light box designs

Comparison: Edge Lit Frame vs Backlit Lightbox

Today, most marketers use light boxes to enhance the visibility and acceptance of their outdoor and indoor advertising efforts. Find out the two light box designs today!

The question “Should I choose edge lit frame or backlit light box?” is a highly popular one. This is because of the functionality and the popularity of light boxes as advertising and signage tools.

Related: Comparison: SEG Fabric Light Boxes vs. Snap Frame

However, choosing a side in the edge lit frame vs backlit light box choice is more difficult than it looks. For one, there are many considerations that have to be made when choosing which light box to buy from an online store.

One such consideration is the size. How big do you want your light box to look?

Also, you have to consider the mounting of your light box as this can influence the choice of profile.

Another important consideration is whether or not it will be built into an already existing structure. The answer to these questions will determine the stabilization of your light boxes and can affect the construction.

You need to decide whether you will employ mounted back-lit LED lights or lights that fit around the perimeter of your light box.

In this article, we will discuss both options and help you come to the best decision for your light box needs.

Edge-Lit Light Boxes: All You Should Know

Edge-lit light boxes have light bulbs all across the frame edges. These lights are designed to shine sideways, penetrating the translucent film behind your graphic. Therefore, they will indirectly light up your message for your target audience to see.

Edge Lit Light Boxes

Typically, edge-lit light boxes can be very thin. The lights on the edges of the side of the box allow the frame to be designed as ultra-thin.

Additionally, these light boxes require less illumination. Therefore, you can expect your energy costs to be less than other light box options.

Downsides of edge-lit lightboxes

However, there are a few downsides to buying an edge-lit light box.

For instance, there may be a glow on the corners and sides of your graphic display. Although, the effect of this glow can be reduced with the use of diffusion paper. Additionally, the size of your edge-lit light boxes can be a con.

When considering buying edge-lit frames or backlit light boxes, remember that with for larger sizes of edge lit frames, the bulbs will be far away from the center. Therefore, it may look dimmer.

All in all, edge-lit light boxes are very effective for signage and advertising needs, especially if you need a small to medium frame.

How Do Backlit Light Boxes Work?

Backlit light boxes work well outdoors. Typically, the frame of this type of light box has LED bulbs all across the back of the panel. This construction style means that the graphic in your lightboxes will be highly visible.

Also, they offer an even distribution of light that is almost impossible to beat.

Backlit Fabric Light Box

However, this feature can also be a con.  For one, it means that you will definitely spend more on energy costs for a backlit light box compared to an edge lit frame design.

In addition, backlit light boxes do not have a low profile design. There is usually space behind the light boxes as you would have to accommodate the LED light bulbs.

Edge-Lit Frame vs Backlit Light Boxes: How to Make Your Choice

The major difference between an edge lift frame and backlit lightboxes is the choice of lighting. Backlit lightboxes make use of indirect lighting that can have serious implications on your advertising and how effective it is. This style of lighting can be great for well-illuminated areas. Also, if you are using a translucent poster, they might be the best option.

On the other hand, edge-lit frame light boxes make use of indirect lighting. They are more energy-efficient and don’t need a lot of maintenance efforts. If you are finding it hard to choose a side in the edge-lit frame vs backlit design argument, make your choice based on the following parameters.

How bright do you want your graphic to be?

Backlit lightboxes always look brighter than their edge-lit counterparts. This is because the light illuminating the graphics is shining directly on it and not sideways.  Edge-lit frame light boxes offer a standard level of brightness. This means that they may not be suitable for use depending on the application.

How much cabinet room do you have?

Backlit boxes require more cabinet room behind the graphic. Usually, you are going to need about 2-4 inches between the graphic and the light bulbs to get the best diffusion of light. However, if you need a sleek, flat look, go for edge-lit frames. Since the light is transmitted from the side, it can be less than 1-inch in depth.

How much “uniformity of diffusion” do you need?

The uniformity of diffusion is a measure of how uniform the intensity of your display is from one side to another, simply put, how even is the light. This is an essential consideration to make especially if your signage will be in a poorly lit area. 

In the backlit frame vs edge-lit frame light boxes, backlit variants always deliver more uniformity. With backlit light boxes, light is always spread across the face of the graphic evenly. However, this is not the case for edge-lit frame boxes.

Edge-lit frame light boxes have an extra glow along the edges of the LED bulbs. This means that with increases in size, your graphic designs will look dimmer at the centre of the design. 

How much are you willing to spend?

An important point to consider in the edge-lit frame vs backlit light boxes discussion is the financial implication. Typically, a backlit light needs many more LED lights to illuminate your graphic display compared to an edge lit frame. For illustration, a medium-sized backlit light box may have about 800 LED lamps while an edge lit frame of the same size will only need about 100 lamps. 

This can have more implications if you want to light up your designs on both sides. An edge-lit frame is more economical if you are going for double-sided, free-standing signage that can be viewed from all sides. With edge-lit frames, you need the same number of LED lights to illuminate your design whether you are lighting up one or two sides.

Final thought

There is no clear winner in the edge-lit frame vs backlit light box discussion. Both variants of light box designs are effective. It all depends on your unique needs.

Once you make your choice, the next step is to ensure that you buy a light box of excellent quality. Buying a product that is durable, bright, and efficient will save you a lot of stress. At Prime Light Boxes, we are committed to saving you from stress. We make and sell high-quality edge-lit frame and backlit light boxes to customers in the US and Canada. Contact us today!

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