Traffic lights, spot lights, neon signs, police lights and porch lights are all very disparate items, yet they all share common traits. They command attention, provoke emotion, require action and convey information. All of this almost solely due to the use of the medium of light.
Walking up to a store at 10 am and peering into the front window, approaching a vending machine or playing a DVD, the most basic piece of information we try to garner is, "Is the light on?"
Answer this question for your customer and provide a little more information as well. A properly placed light box can shout out that you are open for business and say, "Yes. We have what you want and more."
Copyrighted © images have been provided courtesy of George
Patton Associates -A leading national manufacturer and
distributer of displays.
Section 1: A Brief Primer
Brief, non-technical definitions of some of the terms used in this document.
Anodized Aluminum - A layer of aluminum oxide from a controlled electrolytic process is built up on aluminum components creating a consistent finish which is harder and more durable than the aluminum under it.
Diffuser - A means of evenly spreading light over a large area reducing hot spots
Edge lit - A light box which has lamps located along one or more edges of the frame. LED lightboxes are often constructed this way.
Hot Spots - Areas on a graphic with greater illumination making that part of the image brighter compared to other areas.
LED - Light Emitting Diode. A very small light-source or lamp which is used in bundles to create an efficient, light per watt, lighting system. LED's radiate very little IR heat and have a very long life span. Rather than burning out they dim over a long period of time.
Neon Board - A light box typically with black background and edge lit Fluorescent markers will glow giving an effect similar to neon signs.
Snap Frame - A rectangular frame in which the front face consists of four panels which rotate about their respective side. Aided by a flat spring, they snap in an open or closed position. This allows for a quick and easy, no tool change of graphics.
T5 - An efficient lamp with very high light output. Although they require more space and have a shorter lifespan than an LED, a T5 equipped light box can easily be re-lamped.
Section 2: Restaurants
Whether it is a family restaurant or a fast-food diner, getting information to your patrons about daily specials or functions need to be simple to be effective and not interfere with their dining experience. Display items such as write-on neon boards can provide a cheerful and disarming method of informing your guests without disturbing their dining experience.
A write-on neon board is perfect for the waiting area where the ambient lighting is either bright or subdued. Let your patrons read the day's specials while they wait to be seated. This will provide the customer the opportunity to find out what your specials are before being seated and will not feel rushed when the wait staff attempts to sell the house specials.
Conversely, this also relieves the waiter or waitress of the task to repeat from memory, the day's specials. Instead, the taxed wait staff can sell the specialties by refreshing what the patron already knows and answering informed questions from the diners.
In a more formal setting, a lighted menu stand will show off your printed menu. These can be placed anywhere for the convenience of your patrons and since they have an integral light you don't have to worry about the ambient lighting conditions or be required to install task-lighting.
Section 3: Movie Theaters
Provide a little illumination for your patrons as they walk up to the theater. Small theaters where the customers wait in line outside the building are improved with weather-proof outdoor light boxes. Show off the current features and promote the coming attractions. And, provide the couples on their first date something to talk about to break the ice during the nervous quiet of waiting in line.
Along walls which can be viewed from ticket lines, a series of wall hanging light boxes would be perfectly suited to display both current and upcoming attractions. Do not forget to use one or two of those displays to present back lit photos of hot buttery popcorn and icy cold soft drinks. You can sell concessions to your patrons before they have bought their tickets.
A lightbox presents an alternative to a plain glass case to display movie posters. Changing a poster can be accomplished in seconds with snap frames or locking swing doors. Unlike a glass case, light panels with snapframes are simple to hang and the back lighting can make a poster POP especially in a dimly lit area.
Need to redirect traffic? Use a crowd control stanchion, but anchor it with a floor standing lightbox This provides a means to not only control ingress/egress of your patrons, but affords another opportunity to sell product.
Floor standing illuminated poster displays also have greater flexibility in where they can be placed. If you place this by the entryway, you can promote the latest blockbuster. If you place this near the ticket counter you will show the current matinée. Just place it where ever there is an open electrical outlet and a floor-standing light box can illuminate the product your customers will want to buy.
Section 4: Night Clubs, Sports Bars and Taverns
Got a themed event or just want walk-in customers? Unlit printed signs hanging on a wall or taped to the window are not going to cut it at night. Let's face it, unless it is July and your club is in Stockholm, it is dark when your patrons and potential patrons make their decision where to party. Light their way to your club.
A battery operated A-frame poster holder with a backlit image is like a porch light to mosquitoes. The A-frame sign is mobile, so it can be placed just about anywhere easily. They often have integrated wheels. Just roll it where it best showcases your promotional material, unfold it and turn it on.
When you close in the morning, fold it back up and wheel it back inside. It takes up little space while in storage, but since it is an A-frame it is simple to use so you won't be keeping it stored away for very long.
