In our blog, we discuss all things neon. Today, we will talk about the Q word. Quality. Yes, Quality is CRUCIAL when it comes to ordering a LED neon, whether your sign is meant for one-time use – like a wedding neon – or long-term use as a piece of interior decor, or a business sign.
Just like with the shoes, cosmetics, and wine, when it comes to LED neons, the craftsmanship is what makes LED signs unforgettable.
In this post, we will deconstruct the anatomy of a perfect neon sign, so that the next time you shop for the neon of your dreams, you know what to look out for. We will talk about legacy glass neons, LED neons, different types of production methods and LED lights certification, and show you a few examples of LED signs of different quality.
Let’s start at the beginning. What are glass neons?
As you may know, neon is a novel gas that was used in the glass neons signs in the ’80s. Neon gas is what gave glass neons that distinct red color, and that is how those signs acquired their name.
The technology behind the glass neons didn’t change until this day. The glass neons are made of glass tubes. A gas like mercury or neon fills the tubes and gives them their color. The spaces between the letters are formed by coating the glass tubes with an opaque black color.
Crafting a glass neon is a truly cumbersome and expensive process. The signs have a lot of cons – glass neons can’t be easily installed or moved to a different location; they are heavy, consume a lot of electricity, and overheat quickly. Even more so, they make a lot of noise, flicker, have a shorter electric body life, and, in general, can become a serious safety hazard.
The LED neons are made of PVC – a flexible and robust material. The electrical and colorful part of the sign is made of the LED light, a much safer and power-saving alternative to a gas-filled tube of traditional neon. The LED ribbon is covered by a colorful silicone sleeve, which gives LED neons its color.
Not All LED Neon Signs Are Crafted Equally
The LED signs of average quality are crafted by a method of attaching the cut-out letters or designs to the acrylic backboard. Fewer LED signs facilities use a more advanced method of carving the Design in the acrylic board. This is a much better method that results in high-precision Design and signs that are robust and stable.
Gluing the Design to the Acrylic Board
Gluing the designs onto the board is the most popular method used by most LED neon studios. In this method, the sign design is traced onto a sticker that is attached to the back of the acrylic board. The silicone sleeve covers the LED ribbon, and the letters of the sign are cut out individually and glued to the backboard.
Pros: This is a relatively fast and cost-effective method
Cons: With this method, it isn’t easy to replicate the sign design precisely. The way the letters are attached to the board may result in letters that are crooked and are less than perfect-looking.
Board carving is a production method used by The Neonsit studio. The sign design is being carved in the acrylic board, creating a niche in which the LED light ribbon is inserted. The LED is then covered by the silicone tube.
The sign designs can be replicated with high precision, and look truly beautiful
The signs light up evenly, without black areas
The signs are very robust and can be moved easily from one place to another, without damage.
We can’ think of any. But the quality product can sometimes cost more than its alternatives.
LED Sign Certification
With the LED emitting electrical energy, it is always best to make sure that your LED sign comes with the necessary certification, especially if it is going to be decorating a nursery or children’s bedroom.
The Neonist only uses the LEDs that are certified by:
RoHS – Restriction of Hazardous Substances, also known as Directive 2002/95/EC, originated in the European Union and restricts the use of specific hazardous materials found in electrical and electronic products (known as EEE).
CE – indicates conformity with health, safety, and environmental protection standards for products sold within the European Economic Area (EEA). The CE marking is also found on products sold outside the EEA that have been manufactured to EEA standards.
According to the certification requirements, all of The Neonist signs go through a series of tests after the sign is turned on for 36 hours. Only after passing the tests, the sign can be shipped to the customer.
The LED Light Quality
LED is a ribbon with multiple LED lamps set tightly next to each other. If the quality of the LED is not fantastic, the lamps can burn quickly. We saw quite a few signs which didn’t light up evenly as early as immediately after the production completion.
If you want your sign to light evenly, beautifully, and last for a long time, always ask for the proof of LED quality. High-quality neon LED produces a uniform distribution of light throughout the sign.
LED Signs Quality – The Red Lights
Let’s take a look at a few examples of LED neons that are crafted poorly.
- The typography of this sign is not even. Instead of cutting the LED and shaping it properly, it was bent. The result – some letters are thicker than others – e.g., letters B and S.
- The sign is supposed to be white. The sign in this picture has a lot of LED lamps that burnt out, giving the sign a “blue” look. The reason for this look is a low quality LED. Sometimes this can happen because of the wrong use of a power adapter.
The craftsmanship of this sign is quite poor. The sign is hard to read, and it causes eye strain. The design is rough and unfinished, and the black and white power cord is visible. Overall – not eye-pleasing at all.
This is a screenshot of a sign that just came out of production. The letter “r” has a distinctive dark area, and the bottom line letters are messy.
High Quality LED Neons
What makes a LED sign great? Imagine a calligraphist scribing your favorite phrase with a brush pen. You can feel the perfect line alignment, the lightness, and a flow. This is how an ideal LED sign feels – Light. Even. Effortless.
Let’s recap the characteristics of a high-quality LED neon:
- The LED lights should come with a certification
- The LED lights should be produced by a reputable manufacturer
- The neon design should be carved in the acrylic board
- The signs should be easily readable and be easy on the eyes
- Neons should not have black spots, especially not right away
- The neon’s design should be light and effortless.
The Neonist – Neon Perfect.
At The Neonist, we don’t cut corners. Rachel, the co-founder of The Neonist and an Industrial Engineer by training, works tirelessly to ensure the final product’s excellence. Whether sourcing high-quality supplies, installing quality control procedures at the production studio or streamlining the order and delivery processes, Rachel always goes the extra mile to make sure that The Neonist’s clients enjoy a great customer experience.
Our Production Process
When we launched The Neonist Production Studio, we knew one thing – we would not compromise on the quality of our signs. Unlike other LED neon sign vendors, we do not glue the design elements onto the acrylic board but carve the original Design into the acrylic board and attach the LED tube and silicon cover into the carved niche. Our unique production method produces high-quality neon signs that are almost identical to the original custom design. Another benefit of our approach – no dark spots, our LED signs light up evenly.
We hope that this blog post sheds some light on the topic of LED signs’ quality and that the information can help you make sure you order the best-quality sign.
Feel free to drop us a line or ask any questions – we will be happy to share all the useful neon info that we have accumulated during the years of LED neon crafting.
Are you ready to start shining? continue to our shop for beautiful, ready-made designs, or learn more about The Neonist custom neon design service that we offer. We are here for you.