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Glossary of Terms



Edge-lit sign: An illuminated sign where the light source is positioned on the outside of the sign face along one or more of its edges such that the light shines back onto it.
Electric sign: Any sign that contains and utilizes electrical components.
Electro-mechanical sign: A type of message centre sign where an electrically driven mechanical device rotates between panels with different messages.
Electronic display: Generic term for any type of electronic programmable display. (See also LCD sign.)
Electrostatic film: A thin, electrostatically charged material such as PVC used for lettering and graphics on glass and other smooth surfaces. The static charge enables the material to firmly adhere to the smooth surface, yet still be peeled off relatively easily.
Elevation: A scale drawing of an exterior side of a given structure such as a building or sign.
Embellishment: In signage, it refers to any element of a sign face that provides a decorative effect.
Emboss: To create raised lettering or graphics in relief on the substrate of a sign through stamping, hammering or molding.
Embossed plastic sign face: A plastic sign face that has had three dimensional lettering or graphical elements molded into its surface. (Also called pan face.)
EMC (electronic message centre): A variable message sign that typically utilizes a computer to change and control the message displayed. They are like a readerboard or a window sign, except that copy can be changed quickly and efficiently, typically LED or LCD display technology is used.  Many businesses incorporate public service messages in an EMC in addition to product advertising as a means of enhancing their public image.
Enamel: A coloured, powdered glass-based compound that is fused to the surface of metal or glass for decoration and protection. An enamel finish is typically opaque and very durable.
Engine-turned: A process of using a tool such as a drill press to create uniform circle or swirl patterns on metal or gold leaf finish.
Engrave: To cut a design into the surface of hard material such as metal using a handheld or machine controlled tool called a burin.
Entrance canopy: A canopy or awning that covers and identifies the entrance to a building.
Epoxy: A very strong, two-part adhesive-resin plus hardening agent-capable of bonding together a wide range of materials, including woods, composites and metals.
Erect: To construct, install or place a sign and its supporting structure.
Etching: The removal of selected portions of a layer of material from a substrate using a chemical or electrolytic process. Typically, a stencil is used to mark the areas to be etched and to protect the other areas.
Expansion anchor: A type of anchor that is designed to expand inside the drilled hole it is placed, thereby securing itself by the resulting pressure and friction against the sides of the hole. Typically used to anchor awnings and a wide variety of signs to concrete or masonry.
Extender: An additive that increases the volume of ink without lowering its viscosity or one that improves the workability of an ink.
Exterior illuminated sign: A sign that is illuminated by an external light source directed at the sign face. (See also direct illumination.)
Extrusion: The process of forcing metal or plastic through a form in order to create a specific shape or profile.  Many sign components are manufactured by the extrusion process.
Eyelet: A small metal or plastic ring that is inserted into a hole made in another piece of material. Commonly used on banners it prevents fraying of the material around the hole and provides a durable, easily threaded opening for rope or twine. (Also called a grommet.)