Drink specials, upcoming special events, scores from previous games, or whatever else you want to tell your patrons can be done with a write-on neon board. The black, side lit panels offer a low profile display which make whatever you write on them light up and seem to hang in space. You can change or update what is on them at anytime.
A neon board will surely catch the eye of your customers with brightly lit festive colors and like a chalkboard removes any pretension that other displays may add.
Be creative. These boards are like do-it-yourself neon signs...without the need to bend glass. Place them in the window to grab the attention of potential customers. Place one over each booth and let your patrons use them to signal their friends, "We are here!" or "Pitcher and Wings!"
Got a crowd that likes to throw darts? Toss the chalk boards and the little overhead light that never seems to work or when it does only causes your patrons to see spots. Replace them with an energy efficient neon board and start recording 301 scores high tech style.
You have the A-frame outside lighting up a poster. But what about all the rest of the promotional material? Back lit, low-profile light boxes will show off the money spent on posters and signs. This material is meant to entice customers. Don't put it to chance that they see it as they walk past on their way to the bathroom... at that point they have their minds on other things.
Well placed light boxes will cast an image across your whole establishment. There's lots to look at at a club and staring at a poster may not be high on the list of things to do. So, don't be passive about your promotional material. Using lightboxes will catch the attention only for a split second, but it will do so repeatedly and that will etch an image in the minds of your patrons.
Section 5: Retail Stores
Attract customers to your shop by lighting their way. An A-frame light box outside the main entrance can display brands you specialize in or promote a current sale. Also, small acrylic light panels with LED lamps can be used to accent window displays. Or if you are looking for something more whimsical a neon marker board can easily add a splash of color to a window display or entranceway.
Large stores can help their patrons by letting them know where they are and how to get to where they want to be. A great way to do this is to provide a lighted directory stand. Centrally located in a lobby or entranceway a directory stand is a classic and classy way to give a professional image and serve your customers.
As patrons make their way through your store, provide them with some enticement to check out more than just what they came to buy. What could be more impressive than to have a brand or particular item being displayed in a floor standing light box? That is instant gravitas.
And when the customer arrives at a counter highlight your product with a light panel. Task lighting is great to show off the product, but that usually is not enough to provide information to the potential buyer. Promotional material is created to do that. Use it not just as a handout placed in a stack on the counter, but set a copy in an illuminated panel. This will instantly captured the eye of the customer.
These small panels are lit with LEDs which are long-lived, very efficient light sources. This high efficiency not only generates less heat, but also saves you money. Their small size means that the display is extremely thin and high light output results in the ability to use plain paper as the advertising medium. No special printed film is required to get a fantastic looking display hilighting your product. Literally.
Section 6: Malls, Civic Centers and Mass Transit Stations
Weatherproof light boxes mounted to outside walls will provided an ideal means to convey businesses' specials, and events going on inside. With locking doors, the graphics may be switched wit ease and are secure from theft and the weather.
An A-frame light box with a battery power source has the obvious application of displaying promotional information, but with large buildings such as malls and transit stations with multiple entrance ways an A-frame can be rolled anywhere and provide instant information to patrons. Maybe a particular entranceway is closed or being used for access to a particular area and you need to convey this to your patrons the mobile A-frame is perfect for this.
Is there a more ideal place for a directory stand? The lobby or by each large entranceway in a mall needs to have a directory stand. But take this a step further, include one or more floor standing light boxes. Use these to display upcoming or current events taking place at the venue. Or rent them as advertising space. This is the one area that all your patrons will see, use it to wow them and at the same time sell to them.
Floor standing light boxes, whether they are single or double sided, in open areas or along passageways will instantly catch the eye of patrons as they stroll through your building. All that floor space has a cost, why not make it pay a little back and advertise. Some well placed floor-standing lightboxes can leave a lasting impression on anyone walking and stopping by.
Undoubtedly, there is a great deal of open wall space. This can make a building look bland. Wall washer light fixtures are expensive and only do so much. Plus, they highlight imperfections on the wall as well and if improperly used they make can make your space look like a cave. Cover up those imperfections with a series of low-profile light boxes. This not only solves one problem, but they provide cost effective advertising space as well.
This is especially true in areas with nearby kiosks, food courts or benches. Places where patrons gather and take a respite are ideal areas for nearby light boxes. Just a poster on the wall is not going to standout from all the lights of nearby shops and kiosks. A colorful backlit graphic will do just that.
A lot of money is spent on promotional material. Use it well, use it to your benefit. Putting it in a place where your patrons will never see it is a waste of money. Make it grab the attention of your patrons and make an indelible impression that stays with them during the time they spend in your establishment and well after they leave.