The Different Types of Sign Boards: Everything You Need to Know

From the vibrant billboards along the highway to the subtle directory signs in the office building, signboards are present in every nook and corner of our daily lives. They are visual communication tools that are used by various industries as essential elements in branding and communication strategies. To define formally, a signboard is a visual display designed to inform, guide, or attract attention. The importance of signboards lies in their ability to enhance visibility and drive sales by reinforcing brand identity. They are immensely popular marketing and operational functions. It is believed that in ancient times, the ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks used signages. Scroll Down to know about Various types of Sign boardsWhich One Suits Your Needs for Business?

For example in olden times Romans used signages to announce public events and for shop fronts. China has also exhibited a rich history of using display boards for a long time. With the industrial revolution, signboards evolved incorporating various materials and technologies; today they are an integral part of modern advertising and wayfinding systems. 

As competition intensifies in the business horizon brands are engaging in a fight to become the best by grabbing the highest market share. Under this circumstance, signboards help businesses carve their unique niche and engage with the audience. A well-crafted display board not only attracts customers but also clearly conveys the brand message and values, making them indispensable in today’s competitive market. 

Are you planning to use a signboard or are using one already? Contact Us

Well, then this blog is for you; it is a complete guide exploring the different types of signage along with information on associated topics like maintenance of signboards, techniques of choosing the right board, and more. 

#1. Types of Sign boards by Usage

Be it small or big, most businesses often use signboards to spread awareness about their products and attract potential customers. If you pay attention to the different signs that you notice you will realize that there are different types of signs depending upon their purpose.  Signage styles vary from one industry to another. Since it is incharge of conveying your brand messages you must be very careful to choose the right type of sign for your business. In the segment below we list the different types of signboards by their usages.

i. Outdoor Signboards

If you have to advertise or market your brand outdoors then an outdoor sign board is the best. Placed on the exterior of your business or any other location, these signages could be placed on placards or billboards as a stand alone. These signs can be used to promote business growth, boost sales, and create a huge base of potential customers. Here are the different types of outdoor signages.

outdoor signboards



Billboards are large outdoor advertising structures that are usually found in highways and high traffic areas. They are designed for maximum visibility and impact making them ideal for marketing campaigns designed to reach a large section of the potential buyers.
Pylon Signs
Pylon signs are tall, freestanding structures that are often used to identify shopping centres, hotels, and large complexes from a distance. Offering high visibility they can be customized with lighting for nighttime use.
Pole Signs
Mounted on a single pole,pole signs are smaller versions of pylon signs. They are usually used by small businesses to attract drive by traffic.
Monument Signs
These signs are usually used at the entrances of buildings, complexes, and campuses. Made from a variety of materials, monument signs are ground level structures showcasing a sturdy and permanent look.
Wall Signs
You will often find Wall signs directly attached to the exterior walls of buildings. They can be illuminated or non-illuminated, and they can be used to display business names, logos, and other branding elements.

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ii. Indoor Signboards

Modern indoor signboard in a business lobby with directional arrows and building map

As the name suggests Indoor signboards are used in interiors of buildings ; serving a variety of purposes these signs can be used for branding, wayfinding, and general information. They are extremely effective in capturing the attention of clients inside or near your business. They can also be used for driving foot traffic into your shop. Some popular types of indoor signage include the following:



Lobby Signs
Usually placed in reception spaces of offices and other buildings, lobby signs often display the company’s name and logo. They help to enforce brand identity as soon as the visitors enter.
Directory Signs
These signs help visitors navigate large buildings or complexes by providing a list of offices or rooms along with their locations.
Door Signs
Door signsDoor signs are usually hung out the door. They share information about the occupant of the room or the purpose of the room.
Digital Signboards
These are electronic displays to present dynamic content. They are highly versatile and are used to show videos, real-time information, and animations.
Menu Boards
Menu boards are popularly used in cafes and food joints to display menu items and prices to customers. Often restaurants also use digital menu boards to incorporate promotional content and updates.

#2. Types of Signboards by Material

i. Acrylic Sign boards

Features and Benefits

Being durable, acrylic signs can withstand adverse environmental conditions making it suitable for indoors and outdoors. Besides being lightweight these designs are highly versatile and offer great optical clarity. Users usually prefer acrylic sign boards as they are usually affordable and offer a premium look.

Best use cases

Acrylic sign boards are ideal for high-end businesses, offices, and retail stores where a modern and professional look is desired.

ii. Metal Sign Boards

Types (e.g., aluminum, stainless steel)

Metal sign boards are widely used for their durability, aesthetic appeal, and versatility.  Common types of metal sign boards include aluminium and stainless steel. Aluminium is lightweight and corrosion-resistant, while stainless steel offers a premium polished appearance. 

