CALENDERED A method of forming plastic sheeting by pressure under a roller.
CAM Computer-aided machine.
CAMERA-READY ART Artwork that has been prepared for production via photographic process. Has been replaced with scanned and digital imagery.
CAN An informal term for the edge and components of an electric sign. Some sign companies buy ready-made cans and only manufacture the faces of electric signs. Also called sign cabinet.
CANDELA A unit of measure indicating the intensity produced by a ray of artificial light in a given direction (used for point by point calculations). Abbreviated cd.
CANOPY See awning.
CARVED LETTERS Usually v-carved, u-carved or squared-carved into wood or stone. Created by hand-carving with chisel and mallet, sandblasting technique, or by a computer-controlled router or engraver. Two types of carving, bas-relief and incised, are generally done by hand.
CARVED SIGNS Letters or shapes incised or relieved into sign substrate surface. Can refer to routing process but normally used as term with regard to hand-carving or sandblasting into stone, wood or glass.
CAS Computer-aided signmaking.
CAST ACRYLIC A type of plastic sheeting formed by spreading a molten vinyl mixture on a carrier sheet or web, and then baking at high temperatures to remove solvents and to fuse the remaining material into a film.
CAST DIMENSIONAL LETTER/NUMERAL Typically cast aluminum, bronze, acrylic, or resin.
CAST METAL SIGN Usually aluminum or bronze plaque or sculptural element.
CASTING A method for mass-producing metal or plastic letters or individual metal signs. Depending on the material, a rubber, metal, or sand form mold of the item to be cast is prepared. The molten material is then poured into the mold. Once the cast material is cool, it is removed from the mold and finished.
CHANGEABLE COPY SIGN A sign on which the copy can be changed, either manually through the use of attachable letters (usually plastic), mechanically using rotating panel elements, or 7 electronically using computer-controlled incandescent bulbs, light-emitting diodes (LED), liquid crystal displays (LCD), plasma screen, etc. See also LED sign, LCD sign.
CHANNEL An extruded length of material (plastic, aluminum, steel) in the shape of a squaredoff U (a rectangular box with one side removed). Structural channel has rounded, or radiused, interior corners and more inherent strength than architectural channel, which has crisp, 90-degree interior corners.
CHANNEL LETTER The outline of a letter, with metal returns, into which a neon tube is placed. The depth of the channel may vary, depending on the viewing angle. The channel letter may be openfaced, plastic-faced, or a reverse channel letter with halo illumination.
CHARRETTE An intense period of time during which a great amount of energy is dedicated to solving a specific design problem or problems by a given deadline. It is the French word for "cart," and was originally used by students at the Ecole de Beaux Arts in Paris when, after working all night, they would load their boards onto a cart and push it from the student quarter to the school, shouting "Charrette! Charrette!" to avoid collisions with pedestrians.
CHASE 1. The illusion of movement in illuminated signs created by turning the lighting elements on and off in sequence., achieved by using a chaser, an electric component that can be programmed to provide the on and off sequence, or a computer control. 2. To decorate metal, typically by engraving or cutting.
CHROME PLATE An electrochemical process to plate steel, brass, or aluminum most commonly with mirror chrome, but it can also be brushed or dulled down. Black chrome and nickel plate are created by the same electrochemical process but using different metal compounds. See also metal finishes.
CLADDING A facade or decorative cover added to an existing sign pole or base, installed well after the rest of the sign is built.
CLASSIC GLASS Tubing used for neon signs or artwork in which the glass itself is colored, achieving a deep, saturated color not possible with clear glass and phosphorous coatings; typically a sodalime& ndash;based glass.
CLEARANCE The shortest distance between the lowest portion of a sign or awning and the finished grade level. Also called height above grade.
COATING The process of applying a protective film to a sign. Coating includes such diverse activities as applying a layer of varnish over gold leaf to laminating clear vinyl over a digitally produced graphic.
COAT-OUT To paint the surface of a sign face before the art is applied. In addition to priming new substrates, it is possible to coat-out an old sign and apply new lettering.
CODE Typically refers to a municipality's sign regulations or sign code.
COLD CATHODE The technical name for all forms of pumped gas, e.g., neon lighting. In the United States this term is typically used to refer to 18mm to 25mm tubing operating at currents between 60 mA and 240 mA. These neon lights also have electrodes that depend on a large emission surface area rather than high temperature for their operation.
COLOR The aspect of any object described by the hue, lightness, and saturation of electromagnetic waves within the wavelength spectrum visible to the human eye.
COLOR CONTRAST The differential between foregound lettering a sign and the backgorund panel
COLOR SEPARATION In screen-printing, the pre-press process during which each individual color in the art is isolated for creation of its own stencil. In process-color printing and digital printing, the image is divided into separate stencils for yellow, magenta, cyan, and black. Although the process of making color separations used to be done manually or using colored negatives or filters, today the job is relegated to the computer, which also generates color separations for large-format imaging.
