Programmable LED Signs


Learn before you buy. You’ve probably already noticed that there are many, many options in today’s programmable LED signs market. Most sign shops – large or small – have one or two favorites that they claim are the very best for any project. This is the old way of doing things.

Guthman Signs provides access to the truth. With 10 different active and unique partnerships with outdoor programmable LED sign factories, Guthman has sign specialists who are digital signage experts to provide multiple solutions for you to consider in a clear and transparent way you can understand.

Our Clients are Truth Seekers

Like most of us, you aren’t interested in sales pitches or exaggerations. High-quality programmable LED sign boards are important investments and vital marketing tools, and it’s crucial to make the right purchase. We help our clients do just that by providing unbiased access to research from each factory, real results from the field, and honest customer testimonials.


Here’s a quick look at how the Guthman Signs programmable LED sign purchase process is different:

  • Consultation – You’ll meet with a sign specialist, who will learn about you and your organization, the installation site, and any preferences you may already have. This is a great place for initial questions and/or concerns your sign specialist should know about.
  • Design – Our artists are trained and experienced in programmable LED light board design. You will receive a custom design and estimates for your project based on the initial consultation. We can also redesign existing signs, integrate new solutions, or do an entire revamp if you prefer. You have options!
  • Fabrication – Our active partnerships with 10 different LED sign factories and a handful of other factories with a wide array of specialties will construct your vision, provide technical support, and training! We facilitate and coordinate all of this to keep the process hassle free.
  • Installation – You have direct access to industry-only pricing on installation and service for your new sign. Our pre-vetted national network of over 9,000 service providers is the largest in the United States. This assures work will be done cost-effectively, correctly, and within all licensing and quality standards that apply.
  • Site Surveys and Permitting – Don’t make assumptions, get the truth. You have access to our traffic reports, site surveys, and preliminary code checks with detailed reporting. This information will help ensure that the project is planned correctly from the beginning.
  • Service & Repair – Our partnerships allow for warranties on parts, labor, and any other offerings – All of which are backed by Guthman Signs and the factory you buy them from. Coverage is clearly outlined for each option.

Our partnerships make your project’s future more protected than ever before!


LED Stands for Light Emitting Diode.

The first visible spectrum LED was invented by Nick Holonyak Jr in 1962, but it wasn’t until the early 1990’s that LEDs became more available to the general public. They were extremely expensive for most consumers back then, but as technology has evolved, pricing has become more competitive and accessible.

LEDs are BRIGHT and must compete with the Sun, so they have to be bright.
LEDs allow for changeable messaging, animations, and text solutions.
LEDs can be controlled remotely.
LEDs are much more durable than fluorescent, neon, or incandescent options.
LEDs can last a long time in the elements — some nearly 15 years!
These points allow you to share a high-quality digital display that you program — and that is marketing power.

Your audience is driving by your location all the time. LED displays make them pay attention to your message. It’s that simple. Add value with time, temperature, weather, amber alerts, federal emergency notices, community events, special offers, or anything your audience is looking for..

Stand out!

LED signs can come in many different sizes, types, and capabilities. Many of the variables that are important for your project aren’t common knowledge to newcomers.

Full Color
Tri-Color (Green, red , yellow for example)
Monochrome/Grayscale – Typically either Red or Amber only

DIP = Direct Inline Package
SMD = Surface Mount Diode

High Resolution Signs – The highest definition signs on the modern market are indoor displays with lower brightness. These are extremely clear and are rated in the .05-2mm range. These signs are intended for close-up indoor viewing and thus, do not work well for outdoor applications.
Medium Resolution Signs – Most medium definition signs are currently rated in the 9mm-16mm range. These are still common today since they make sense for many common circumstances. Still, they shouldn’t be considered without expert advice.
Standard Resolution Signs – Most standard definition signs are currently rated in the 19-25mm range. These are typically seen in signs installed 5+ years ago.
Monochrome Signs – Monochrome signs are often seen as a cost effective solution for situations where text is all that is desired (no animation etc since the definition on monochrome signs is often very low. However, these are not always the most economical decision. Your Sign Specialist can help you find the best solution for your expectations.

Car Dealerships – The auto industry has been implementing LED signs more and more in recent years due to two factors.
1. Costs are decreasing.
2. The product is a visual and recognizable desire.

Churches – Churches have seen LED signs as important and useful marketing tools since the early 1990s when they first became more available. Signs have been helping churches grow and reach communities in increasing numbers ever since.

Digital Sign Billboards – The off-premise billboard industry has grown to love LED displays. The ability to provide reporting, monitoring, and evaluation — in addition to more dynamic offerings for companies interested in marketing — has grown their bottom lines by the millions of dollars year upon year.

Gas Stations – Price Watcher Gas Price Displays are commonplace across the USA. It has become part of modern American culture, and they can be extremely effective if planned and placed correctly.

Government – The Federal Government and all branches of the US military have found important uses for LED signs, such as NASA observation platforms, military base community organization, emergency notices, and much more.

Hotels – Hotels know the largest impact is necessary. Beyond simple vacancy notices, modern hotels are implementing marketing tactics that bring in new customers with special offers in ways that were not possible before.

Restaurants – The food industry is constantly growing and changing. Restaurants compete for clients with powerful and tempting visuals and specialties that set them apart.

