HEB Heights

Are you looking for a new sign for your business or storefront? How about channel letters? Channel letters are large individual letters, numbers, shapes, or characters used as exterior signage for businesses. They are also called 3-Dimensional letters or pan channel letters. 

Channel letters are usually custom-made from plastic or aluminum sheeting and are frequently lit from the inside. They have three parts: the face (which is the front section), returns (letter sides), back, and the lighting element. They are available in a variety of sizes, fonts, and colors.

Channel letter signs provide a great way to catch the attention of your potential customers and give them a new and bold impression of your brand. Here’s a guide to choosing the right type of channel letter for your business:

Do Channel Letter Signs Suit Your Commercial Space?

Before delving into the nitty-gritty, let’s start with the most important question: Are they appropriate for your business? Well, does your brand identify as bold, up-to-date, chic, and result-driven? If so, then channel letter signage is perfect for you. It is a well-known marketing technique that is catchy and stylish. Some businesses that use channel letter signs include:

  • Grocery stores
  • Restaurants
  • Pubs and bars
  • Spas, hair salons, and barbershops
  • Specialty retailers
  • Gyms
  • Boutiques 
  • Shopping malls, shopping plazas, and more!

How Are Channel Letters Fabricated?

There are two main methods of fabricating channel letters. The first and by far the most popular is Computer numerical control (CNC) production. It involves machinery and 3-D printers and is frequently thought to be of superior quality since the risk of error is decreased. The other method is through hand-operated tools which have a slightly larger possibility of flaws than CNC tools. 

Apart from the margin of error, CNC tools also produce highly waterproof products that are not prone to water damage. Regardless of the method chosen, the letters, as mentioned before, have a face, return, back, and lighting element.  The face is usually acrylic, but it might be aluminum or something different if it’s a halo-lit type (will be discussed more later). 

The return is often made of sheet metal, with aluminum being the best and most popular choice. The back of the channel letter follows the same guidelines. As for the lighting element, neon tubing was used in the past but today, LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs are far more popular since they are energy-efficient. You can, however, select channel letters without illumination. 

Different Types of Channel Letter Signs

As a business owner, you should be aware of the four primary types of channel letters available, and the key difference between them is how they are illuminated. This way you can pick the right type for your business:

1. Standard Front-Lit Channel Letter

The front-lit or standard channel letter is the most frequent type of channel letter signage. The back and return are made of aluminum. The face is made of plastic; either acrylic (more lustrous) or polycarbonate (more durable). 

The face of each letter is illuminated internally with either neon lights or LEDs. Trim caps are then used to keep the sign face in place and are made of plastic or aluminum. Standard front-lit channel letters are very adaptable due to the materials utilized.

2. Halo-Lit Letters

They’re also known as reverse channel-lit letters. They are letters whose faces and returns are made of aluminum and are usually raised off the wall or raceway with an open back. Being raised allows the neons or LED lights within them to shine out the sides and create a halo effect. 

In sense, the lights cast a glow around each letter. They are frequently used in businesses that need a distinctive, sophisticated, or distinguished aesthetic.

3. Front and Back Lit Channel Letters

This one is for entrepreneurs who want to go all out. Consider a sign with white lighted faces and a red halo effect. This is the definition of a front/back-lit channel letter. It is basically a combination of the regular front-lit letter and halo-lit letter. 

The return is made of metal, the face polycarbonate, and the back is usually rear of the sign is open to reflect the wall’s LED or neon illumination.

4. Open Face Lit Channel Letter

These have an open face as the name suggests. The back and sides are made of aluminum without a face. Neon lights are then used instead of LEDs. having no face, the neon is usually exposed internally. 

What Are the Different Mounting Options for Channel Letters? 

Three primary mounting solutions are used:

  • Direct Mount or Flush Mounts – Flush mount letters are installed on the façade with a pattern. They’re then held together using fasteners. Direct mounting with standoff spacers is common with reverse channel letters, which provides a distinctive lighting effect. Power and wiring are normally hidden behind the building’s exterior or bulkhead.
  • Raceway Mounts – Raceway mounts consist of a metal box containing a power supply as well as electrical wiring for each letter. Since all letters are mounted on one structure, it lessens the structural impact of signs by requiring fewer holes in the wall. This makes them popular in commercial buildings. 
  • Backer Mounts – Backer mounts have channel letters mounted to a backer panel that is larger than the letters themselves or on a metal cabinet that serves as a backer mount as well. The wiring and power supply are occasionally housed in the cabinet, which can also be installed behind the building’s exterior or bulkhead.

Savvy Marketing: Get Channel Letters to Make Your Brand Bolder 

After deciding the type of channel letter you want, there’s a lot more to think about. Customization including mounting type, font, color, the design amongst others. As such, get a professional to ensure you end up with a sign that you like!