapes.  Available in different thicknesses, finishes and sizes.    see example



A brand of aluminium composite panel.


Animated Sign

A sign depicting action, motion or color changes by electrical, electronic or mechanical means.


Aqueous Printer

A printer that uses waterbased ink that can be either dye or pigment based.  Better suited for indoor signs rather than than outdoor as opposed to solvent printers that can be used for both indoor and outdoor signage and can print on a wider range of media.



Those elements of letters that branch out from the stem of a letter, such as: "K" and "Y".



A symbol shaped like an arrowhead that is used in illustration to direct a leader line. Reference, leader line



All illustrated material, ornamentation, photos and charts etc., that is prepared for reproduction.



Any part of a lower case letter which rises above the main body of the letter such as in "d", "b" and "h".


Assembled view

In illustration, a term used to describe a view of a drawing in its assembled or whole format.


Awning Sign

A building mounted sign that provides additional functionality as shelter.




Backlit Letter:

An illuminated reverse lit letter. Light from the letter is directed against the surface behind the letter producing a halo lighting effect.    see example



A term used to describe the aesthetic or harmony of elements, whether they are photos, art or copy, within a layout or design.



An electrical device required to operate fluorescent lamps.



A sign composed of lightweight material. Promotional banners include those used to announce open houses and grand openings, make special announcements, or communicate events. Ornamental banners use images or colors of a decorative nature.


Banner Skin

Typically banner material with printed advertising that is used to cover billboards.


Barn Doors

A device with two sets of thin metal doors (horizontal and vertical) placed before a light source to control the direction of light.


Base Line

This is a term used to describe the imaginary horizontal line upon which stand capitals, lower case letters, punctuation points etc.


Base Plate

A flat, thick piece of metal (usually steel), welded to the bottom of a sign pole or pylon. The base plate adapts the support to the concrete foundation, to which it is secured with anchor bolts


Bench Sign

A sign located on the seat or back of a bench or seat placed on or adjacent to a public right-of-way. A type of street furniture.



Large sign typically seen around cities on walls with changing advertising.  In country areas and along highways they are typically freestanding structures    see example


Blade Sign

A building mounted sign with the faces of the sign perpendicular to the building fascia.



Extra ink area that crosses trim line, used to allow for variations that occur when the reproduction is trimmed or die-cut.


Bleed Allowance

To allow for deviations in cutting the sign to finished size, the artwork is typically extended about 10-20mm beyond the trim lines. The amount of bleed allowance may vary depending on the method of printing used.


Braille and Tactile Signage

Signage that is made for the visually impaired.  Braille signs are manufactured with a series of raised dots that the blind can 'read' by touch.  Tactile signs are manufactured with raised letters where visually impaired people can 'feel' the letters.  Braille and Tactile Signs have to conform to the Unified Braille Code, the Building Code of Australia (D3.6) and Australian Standards


Brand Equity (Branding)

The intangible, but real, value of words, graphics or symbols that are associated with the products or services offered by a business. Developing branding of a site includes the presentation of signage and architecture to create a unique awareness and memory by the potential customer of the products or services offered at that site. Brand equity for a particular business is similar to the goodwill of an enterprise.



A yellowish alloy of copper and zinc, sometimes including small amounts of other metals, but usually 67% copper and 33% zinc.  In the sign trade it is usually used in plate form for engraved nameplates, cut out letters, doctors plates etc.



A pamphlet that is bound in booklet form.


Building Code

State and/or local regulations governing public health, welfare and safety of construction and maintenance.


Building Fascia

That portion of any elevation of a building extending vertically from the grade to the top parapet wall or eaves, and horizontally across the entire width of the building elevation, including slanted wall surfaces sometimes referred to as a mansard.


Building Mounted Sign

A sign that is applied or attached to a building.


Bulkhead Signage

Signs, usually in shopping centres that extends above and across the width of the shopfront.






Cabinet Sign

A sign structure consisting of the frame and face(s), not including the internal components, embellishments or support structure.



See marquee.


