The world of non-illuminated signs is rich with colour, texture, creativity, and imagination.  A great design makes a sign immediately recognizable and memorable even if it does not have lighting components built into its structure.  Non-illuminated signs can be post and panel signs, monument signs, vehicle wraps, wall signs, indoor or outdoor signs, banners, awnings, posters, decals, and much more.

How Do Non-illuminated Signs Achieve Iconic Recognition?

The use of creative design, colour schemes, and various types of manufacturing material, font styles, and bold architectural components all can contribute to a sign becoming visually iconic and familiar as your brand.

Illuminate Your Non-Illuminated Sign?

If desired or beneficial, a non-illuminated sign can be lit from an external source as with spotlights or floodlights making them very easy to see during the nighttime.

Non-illuminated Sign Materials

Non-illuminated signs can be made using vinyl, foam, aluminum, acrylic, stone, masonry, wood or other metals.

Non-illuminated Signs Used Everywhere

You will see non-illuminated signs for businesses of all types.  They can be found indoors, outdoors, mounted on buildings or as freestanding signs,  wayfinding signs, and more.

Non-illuminated Signs Using 3-D Lettering

This is a way to make your non-illuminated sign even more striking. Thicker 3-D letters or logos are an eye-catching way to display your company name or logo.

Non-illuminated Signs – Good Bang for Your Buck

Non-illuminated signs are very cost effective and are a good option, especially for well-lit areas. If you do not need your sign to be lit or if the electrical infrastructure is not conveniently present, a non-illuminated sign can make a superb impression.


One of the outstanding providers who we work with in the industry is, Gemini.  They are one of our premier connections based upon quality and expertise.

Throughout the years, Gemini has remained one of the most trusted names in the on-premise signage industry.  National Sign Link’s mandate to provide good value to our clients will be safe in their hands.

Their dimensional letters, logos, and plaques combine true manufacturing precision with hand-finished craftsmanship.  Please don’t hesitate to ask us for a PDF copy of the Gemini products catalog.   

Ask us about our supplementary services that include any combination of design, survey, permitting and installation.

What an incredible selection and so easy to find the substrate, font, size and finish that you want in each type of letter.


Architects, Visit the Gemini technical section  to see why Gemini is specified more than any other Division 10 Sign Product Manufacturer.

Read the Gemini guarantee

Non-Illuminated Lettering Gallery

glossary of terms for non-illuminated lettering

ACRYLIC:  A resilient and weather-resistant plastic, similar to glass, used to make electronic signs.

BACKLIT LETTER:  An illuminated reverse channel letter.  Light from the letter is directed against the surface behind the letter producing a halo lighting effect around the letter.

BUILDING CODE:  Provincial 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 mounted to a building.

CHANNEL LETTER:  A manufactured three-dimensional letter that may accommodate a light source.

CONSPICUITY:  The characteristics of the sign that enable an observer to differentiate the sign from its surrounding environment.

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

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 (Wayfinding):  Used 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-FACED SIGN:  A sign with parallel opposing faces.

DUAL COLOUR VINYL:  Special perforated vinyl that allows you to utilize one colour for day and another for night with maximum colour clarity and brightness.

FACE:  The surface area on a sign where advertising copy is distributed.

FASCIA SIGN:  A building mounted sign.  Often referred to as a wall sign.

FLASHING SIGN:  A sign with intermittent or flashing lights.  Typically, the sign’s message is constantly repeated, and the sign is most often used as a primary attention-getting device.  LEDs are great for designers who want flashing or even colour changes that can be programmed.

FLAT CUT-OUT LETTER:  A dimensional letter cut from sheet or plate stock acrylic, metal or high density foam of various thickness depending on the desired effect.  The industry often defaults to 1/8″ material but National Sign Link defaults to 1/4″ material.  See our partner, Gemini, for a listing and for examples of various substrates, thicknesses and finishes.

FRONT LIT LETTER:  An illuminated channel letter with translucent face.  Plastic, vinyl or digital print.

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

HALO-LIT LETTER:  Also know as BACK-LIT LETTER OR REVERSE CHANNEL LETTER – An illuminated reverse channel letter.  Light from the letter is directed against the surface behind the letter producing a halo lighting effect around the letter.

