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Neon: setting the record straight

Andy Nash of A1 Designs has spoken out over what he feels is an unfair portrait that is being painted about neon. Upset specifically by Signlink’s previous reporting on LED-based ‘neon alternative’ signage systems, he says the criticism of neon as a technology to promote these products does not stack up.

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A1 Designs’ Andy Nash says that false statements about neon must stop before we lose a true art-form

Nash writes: “I write this in an attempt to put to bed some of the misconceptions surrounding Neon that are put out there. I feel it is a sad state of affairs when one of the few last bastions of hands on skill within the sign industry has completely false, un-researched information published, that can sometimes verge on the ridiculous. 

“As a company we manufacture all types of signage and work with LEDs, so have a sound understanding of the industry, we have been involved with neon for more than 40 years and manufacturing as a company for around 35 years.

“An example of an untrue statement is: ‘Unlike glass neon, LED alternatives can be positioned at low level, as fingers will not get burnt if the lettering is accidentally touched’.

“Glass neon, the only true neon product in existence, does not burn fingers. Correctly assembled and installed, neon is perfectly safe to touch.”

I feel it is a sad state of affairs when one of the few last bastions of hands on skill within the sign industry has completely false, un-researched information published, that can sometimes verge on the ridiculous

Nash continues: “Another false statement is: ‘LED alternatives give the same look and feel of neon. But not only is this technology more durable than traditional Neon signage, it is also cheaper’.

“There are a few misconceptions here. Up close there are many distinct features that make them very different. Neon has a manufacturer’s predicted lifespan of 45,000 to 50,000 hours and can last much longer if installed and maintained correctly. Handled correctly there is also no gap in durability between the two mediums once installed. Factor in the full manufacturing and fitting costs, and there is also often not much too choose between LED-based and neon signage at the same level of visual effect. As we make both, LED-based systems can often be more expensive.”

Nash has also hit out at the characterisations that neon needs specialist fitters, cannot create ‘intricate designs’, has to ‘adhere to loads of regulations’, and ‘is expensive to maintain’. He states categorically these are false relative to LED-based alternatives.


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