Durability and aesthetic appeal

Metal sign boards are highly durable and offer a clean and sophisticated look that is perfect for professional settings

iii. Wooden Sign boards

Rustic and natural look

You can choose wooden sign boards if you want a rustic and natural aesthetic that can be very appealing. Usually, they  are used in environments that require  a traditional or earthly vibe. 

Ideal environments

Usually, cafes, boutiques, craft stores, and outside markets prefer wooden signboards

iv. PVC and Foam Board Signboards

Lightweight and cost-effective options

The best quality PVC and foam board sign boards are lightweight and easy for you to install. Not only are they affordable but you can also print them with quality graphics; they are perfect for temporary and indoor use.

Common applications

These signboards are commonly used for event signs, point-of-purchase displays, and indoor promotional signs.

#3. Types of Sign boards by Illumination

i. Non-Illuminated Signboards

Non-illuminated signboards are a type of signage that do not incorporate any lighting elements. These sign boards are suitable for both indoor and outdoor settings. Moreover, they rely on ambient light to be visible. Here are some important details about these signs that might be useful.

Traditional signage

Traditional signage is a type of non-illuminated signage. As they completely rely on natural lighting they are a cost-effective solution for various signage needs. Businesses have used these signs for centuries so they remain an essential component of communication and advertising.

Pros and cons

The advantages of using traditional signage include the following:

  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Simple to produce 
  • No electricity required 

The disadvantages of using traditional signs include: 

  • Limited visibility at night or in low light conditions

ii. Illuminated Signboards

Types of Illuminated Signboards

These signboards use lighting elements to enhance visibility, readability, and the entire impact of the sign. They involve an array of technologies Different industries use them for advertising, branding, informational purposes, and more. Here are the different types of illuminated signboards

LED Signboards

LED sign boards fall under the category of illuminated signboards. They use Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) to display messages, images, or animations. These signs are highly versatile, energy-efficient, and effective in attracting attention. Moreover, LED sign boards are low maintenance and have a high visibility. Many businesses (like retail stores, restaurants, cafes, public spaces and more) use these signs both indoors and outdoors.

Neon Signboards

Neon signboards offer a classic look with bright and colourful lights. Not only can these designs be customized according to your brand colour and style but these designs can last for years.  Just like LED sign boards, various events and exhibitions, corporate and office spaces, entertainment values and retail stores use Neon boards.

Backlit and Frontlit Signboards

Backlit signboards have lights behind the sign face. They create a glowing effect. On the other hand, front-lit signage has lights shining onto the sign from the front. 

Advantages of illuminated signage in visibility and impact

Most businesses are using illuminated signboards for visibility during the night and in low-light conditions.  Also, these signs are easily viewable from a distance. The vibrant colours, the bright lights and the option for customisation make these signs more impactful.    

#4. Types of Sign boards by Functionality

Informational Signboards



Directional signs
Businesses use directional signs (or wayfinding signs) to guide people to their destinations within a specific space or facility, including hospitality, airports, and shopping malls. Ideally, these signs should be both aesthetically pleasing and easy to read. They are made of durable materials, making them useful both indoors and outdoors. Clear wayfinding signs improve visitor experiences and contribute to the efficient operation of facilities.
Informational boards
Want to convey important messages, guidelines, and details to the public? Well, informational boards are your best pick. These boards serve various functions across multiple settings, including educational institutions, corporate environments, public spaces, and more. The most common forms of informational boards include maps, schedules, and notices. You can install these to help people navigate and understand the environment.

#5. Types of Sign boards by Design and Technology

Regulatory Signboards



Safety signs
Safety signs provide warnings and instructions to ensure the safety of individuals in specific areas. They are usually found in workplaces, public areas, and construction sites.
Compliance signage
Compliance signs ensure adherence to regulations and standards, such as accessibility signs and health and safety notices. Businesses use these signs to maintain safety and provide guidance.

Promotional Signboards



Advertising boards
Businesses craft billboards or ad boards to promote products, services, or events. You can use these boards in a variety of settings including both indoors and outdoors to capture the attention of a wide range of audiences.
Sale and event signs
These signs highlight special offers, sales, and events to attract customers and increase foot traffic.

Traditional Hand-Painted Signboards



Craftsmanship and customization
Hand-painted signboards are crafted manually. The best part about it is that they can be customized to suit your brand and reflect the brand personality. From simple to complex, you can design anything on a hand-painted board.
Ideal use cases
They are ideal for any business that seeks a personalized and artisanal look, such as boutique shops and artisan markets.

Vinyl Graphics and Decals



Flexibility and ease of application
Vinyl graphics refer to images, graphics, letters or designs that are cut from adhesive vinyl sheets. On the other hand, decals are similar to vinyl graphics but they are larger designs or elements which can be peeled off and applied to various surfaces. Easy to apply and remove, vinyl graphics offer flexibility for temporary or changing displays.

