Channel letters are a great way to brand the exterior of your business. The classy 3-dimensional style signage offers the best visibility. Channel letters can be produced in almost any font, color and size. With this design flexibility, the options are endless. LED lit channel letters are the most common letter type now, energy saving and cost effective. Channel letters add a unique look compared to the cookie cutter style back-lit signage. That is why many building and shopping center insist on channel letter signage. If you’re considering Channel Letters, our design team can produce layouts that will show how the sign will look at your location. We will visit your site, check your local sign codes, and give you an accurate proposal. Please browse through our Channel Letter Signage Photo Gallery.
Channel Letter Gallery
About Channel Letters
A standard, face lite channel letter is a three-dimensional graphic sign element. Its channel is fabricated from sheet metal, most often aluminum since it will not rust. A flat sheet of aluminum is typically cut on a table by a computer-controlled router, laser, or waterjet, based on a vector-based art file. This creates the back of the channel and is the basis for the letter shape. The sides of the channel letter, called the returns, are then formed by bending a 3 to 6-inch-wide (150 mm) strip of aluminum sheet around the aluminum back. This return can be welded at the seam or flanged and riveted or, with a metal stitcher, can be fastened with galvanized or stainless wire to the back to create a solid can in the shape of the letter.
The letter can is painted and fitted with light-emitting diode (LED) modules. A translucent plastic face usually of 3/16″ thick sheet acrylic or polycarbonate is cut to fit the open face of the letter can. A trim cap border is applied to its edges which gives the letter face a finished appearance and creates a fastening surface to attach it to the letter can. When illuminated at night, channel letters draw the eye of passers-by. These letters can be fastened directly to the face of a building or placed on an aluminum raceway. The electronics for the sign sit inside the raceway. Most raceways are painted to match the face color of the building.
A second option is a reverse lit or halo lit channel letter. With these letters, the face of the letter is solid and the backs are either removed or replaced with a 1/8” thick clear PVC. The lights are pointed to the back so the light spills out of the back of the letter and adds a subtle glow to the letter. These are almost always placed directly on the face of the building. The controls (power drivers) are located inside the wall in a metal power box that protects the drivers from potential damage. Each letter is autonomous and draws power through the driver.
One of the newest features is to apply black perforated vinyl to the letter faces, so the letters appear black in the daytime and white when lit at night. For the best effect, face colors are usually matched with their closest corresponding LED color. A warm white LED is best used with a yellow or orange face. We also have the ability to use color changing LEDs that give the owner the ability to cycle the color of the interior LEDs. Some systems even allow the owner to program the color. Since the advent of LED lighting technology, channel letters have become thinner in depth, decreasing to as shallow as 2″ to 3″.
Channel Letters FAQ
What is the change in power usage between fluorescent and LED channel letters?
Most LED manufacturers will tell you that there are a number of differences between LEDs and fluorescent tubes. One of the biggest differences is that the LEDs will burn for about 100,000 hours before needing any type of service. Based on a cycle of 10 hours per day, the diodes will last for 10,000 cycles, or about 27 years. The LED’s also use a fraction of the power of a fluorescent bulb. Most business signs after upgrading to LEDs use about the same amount of power as a 6o watt incandescent bulb. And finally, we now have the ability to offer color change LEDs.
Does the cold affect LEDs?
No it doesn’t. The LEDs do not require any time to brighten to full power(like the fluorescent tubes do).
How do channel letters mount to the building?
Channel letters mount using a raceway or individually directly to the building. If a raceway is used, the power drivers and wires are all located in the raceway. If the channel letters mount directly to the building, the power drivers and all the wires are run inside the face of the building.