TACK The stickiness of an adhesive under a given condition. Some adhesives require a particular temperature range for maximum tack.
TACTILE SIGN A sign, or an area within a larger sign or area, that conveys its message through raised or engraved artwork, making it accessible to the visually impaired. Required by A.D.A. for all permanently identified rooms.
TANGENTIAL KNIFE On a plotter, a blade holder that is mechanically turned to aid in deflecting the edge to create curved cuts.
TCO Temporary Certificate of Occupancy, which typically allows a new building to be occupied before it is fully complete and therefore requires life safety signs to be in place, to protect the public at large.
TDD Telecommunications device for the deaf.. This communication system enables visual typographic messages to be transmitted and received over telephone lines. A.D.A. requires use of symbol to show where TDD unit is available.
TEA-21 Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century. An extension of the ISTEA program passed in 1998.
TEMPERA Pigment mixed in a water medium, usually with a binder and adhesive. Tempera paints produce a luminous effect.
TEMPLATE A full-sized pattern, layout, or computerized output showing the exact size and placement of letters. Typically used for installing dimensional letters, signs, or architectural elements.
TEMPORARY SIGN Any sign that is not intended to be permanently installed. Banners and signs at construction sites are good examples of temporary signs. Often, sign codes seek to limit the length of time a temporary sign can remain in place.
TERRAZZO A finish floor material of concrete with an aggregate of marble chips selected for size and color, ground and polished after curing. Terrazzo used to integrate words, graphics, shapes and maps into floors of heavy traffic areas.
THERMOFORMING A process that takes a flat sheet of material and gives it dimension by heating then forcing it into a mold either mechanically or pneumatically. See also vacuum-forming.
THINNER Any liquid used to reduce the thickness of paint or ink.
THREE-DIMENSIONAL (3D) ENGRAVING A routing procedure where the tool bit can be moved independently along the up-and-down z-axis while still traveling an x/y-axis tool path. 3D engraving can create relieves and hand-chiseled looks while removing material from a substrate.
THROUGHPUT The actual speed of a plotter in completing a job. Difficult to measure, but it represents a plotter's ability to process information and then cut an image.
THUMBNAIL A type of rough sketch of a design made prior to developing more finalized presentations.
TILING The digital process of dividing a large image into individual sections to print with overlap.
TIME AND TEMPERATURE DISPLAY Among the first electronic devices to change copy, these popular signs alternate between showing the time and temperature. Some also display a simple messages.
TIME SWITCH A switch that utilizes a clock or timer to automatically turn on and off electric signs at set times each day.
TINT A color made lighter than the original by adding white to it.
TOUCH SCREEN Computerized CRT or LCD screen directory or information station that is activated by touching the screen. See also interactive.
TRACKING The ability of a computer, at the operator's instruction. to add or subtract minute increments of space between letters. See also letterspacing.
TRADEMARK Used by a business to distinguish itself and its products from competition. A trademark may include a name, symbol, word, or combination of those. Protected by the federal government and considered to have financial value, a sign maker should only reproduce a trademark with the company's permission and should discourage customers who seek to imitate well-known trademarks too closely. See also logo.
TRAFFIC COUNT The estimated number of people who will see a sign in a given time period. Traffic count is most commonly associated with number of vehicles passing a location in a day.
TRANSFER TAPE A medium-tack adhesive coasted on translucent paper. Transfer tape is placed on weeded vinyl images still on the original carrier liner; the tack of the tape is stronger than the adhesion of the vinyl to the coated liner, so the image is pulled off the liner in a transfer to another surface.
TRANSFORMER In electric signs, the mechanical or electronic component that transforms the voltage coming into the sign (the primary voltage) into a higher or lower voltage (the secondary voltage) necessary to run the sign. Most signs—especially neon, which operate at 990-15,000 volts—require a higher voltage to operate, but all low-voltage lighting requires a step-down transformer (unless powered by a battery).
TRANSLUCENCE The property of a material such as vinyl, paint, or ink that allows the passage of some light through it without being transparent. Internally illuminated signs rely on translucent paints and vinyls.
TRANSPARENCY The property of a material that allows light and images through and may also show a color tint.
TRAPPING In screen-printing, to overlap one color on another. Trapping may result in the creation of a third color in the overlap area, or, if opaque links are used, the edge of the first color may be hidden for purposes of registration. See also bleed.
TRI-COLOR An LED that displays only the colors red, yellow, and green.
TRIPLE MESSAGE SIGN A type of sign consisting of rotating triangular louvers. The louvers turn in unison showing three different messages as the three faces are exposed. Allows for three times the static advertising/communication power at one location.
TUBE COLORS Tubing for neon signs is produced as a clear glass, or in colors. Different tube colors serve as filters that only allow the desired color to shine through. In many cases the only way to achieve rich primary colors is through colored glass.
TUBE DIAMETER The term used to describe the width of a tube. The standard measurement to describe the width of neon tubing is expressed in millimeters.
TUNNELING The separation of a laminate from a substrate, appearing in a straight line/channel, due to insufficient adhesion, inadequate tension/stability during application, inadequate quality of substrate, or improper curing after application.
TYPEFACE The design of a given set of letters, numbers, symbols, and punctuation, without reference to its size or width. See also font.
TYPOGRAPHIC TERMS Terminology associated with typesetting, as utilized in the sign industry: ascender, condensed, counter, descender, extended, flush, font, kerning, leading, letterspacing, line spacing, sans serif, serif, stroke width, tracking, typeface, word spacing.