Here are a few terms that might help when you are thinking about a sign, and award, or printed apparel. Please feel free to contact Identity Signs, Tees & Awards at any time that you may need assistants

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Glossary of Common Sign Terms


A type of translucent thermoplastic. Very rigid, and long lasting, but not highly break resistant. Usually used for the panel of lit cabinet signs.


Portable signage made of light, flexible material such as cloth or vinyl that is hung or strung from hooks or cord. Anything can be printed on a banner. Promotional banners include those used to announce open houses and grand openings, make special announcements, or communicate events. Ornamental banners use images or colors of a decorative nature.


In printing of signs this means the graphic will run off the edge of the space printed. In screen printing of apparel it means the color of the substrate, shirt, changed the color of the ink, such as white ink on a maroon shirt might bleed into the ink making the white turn pink. This happens when the dye migrates up into and to the top of the ink. The dye of the garment, ink or the process which it was printed could be at fault.

Building Fascia:

That portion of any elevation of a building extending vertically from the grade to the top parapet wall or eaves, and horizontally across the entire width of the building elevation, including slanted wall surfaces sometimes referred to as a mansard.

Cabinet Sign:

A sign structure consisting of the frame and face(s), not including the internal components, embellishments or support structure.

Changeable Copy Sign:

A variable message sign composed of individual letters panel-mounted in or on a track system.


Corrugated plastic panel. Corrugated plastic is a fluted panel similar to corrugated cardboard except it is all plastic instead of paper. It is mainly used for Road Signs also known as Bandit Signs or Yard Signs since it is impervious to rain and weather. They are very light weight and can be cut with a knife. Any graphic can be applied to it and they can be single side or double sided. Thin stakes that slip into the flutes are commonly used to stick into the ground to hold them up in yards and along side the roadways. Mostly used as a temporary type sign since they do have some flexibility and the weather will eventually take its toll.


A printed film usually made of vinyl with a pressure sensitive adhesive.

Directional Sign:

Signs designed to provide direction to pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

Office buildings use directional signs to reduce confusion.

Directory Sign:

A sign that identifies the names and locations of tenants in a multi-tenant building or in a development made up of a group of buildings.

Double-Faced Sign:

A sign with two parallel opposing (back-to-back) faces.

Fascia Sign:

A building mounted sign


A set of letters, numerals, and shapes, which conform to a specific set of design criteria


A design that represents goods, identity or service

Monument Sign:

A low level free standing sign. Normally all evidence of poles are covered or hidden.

Pan Sign:

An aluminum panel sign face molded into a three dimensional shape usually rectangular in shape with or without radius corners. Common sizes are 1” – 1.5” deep x 18” – 24” high x 6’ – 10’ in length.

POP (Point of Purchase):

Signs that advertises a product at it’s point of purchase, counter signs.

Sidewalk/Sandwich Sign:

A moveable sign not secured or attached to the ground or surface upon which it is located, but supported by its own frame and most often forming the cross-sectional shape of an A. Used to attract sidewalk traffic as to stand out in a shopping center environment

Sign Face:

The area of a sign on which copy is intended to be placed.

Sign Criteria:

A set of rules established by a shopping center or commercial complex that makes all signs be uniform in size and colors.

Sign Permit:

All cities and towns have regulations controlling the type, size and style of signs that can be used.

Temporary signs:

Any sign intended for short-term use or not permanently mounted at the display site, including such items as banners, political lawn signs, bandit signs, road signs and construction site panels.


Used by a business to distinguish itself and its products from the competition. A trademark may include a name, symbol, word or combination of those. Protected by the federal government and considered to have financial value. The circled “R” or “Reg. T.M.” printed with the mark indicates that it is a registered trademark

Glossary of Terms for Screen Printing Apparel


Common term for an image or text that will be used for printing.

BMP (short for bitmap):

A graphic format used internally by the Microsoft® Windows® graphics subsystem and used commonly as a simple graphics file format on that platform. BMP files are usually not compressed and are typically much larger than compressed image file formats such as JPEG or PNG. Despite some shortcomings, the simplicity of BMP and widespread use in Microsoft® Windows® and elsewhere (as well as the fact that this format is well-documented and free of patents) make it a very common format. As such, many image programs are likely able to read in BMP files.

Camera-Ready Art:

Production ready art. Artwork that requires no alterations or modifications and is ready for output onto film or vellum.

Dark Garment:

Shirts darker in color such as black, royal, green, red, etc.

Dots per inch (DPI):

A measure of spatial printing or video dot density, in particular the number of individual dots that can be placed in a line within the span of 1 inch (2.54 cm).


Both GIF and JPEG images are widely used on the Web and are supported by all Web browsers and other Web software. Charts, screen shots and technical drawings are compressed best as GIF, which only hold up to 256 colors (eight bit color). Most photographs are better as a JPEG, which supports 24 bit color and has the option of several compression levels (the choice depends on how much degradation you can tolerate). If you save a scanned image in both formats, you may see a dramatic difference in file size between them.


The representation of halftones dots from 100% to 0%


A color or grayscale image that has been converted into a series of large and small dots.

Halftone Dot Types:

Shapes of halftone dots. An elliptical dot is the ideal dot shape for screen printing. Round, square and diamond shaped dots are also used.


Common term used to describe the printable substance that is used to make a print. In the textile printing business, the most widely used ink is plastisol.


This term stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group. It is the name of the committee that developed the format. A JPEG is a compressed image file format. The JPEG format is best for compressing photographic images. If you see a large colorful image on the Web, it is most likely a JPEG file.

