Though you may not know the precise names of signs, there are some you are undoubtedly familiar with including the next four sign types:

Common Sign Types:

Channel Letters

DG Market Channel Letters on the front of building

  • Businesses that have their business name and/or brand spelled out with letters on the front of their building

Pylon Signs

Erlanger Pylon in Cleveland, TN

  • Tall signs often on a poll such as a gas station price changer sign

Neon Signs

Vintage Corvette Chevrolet Neon Sign in Summerville, GA

  • Non-LED glass tube signs with gas running through them

Pan-Face Signs

Cash America Pawn Pan Face

  • Boxier signs made with a single piece of vinyl, such as Dollar General signs

Of course it’s our job as a sign company to be familiar with all sign types, especially the ones above that are some of the most common. However even for sign companies such as Ortwein Sign there are a few types of signs that we do not see frequently.

Here we breakdown a list of some uncommon sign types: 

Balloon Sign

Love balloon decoration, Carnaby Street W1 - - 1600054

A sign that is an air inflated object, which may be of various shapes, made of flexible fabric, resting on the ground or a structure, and equipped with a portable blower motor that provides a constant flow of air into the device. Balloon signs are restrained, attached or held in place by a cord, rope, cable, or similar method.

Mobile Sign

Mobile sign parked outside 31 Richmond Avenue, Dublin

A portable sign mounted on a trailer.

Sandblast Signs

Sandblasted Signs are perhaps the most common of these ‘uncommon signs’, as their popularity over the years has risen.


A sign created by placing a rubber stencil over letters and images and etching the background with a high-pressure mix of sand and air. The lettering and design areas are then sanded smooth and painted.

Fireoptic Display

fiber optic lighting

A type of sign that transmits the message utilizing light directed through threadlike fibers of glass or plastic.

Spinner Sign

Spinning Dry Clean

A sign, either freestanding or wall-mounted, where the messages rotate in the wind.

Electromagnetic Device (EMD )

Magnetically controlled disks that flip on and off to create changeable messages that are controlled with digital technology.

Sign terms and definitions mentioned here have been provided by the Sign Research Foundation, an invaluable resource to all.