Canopy Sign

1) A building-mounted sign functioning as a marquee.2) A sign mounted on a marquee or canopy.


Cap Line

An imaginary horizontal line running across the tops of capital letters.


Caps & Lower Case

Instructions in the typesetting process that indicate the use of a capital letter to start a sentence and the rest of the letters in lower case.


Caps & Small Caps

Two sizes of capital letters made in one size of type.


Changeable Copy Panel

A section of a sign that functions like a changeable copy sign.


Changeable Copy Sign

A variable message sign composed of individual letters panel-mounted in or on a track system.


Channel Letter

Fabricated or formed three-dimensional letter that may accommodate a light source.


Color Bars

This term refers to a color test strip, which is printed on the waste portion of a press sheet. It is a standardized (GATF-Graphic Arts Technical Foundation) process which allows a pressman to determine the quality of the printed material relative to ink density, registration, and dot gain. It also includes the Star Target, which is a similar system designed to detect inking problems.


Color Strength

A term referring to the relative amount of pigmentation in an ink.


Color Transparency

Transparent film containing a positive photographic color image.


Conforming Sign

A sign that is legally installed in accordance with federal, state, and local laws and ordinances.



Contra Vision®, One-Way Vision Film

Perforated or non-perforated one-way see-through graphics.    see example



The difference or degree of difference between things having similar or comparable natures, such as light and dark areas, colors, or typefaces.



Similiar in construction to a plastic cardboard, although there are smooth and heavier types now available.  Corflute is an economical choice for temporary, indoor point-of-sale signage, temporary real estate signage etc.


Corner Marks

Marks on a final printed sheet that indicate the trim lines or register indicators.



To eliminate a portion of the art or copy as indicated by crop marks.


Crop Mark

Markings at edges of original or on guide sheet to indicate the area desired in reproduction with negative or plate trimmed (cropped) at the markings.


Custom Sign:

A sign designed, manufactured and installed to meet the requirements of a specific location.




Dibond®, Alupanel®

See Aluminium Composite Panel



In sign making this is typically a vinyl film that is applied to the back of light box faces to diffuse the light from the fluorescent tubes.


Digital Media

Print media, including banner and self-adhesive vinyl which can be printed using a digital printer.


Digital Printing

In the sign trade this refers to large format printing.   see example


Digital Proof

Colour separation data is digitally stored and then exposed to colour photographic paper creating a picture of the final product before it is actually printed.


Digital Signage

Signs and advertising that is usually displayed on lcd screens via computer software, much like tv screens.


Dimensional Letter

A specification description of a letter, logo or symbol, either cut out, cast, moulded or fabricated in material such as metal or plastic to create a raised condition.


Directional Sign

Signs designed to provide direction to pedestrian and vehicular traffic.


Directory Sign

A sign that identifies the names and locations of tenants in a multi-tenant building or in a development made up of a group of buildings.


Double-Sided Sign

A sign with two parallel opposing (back-to-back) faces.


Drop Shadow

A shadow image placed strategically behind an image to create the affect of the image lifting off the page.


Electric Sign

Any sign containing or using electrical wiring.


Electronic Message Centre

A variable message sign that utilizes computer-generated messages or some other electronic means of changing copy. These signs include displays using incandescent lamps, LEDs, LCDs or a flipper matrix.



Marking into the surface of a material, usually, brass, aluminium, stainless steel, acrylic, Metalex® etc.  Laser, rotary, chemical and sandblasting are common methods.    see example


Etched Film / Etchmark®

See frosting.


Externally Illuminated Sign

A sign that is illuminated by a light source that is directed towards, and shines on the face of a sign, usually spotlights or floodlights.    see example



The process of molding plastics, acrylics and aluminium into sheets, rods, or other shapes by forcing the it through a die, forming it into the desired shape


Face / Sign Face


The surface area on a sign where the advertising copy is displayed.


Fascia Sign

A sign that is mounted on or can be painted on the fascia (face) of an awning.


Fascia Sign

A sign that is usually on the face of the shop awning structure.


