My name is Mike, and ever since I was small, I have loved making celebratory signs. I was always the kid with the 'welcome home' or 'happy birthday' sign at my house, and as soon as my parents bought our first computer, I started making signs using software programming. I followed that path later in life and have helped many friends design their signs. I love special occasion signs in particular. If you own a business, are planning a party, or have a special event coming up, please explore this space. It has everything you ever wanted to know about signs and hopefully more!
An engraved stainless steel sign is a unique way to label your business, and it creates a sense of sleek style for your storefront or office building. However, stainless steel can reflect a lot of glare. Depending on the size of your stainless steel sign, it can create unwanted heat and reflection for your neighbours, and the reflection from the steel can make it hard to shoot photographs of your building. Thankfully, there are ways to prevent this.
Here are some tips to help you reduce the glare on your stainless steel sign:
1. Opt for a cold rolled, bright reflective mill finish.
The type of stainless steel you choose for your sign can have the largest impact on the sign's reflectivity. When choosing your finish, you have to select two options: the mill finish and the special finish.
To avoid intense reflections, you don't have to choose a rough, dull mill finish. For example, stainless steel with a hot rolled and heat treated mill finish is too dull to use for decorative purposes or as a business sign. Because of that, these types of finishes are usually reserved for industrial purposes.
Instead, opt for a cold rolled stainless steel with a bright reflective finish. This ensures your stainless steel looks beautiful.
2. Choose a brushed, dull or coloured special finish.
If you were planning to hang your sign inside and were not that worried about reflection, you could choose a non-directional, reflective special polish. This is a shiny, almost mirror-like finish.
However, if you are hanging your stainless steel sign outside, you should consider a brushed or dull special polish -- this is typically a great compromise between too bright and too dull. Alternatively, you can have the stainless steel coloured by chemicals to dull its potential reflection, and you can choose from almost any colour imaginable to create the look you desire.
3. Make a sun path diagram.
Before hanging your stainless steel sign on the side of your building, make a sun path diagram. This diagram should map where the sun hits your building throughout the day. Using this information, you can make a strategic decision on where to hang your sign, so that the least amount of sunlight possible hits it.
Unfortunately, there are cases where buildings made of stainless steel have reflected so much light on their neighbour's homes that those homes were heating up by approximately eight degrees Celsius.
However, if you orient your sign based on the sun's path, you can hopefully avoid or a least reduce this effect.
5. Consider hanging retractable awnings over your stainless steel sign
In some cases, the sun will only hit your stainless steel sign during certain seasons or at certain times of the day, and an awning can help temper this effect. In particular, during the summer, the sun is higher in the sky, and this can potentially increase the intensity and the duration of the sunlight hitting your sign.
To block the sun, you simply hang an awning over the sign -- if possible, consider investing in a remote controlled awning so that you can extend and retract it as needed. Then the sun will hit the awning rather than the sign, and you don't have to worry about unwanted reflections.
6. Cover nearby shiny objects when photographing your sign.
If you want to take a photograph of your building and you are worried about reflections on the sign, there are a few things you can do. First, hire a photographer who specialises in shooting in natural light. These professionals know how to optimise the sun's light and avoid glare, and they are used to paying attention to the sun's path when shooting their subjects.
In addition, if there are shiny objects nearby, they may reflect onto your stainless steel sign. For example, the sun may hit your sign, bounce off, hit a shiny object and bounce back to your sign. This creates needless reflections, but with a bit of advance planning, you can avoid these reflections by covering nearby shiny objects with sheeting.
For more tips on how to reduce glare from your stainless steel sign or plaque stainless steel, contact a sign designer.