Which Commercial Outdoor Signage is Right for Me?

The world of business signage is surprisingly vast. With the variety of mounting, material, illumination, and design options, there is a lot to wrap your head around.

In this guide, we'll explore a collection of commercial outdoor signage types that you can utilize to better connect with the public and drive more people to your location. The list includes different media you can use to write your message, as well as location and mounting options for your signs.

Commercial Outdoor Signage Types

Channel Letter Signs

Channel letters are three-dimensional custom-made signs, with internal illumination to shine through the front and/or the back for a halo lighting effect. This type of sign can incorporate your company’s logo and unique font, and can be mounted directly on the building facade, or indirectly on railways or backers. They can also be mounted on signposts. 

Their versatility makes them a staple in commercial outdoor signage. A variety of coloring, lighting, and mounting options offer great visibility for these eye-catching signs.

Digital Message Centers

These digital signs essentially give business owners control over a public-facing LED screen. Perfect for real-time advertising in commercial outdoor settings, they can show branding, messaging, and promotions for new products and events.

Digital message centers can show dynamic moving advertising or still images. The greatest benefit is access to real-time promotion, being able to update your messaging on the spot and offering passersby new reasons to keep looking.


Bedfords Greenhouse Digital Message Center Sign


Cabinet Signs 

Ideal for various commercial outdoor settings, cabinet signs can be installed inside buildings or outside, and they are prized for being affordable, effective, and easily updated.

Cabinets signs can be made to any shape, though usually are rectangular boxes. Inside of them are light sources that will shine through the faceplate. The face is made of acrylic and vinyl, which provide simple and effective messaging.

Vinyl Graphics and Cut Vinyl

Printing on vinyl gives complete control over the entire visual. This can be used for banners and wraps. Cut vinyl designs are usually one color, and can be installed on glass windows, doors, or over illuminated boxes for a powerful negative space effect.

Their flexibility makes them an excellent choice for commercial outdoor signage, especially for promotions and events.

Formed/Routed Signs

Formed and routed lettering is similar to channel letters, but are more two-dimensional. They do not have a hollow channel for internal lighting, but they can include backlighting (halo lighting) for visibility after dark.

These signs offer a sleek look for commercial outdoor spaces, and can be made of metal, plastic, or acrylic, depending on your desired aesthetic and durability.

Neon Signs

Although much less common than they were in the 80’s, neon signs offer a unique and distinct illumination. They bring a retro vibe to commercial outdoor signage, and are less cost-effective than modern LED lighting, but they are certain to be noticed.

If neon lighting fits in your branding design, the bulbs themselves add appeal all on their own. LED-based simulated neon signage has become increasingly popular in recent years


Billboards are uniquely attention-grabbing. On any kind of motorway, billboards tell people about commercial opportunities nearby. Traditional billboards can have a single, static image, whereas modern digital billboards offer extended options like dynamic, animated advertisements.

Pole Signs 

Pole signs get people looking up to your brand. These are a prominent feature in commercial outdoor signage, making your business findable from further away, whether that be a few feet above the ground, or 50 feet high.

Pole signs can utilize any form of display technology, including digital signs, channel letters, or cabinet designs. These are effective both for individual businesses and business parks that share the space.

Post Signs 

The iconic commercial signage, post signs are single panels mounted to a free-standing post. These will be smaller than pole signs, but an integral part of commercial outdoor signage, generally coming in at a lower price. Businesses can get their message out, potentially in multiple locations with these signs.

Ground & Monument Signs 

Monument signs add a strong, professional presence where they are installed. As a key part of commercial outdoor signage, they can be made from handcrafted masonry or custom formed metals and composites. These signs become fixtures of the land itself, and direct traffic to the right parking lots, in addition to branding and other functionality.  

They can be illuminated, using channel letters or cabinet designs, drawing in traffic day and night.


Hampton Inn & Suites Ground Sign


Directional Signs

These surprisingly effective signs tell pedestrians and drivers where to go. With simple messaging, you can show people how to find the entrances and exits, as well as helping people navigate larger complexes and convoluted areas. Directional signs are exceptionally useful if your business is not in an obvious location, such as an alley entrance or the rear side of a building.


Banners are excellent temporary signage, since they can be installed fairly quickly and easily. These are great for events, drawing attention to your location, but not needing permanent installation. Banners are also ideal for traveling events, quickly turning any table or booth into a branded spot for your business. Vinyl banners are durable, affordable, and easily transportable.


Awnings add a subtle, inviting touch to your entrance and windows. They offer a bit of shade and rain protection, which is an often overlooked aspect of commercial outdoor signage. This is a perfect opportunity to add your own name, logo, and other valuable messaging to the people who are already drawn to it.

Exterior Vinyl 

Put crucial information on your doors and windows to significantly boost the number of people walking inside. Show your company name and logo, hours of operation, and contact details. Use your windows to display what you offer in full, vibrant color, and let people know they’ve come to the right spot.

Projection Signs 

Projection signs stick out from the building, and are quite useful on corners, catching traffic coming from either direction. They are also invaluable additions to your primary storefront sign because drivers and pedestrians who are looking forward will still see this sign, even if they don’t turn to look at the face of your building.

Vehicle Graphics/Wraps

An often overlooked form of advertising is wrapping vehicles. As part of a comprehensive commercial outdoor signage strategy, a company car or delivery van with a full or partial wrap can be seen by thousands of people a day. Left in the parking lot, it serves as a store sign and a beacon. While on the road, it’s a traveling billboard, being seen at every red light by other drivers and pedestrians.

Custom Exterior Signs

In the world of commercial outdoor signage, customization allows for unique brand expression for business owners who want to stand out. If you have an idea for a design that goes beyond the standard methods, professional signage experts can bring your dreams to life through a combination of media, materials, and illumination and mounting techniques. When you want it done exactly how you like, customization is there for you.

Interior Signs 

Although exterior signage is crucial for attracting customers, interior signage is equally important in reinforcing your brand message and enhancing customer experience once they step inside your premises. Many of the sign options are available for indoor installation, which can offer a touch of class, and critical information to newcomers.


Buffalo Bills Interior Sign


Bottom Line: Choosing the Right Commercial Outdoor Signage

Many factors affect which outdoor commercial sign is right for you and your business. Location, needs, and budget definitely affect what will be the most useful for you. Understanding the range of commercial outdoor signage options is key to making an informed decision. We recommend reaching out to the experts so you can discuss your unique needs, and how to find the perfect solution for you.

Ready to chat with a signage expert at Flexume?  Contact us today!


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