Flashing Sign

A sign with an intermittent or flashing light source. Generally, the sign's message is constantly repeated, and the sign is most often used as a primary attention-getting device, frowned upon by councils and traffic authorities near traffic lights.


Flexface Signage

Typically translucent banner material that is printed or has computer cut vinyl graphics applied then stretched over the face of large illuminated lightbox signage instead of using acrylic panels.


Fluorescent Lamp or Tube

Electric-discharge lighting utilizing glass tubing manufactured to standard lengths.



Foamcore board is a sheet of foam with heavy paper glued to boths sides and clay coated which makes it very smooth.  It is mostly used for indoor trade show graphics, point-of-sale signage and instore graphics etc.  For a more rigid and robust version see Gatorboard.


Footpath / A-Frame / Sandwich / Sidewalk Sign

A moveable sign supported by its own frame and most often forming the cross-sectional shape of an A.    see example


Freestanding Sign

A sign that is not attached to a building.


Front Lighted Letter

An illuminated channel letter with translucent face.



The application of frosted or etched vinyl films to window or door glass to give it a sandblasted, etched or frosted appearance for decoration, security and privacy.


Full Service Sign Companies:

Sign companies that complete the entire signage project, including surveying, designing, engineering, permitting, manufacturing, installing, and maintaining signs.




Group of frames or impositions in the same forme of different jobs arranged and positioned to be printed together.



The bundling of two or more different printing projects on the same sheet of paper.


Gold Leaf

In Australia typically 23 carat gold beaten into thin sheets used by signwriters for sign work such as honour boards, glass signage etc.    see example



Graphic Designer

The practice or profession of designing print or electronic forms of visual information, as for an advertisement, publication, or website.



This can be words, logos and images used to convey meaning, ideas, mood or message.



Ground Sign

A freestanding sign with no visible support structure.



H Channel Letter

A dimensional letter with baffles at the center of the cross-sectional shape for support of neon tubing and mounting of transformers.


Incandescent Bulb

A lamp that produces light through the application of electrical energy to a wire filament, which glows as it is heated.


Interior signage

Signs that are located inside a building or other facility.


Internally Illuminated Sign

A sign that is illuminated by a light source that is contained inside the sign.




Job Number

A number assigned to a printing project used for record keeping and job tracking. Also used to retrieve old jobs for reprints or reworking by customer.



The narrowing of space between two letters so that they become closer and take up less space on the page.



Usually clear self-adhesive film, or can be a liquid which is usually applied over printed graphics to protect them and extend their life.


Large Format Printing

In the sign industry this  usually means printing that is wider than 900mm by any length, aqueous or solvent onto various vinyls, banner, backlit films and some fabrics.


Laser Cut

Laser cutting works by directing the output of a high power laser, by computer, at the material to be cut.  In the sign making industry the most widely laser cut materials are acrylic and stainless steel.    see example


Laser Engraving

A paper cutting technique whereby laser technology is utilized to cut away certain unmasked areas of the paper. The cutting is a result of the exposure of the paper to the laser ray, which actually evaporates the paper.



A rendition that shows the placement of all the elements, roughs, thumbnails etc., of the final printed piece before it goes to print.



The actual design on paper or in design software of a sign before it is approved or manufactured (a 'layout').  Can also mean the process of a signwriter 'marking out' a sign to hand letter or apply vinyl lettering or graphics.    see example



Light emitting diodes are diodes(electronic components that let electricity pass in only one direction) that emit visible light when electricity is applied, much like a light bulb. When many LEDs are side-by-side, they can create pictures, such as the scrolling red LED signs found everywhere.




The characteristics of letters, numbers, graphics, or symbols that make it possible to differentiate one from the other.


Lifestyle Graphic

A graphic, usually a large format printed photograph depicting a person or people using a product or service in daily life or in a pose or situation that sets the mood for an advertisement.


Lightbox Sign

A sign that is illuminated by a light source that is contained inside the sign.    see example



Real metal application process to letters and signs in iron, brass, copper, bronze and aluminium coatings.  LiqMet® Metal Coating is 95% metal with the properties of metal so it can be polished, worked and oxidised like metal if desired.  There is a large range of finishes and textures available.


