Why we use real bulbs and not LEDs in our giant illuminated letters

I normally leave all of the blogging to our wedding planner and wedding expert Vanessa.  However as I (Dominic) am the company Technical Director this very often asked customer question falls under my remit…  We are often asked at shows and events how we manage to achieve such a great effect on our giant light up letters and if I’m honest I tend to get a little passionate about my lack of love for the humble LED….


Now don’t get me wrong LEDs have their place.  They make excellent home lighting and are completely suitable for your event’s disco lighting effects but here’s the thing; we spent considerable time researching our product to make sure we achieved the best lighting effect possible.  In this blog I’ll explain what we set out to achieve;  how and why as well as showing you a direct comparison between real bulbs and LEDs so that ultimately you can make up your own mind which giant letter hire is for you!

With our illuminated letters, we wanted to achieve:

1. A warm effervescent golden light that illuminates your chosen area and the people within it
2. An authentic vintage chic, look and feel
3. A light that your photographer can work with where they actually enjoy the technical challenge of the shot!

How we achieve this:
The effect we have obtained is from a combination of factors; first we choose a multi-layered specialist powder coating compound in an antique cream, which not only looks great, but lends itself well to the lighting effect. Then, we carefully selected a bulb and Cabochon cap to output the right amount of light at the right colour temperature, and also be capable of the long service hours required.

The Comparison:
In this image using the example ‘&’, we substituted one normal bulb for one high end market leading LED – you can clearly see in these images which one is the LED!

Illuminated Letter LED Letter









What we found from our painstaking research:

  1. Despite being carefully selected to best match our real bulbs the LED replacements are clearly too bright and still show excessive white light
  2. The nature of LED light output meant that taking photographs was difficult without the image being either too dark or worse over exposed
  3. Our much loved and commented on ‘lighting halo’ normally evident around the bulb was seriously disrupted as can be seen in the images
  4. Now we didn’t expect this one, but all LEDs seemingly emit a frequency which although not visible to the naked eye heavily disrupted the camera, especially with closer shots.  This flickering is even more evident under video and could easily affect any wedding photography or videography (see video).

Flickering LEDs Movie

Our Conclusion:
We will continue to only ever use real bulbs in all our large light up letter hire units to ensure the best possible experience for all our of our Brides, Grooms and Party guests and if you bump in to us at a show and ask us why our lights look so much nicer/different to others, then rest assured we have the answer!