Digital and Electronic Signboards



Interactive displays
If you want to boost user engagement then digital and electronic signboards are your best bet. These signages can include a touch screen and interactive elements, providing an engaging experience for users.
Dynamic content capabilities
Digital and electronic signboards are highly versatile. They can display dynamic content such as videos, animations, and real-time updates.

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#6. Customization Options

Custom Shapes and Sizes



Tailoring signboards to specific needs
No two businesses should have the same type of signboard. Since boards are an integral part of your brand identity, they must be unique. So, most business owners customize their signboards in various shapes and sizes to meet their specific requirements and fit unique spaces.

Branding Elements



Logos, colors, and fonts
Logos, colours and fonts are important pillars of a brand’s identity. Incorporating branding elements such as logos, colours, and fonts in signboards helps you reinforce your brand identity. You must use the same branding elements across all signages to indicate consistency and make it easier for people to identify your brand.

Signboard Considerations



Assessing Your Needs
Purpose and Placement Considerations

There is a huge palette of signboards for us to choose from. However, not every signboard is appropriate for our purpose. So, first, we should begin by considering the purpose of the signboard. Once that is done, we must decide its placement to meet your needs and achieve its intended goals.
Budget Considerations
Balancing cost and quality

If you are interested in getting a signboard within your budget then you must evaluate the balance between the cost and quality to make an informed decision. Go for signage companies that meet your budget while delivering highly effective boards. Get in touch with IDesign to explore its pocket-friendly signs.
Durability and Maintenance
Long-term investment vs. short-term solutions

Depending on your requirement you can decide if you need the board for a long time or a short one. If you need the board for a long time then make sure you invest in something more durable which requires less maintenance.

Additional Features



QR codes, and NFC tags for interactive engagement
In 2024 most signboards should come with the QR Code and NFC tags. These facilities can enhance interactivity allowing users to access additional information or engage with digital content.

#7. Signboard Installation and Maintenance

i. Professional Installation vs. DIY

Pros and cons of each approach

Let’s begin by looking  at the pros and cons of a professional signboard installation

Pros and Cons of Professional Installation

Professional installers have more expertise and experience in handling proper installation of different types of signboards. Professional installation services usually involve a higher cost and additional expenses as compared to DIY.
Not only do professionals adhere to local regulations and codes to ensure a hassle-free installation but they also follow the safety protocols. Often professional services have rigid schedules, thus limiting flexibility for urgent or last-minute installation.
Professionals guarantee a high-quality finish enhancing the sign’s effectiveness and appearance. Also, most professional installation services like IDesign offer warranties on their work. When you hire an external professional you have less control over the timing and other specific details of the installation process.

Pros and Cons of DIY Installation

If you do the installation yourself then you can save the additional expenditure on hiring professional installers. Without professional training, you might lack the skills and experience necessary for a high-quality installation
If your installation process is simple and you have the required tools then you can start the installation immediately. Trying to install higher or larger signs yourself can pose safety risks including falls and injuries.

#8. Trends and Innovations in Signboards

Signboard Technologies



Sustainable Signboards
Eco-friendly materials and practices

The urge to save planet Earth has pushed businesses to be more responsible. They are installing sustainable signboards made from eco-friendly materials and using practices that reduce the environmental impact.
Smart Signboards
Integration with IoT and smart technology

In the era of digitalisation, everything from your phone to your watch has gotten smarter. Lately, businesses have been using smart signboards that can integrate with the Internet of Things (IoT) to provide real-time updates and interactive experiences.
Augmented Reality (AR) Signboards
Enhancing user experience with AR

You can use AR signboards to provide immersive experiences by overlaying digital information onto the real world. This in turn enhances user experience and interaction.

Maintenance Tips



Regular cleaning and upkeep
You must clean and maintain the signs regularly to extend their lifespan. It is essential to ensure that the signboards remain effective and visually appealing.
Handling repairs and replacements
To prevent any future damage you must repair and replace the signs whenever required. This is a crucial step for maintaining the integrity of your signage.


Majority of businesses use signboards for popularizing their brands. They are an integral part of a business’s marketing strategy. There are countless options available for signages ranging from traditional hand painted signages to digital ones. You can choose from this variety depending on your requirements. In this blog, we have discussed the different types of signboard categories on the basis of different factors like usage, materials used, functionality, and more. Moreover, we have explored their advantages and special features. Having a proper understanding of the different signs will help you make a proper choice. Proper selection and placement of signages enhance their effectiveness and visibility. So, whether you are trying to attract customers or trying to provide some information the right signboard can make a significant impact.

Are you looking for high-quality signage for your business? 

Well, then you must visit I Design, a leading sign board company in Dubai.

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