Liquid Metal®

Real metal that has the same properties as metal that is applied as a coating to signage.Available in different metal types, finishes and patinas.


Listed Sign

A sign labeled to indicate that the manufacturer of the sign is identified in a list published by a National Recognized Testing Laboratory as producing signs in conformance with the applicable American National Standard.



A design that represents goods, identity or service.





Magnetic Signs

A flexible sheet material that is mostly used on vehicles.  It can be removed and repositioned at will, can have computer cut vinyl or digitally printed graphics applied .


Mall Signage

A wide variety of typical on-premise sign types usually located within the interior of a shopping centre.




A permanent canopy often of metal and glass projecting over an entrance.


Marquee Sign

1) a sign mounted on a permanent canopy 3) an integral sign and permanent canopy.


Mask (1)

The blocking out of a portion of the printing plate during the exposure process.


Matte Finish

A coated paper finish that goes through minimal calendaring. Reference, calendaring.



Medium Density Fibreboard is used throughout the sign industry for cut out letters, sign boxes, and bulkhead signage.  It should be used indoors only.



The tendency of materials, sign making vinyls etc to 'shrink' or return to ('remembering') their former shape.


Menu Board

A message sign that allows a retailer to list products and prices, such as in a cafe etc.


Message Area

The area within the sign panel describing the limits of the message.


Message Center:

An electronically or mechanically variable message sign enabling changes to be made from locations other than at the sign. (See also variable message sign.)


Mirror Cut / Reverse Cut

Typically means computer cut vinyls that are cut in reverse and applied to the inside of windows so they read the right way when viewed from outside the shop or business.


Mirror Print / Reverse Print

Typically means printed graphics  that are printed in reverse on a clear vinyl, then laminated with white and applied to the inside of windows so they read the right way when viewed from outside the shop or business.


Mobile Sign

A portable sign mounted on a trailer etc.    see example


Monolith Sign

A freestanding sign with no visible support structure.


Neon Sign

A sign manufactured utilising neon glass tubing.    see example


Neon Tubing

Electric discharge, cold cathode tubing manufactured into shapes that form letters and filled with an inert gas such as neon (red) or argon (blue).


Off-Premise Sign

Any sign that is not appurtenant to the use of the property, a product sold, or the sale or lease of the property on which it is displayed, and that does not identify the place of business as purveyor of the merchandise, services, etc., advertised upon the sign. Also known as Outdoor Advertising.


One-Way Vision Film, Contra Vision®:

Perforated or non-perforated one-way see-through graphics.    see example


On-Premise Sign:

A communication device whose message and design relates to a business, an event, goods, profession or service being conducted, sold or offered on the same property as there the sign is erected.


Opal Acrylic

Acrylic usually in sheet form that has a milky translucency, usually used in illuminated sign faces and letters.    see example



Not letting light or another colour to show through.  In sign making this usually refers to vinyls, acrylics, banner materials etc, for example 'opaque vinyl', 'dense white' or 'black acrylic' and 'blockout banner' so that if a banner is double-sided the image from one side will not show through the other side (especially in sunlight) and spoil the image.    see example



Open Channel Letter

A dimensional letter that has no face and, if illuminated with the light source visible. A clear face for physical protection of internal components may be used.    see example



A transparent sheet placed over artwork, in register with the work it covers; this is used to call out other color components of the work, instructions or corrections.


Painted Wall Sign

See building mounted sign.


Pantone® / PMS

Pantone Matching System®, a proprietary color space used in a variety of industries, primarily printing, though sometimes in the manufacture of coloured paint, fabric and plastics.


Parapet Sign

A sign mounted on top of the parapet of a building.





Permanent Sign:

A sign attached to a building, structure, or the ground in a manner that enables the sign to resist environmental loads, such as wind, and precludes ready removal or movement of the sign.



See Acrylic.



