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Exterior Signage: Styles and Types of Freestanding Signs

Exterior Signage, Others, Signage Tips

With this post and others in our Signs 101 series, we do our best to cut through “sign speak.” Questions? Don’t hesitate to contact us.

freestanding monument sign Boston bankfreestanding monument sign Boston bank


The three basic types of Freestanding Signs are monument, pylon, and post and panel signs. Below you’ll find definitions, descriptions and examples.

Freestanding signs, not surprisingly, stand on their own (as opposed to wall-mounted signs, for example). Thanks to posts or a self-supporting base, freestanding signs are architectural structures separate from buildings and other structures.

While they are often designed to be about on eye-level with drivers and/or pedestrians, others are considerably taller, intended to serve as architectural centerpieces for a business or corporate park.

Illuminated pylon sign Keene New EnglandIlluminated pylon sign Keene New England

  • Monument Signs are a certain type of freestanding sign that, like the low-profile sign pictured here that we designed for a New England bank, are low to the ground. (Some people describe them as “ground signs.”)  Actually, monument signs aren’t necesarily short. Some, like the corporate entrance sign at The Center at Innovation Drive, are quite tall.
  • Pylon signs are sometimes called “pole signs.” They typically are tall, and often supported by a single post or pylon.
  • Post and panel signs are designed to be mounted on a single or multiplesupport posts. Many people think of post and panel signs as low cost or low-tech signs, but neither is necessarily true. Between new materials and lighting techniques, creative designers and experienced fabricators can make post and panel signs that really pop.

View our portfolio for examples of monument signs that use a variety of materials, lighting techniques, digital messaging and other options for changeable sign copy. Many original sign designs combine a variety of styles and techniques. It’s nice to understand industry terminology, but ultimately, it’s your sign! 


Questions to Ask Before Selecting a Freestanding or Monument Sign For Your Business

  • Are you looking for a sign with changeable copy?
  • How will it be illuminated at night?
  • Does a digital display make sense for your business (and budget)?
  • What local signage regulations affect your sign design?
  • Do you need to comply with property management signage specifications?

Sign Maintenance Issues

Exterior signs are designed to weather whatever is likely to come at them…within reason. However, most signs require at least basic maintenance and repair from time to time.

Assuming you want an illuminated sign, make sure you factor in how often will you need to have the bulbs changed – and what’s involved in changing them. (If you’re on a busy intersection and traffic must be halted to perform maintenance, you want to know that before the sign goes up!)

Sign Material Matters

Do you need a rust-proof monument sign? A tall sign that can withstand high winds? Are you looking for a long-lasting alternative to wood? Metro Sign & Awning’s team has extensive experience in working with a wide variety of materials, and we’re also proud that our designers are known for solving some pretty complicated signage “puzzles.”

Metro Sign really understands: From concept to design to installation, your sign matters.


We’ve got a lot of experience in designing and fabricating signage – and sometimes we can overuse the “lingo.” If you have a question about different types of signage or fabrication techniques, please don’t hesitate to ask. We do our best to use plain English and not resort to “sign speak.”

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