COLOR WHEEL Diagrammatic arrangement of the visible spectrum of electromagnetic radiation (color) in a circular fashion so that the primary colors (red, yellow, blue) are located 180 degrees from the secondary colors that complement them (green, violet, orange, respectively).
COLUMN Vertical groups of lamps in a lamp bank, or a vertical row of light-emitting diodes in an LED matrix.
COMPONENT One of the parts or pieces that together make a complete system or design. Reference is often made to design components or the electrical components of a sign.
COMPOSITE POLE A pole made of PVC pipe with an internal core or concrete or agregate.
CONCEALED FASTENERS See blind fasteners.
CONCRETE SIGN Includes poured-in-place, precast, or other sign products having the qualities of cement. Concrete is the substrate to which plaques, letters, or panels are attached, painted on, cast into, incised into, sandblasted into, etc., to create an identifying device.
CONDENSED A font, the proportion of which has been altered by reducing the width of the letters, numbers, and symbols to bring them closer together, therefore shortening the line.
CONDUIT A channel or pipe for protecting electric cables.
CONSTRUCTION BARRICADE A fence around construction site, occasionally decorated with descriptive, advertising, or identification graphics. Normally fabricated using wooden structural members and plywood sheets in exterior application or sheet metal studs and sheetrock or plywood for interior applications.
CONSTRUCTION SITE SIGN Announces project credits and information regarding a construction project such as architect, developer, consultants, financing, etc. Typically painted, vinyl, or digital print mounted onto plywood or exterior-grade particle board substrate. Also called job site sign.
CONTRACT DOCUMENTS Written specifications and design control drawings. Usually used to define the deliverable sign products between two parties (typically between the designer / owner and the fabricator / contractor). See also design intent drawings, shop drawings.
CONTRAST In design, the use of dissimilar or opposing elements, such as light and dark areas, warm and cool colors, or script and block typefaces.
CONTROL CONSOLE In electronic signage, the device that receives information entered on a keyboard by the operator and transfers that information to the sign's message controller.
CONTROL POINT In computer graphics, a connection between two line/arc segments or a selectable handle on a bounding box. Moving a control point changes the shape of an object, altering a line path, shape, or size. Also called node.
COORDINATE A point that can be referenced by its position on the x-, y-, or z-axes of a plotter or router. The use of line or arc segments to connect coordinates creates paths for knives orbits to follow when cutting or routing an image.
COPY Most commonly, the words or message to be displayed on a sign. May be expanded to include all graphics on a sign face. See also art / artwork.
CORIAN A material produced from marble dust.
CORONA TREATMENT A process that alters static charge of sheet material, especially corrugated plastic, for greater adhesion of media used for decoration.
CORRUGATED BOARD A board created by gluing a corrugated piece to a flat face, or between two flat faces to increase the strength. Corrugated board is made from a variety of materials (most commonly plastic in sign work) and comes in a range of strengths and thicknesses.
COR-TEN STEEL A steel alloy that forms a tenacious, self-protecting rust layer when exposed to the atmosphere. A material with a unique appearance well used in applications where maintenance is an issue. Also called weathering steel.
COUNTER In a given typeface, the enclosed areas within letterforms or symbols, such as those found in the letters a, b, d, e, g and o.
COVE LIGHTING A type of indirect illumination created by placing a lighting source inside a continuous trough or cove to hide the light source and produce an upward glow. Usually produced using neon, cold cathode, or fiber-optic tube lighting.
COVERAGE The area (usually given in square inches or feet) that a given material will coat-out, e.g., a quart of paint will provide coverage for 100-square feet.
CRAZE Thin cracks or breaks in paint, plastic, or vinyl. Although the main cause of crazing is weathering, it may also be caused by the incompatibility of paint layers or solvents.
CROSSBAR A horizontal arm that is attached to a sign. The crossbar typically runs perpendicular to the sign's face and parallel to the building's facade. It is used with guy wires to help stabilize building-mounted signs.
CROSSOVER The connection between two portions of a neon tube. It is not supposed to be seen in the finished sign. Typically, crossovers are coated with blockout, although they can also be wound with tape.
CRT (CATHODE RAY TUBE) SCREEN Used for television screens and computer monitors. They can be used individually (as seen in airport arrival / departure signs) or adapted for electronic displays by stacking a grid of monitors together and generating computer images. See also electronic message signs.
CSI Construction Specifications Institute.
CURING The process of effecting a chemical change in some inks by the application of heat or ultraviolet light.
CURRENT The flux, or rate of flow, of electrical charge in a conductor. A unit of current is typically given in amperes or milliamps (mA).