Commonly used in the sign industry to make flat cut out letters, lightbox sign faces and illuminated fabricated letters.  Thickness typically varies from 3mm to 25mm.  Acrylic can also be vacuum formed into dimensional signs which can be internally illuminated.  Acrylic's attractiveness, durability and resistance to warping makes it an ideal interior and exterior sign material.


Point-of-Purchase Sign

Signage that advertises a product at its point of sale, or "point of purchase" location.


Pole or Pylon Cover

An enclosure for concealing and/or for decorating poles or other structural supports of a ground sign.



A hard thermoplastic highly resistant to softening and impact. Polycarbonate is used to make anything from bulletproof glass to directory inserts.  In sign making it is typically used for vacuum forming, lightbox faces and protective covers


POP (Point of Purchase)


Signage that advertises a product at it's point of purchase.


Portable Sign

A sign not permanently attached to the ground or building, with a power-cord for connection to an electrical source, and readily removable using ordinary hand tools.


POS (Point of Sale:


Signage that advertises a product at it's point of sale.



Post and Panel Sign

An unlighted sign fabricated by using one or more visible posts to support the sign body.


Powder Coat:

Powder coating is the process of coating a surface in which a powder material is applied using an electrostatic or compressed air method. The applied powder is then heated (cured) to its melting point, after which it flows to form a smooth film which dries to a firm, durable finish very resistent to scratches, cracking, peeling, UV rays and rust.


Projecting Sign

A building mounted sign with the faces of the sign perpendicular to the building fascia.


Pull up banner stand

A portable banner display system where the banner display graphic is stored in the base and retracts back into it, much the way a window blind operates.    see example



A letter or logo cut out of a backing material that is as thick or thicker than the sign face material, and mounted on the inside of the sign face so that the backing material's thickness extends flush with or through and beyond the front plane of the sign face.



In flat sheet form, polyvinyl chloride is formed in a variety of thicknesses and colours. As flat sheets, PVC is often expanded to create voids in the interior of the material, providing additional thickness without additional weight and cost. Sheets are cut using saw and rotary cutting equipment. Plasticized PVC is also used to produce thin, coloured, or clear, adhesive-backed films referred to simply as vinyl. These films are typically cut on a computer-controlled plotter or printed in a wide-format printer. These sheets and films are used to produce a wide variety of commercial signage products and markings on vehicles.


Pylon Sign

A freestanding sign with visible support structure or with the support structure enclosed with a pole cover.


Raster Image

Raster graphics are resolution dependent. They cannot scale without loss of quality. Raster graphics (.jpeg, .tiff, .bmp are some file types) deal more practically than vector graphics with photographs and photo-realistic images, while vector graphics often serve better typesetting or for graphic design.


Regulatory Sign

A sign having the primary purpose of conveying information concerning rules, ordinances or laws.



A framing member mounted around the perimeter of a sign face, and attached to the sign cabinet structure. It is designed to attach the face to the cabinet and/or intended to provide a decorating trim piece.



The sides of a channel letter or awning fascia that 'returns' back toward the building.



An indented detail on a sign.


Reverse Channel Letter

A fabricated dimensional letter with opaque face and side walls.



Short for red, green, blue monitor, a monitor that requires separate signals for each of the three colors.  All color computer monitors are RGB monitors. RGB is the most common color mode used when creating graphics, even though graphics to be commercially printed are eventually converted to CMYK mode, the colors used in printing inks.


Right Angle Fold

A term that denotes folds that are 90 degrees to each other.



A raster image processor (RIP) is a component used in a printing system which produces a raster image also known as a bitmap. The bitmap is then sent to a printing device for output. The input may be a page description in a high-level page description language such as PostScript, Portable Document Format, XPS or another bitmap of higher or lower resolution than the output device. In the latter case, the RIP applies either smoothing or interpolation algorithms to the input bitmap to generate the output bitmap.



Roof Sign

A building mounted sign erected on the roof of a building.


