FABRICATE To manufacture a sign or major sign components from raw materials or parts. Common steps in fabrication process include but are not limited to cutting, welding, grinding, machining, riveting, bending, rolling, sanding, polishing, routing, waterjet cutting, laser cutting, taping, painting, etc.
FABRICATED LETTER/NUMERAL A dimensional letter that is usually fabricated from thin metal, joined, and soldered to appear solid.
FACADE The front or principal entrance of a building.
FACE See sign face.
FASCIA-MOUNTED SIGN A flat sign that is mounted on a wall and whose face runs parallel to the wall . A fascia-mounted sign might project from the wall on which it is mounted. See also wall sign.
FASTENERS Mechanical items, including nuts and bolts, that help hold a sign together.
FIBER OPTICS Strands or bundles of light-transmitting fibers, usually plastic or glass, used in specialty lighting conditions for signage. The light source can be several feet away from the display, and the light can be emitted from the sides of the bundles or from the ends. It is easier to maintain (and uses less energy) than other methods used for similar application, as single light source can service long runs of fiber-optic tubing.
FIBERGLASS Shorthand term referring to glass-fiber reinforced polyester. It can be used in sheet form to compose sign faces and cabinets or can be cast into custom forms, both projecting and in relief. May also be called spun glass when used in dimensional forms.
FIBERGLASS EMBEDMENT Subsurface signage usually used outdoor signage and maps composed of paper or other media, embedded in glass-fiber reinforced polyester resin. Also called embedded fiberglass.
FIBERGLASS-REINFORCED PLASTIC (FRP) Glass fibers are added to the heat-resistant polyester resin to form an FRP. It has durability, a clean surface after the forming and heat treatment, flexibility in size, light, heat resistance, and good insulation qualities.
FIBER-OPTIC DISPLAY A type of sign that transmits the message utilizing light directed through threadlike fibers of glass or plastic. The big advantage to fiber-optic displays is their ability to be shaped into fantastic images without defusing the light the fibers carry.
FILLET WELD A weld at the inside intersection of two metal surfaces that meet at right angles to one another.
FLAG A piece of plastic or cloth, usually square or rectangular in shape and suspended by its top or one side. It may or may not be decorated; most often used as a temporary attention-getting device. See also banner.
FLAMMABILITY The ability of a material to burn under certain conditions. Flammability becomes a concern with electric signs and some indoor displays and is usually subject to fire code control.
FLASHER A mechanical device designed to interrupt the electrical current in a sign at regular intervals, turning the light source on and off to create a flashing image.
FLAT SCREEN Usually a LCD screen used in electronic sign displays.
FLEXIBLE-FACE MATERIAL Translucent woven vinyl cloth that is decorated and then stretched across a frame to form awnings, billboards, and other types of signage.
FLIPPER A device used in some electronic changeable copy signs, installed in a disk, door, cube, or sphere. It opens and closes electromagnetically, displaying a colored or black surface. Flipper signs are often used as an alternative to incandescent bulb displays.
FLOOD STROKE In screen-printing, inking the image areas of the screen between printing strokes.
FLUORESCENT Taking in radiation and sending it back out as visible light. Refers to some specialty colors of paint and vinyl, and ink used in screen-printing.
FLUORESCENT LAMP/TUBE A type of lamp in which the light is produced by the fluorescence of a phosphor coating in the tube. The coated tube is filled with a mix of argon gas and mercury. When electrical current passes between the electrodes, the gas mixture emits ultraviolet (UV) light. The UV light is absorbed by the phosphors, which then radiate the energy as visible light. A starter and ballast help regulate the current and voltage necessary to ionize the gases in the tube. Fluorescent lamps are more efficient than incandescent bulbs and are popular source of illumination for many signs.
FLUSH To set lines of copy so that they are aligned perpendicular at a right margin (flush right) or left margin (flush left). When the copy is flushed both right and left (full flush), we more commonly say it is justified.
FOAM BOARD A type of lightweight, rigid board used for interior signs. Foam board consists of a plastic foam sheet laminated on one or both sides by a variety of paper or plastic substrates.
FOAM TAPE Typically double-sided adhesive tape used for mounting sign plaques, letters, or other sign materials to vertical surfaces. Comes in black or white and in various thicknesses (1/32" to 1/8" thick) and widths (1/2" to 1" wide).
FOCAL POINT The area in a design or layout that first catches the eyes. In effective design, the main message the sign seeks to convey will often be located at the focal point.
FONT A specific style and group of letterforms consisting of one complete set of letters, numerals, symbols, and punctuation used for composing written communications in a given typeface. Typically provided in digital form (formerly available in hot metal and photographic composed typography). Fonts come in various weights (i.e., light, regular, bold and black weights). Many fonts also are provided in italic formats. Fonts can be condensed (made to look narrower) or extended (wider).
FOOTING The projecting base of a sign pole or pylon, including the portion that is buried in the ground. The footing bears all of the weight of the sign, keeping it straight and true while anchoring it against overturning moment. Normally engineered to withstand wind gusts of 90 miles per hour or more depending on geographic region. Also called foundation.
FORMAT The workable space within which the art and copy must fit; the shape and area of a sign face. Also, format may describe the general make-up of a sign, such as: the format is a sandblasted wood sign with a push-through logo.
FORMED Refers to the plastic face or letter that has been heated and shaped to give it dimension.
FOUNDATION See footing.
FOUR-COLOR PROCESS See process color.
FRAME In screen-printing, the wood or metal construction to which the mesh is attached.
FRANGIBLE SIGN MOUNT A break-away sign mount, typically used on posts along roadways to break away on impact and cause less damage in accidents.
FREEHAND To draw by hand without the use of measurements or instruments.
FRICTION FEED Process where material is fed through a plotter by placing it between a motordriven grit wheel and two tensioned pinch rollers.
FRISKET An adhesive masking of paper or plastic used for (stencil-like methods of) painting, sandblasting, silkscreening, and other processes. Friskets may be hand-cut or digitally cut.