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A Guide to Gooseneck Sign Lighting


It is common knowledge that businesses benefit from using signs to advertise their company, and that a well-lit sign draws more attention and is easier to identify. Gooseneck RLM Sign Lighting provides one of the most effective ways to light up a sign, but with so many arm lengths and shade styles to choose from it’s easy to get lost in the dark. We’ve created this handy guide to narrow your search and be able to confidently choose a fixture to suit your lighting application!

Footcandles for Sign Lighting

For sign lighting and most lighting projects, the goal is to create bright and even lighting while avoiding both shadows and hotspots. In particular, signs need to be seen and read from a distance, which requires brighter light. On average, between 30-50 footcandles (fc) are needed to adequately illuminate for sign lighting.

Sign Dimensions

One of the easiest ways to narrow down the search for the perfect gooseneck fixture is to start with the sign itself. The dimensions of the sign contributes heavily to the type of fixture needed. With Gooseneck Lighting, it is typically recommended to space fixtures every 3-4 ft for optimal lighting. A taller sign will also require longer arms for the light to reach the bottom of the sign.

Take for example a 9ft Wide by 2.5ft High Sign. Using the rule above about maintaining an average of 30-50fc for optimal sign lighting, we can use our 10in Angle Shades and 22in Long Gooseneck Arms using 9W A19 LED Light Bulbs. With 3x fixtures spaced 3ft apart and mounted 1ft above the sign, we achieve an average of 40.6fc, which falls within the ideal range for sign lighting!

Gooseneck Arm Length and Light Bulbs

One of the more challenging aspects for gooseneck lighting for most people is choosing an arm length. While also providing an aesthetic quality to the sign lighting project, the main purpose of choosing an arm length is to determine the light spread based on the height of the sign.

In the example above we used 22in long gooseneck arms, but why did we choose that length and not a 13in Straight Arm or 10in Gooseneck Arm? Well, by going with a shorter arm, the arm is too close to the sign to light evenly at the bottom, and also creates glaring light or hotspots on the sign.

As you can see above, by using the same sign with a shorter arm, not only are there areas of dim light but also overly bright areas at the top where the light is closest. By using a longer arm, we spread out the light at the top and let it reach closer to the bottom of the sign.

The light bulbs used will also affect the final result, as going with a higher lumen output will increase the overall brightness and typically produce a higher footcandle rating. For example, the same 22in long arms in the first layout use 9W A19 LED Light Bulbs and work perfectly for this application. However, if we went with a 15.5W A19 LED Light Bulb instead, the average increases to 58.3fc, leading to a huge glare on the sign. When it comes to sign lighting and avoiding glare, brighter is not always better as a result.

Correlated Color Temperature (CCT)

Since light bulbs are available in a ton of different options, keeping the correlated color temperature, or CCT, in mind will help the overall presentation of a sign. Warmer tones will feel more soft and inviting and are perfect for residential monument signs or local shops. In contrast, larger commercial signs are better suited to cooler tones for a crisper look.

Shade Style and Size

While some fixtures benefit from a particular shade style and diameter, these can largely be viewed as aesthetic decisions, as the biggest determination will come from the arm length and bulb chosen. Our Angle and Emblem Shades are available in 10in and 12in Diameters, both of which could be used interchangeably to create a unique look.

Arm Length Guide

With the factors mentioned above for the arm length and bulbs needed, it is helpful to have a general point of reference. The chart below can be used with our Fovero Collection  as a handy cheat sheet to determine what is needed:

Sign Height

Arm Length Recommended

Light Bulb Recommended


10 - 14.5in



14.5 - 22in








For more information on sign lighting or for a lighting layout and quote for your next sign lighting project, please feel free to reach out to us by giving a call at (813)-649-8899 or simply emailing us at

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  • Michael Tomas