The power of neon at your fingertips - Lighting Design NZ
The power of neon at your fingertips

The power of neon at your fingertips

Using LED technology to transform a traditional medium of yesteryear into an accessible lighting solution for today.

Words by Justin Foote

When French engineer and inventor, Georges Claude, invented neon lighting in 1910, it’s likely that even he didn’t grasp the influence it would have on the world of advertising, becoming the dominant form of lit signage by the mid-1930s—a position held until fairly recently.

Developed in the 1960s, the first low-powered LEDs, which could only display deep red colors, were unsuitable for general lighting applications and were restricted to use in numeric displays and indicator lights. The first blue LEDs were developed in the mid-90s, paving the way for greater applications, including LED neon.

A little over four years ago, lighting designer Tom Numan was living and working in China when he was approached to create a “neon” sign using LEDs.

“The issue at the time was that the existing LED technology didn’t give you the seamless lighting effect achievable with actual neon,” says Tom.

“Being in China, though, meant I had direct access to a number of lighting manufacturers and with some trial and error, the Rad Super Mini LED Flex Neon was created, which very closely mimics the look of traditional neon, at a fraction of the cost of true neon.”

Thanks to the new Custom Neon Builder, Radikal Neon customers can design their own neon statement in just four easy steps.

From historical medium to modern-day vision

Upon returning to New Zealand, Tom realised the potential the Rad Super Mini LED had for reviving an interest in neon lighting, especially in residential applications.

“One of the biggest barriers to traditional neon is that it is expensive to produce, fragile and expensive to run. LED Neon is at least a third cheaper and, thanks to Radikal Neon, comes with no loss in effect and creative uses, allowing customers to bring to life just about anything they can think up.

“There is just something inherently romantic about neon lighting, an ineffable quality that resonates with so many people. The Rad Super Mini LED allows us to reproduce that nostalgic feeling in a modern context, which is also a much more sustainable alternative than the original.”

LED Neon has a lifetime of up to 40,000 hours, or four years’ continuous shine time and can be used on a dimmer switch to control the level of light output—something that is very desirable in a residential setting, particularly lounges and bedrooms, especially children’s bedrooms, where it can be used as a night light.

LED Neon lighting is commonly affixed to a rigid base—similar in purpose to the canvas of a painted artwork—and Radikal Neon uses a clear acrylic backing, which is cut to size and/or shape before having the LED signage attached.

Tom says the completed signs can be powered via multiple power leads allowing for large, complex designs of many colours to be manufactured and displayed without any loss of vibrancy across the design.

Customers also have the opportunity to work with the Radikal Neon team to design a custom neon image for just about any application.

Radikal Neon: the online Custom Neon Builder tool

The next challenge was in coming up with a way to streamline the ordering process to make neon lighting even more accessible to the general public.

“We wanted a tool for our clients that would make it easier to create—and get an estimated quote for—a custom neon sign. Customers were previously able to go onto our site and fill out a form from which we would supply a quote.

“While this worked well, it was a time-consuming process for our clients as well as ourselves. The online Custom Neon Builder allows people to design their own alphanumeric sign and get a quote at the same time.”

Tom says there are more than 15 fonts to choose from, as well as 15 neon colours (including colour-changing RGB LED), which can be mixed and matched. Also, depending on the complexity of the sign, clients can choose from a range of sizes from ‘super small’ to ‘big’.

“The Custom Neon Builder has really simplified the whole process, allowing customers to ‘buy right now’ or to submit their design for a free visual quote. Either way, we still supply a full mock up of how the sign is going to look and usually quote within 24 hours of receiving the enquiry.”

Customers can also use the Radikal Neon website to upload pictures, logos or icons for image-based signage. In the four years since establishing Radikal Neon, Tom estimates that he and his team have produced as many as 6000 signs for customers all over the world.

“The next step is to reach an even broader client base, which has resulted in us setting up a retail presence in the United States, which should be up and running from March this year.”

Learn more about creating your own custom neon sign.