Router Cut

In sign making, this usually refers to a computer controlled router that profile cuts plastics, non ferrous metals, aluminium composites, Dibond and wood etc via  the use of design software and a controller programme into letters and shapes.    see example


Sailtrack Fastening:

A system to more permanently fasten banners to walls etc.  The banners sewn edge piping is inserted into a length of aluminium extrusion and fixed flat and taut to a wall, billboard etc.


Sandwich Sign

A moveable sign supported by its own frame and most often forming the cross-sectional shape of an A.Commonly known as A-Frame sign.


Satin Finish

A smooth delicately embossed finished paper with sheen.



Self adhesive vinyl



The enlargement or reduction of an image or copy to fit a specific area.


Sign Band

The area of a sign on which copy is intended to be placed.



Signcentric Design

A sign with only one face plane.



A pre-finished plywood used for signage..



A tradesman skilled in the art of hand painted lettering


Single-Face Sign

A sign with only one face.


Slimline Lightbox Sign

A thinner than conventional sign that is illuminated by a light source that is contained inside the sign, typically T5 fluorescent tubes that are a much smaller diameter than standard fluorescent tubes.


Solvent Printer

A printer that uses ink that is solvent based and as such is long wearing and waterproof.


Spot Color

Small area printed in a second color.


Stainless Steel

Stainless steel's resistance to corrosion and staining, low maintenance, relative inexpense, and familiar luster make it an ideal base material for a host of commercial applications. Stainless steel is available in polished and linished finishes


Stand Off Sign

A sign that is mounted on pins so that it stands off the wall and gives a more dimensional look to the sign.  Stand-offs are ready made machined stainless steel, brass and aluminium fixings, plated in various finishes that sign makers use for this purpose.


Stationary Sign

Advertising displays, many which provide a public amenity, positioned at close proximity to pedestrians for eye-level viewing or at a curbside to reach vehicular traffic. An example is a bench sign.



Tactile and Braille Signage

Signage that is made for the visually impaired.  Tactile signs are manufactured with raised letters where visually impaired people can 'feel' the letters.  Braille signs are manufactured with a series of raised dots that the blind can 'read' by touch.  Braille and Tactile Signs have to conform to the Unified Braille Code, the Building Code of Australia (D3.6) and Australian Standards


Temporary Sign:

A variable message sign which displays current time and temperature in a stationary or alternating manner. Some also display simple messages.



Time and Temperature Display:

A variable message sign which displays current time and temperature in a stationary or alternating manner. Some also display simple messages.



Used by a business to distinguish itself and its products from the competition. A trademark may include a name, symbol, word or combination of those. Protected by the federal government and considered to have financial value. The circled "R" or "Reg. T.M." printed with the mark indicates that it is a registered trademark.



Electrical equipment that converts input voltage and current to a different output voltage and current.



Transmitting light but causing sufficient diffusion to prevent perception of distinct images.  In signmaking this refers mainly to vinyls that are used on lightbox and illuminated signs



Inks that do not block out the colored inks that they print over, but instead blend with them to create intermediate colors.


Trim Marks

Marks placed on the sheet to indicate where to cut the page.



Under-Awning Sign

A sign designed to be mounted underneath an awning, typically an under awning lightbox sign



Variable Message Sign

A sign that includes provisions for message changes. Also called changeable copy panel, changeable copy sign, time and temperature sign, electronic message center, menu board.


Vector File

A vector graphics file is resolution independent and can be scaled with no loss of quality.  It is a series of geometric shapes, consisting of outlines. These outlines are stored as mathematical equations (.EPS, .AI, .CDR are some formats).  Vector graphics often serve better for typesetting or for graphic design than raster graphics that deal more practically with photographs and photo-realistic images.     see example



Wall Sign

Any sign affixed to a wall.



Enabling a person to find their way to a given destination through the use of effective signage.



A weatherproof sheet material composed of hardwood fiber, similar to thick Masonite. Most sign shops in Australia used this in the past, but it has now given way to composite materials such as Dibond®, Alupanel®


Window Sign

A sign that is displayed in or on a window

Contact Info


07 4035 5120

58 Comport Street, Portsmith QLD 4870

PO Box 764, Bungalow QLD 4870

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