LED Outdoor Signage Terms 101

With all its cutting edge technology and innovation, jumping into the world of LED outdoor signage is a truly exciting, liberating experience. One can feel their carbon footprint shrinking around them while visions or their company’s messages go from dancing in their heads to animated displays on their very own LED-powered center stage for all to see.

Such an adventurous place comes with their own words to describe their unique features. So, to help integrate you into LED outdoor signage, below are a few terms you’ll run into along with their meaning:

  • LED
  • Pixel
  • RGB / RRGB
  • Real LED Display & Virtual LED Display
  • Pixel Pitch

LED - Light Emitting Diode

Well, technically, it is a is a two-lead semiconductor light source that emits light when called upon. What you need to know is that it’s the essential light source for the signage. It emits a steady light stream, is considered a “green” technology when used right, and can last for years.

Those features are what make LED such a popular choice for outdoor signage.


In order to create stunning, sharp images, the LED needs to be condensed into really, really, really small containers in order to work together. Think of them like puzzle pieces that can change color on command. Really, really small puzzle pieces. Nearly microscopic small.

The containers the LEDs are placed in are called pixels.

RGB (and RRGB)

Inside each pixel, each LED source is composed of colors. The most common one found is the three color setting: Red, Green, & Blue. This setting allows for incredible array of colors to be displayed on command. The short name for this color arrangement is RGB. With an RGB setting, LED signs are able to provide what is referred to as “Real LED displays.”

In addition to “Real LED Displays” with RBG, there is also what is referred to as “Virtual LED Displays.” Virtual displays put an extra red color in the pixel which allows pixels to work together to create sharper displays without having to pack as many pixels into the screen to achieve the effect. For a deeper explanation, please visit our “Real LED vs Virtual LED” article.

Single color settings

For those who don’t need the vast possibilities of either Real or Virtual LED displays, LED lights come in single color displays. Efficient and less expensive, these lights essentially run colors, such as Blue LEDs or Red LEDs. To read about how to choose a single color LED setting, please visit our Blue vs RED LED Sign article.

Pixel Pitch

Not all pixels are made the same. Some are big, some are small.

In the same way, not every screen packs in pixels the same way. Some pack them in like Sardines, others pack them in like Sardines with their guts sucked in.

The term Pixel Pitch is used to determine how tightly the pixels are packed in a display screen. The smaller the pixel pitch number, the tighter the pixels are packed in the screen. The tighter the pixels are packed in a screen, the sharper the image..

The pixel pitch number is a ratio, it can be used to determine the number of pixels on any screen size.

Would like to know more about LED outdoor signage

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