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Aesthetics: A term dealing with form, design, and/or quality of construction of a particular sign, building, site, or structure that produces a subjective impression of a level of beauty or artistic value.

A-frame sign See Sandwich board.
ARB numbers Air Resources Board numbers required by the State of California to identify off road diesel vehicles.
Awning sign A building-mounted sign that provides additional functionality as an overhead shelter.

Back lighted letter An illuminated reverse channel letter with an open or translucent back so that light from the letter is directed against the surface behind the letter, producing a halo lighting effect around the letter; also referred to as silhouette or halo-lighted.
Baked enamel signage A one-coat process used for long term indoor and outdoor applications where a top-coat is applied directly to a substrate material and baked to set the ink.
Banner A temporary sign of lightweight fabric or similar material that is mounted to a fence, building, or hanging between structures. Promotional banners include those used to announce grand openings or advertise special events. Ornamental banners use images or colors of a decorative nature.

Bench sign A sign located on the seat or back of a bench which is located on, or adjacent to, a public right-of-way.
Billboard A large, standardized third-party/off-premise structure displaying advertising and intended for viewing from distances greater than 50 feet. Billboard/outdoor advertising displays include, but are not limited to, bulletins, wall murals, wrapped posters, and sheet posters.
Branding The intangible but real value of words, graphics, or symbols that are associated with products or services offered by a business. Development of site branding includes the presentation of signage and architecture to create a unique awareness and memory by a potential customer of products or services offered at that site.

Building fascia The 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 mansards).
Building-mounted sign A sign applied or attached to a building.

Canopy sign 1) A building-mounted sign functioning as a marquee. 2) A sign mounted on a marquee or attached to, or printed on, the fascia or valence of a canopy, awning, or marquee, or hanging from the soffit (underside) of the structure.
Captive containment fleet Fleet vehicles which operate exclusively within the following counties: Alpine, Colusa, Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Monterey, Plumas, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Trinity, Tehama, Yuba, and the portion of Sonoma County that lies within the boundaries of the North Coast Air Basin.
Channel letter A fabricated or formed three-dimensional letter that may accommodate a light source.
Conforming sign A sign that is legally installed in accordance with federal, state, and local permit requirements and laws.
Conspicuity 1)The capacity of a sign (or tape, like caution tape) to stand out or be distinguishable from its surroundings and thus be readily observed. 2) The noticeable contrast between a sign and its background, with the display having features that attract attention to the sign.
Computer cut graphics Material electronically cut by a computer to create a graphic, like vinyl lettering, that can then be applied to another surface to create self adhesive signage.
Content-Neutral Sign Code Consistently applicable, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory sign regulations that specify when, where, and how a sign can be installed, its specific parameters (height, size, and location) without reference to the content of the message displayed. The regulations should minimally ensure that the sign and its contents be easily perceived and readable to intended viewers.
Contrast The difference or degree of difference between images having similar or comparable brightness, colors, or typefaces.
Copy The words or message displayed on a sign.
Copy area That area which encloses the sign copy.
Custom sign A sign designed, manufactured, and installed to meet unique and specific requirements.

Daily Effective Circulation (DEC)The average number of daily potential exposures to a display or group of signs and basic measure in establishing cost-per-thousand exposures on signs. DEC is determined by counting vehicles traveling toward the face of the sign and then multiplying that number by the average number of people per car during the hours the sign is visible. Pedestrian and mass-transit circulations are not included. The basic traffic numbers can usually be obtained from state departments of transportation.

Day-Glo A trade name for certain inks or lacquers that become fluorescent when activated by the ultraviolet rays of sunlight.
Decals Graphics on specially treated material that allow it to be transferred to a surface such as glass, wood, or metal.
Die cutting A metalworking process which cuts stock without the formation of chips or the use of burning or melting.
Digital printing A method of printing using digital techniques in which the data and images are printed directly from a computer onto a medium such as paper or vinyl.
Dimensional letter A cut-out, cast, fabricated, or molded material such as metal or plastic in the shape of a letter, logo, or symbol.
Directional sign A sign designed to provide direction to pedestrians and vehicular traffic.
Directory sign A sign that identifies the names and locations of tenants in a multi-tenant building or in a development composed of a group of buildings.
Double-faced sign A sign with front and back facing.
Double sided window decals Decals printed on both sides (front and back) for use on clear glass doors and windows.
Downsizing A change in law or regulation that requires alteration in size or height of an existing sign.