Retail: Malls and Strip Malls – Multi-tenant sites are infamous for having signs with a multitude of small inserts, making them invisible to customers passing by every day. LED signs allow for a shared investment where all parties can benefit from powerful and customized marketing.

Schools – Schools were one of the first to realize how important LED signs can be for fundraising and community connectedness. Schools today are using LED signs to not only raise funds and connect with their families, but also encourage citizenship and community involvement.

Universities – Colleges and Universities alike are using LED displays to unite their campuses for important life changing causes. Gone are the days of simple messaging signs. Modern schools are taking their campuses to new heights of community engagement and program involvement.

Hospitals – The medical sector is using digital displays to promote community fundraising events, reward specialized programs, and provide community awareness for services they may not otherwise know of. Emergency rooms and urgent care centers are even advertising wait times as a testament to their efficiency and professionalism, drawing patients trust like never before.

Banks – Banks began using LED signs in the mid 1980s for time and temperature. This kept banks top of mind with their customers and their community. Today, banks leverage these marketing tools in creative and powerful ways by providing insight into what banks do best, helping people grow.

Outdoor/Indoor Sports Video Scoreboards – By far the largest sector in terms of revenue. Companies that build these have deep pockets for research and development.
Fixed Digit Scoreboards – A traditional market that many schools with smaller budgets often favor for practicality, but these are limited as static marketing tools.

Indoor Displays & LED Video Walls – A growing industry due to the cost effectiveness of modern LED systems. The use of indoor displays can increase marketing value and production value simultaneously.


The programmable LED sign industry is a large, complicated mix of factories with different qualities, and each uses marketing and sales tactics to show themselves in the best possible light. No one option is best for all applications, so you need deep and unbiased knowledge about them all to truly make an educated decision that will impact your organization for years to come.

So, how do you know where to begin?



Options in the digital sign market can last anywhere from 1-12 years, so it is important to know what you reasonably expect before getting started.


Do you plan on using the sign solely for text messages? Or do you plan on having high-definition images etc? Something else you imagine? Make sure your expectations are clear on what you want to see on the sign.


Budgets for LED signs can range widely from $5,000-$50,000 for most common sizes, so you will need to know how much your organization is willing to invest. Or, if you need financing, how much financing are you willing to consider? What sort of service will you require? Are there things you are willing to do to save in other areas?

Recommendation: Make a list of expectations before starting your project and provide these to your Sign Specialist. This way, you can be sure your expectations are not changed or manipulated without you realizing it. Look back to this list of expectations before making a final decision to be sure you are honoring your original expectations.


All digital signage solutions should be guided by the 5 second rule.

That is, if the passerby cannot read and understand the message you are sending in 5 seconds or less, it is ineffective.

Your sign specialist can help you make an educated decision based on the speed of the audience and the distance from that audience. Text size is the best metric to use for this because of the measurement text provides.

Example: A small digital business sign located where the speed of traffic is 50 mph will need a 7.3’’ tall text to be visible for 5 seconds, with a max viewing distance of 367 feet. See below for the calculation tool.

Traffic Speed (mph) 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70
0.681818 Feet per Second 37 44 51 59 66 73 81 88 95 103
Distance – 5 Seconds 183 220 257 293 330 367 403 440 477 513
Distance – 10 Seconds 367 440 513 587 660 733 807 880 953 1,027
Based on 1″ Character size per 50′ viewing distance Traffic Speed 25 mph 30 mph 35 mph 40 mph 45 mph 50 mph 55 mph 60 mph 65 mph 70 mph
Character Size – 5 Seconds Viewing Time 3.7″ 4.4″ 5.1″ 5.9″ 6.6″ 7.3″ 8.1″ 8.8″ 9.5″ 10.3″
Character Size – 10 Seconds Viewing Time 7.3″ 8.8″ 10.3″ 11.7″ 13.2″ 14.7″ 16.1″ 17.6″ 19.1″ 20.5″

Height: Keep in mind, each measurement of height added above the typical audience’s line of sight will add equivalent distance to the equation above.



You have enough to do without having to worry about the condition or messaging on your sign every day. LED digital message centers provide remote control capability and dynamic solutions. Some factories are even beginning to provide content management and content creation solutions, so powerful marketing is even easier than before.


With access to our installation network and industry-direct pricing on service and installation, your project is in good hands. If you choose to save some money and install the sign yourself, we can help with that too. You will receive instructions and measurements signed and sealed by a licensed engineer in your state to allow you the peace of mind that the installation will be virtually free of liability.


Your Sign Specialist will help guide you to the correct communication method for your circumstance. Again, one-size-fits-all approaches are dangerous here. Communications options are close enough in cost these days that it doesn’t typically make sense to choose based on price over functionality. Be sure your communication method will work.

Example: Don’t use a short-range wireless bridge to connect if there is frequent traffic or if trees could block the signal’s line of sight. Cellular modems are typically the best option for such circumstances.


Your Sign Specialist will provide detailed explanations of the good, the bad, and ugly of each warranty in our market. Your Sign Specialist can also answer most service questions up front, but if it requires more specialized attention to a specific detail, each of our factories has fully staffed factory trained technicians on call to assist with any issue that may arise today or down the road.


Let us help you make a well-informed purchase. Contact Guthman, your digital experts, for the best LED signboards in the industry.