Light Garment:

White or pastel colored garments

Line Art:

Black and White artwork consisting of no halftones or color.

Pantone :

A set of standard colors for printing, each of which is specified by a single number.


Pantone Matching System a system for mixing various inks to achieve the specified color as determined by Pantone.


An electronic file usually emailed to the customer for approval or to make changes. It also could be in a printed paper sample for illustration.

Screen Print:

Also known as Silk Screen Printing, a method of printing whereby ink is squeezed through porous nylon or polyester screens onto tee shirts, hoodies, sweat shirts, shorts, sweat pants,and other like apparel that are used for spirit wear for high schools or company uniforms (screens were originally made of silk). Density of pores per inch vary depending on the size or complexity of the image.

Glossary of Terms for Plaques and Trophies


A rigid, thermoplastic material, available in transparent, translucent and opaque forms. Its characteristics include optical clarity and exceptional UV resistance. It’s often used to create awards. It’s also known under various brand names such as Plexiglas and Lucite.

Arc Engraving:

Engraving characters in an arc fashion or with the characters positioned on the circumference portion of an imaginary circle.


To recognize a person or persons for accomplishment/achievement. An item given to a person or persons for accomplishment/achievement.

Award Program:

An idea or concept that involves a defined goal, a plan to achieve the goal and a system of rewards and awards for the people achieving the goal. A program is a motivational tool that encourages participants to achieve goals directly impacting the success of the company/organization sponsoring it.

Award, Perpetual:

An award intended to be used for a long or indefinite time period and designed to be updated periodically through the addition of new information, e.g. an annual award where a new recipient is added every year.


A small item designed to be worn by attachment to an individual’s clothing, pocket, lapel, etc., that identifies the individual, e.g. a name badge.

Base, Trophy:

The foundation upon which a trophy is built; the bottom piece of a trophy. Available in different sizes, shapes, materials and designs.


A metal alloy composed of copper and zinc, popularly used in the manufacture of engravable items and trophy and plaque plates. Most brasses have a yellow gold color, but are available in other colors. At Identity Signs,Tees and Awards we offer an array of colors.

Calligraphy Engraving:

A type of non-rotating mechanical engraving done using a chisel-point graver, providing the visual effects of “thicks and thins” in the letter strokes.

Column, Trophy:

A generic term describing the central vertical component of a trophy. Available in an extremely wide variety of shapes, colors, materials and designs. Bends, extrusions and wood turnings are also considered columns if used as the central component in a trophy.

Cup (Trophy Mount):

A trophy component, used like a figure, in the shape of a cup or bowl. Cups are often used in lieu of trophy figures and come in a variety of shapes, sizes and different mounting configurations, but most commonly with a threaded mounting stud protruding from the bottom.

Diamond Graver:

A nonrotating, diamond tipped cutting tool used in diamond engraving. Used without motor power to engrave metal by “scratching” the material.


A term used to describe a variety of small items that can be engraved, such as jewelry and gift items. Also, any substance which can be engraved.


The art or technique of carving, cutting or etching into a material. At Identity Signs, Tees & Awards we have the state of the art engraving machines that give the engraving a 3 dimensional look for extra glimmer.


Portable Document Format` – Another world-wide computer format used by Identity Signs, Tees and Awards to send proofs of artwork to customers prior to production. Small programs can be downloaded free of charge from the internet and provide a high quality color version for approval by the customer.


Manufactured in wood with a brass metal engraved plate that is decorative.


A trim refers to an adornment or embellishment which fits onto a trophy, award, plaque etc. It is normally produced in a multitude of sizes, shapes, colors and finishes with many containing a recess for receiving a center


General terms which can apply to trophies, plaques, medals, cups, certificates and so on.

Figure, Trophy:

A trophy component (figurines) depicting the theme of the trophy, such as a baseball player. Trophy figures are usually made from metal or plastic and are available in hundreds of themes.


A mallet like item, containing a cylindrical head and a stem, used in conducting many formal meetings and proceedings. Commonly used as awards for recognizing authority and leadership as well as for plaque mounts.


A coin-like award usually made of metal and imprinted with a design and/or message denoting achievement. Medals usually contain a loop (jump ring) at the top allowing them to be attached to an accessory and worn by the recipient.


A coin-like award, similar to a medal, imprinted with a design and/or message commemorating achievement. Intended to be attached to a base (such as a plaque, medallion holder or the base of a pen and pencil set) instead of being worn by the recipient.

Perpetual Award:

An award which is presented repeatedly and, typically, a new name is added with each subsequent presentation.

Piano Finish:

A wood finishing technique involving many successive coats of lacquer and exhibiting a very high gloss level.

Plaque, Award:

An award containing a message and often graphics designed to be attached to a wall and given for recognition and achievement.

Plaque Board:

A decorative plaque mount, commonly made of wood, to which an engravable plate and/or plaque relief can be attached.

Plaque, Photo:

A plaque that incorporates a photograph or a reproduction of a photograph


A type of hard wood used in the manufacture of gavels and other award items, and characterized by a dark reddish color with a strongly delineated grain.


In a traditional sense, anything tangible that is won or given as a prize or award. In today’s industry, an award made from various standard components, such as a column, a base and a trophy figure, and given for achievement/ victory.


A hard, dark brown wood popular in the manufacture of wooden award components such as plaque boards, desk sets and trophy bases.

Identity Signs, Tees & Awards – Printers of Fine Printed Apparel (Tee Shirts) & Awards (Trophies & Plaques) 5720 Capital Blvd. Raleigh, NC