EIN number Equipment Identification Number.

Embellishments Letters, graphics, mechanical devices, fiber optics, lighting, cutouts, extensions, structure coverings, vicinity landscaping, or any other special-effect addition to a sign that will enhance its appearance and ability to effectively communicate its message.
Extensions The area of design made as a cutout that extends beyond the basic rectangular space of a sign face or message.

Face The surface area of a sign on which an advertising message is displayed. A sign may have more than one face.

Fascia sign A building-mounted sign.
Flat cut-out letter A dimensional letter cut from sheet or plate stock.
Flip page Metal sheet in a placard book that displays images and is attached to hinges so it can be turned like a page in a book.
Font A set of letters, numerals, and shapes that conform to a specific set of design criteria.
Freestanding sign A sign that is not attached to a building.
Front lighted letter An illuminated channel letter with a translucent face.

Ground sign A freestanding sign with no visible support structure.

High-rise sign A tall freestanding sign, usually of pole design and construction.
Illegal sign A sign unlawfully erected or maintained.
Interior signs Signs that are located inside a building or other facility.
ISA International Sign Association representing manufacturers, installers, users, and suppliers of on-premise signs and products.

Legibility: The physical attributes of a sign that allow for visual identification of its letters, words, numbers, or graphics.

Listed sign A sign labeled to indicate that the manufacturer of the sign is identified on a list published by a nationally recognized testing laboratory as producing signs in conformance with the applicable American national standard.
Logo A design or symbol that represents a product, identity, or service.
Logo Program (Federal) A program of national sign standards to provide travelers along rural roads with business identification and directional information for four essential motorist services: gas, food, lodging, and camping. The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) limits the number of establishments that may participate at any one interchange to six. (Also known as "Specific Service Signs.")
Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) A manual produced by the Federal Highway Administration that establishes, among other things, minimum size, height, and placement standards to which a sign must conform to achieve readability and conspicuity; and, to prevent traffic accidents. The manual specifically addresses three types of signs: guide, warning, and directional. Although intended for public transportation authorities, the manual is also directly relevant to private signage.
Marquee A permanent canopy often of metal and glass projecting over an entrance.
Marquee sign 1) A sign mounted on a permanent canopy. 2) A traditional industry term for the variable-message section of a canopy sign. 3) An integral sign and permanent canopy.
Menu board A variable-message sign that allows a retailer to display its products and prices.
Message area The area within a sign panel describing the space for a message.
Metal fabrication The cutting, shaping, and assembling of metal.
Mobile sign A portable sign mounted on a trailer.
Monument sign: A large ground sign with low overall height.

Off-premise sign A sign directing attention to a specific business, product, service, entertainment event or activity, or other commercial activity that is not sold, produced, manufactured, furnished, or conducted at the property upon which the sign is located. Also known as a "third-party sign" or "outdoor advertising."
On-premise sign A sign whose message and design relates to a business, profession, product, service, event, or other commercial activity sold, offered, or conducted on the same property where the sign is located.
Overlay (Snipe) A paper strip or price designation, such as a dealer imprint for a promotion, which is pasted on the face of an existing advertising panel.

Painted wall sign A sign painted directly on a building surface. If the sign is a third-party/outdoor advertising display; it may be several stories high and designed for high-impact visibility.

