There are many different types of electronic signs, so choosing the best one will depend on factors such as your budget and how you intend to use the sign. The simplest type of electronic sign is a lighted display that can attract customers even when it is dark out. If all you need to do is alert passers-by to the existence of your business, then a lighted electronic sign may be your best choice. Other electronic signs use technology such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and plasma or liquid crystal displays (LCDs) to create dynamic signage that can convey timely or changing information. You may also want to consider local ordinances that may affect what type of electronic sign you can legally install on your property.
When attempting to choose the best type of electronic sign, you may want to first consider the purpose of the display. If you need a sign to simply advertise the presence of your business in a visual manner, a static design may be the best choice. Static electronic signs that use interior bulbs to illuminate transparent inserts typically represent the least expensive option, and in many cases these signs can be sufficient to advertise the presence of a business. Another static option is a neon tube sign, which can present the illusion of movement if a number of tubes are automatically switched on and off by a microcontroller.
If you anticipate the need to easily change the text on a sign, then you may want to choose an LED sign or marquee. In this case, you will need to consider a number of other factors, such as how far away people will be when reading the sign. Standard LED sign resolutions are designed to be read from between 450 and 1,000 feet (about 140 to 305 meters) away, so you will need a unit with a higher resolution if it is meant to be read from a closer distance or needs to display detailed graphics. LCDs and plasma displays are typically more expensive, but offer higher resolutions.
You may also want to consider other factors, such as local ordinances. Some local jurisdictions restrict the types of signage that can be used on certain types of properties. You may face limitations based on size, illumination or other factors, so you may want to look into that before purchasing an electronic sign. In some cases, an illuminated sign will need to have a light sensor so that the brightness can be automatically turned down at certain times during the day or night. There may also be limitations placed on moving graphics or animated text, making an expensive plasma or LCD sign a poor investment.