I remember when LEDs came out a decade ago or so, Signage companies and Graphic Professionals in the trade were not convinced that it would take hold especially to replace the intensity and brilliance of neon or even fluorescent traditional sign lighting. I also was in that group working in the sign and graphic industry in the seventies and eighties when Neon was King.  We all thought how could something so tiny and low voltage at 12 Volts come close to the output of 15.000 volts that powered and electrified neon to give it that incredible look and intensity?

Today LEDs or Light Emitting Diodes for lighting have become common and widely accepted as a creative and safe application in graphic design and the sign industry. I would say it’s as significant a change that parallels the acceptance of technology going digital as everything when we look back at the digital printing process. People didn’t believe in digital printing either but now it’s the life blood of our trade and everyone has adopted it. Today we make a good portion of our signage and large graphic advertising panels with the help of digital printers.

LED technology has great benefits that beat traditional lighting applications in the sign industry like-

  • Cost savings in power consumption. It is a major advantage as power usage in LEDs is approximately 80% of what neon signs cost and 60% of what Fluorescent signs cost.
  • Cost savings go into the production of signs as well where LED modules can be laid down and assembled easily and more efficiently.
  • There are safety benefits with LEDs being mostly very low voltage. Most of the major lighting manufacturers produce LEDs now as a mainstay product for hundreds of applications.

So far we can safely say that LEDs really have come a long way and it would be pretty hard to think negatively about their development or future usage in the sign industry.

We recently completed the retrofitting of the Rothmans Benson and Hedges corporate head office roof  sign which until now lit with existing traditional fluorescent tubing that was somewhat lit unevenly considering many of  the letters were curved and circular making it difficult to get the lighting even.

When we received the job of creating a sign for Rothmans, we decided to go ahead with the LED strip to create the letters. The new LED strip lighting not only created an evenly lit letter but also a  truer color when it was refaced with a pigmented navy blue plexiglass especially produced for LED lighting. The end result was very successful for matching the brand color, maintaining color consistency and very importantly conserving power significantly.

The net result is that LED works….and looks fantastic..

Rothmans 1

Rothmans 3


About Wally Tomaszek

I have spent most of my life in the sign, display and print industries, starting as an accredited Graphic Designer with Display Service and then becoming an Account Executive with the legendary Claude Neon Sign Company in the mid-seventies. I worked for the Jim Pattison Group in the eighties and was later recruited to various Marketing Management and Senior Management positions in the nineties, working as Vice President of Sales and Marketing at St. Laurent Display and Packaging and Vice President Sales North America at Progress Packaging. I acquired Sign A Rama Toronto and their three facilities in 2002. I have a long history of outstanding creative and management achievements, including several POPAI (Point Of Purchase Advertising International) awards and Boston Consulting Group achievements. I am also a member of the AMA (American Marketing Association), past member of the Toronto Advertising and Sales Club and past Board Member of POPAI. We here at Sign A Rama Toronto are also members of the Ontario Sign Association. Now I love following my passion by working with Management and Staff of Sign A Rama to deliver creative Signage and Display Solutions to Governments, the Hospitality Sector and retailers in the GTA.