What is a Channel Letter Sign?

We have spoken about channel letter signs in our blog a few times, but many customers are unsure what exactly a channel letter sign is. Those same customers are often surprised to find that they encounter this type of signage every day. In fact, channel letters are one of the most popular choices for exterior signs. This is because they are easy to customize and last a long time due to their materials.

Channel letters are custom-made for every project. They are made from either metal or plastic. Our signs are created from aluminum. While this can be slightly more expensive upfront, the material is known to last through weather ailments. This makes it a long-term investment that winds up saving the business owner money over time.

The letters are often illuminated. In some cases, they are internally illuminated. In those cases, the letters will be created with plastic in place of metal to allow the light to shine through. When the sign is backlit, or halo lit, the illumination shines onto the building. In this case, metal is used to keep the light on the building and avoid illumination shining through, ruining the effect of the illumination.

Channel Letter Types

To best achieve individual looks for every time of business, channel letters come in many types. There are five main types that cover the needs of different businesses, as each comes with its own customization options.

  • Metal Construction. This is the standard in channel letter signs. In this face type, the letters are three-dimensional graphic elements that are created from a sheet of metal. They are made from a flat sheet that is cut on a table by a computer-controlled router, laser or water jet, depending on the sign company. A vector file rendering gives the router the necessary information to properly cut the letter.
  • Exposed Neon. This type of face was much more popular in older days, before LED lights came into play. These letters are created with neon that is covered with clear acrylic to protect the lettering from outside elements.
  • Plastic Formed. These letters have a molded plastic backer with a raised lip. The cover snaps on the base and is made from translucent light-diffusing plastic.
  • Halo Lit. Also known as back-lit or reverse lit, the face is created from aluminum with lighting that is directed to the back, creating a flood of light onto the building. Inside the face of the letters, the back is often painted white to reflect light.
  • Face Lit. In these letters, they have the same features of the halo lit letter but the can is not painted white to reflect light.

Want to get started? Contact us today and a member of our team will guide you through the process of sign making.