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The power of neon at your fingertips

The power of neon at your fingertips

Using LED technology to transform a traditional medium of yesteryear into an accessible lighting solution for today.

Words by Justin Foote

When French engineer and inventor, Georges Claude, invented neon lighting in 1910, it’s likely that even he didn’t grasp the influence it would have on the world of advertising, becoming the dominant form of lit signage by the mid-1930s—a position held until fairly recently.

Developed in the 1960s, the first low-powered LEDs, which could only display deep red colors, were unsuitable for general lighting applications and were restricted to use in numeric displays and indicator lights. The first blue LEDs were developed in the mid-90s, paving the way for greater applications, including LED neon.

A little over four years ago, lighting designer Tom Numan was living and working in China when he was approached to create a “neon” sign using LEDs.

“The issue at the time was that the existing LED technology didn’t give you the seamless lighting effect achievable with actual neon,” says Tom.

“Being in China, though, meant I had direct access to a number of lighting manufacturers and with some trial and error, the Rad Super Mini LED Flex Neon was created, which very closely mimics the look of traditional neon, at a fraction of the cost of true neon.”

Thanks to the new Custom Neon Builder, Radikal Neon customers can design their own neon statement in just four easy steps.

From historical medium to modern-day vision

Upon returning to New Zealand, Tom realised the potential the Rad Super Mini LED had for reviving an interest in neon lighting, especially in residential applications.

“One of the biggest barriers to traditional neon is that it is expensive to produce, fragile and expensive to run. LED Neon is at least a third cheaper and, thanks to Radikal Neon, comes with no loss in effect and creative uses, allowing customers to bring to life just about anything they can think up.

“There is just something inherently romantic about neon lighting, an ineffable quality that resonates with so many people. The Rad Super Mini LED allows us to reproduce that nostalgic feeling in a modern context, which is also a much more sustainable alternative than the original.”

LED Neon has a lifetime of up to 40,000 hours, or four years’ continuous shine time and can be used on a dimmer switch to control the level of light output—something that is very desirable in a residential setting, particularly lounges and bedrooms, especially children’s bedrooms, where it can be used as a night light.

LED Neon lighting is commonly affixed to a rigid base—similar in purpose to the canvas of a painted artwork—and Radikal Neon uses a clear acrylic backing, which is cut to size and/or shape before having the LED signage attached.

Tom says the completed signs can be powered via multiple power leads allowing for large, complex designs of many colours to be manufactured and displayed without any loss of vibrancy across the design.

Customers also have the opportunity to work with the Radikal Neon team to design a custom neon image for just about any application.

Radikal Neon: the online Custom Neon Builder tool

The next challenge was in coming up with a way to streamline the ordering process to make neon lighting even more accessible to the general public.

“We wanted a tool for our clients that would make it easier to create—and get an estimated quote for—a custom neon sign. Customers were previously able to go onto our site and fill out a form from which we would supply a quote.

“While this worked well, it was a time-consuming process for our clients as well as ourselves. The online Custom Neon Builder allows people to design their own alphanumeric sign and get a quote at the same time.”

Tom says there are more than 15 fonts to choose from, as well as 15 neon colours (including colour-changing RGB LED), which can be mixed and matched. Also, depending on the complexity of the sign, clients can choose from a range of sizes from ‘super small’ to ‘big’.

“The Custom Neon Builder has really simplified the whole process, allowing customers to ‘buy right now’ or to submit their design for a free visual quote. Either way, we still supply a full mock up of how the sign is going to look and usually quote within 24 hours of receiving the enquiry.”

Customers can also use the Radikal Neon website to upload pictures, logos or icons for image-based signage. In the four years since establishing Radikal Neon, Tom estimates that he and his team have produced as many as 6000 signs for customers all over the world.

“The next step is to reach an even broader client base, which has resulted in us setting up a retail presence in the United States, which should be up and running from March this year.”

Learn more about creating your own custom neon sign.