Pan channel letter A dimensional letter that is constructed with side walls, a back, and a face, making the letter a solid integral unit with the side walls and back having a pan-shaped cross-section.
Pan face A plastic sign face molded into a three-dimensional shape. Also called molded face, molded and embossed face, or molded and debossed face.
Parapet sign A sign mounted on top of the parapet of a building.
Permanent sign A sign attached to a building or structure, or to the ground in a manner that enables the sign to resist environmental effects and loads, such as wind, and that precludes its ready removal or movement.
Pixel A digital image, or pel (picture element), that is a physical point in a raster image, or the smallest addressable element in a display device.
Placard A sign attached to, or hung from, a vehicle or building to indicate information about a vehicle or building contents.
Placard book A changeable sign affixed to a vehicle and made with four quadrants with a flip hinge allowing each of the quadrants to be changed (flipped).
Pole sign A freestanding sign with visible support structure.
Portable sign A sign not permanently attached to the ground or a building, and easily removable using ordinary hand tools.
Post and panel sign An unlighted sign that uses one or more visible posts to support the sign body.
Projecting sign A building-mounted sign with its faces projecting from and perpendicular to the building fascia.
Push-through A letter or logo that is cut out of a backing material as thick or thicker than the sign face material, and then 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.
Pylon sign A freestanding sign with a visible support structure, which may or may not be enclosed by a pole cover.

Raster imageAn image formed by pixels on a computer screen.

Raceway An electrical enclosure that may also serve as a mounting structure for a sign.
Readability Characteristics of letters, numbers or symbols grouped together in words, sentences, or other meaningful relationships which enable an observer to correctly comprehend the information content and intended message.
Recall The ability of a viewer (or listener) to remember an advertising message which may be visual or verbal.
Recognition The ability of a viewer (or a listener) to identify a message and connect it with a source (such as. a particular advertiser).
Reflective sign A sign with a special surface coating that allows it to become visible at night when light is reflected from its surface.
Regulatory sign A sign having the primary purpose of conveying information concerning rules, ordinances, or laws.
Retro-reflective: The quality of a surface that reflects light directly back toward its original source.
Return The sides of a channel letter.
Reveal An indented detail on a sign.
Reverse channel letter A fabricated dimensional letter with opaque face and side walls.
Roof sign A building-mounted sign erected upon, and completely over, the roof of a building.

Sandwich board/sidewalk sign/A-frame sign A sign not secured or attached to the ground or surface upon which it is located, but supported by its own frame and most often forming the cross-sectional shape of an A.

Screen printing A printing technique in which ink in forced throgh a mesh screen and onto a substrate resulting in a heavy ink deposit not possible with other printing methods.
Sign Any device, structure, fixture, painting, or visual image using words, graphics, symbols, numbers, or letters designed for the purpose of conveying information or attracting attention.
Sign face The area of a sign on which copy is intended to be placed.
Signage A system of place-based communication devices and graphics intended to impart information.
Sign centric design Building or site design that makes the on-premise signage the prominent visual feature of the building or site.
Single-face sign A sign with only one face plane.
Snipe (Overlay) A small, added strip along a poster design to announce special or revised messages.
Steel rule die cutting A process used to cut sheet materials including paper, cardboard, rubber, and plastic. The "die" refers to a flat base, often made from very thick and dense plywood. Sometimes aluminum and steel dies are used. "Steel rule" is a long razor blade, which is slid into the slits in the die. A rubber pad is then glued, or attached, to the die preventing the paper or material to be cut from getting caught into the steel rule.

Temporary sign Any sign not intended for permanent installation. Generally, these signs are intended to be used for a limited period of time for purposes such as announcing special events or sales, announcing the sale or rental of property, supporting political positions, or presenting other miscellaneous or incidental information or instructions.

Thermal die cutting A process using heat and pressure to delicately cut pressure sensitive materials.
Vector image Points, lines, curves, and shapes, or polygon(s) which to represent images in computer graphics and based on vectors (also called paths, or strokes).
Vehicle wraps Graphics completely or partially covering (wrapping) a vehicle for identification or advertisement.
Window sign A sign that is painted on, attached to, or suspended directly behind or in front of a window or the glass portion of a door.
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Last Updated: 1/21/18