Channel letters are among the most common signs we make, and for good reason. They are cost effective, easily shaped, extremely vivid (when designed well), and long lasting.
Here are a few facts you probably don’t know about channel letter signage:
1. Because of the innate flexibility of channel letter fabrication, these three-dimensional signs can be made in almost any font or graphical shape, in almost any size, color and style. The major limitation on channel letter signage tends to be local zoning codes and other regulations.
2. Channel letters displayed against a solid color background can be seen and recognized from great distances. One common guideline is to size the letters 1.5 inches high for every 25 feet you want them to be identifiable. So if you want your sign to be seen and recognized from across a parking lot, the characters should be 15 inches high, or larger.
3. There are four basic methods for illuminating channel letters:
- Front lit signs have their letters made with translucent front faces, allowing light to shine toward the viewer from inside each character, making them appear to be fabricated from pure light.
- Open face signs are like front lit signs but without the translucent material of the front lit sign. The fronts of each letter may be totally open, or protected with a clear material to keep out birds, insects, and weather. Either way, the interior lamps are directly visible to the public, providing an attractive glow to the interior of each character in the sign.
- Reverse lit signs allow the light to shine out only from the rear of each letter against the backdrop. This produces the effect of a dark letter against an illuminated background.
- Front / reverse lit letters combine both styles, lighting up the front of each letter from within, and also casting a bright light on the backdrop so each letter is dramatically highlighted.
A subtly different kind of channel letter sign consists of characters actually cut all the way through the background material, allowing light – perhaps even sunlight – to shine through the openings.
4. Channel letters work equally well inside and outside a business. Their brightness and three dimensionality capture attention and make a strong statement.
5. Channel letters are commonly made from aluminum, which is lightweight, easily worked, and durable enough to survive sun, rain, sleet, snow, ice, and high winds. This material is also fire resistant and relatively easy and inexpensive to maintain. In some applications, the channel letters can be fabricated from durable plastic.
6. Illuminating channel letters with LEDs allows for bright colors, powerful lighting that can be visible from long distances, and relatively low electric utility bills.
7. Channel letter signs can be mounted several different ways, including:
- On a “raceway,” which provides support from just one side (left or right, top or bottom) of each letter.
- On a box, which provides support from the rear of each letter
- Directly on an existing surface, such as the exterior of a building, or an interior wall.