INTERNALLY ILLUMINATED SIGN:  A sign that is illuminated by a light source that is contained inside the sign.  National Sign Link utilizes a variety of quality brand name LEDs.

JEWELITE:  Manufacturer of trim cap for channel letters.

LEDs:  A light-emitting diode (LED) is a two-lead semiconductor light source.  LEDs have many advantages over incandescent light sources, including lower energy consumption, longer lifetime, improved physical robustness, smaller size, and faster switching.

LEXAN:  Brand of Polycarbonate.

LOGO:  A design that is used by an organization for its letterhead, advertising material, and signs as an emblem by which the organization can easily be recognized; also called logotype.  Logotype is a graphic representation or symbol of a company name, trademark, abbreviation, etc., often uniquely designed for ready recognition.

MESSAGE AREA:  The area within the sign panel describing the limits of the message.

OFF-PREMISE SIGN:  An off-premise sign is a sign displaying advertising copy that pertains to a business, person, organization, activity, event, place, service or product not principally located or primarily manufactured or sold on the premises on which the sign is located. Commonly referred to as, Outdoor or third party displays and usually associated with billboards.

ON-PREMISE SIGN:  A 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 where the sign is erected.

OPEN CHANNEL LETTER:  A dimensional letter that has no face and, if illuminated, the light source is visible.  A clear face for physical protection of internal components may be used.  This product type used to be seen occasionally when letters were illuminated with neon.

PAN FACE:  A plastic sign face moulded into a three dimensional shape.  Also called moulded face, moulded and embossed face, moulded and debossed face.

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.

PERMIT:  A document attesting to municipal approval of the installation and secured by formal submission of an application and fees.  Engineering may be required in some jurisdictions. 

POINT-OF-PURCHASE SIGN:  Signage that advertises a product at its point of sale, or “point of purchase” location.

POLYCARBONATE:  High-impact plastic

RACEWAY:  An electrical enclosure that may also serve as a mounting structure for the sign.  This is a very important signage element for purchasers to be aware of.

READABILITY:  The quality that enables the observer to correctly perceive the message.  In transportation engineering, this word is being replaced by conspicuity.  When planning your identification needs, always ensure that you take viewing distance into consideration.

RECALL:  The ability of a viewer to remember the message even when they are not viewing it.

RETAINER:  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.  Trim Cap and Jewelite are commonly used as retainers on channel letters.  A channel letter that does not have a trim cap may be made utilizing Let-R-Edge or Chanellume.  National Sign Link defaults to letter fabrication utilizing an Accubend process so our letters will have a Trim Cap.

RETURN:  The sides of a channel letter.  Standard colours are available or the returns and trim caps can be painted any colour based on the Pantone Matching System (PMS).  Corporations often want a specific colour and we can provide it, given the PMS number.  Standard colours are less costly because the channel material is pre-finished by the supplier.

REVERSE CHANNEL LETTER:  A fabricated dimensional letter with opaque face and side walls.

SIGN:  Any visual display with words or symbols designed to convey information or attract attention.

SIGN BAND:  A horizontal area above the entrances of a multi-tenant building, architecturally designed to accommodate signage in a sign-centric manner.

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

SINGLE-FACE SIGN:  A sign with only one face plane.

TRAFFIC COUNT:  The recording of the vehicles and pedestrians passing a given point, usually in a day.

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

TRIM CAP:  One inch plastic trim that is added to cut-out plastic letters that adds dimension, and enables attachment to a channel letter.

VARIANCE:  Special administrative procedure by which one may obtain an exception to zoning rules such as height, setback and type of use.

VISIBILITY:  The quality of a letter, number, graphic, or symbol, which enables the observer to distinguish it from its surroundings or background.  Always pay attention to the wall colour when planning your display.  Corporations often have flexibility built into their branding so that alternates are acceptable.  Dual colour vinyl is a great help where this issue can’t be addressed any other way.

WALL SIGN:  A building mounted sign.  Also referred to in the industry as a fascia sign.  Often these are, cabinet signs and/or channel letter signs.