Recommended reading
All
Projects
Products
Professionals
Articles
The power of neon at your fingertips

The power of neon at your fingertips

Using LED technology to transform a traditional medium of yesteryear into an accessible lighting solution for today.

Words by Justin Foote

When French engineer and inventor, Georges Claude, invented neon lighting in 1910, it’s likely that even he didn’t grasp the influence it would have on the world of advertising, becoming the dominant form of lit signage by the mid-1930s—a position held until fairly recently.

Developed in the 1960s, the first low-powered LEDs, which could only display deep red colors, were unsuitable for general lighting applications and were restricted to use in numeric displays and indicator lights. The first blue LEDs were developed in the mid-90s, paving the way for greater applications, including LED neon.

A little over four years ago, lighting designer Tom Numan was living and working in China when he was approached to create a “neon” sign using LEDs.

“The issue at the time was that the existing LED technology didn’t give you the seamless lighting effect achievable with actual neon,” says Tom.

“Being in China, though, meant I had direct access to a number of lighting manufacturers and with some trial and error, the Rad Super Mini LED Flex Neon was created, which very closely mimics the look of traditional neon, at a fraction of the cost of true neon.”

Thanks to the new Custom Neon Builder, Radikal Neon customers can design their own neon statement in just four easy steps.

From historical medium to modern-day vision

Upon returning to New Zealand, Tom realised the potential the Rad Super Mini LED had for reviving an interest in neon lighting, especially in residential applications.

“One of the biggest barriers to traditional neon is that it is expensive to produce, fragile and expensive to run. LED Neon is at least a third cheaper and, thanks to Radikal Neon, comes with no loss in effect and creative uses, allowing customers to bring to life just about anything they can think up.

“There is just something inherently romantic about neon lighting, an ineffable quality that resonates with so many people. The Rad Super Mini LED allows us to reproduce that nostalgic feeling in a modern context, which is also a much more sustainable alternative than the original.”

LED Neon has a lifetime of up to 40,000 hours, or four years’ continuous shine time and can be used on a dimmer switch to control the level of light output—something that is very desirable in a residential setting, particularly lounges and bedrooms, especially children’s bedrooms, where it can be used as a night light.

LED Neon lighting is commonly affixed to a rigid base—similar in purpose to the canvas of a painted artwork—and Radikal Neon uses a clear acrylic backing, which is cut to size and/or shape before having the LED signage attached.

Tom says the completed signs can be powered via multiple power leads allowing for large, complex designs of many colours to be manufactured and displayed without any loss of vibrancy across the design.

Customers also have the opportunity to work with the Radikal Neon team to design a custom neon image for just about any application.

Radikal Neon: the online Custom Neon Builder tool

The next challenge was in coming up with a way to streamline the ordering process to make neon lighting even more accessible to the general public.

“We wanted a tool for our clients that would make it easier to create—and get an estimated quote for—a custom neon sign. Customers were previously able to go onto our site and fill out a form from which we would supply a quote.

“While this worked well, it was a time-consuming process for our clients as well as ourselves. The online Custom Neon Builder allows people to design their own alphanumeric sign and get a quote at the same time.”

Tom says there are more than 15 fonts to choose from, as well as 15 neon colours (including colour-changing RGB LED), which can be mixed and matched. Also, depending on the complexity of the sign, clients can choose from a range of sizes from ‘super small’ to ‘big’.

“The Custom Neon Builder has really simplified the whole process, allowing customers to ‘buy right now’ or to submit their design for a free visual quote. Either way, we still supply a full mock up of how the sign is going to look and usually quote within 24 hours of receiving the enquiry.”

Customers can also use the Radikal Neon website to upload pictures, logos or icons for image-based signage. In the four years since establishing Radikal Neon, Tom estimates that he and his team have produced as many as 6000 signs for customers all over the world.

“The next step is to reach an even broader client base, which has resulted in us setting up a retail presence in the United States, which should be up and running from March this year.”

Learn more about creating your own custom neon sign.