To use a retail display backlit light box or an edge lit light box

Today’s retail display light box technology offers a myriad of choice depending on where and how it is being used. When it comes to using LEDS in aluminium frames for use with push fit tensioned fabric, there are two main solutions that work very well but have pros and cons depending on many factors.

We are often asked quite simply for ‘a light box at let’s say – 2metres by 3 metres’. This is often met with frustration at not being able to get a quick price when our project managers reply by asking a list of questions pertaining the usage and final destination of the light box.

For instance, is it wall mounted or is free standing? This immediately makes a difference on the type of profile we would use. Is being suspended by cables or built into an existing structure? Again, this negates the need for feet and then requires more internal stabilisation or a deeper profile through which to drill and fix. It is very easy for the tiniest final destination install detail to change the possibilities of what can be done with these profiles…..dramatically.

One of the main choices that needs to be made is whether to employ ‘’backlit’’ LEDS mounted to a panel or ‘’edge lit’’ LEDs that fit around the perimeter and shine across the internal light box frame.

Backlit lightboxes by and large, produce the brightest and most homogenous light coverage in a light box because the LEDs are shining forwards directly towards the fabric print to be illuminated. So long as the correct LEDS are being used in relation to the lightbox depth, the result is a beautifully and evenly lit lightbox with no hotspots or shadowing of internal drivers etc.

PHOTO 2 50mm backlit WEB

The down side of these units is size and bulk when it comes to shipping and installation access. By their very nature, they are comprised of large backboards that need to be packed well, shipped without damage nor taking up too much expensive shipping space. Access into the final assembly point (for instance through a small access door to a window display) should also be considered when ordering backlit lightboxes.

Edge lit LEDS fit onto two sides of a square or rectangular lightbox without the need for an internal backboard. This means that they can illuminate two fabrics for the price of one, equally if required. A double sided ‘’edge lit’’ lightbox will be more economic than a backlit unit purely because you don’t need to have LEDS mounted to both sides of an internal board, thus doubling the amount required.

PHOTO 3 Edge lit flat pack WEB

PHOTO 4 Edge lit 200 WEB

Edge lit lightboxes usually require a slightly deeper profile to avoid hot spot anomalies around the perimeter. The LEDS here do not splay their light in a circular beam angle of 160 degrees, rather they have a narrow beam angle across the lightbox profile width and a larger beam angle across the lightbox width thus illuminating the internal box but not hotspotting on to the fabrics. Today’s edge lit LEDS can shine over around 3000mm to illuminate a lightbox, there is very little evidence of shadowing towards the middle of this distance if a busy and vibrant graphic design is employed. However, it can be very evident with a plain, simple design

An edgelit lightbox can also be shipped ‘’flat packed’’ for assembly on site. This can be a major deciding factor if there are many units being shipped to different destinations.

Here at DPI – if you are specifying a lightbox, we will need the following information so that we can quote the right unit for you project.

• Is it wall mounted, is it freestanding on feet, is it built in to an existing structure or suspended using cables?
• What are the exact dimensions?
• Are there any aesthetic or physical limits on the depth required?
• How many units are required and are they being shipped to the same destination or various destinations
• Who is installing? The client or a professional build up team?

For more information about DPI range of tensioned fabric aluminium frames, lightboxes and structures, get in touch.