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Channel Letters – Make A Bold Impression

Channel Letters – Make A Bold Impression

Channel Letters are very popular and they make a bold impression.  They’re beautiful to look at, are highly visible both day and night, are energy efficient, and allow for some wonderfully creative 3D designs. They are found on building exteriors, as well as inside many high-end malls. The bottom line is that Channel Letter signs are an excellent choice for many businesses.

So what is a Channel Letter

A Channel Letter sign is made of individually constructed 3D letters and shapes.  Aluminum is the preferred material for Channel Letter signs as it will not rust. The letters vary in depth from 2” to 6” inches or more, depending on the overall size of the sign. The face of each letter is capped with a translucent plastic material.

Channel Letters can be lit by using high-efficiency LED lighting. The LEDs are mounted inside each letter and provide bright, even illumination. For daytime viewing, the channel letters are highly visible, while at night they really stand out.

Once the letters and shapes are ready, they are usually first mounted on a panel, although it’s possible to mount individual channel letters directly on an exterior wall. The designer may add other elements and accents to complete the overall look of the sign.

The faces of the letters can include various colors, with white being a popular choice. The letters can also have additional design elements. Good sign designers can create custom shapes using the same techniques used to form the letters.

Here are some other types of Channel Letters

Reverse Channel Letters

The Reverse Channel sign adds a dramatic twist to this sign theme. Instead of directly illuminating the front of each letter, the light is directed towards the back, which is left open. Light spills onto the back panel or wall, creating a halo of light surrounding each letter.

The letters in Reverse Channel signs are normally capped with aluminum and often painted black, so that all of the light is directed to the back. The dark letters create the contrast needed to achieve a glow effect.

Exposed neon channel letter

These are standard channel letters, but the neon is covered with a clear acrylic face to keep birds from making a nest as well as to protect the exposed neon from outside elements, i.e., weather, etc. This allows for the exposed neon to be seen, as well as the inside of the channel letter interior itself to add to the dimensional look.

Plastic formed Channel Letters

Formed channel letters feature a molded plastic backer with a raised lip. A plastic molded cover snaps over the base. The cover, or face, can be flat, round or “prismatic” (faceted face) and is made from translucent light-diffusing colored plastic. Light is emitted from both the face and the sides of the letter. Cut vinyl can also be applied to the face to create various colored light effects, or to produce a halo effect. The plastic face can also be made with a translucent chrome finish so the letters appear chrome by day, but still light up at night.

Back (Halo)-lit or reverse-lit letters

In this letter type, the face of the letter is constructed from aluminum and the lighting is directed to the back. This light floods the wall that the letter is mounted to and creates a negative space at night. Letters in this style are also called halo letters. It is usually the most expensive form to manufacture. LEDs are installed to the inside back of the can, and the back is often fitted with a clear or translucent plastic back to diffuse the light and protect the lighting elements and wiring. The letters are typically mounted 1-1/2″ from the wall so they are set off from the façade of the building. The inside of the can is often painted white to reflect light. The effect of the halo lighting allows for a variety of creative effects depending on the color, sheen, and texture of the building surface. Light-colored building surfaces with a matte finish produce the best halo effect; dark mirror-like finishes the worst.

Face and Back (Halo)-lit letters

These letters combine the same features of a face and back-lit letter. The inside of the can is usually not painted white.

Benefits of Channel Letter Signs

One of the main benefits in choosing a channel letter sign is that you’re able to recreate the design elements of your corporate identity, enabling the further developing of your brand identity.  A good sign company can match your font and logo, and create a bold, 3D sign.

A quick summary of some of the benefits of Channel Letter signs:

  • Durable, long-lasting, and low maintenance
  • LEDs stay bright and efficient even during cold winters
  • Excellent visibility at night
  • Gives you an advantage over the competition
  • Allows for many design options
  • Low power use – environmentally friendly
  • LEDs use low voltage DC power
  • Highly visible at a distance, day or night
  • Popular sign style for national brands — makes your company look larger than it is

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