LED Sign Differentiator – Resolution

Some common questions we receive relate to Resolution, Brightness, Installation, Programming, and Communication.

Thanks again for taking a moment to learn about our LED signs. This section will help you determine which resolution is suitable for your application by explaining the differences. Resolution is a pretty hot topic for LED signs because it’s the first thing you notice. You know you are talking about resolution when you think, wow, that’s a good-looking or not-so-good-looking sign. The factors you need to consider when it comes to your sign’s resolution are target viewing distance, install location, and size.

Your sign buying journey becomes effortless when you know the size of the sign that you need. Typically our customers see the size sign that they want, but they do not understand why. The size of your sign is influenced by the distance that your sign is most visible and the installation site. To break this down, consider the following:

Target Audience

  1. Viewer: Pedestrian or Motorist
  2. Traffic speed: <35 MPH or >35 MPH
  3. Advertising Strategy: Simple text or Graphics and Animation
  4. Transition speed: slow or fast

Install Location

  1. Height from ground
  2. Type of street
  3. Distance from the street

Your answers to these questions will help you determine the sign dimensions that will be the most effective. Knowing the size need eliminates the guesswork and simplifies the whole process. Now, let’s address the variables to find out which resolution is the most appropriate for you.

We currently offer four resolution choices.

Lighthouse Series AKA P16 MM

Spotlight Series AKA P10 MM

Beacon Series  AKA P8 MM

Beacon HD Series AKA P6.67 MM

We are constantly updating options, and we will continue to do our best to keep our list short so that you can find what you need faster.

Ok, So what is a P16 MM, P10 MM, P8 MM, and so on? If you have done any research so far, you may already be familiar with these terms, but you may not know what they mean. A little math helps us figure this all out. Every LED module we make is 320 MM X 320 MM. Our Lighthouse Series has 20 rows and 20 columns (20X20) of led bulbs. The Spotlight Series has 32 rows and 32 columns,  and the Beacon Series and Beacon HD Series have 40X40 and 48X48, respectively.

Next, divide the width or height by the number of bulbs in each row or column. Our equation is easy since our LED modules are square, but the principle is the same for rectangular modules.  

For Example:

Lighthouse Series: 320 MM/20 = 16MM

Spotlight Series: 320 MM /32 = 10MM

Beacon Series: 320 MM/40 = 8MM

Beacon HD Series: 320 MM/48 = 6.67MM

So the short answer is that these numbers represent the distance between the bulbs. You can see the difference for yourself by looking at the pictures below. Notice closer distances equal higher density, and higher density equates to a better-looking image. Just consider the advancements in TVs from 1080 to 4k – 8k and so on. More pixels packed closer together provide significant advantages, but intentionally spacing your pixels can also be advantageous.

Earlier, we spoke about using target viewing distance and location to determine the size of your sign. To make this even easier, we group sizes into categories based on the most popular selections.

  1. Up to 18 Square feet. Smaller signs that include sizes 3 feet X 6 feet and smaller
  2. Up to 32 Square feet. Average size signs in the neighborhood of 4 feet X 8 feet
  3. Up to 72 Square feet. Larger signs with sizes nearing 6 feet X 12 feet

Sure there signs are larger, but once you understand the concept, you will know if that is what you need. You may also find that your township has a size and install height restrictions before your needs analysis is complete. Now is an excellent time to obtain a copy of your local ordinances so we can factor the rules into your assessment.

Target viewing distance

Pedestrian – Pedestrians have the freedom to stop and read your messages if they are engaged.  They are usually closer to the sign so that clarity will be necessary. Motorists- Wow, these people are driving, and they have so much competing for their attention. That means you will have to be more intentional with your messages to leave an impression.

Traffic speed – Pedestrians are relatively slow and view more messages than someone that is driving. Motorists do not have the luxury that pedestrians do. Unless your sign is at an intersection and the light is red, you only have 1-2 seconds to give the best pitch of your life.

Advertising Strategy – What type of messages would most convince pedestrians? If you are display menus and pricing, text may work just fine. However, we learned that audiences respond better to dynamic advertising, so pictures and short clips may be more effective. Be extra considerate when making ads for motorists. Keep ads short and easy to interpret in a single glance. Pictures are a thousand words, so feel free to use them, and then fill in the blanks with minimal text to frame your message. Remember, 1-2 seconds is about all you got.

Transition speed – Since pedestrians are moving slower and can stand still, ads can be longer and provide more information. If done right, you can tell them everything you do in a 10-15 second presentation. Motorists, on the other hand, do not have all the time in the world. While you can hold slides longer for more people to see, the message you are communicating should be short and to the point.

It’s pretty easy. Now, let’s consider the location of your sign.

Sign location does not require much thought for some people because their local ordinances stipulate where you cannot install your outdoor signage. It helps, but even then, you still have to figure out the spot to install it. If you have gotten this far, you should know your target audience and where they are. The easy answer to the location issue is to put the sign directly in front of them.

Placing the sign in front of your target audience means finding the spot that your LED sign is most visible without being obstructive. It’s the most realistic spot where it’s hard to miss your sign and complements your business and the surroundings. Sure, it can be hard to achieve both, but it’s worth trying and striking that balance. Excellent – you thought of the perfect spot. Now consider how close that spot is to your target viewer. Is it ideally within the line site? Does it need to be elevated to achieve better visibility? Now hold that thought.

Let’s determine the size. You can use your ordinance as a guide, but setting a reasonable budget will help you to separate your needs from wants. So then, what size sign do you need? The farther away your LED sign is from the target audience, the larger your LED sign needs to be. Conversely, signs closer to the ground can be smaller because they decrease the distance between the viewer and the sign. Sure there are exceptions, so factor in any additional your situation presents.

Using your assessment, you can determine which of the three categories best fits your needs:

  1. Up to 18 Square feet. Smaller signs that include sizes 3 feet X 6 feet and smaller
  2. Up to 32 Square feet. Average size signs in the neighborhood of 4 feet X 8 feet
  3. Up to 72 Square feet. Larger signs with sizes nearing 6 feet X 12 feet

Smaller signs require a higher pixel density to make an attractive image because they are closer to the viewer. Larger signs allow you to use screens with lower density to achieve a similar effect.

For example, to achieve 120 X 240 pixels resolution, we can use a 3 feet X 6 feet Beacon Series P8 MM sign. This resolution is perfect for a small sign that targets viewers from 20 – 300 feet. However, if you are targeting viewers from greater than 500 feet, a 3 feet X 6 feet sign may not be big enough, even though 120 X 240 is still a good resolution.

We could build a larger sign using the lighthouse series that is 6 feet X 12 feet with the same 120 Pixels X 240 pixels, providing the same output as that 3 feet X 6 feet sign on a larger scale.

You can get distracted by the idea that a higher resolution is always better. Instead, it would help if you focused on which option is better for my application. A higher resolution such as the Beacon Series is better for smaller signs viewed from closer distances. Lower resolutions such as the Lighthouse Series are better for larger signs that target viewers from farther away. When selecting the resolution, remember to consider your audience, sign location, and display size.