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The Ultimate Guide To Channel Letter Signs

As a commercial real estate owner, you ultimately have the final say in what happens with your property, including the signage installed on your buildings. Channel letter signs are pretty commonplace as far as signage options go, so you can reasonably expect at least one of your tenants to come to you asking for your approval for a channel letter sign at some point. Before you can decide, it will help if you become familiar with this type of signage.

What Are Channel Letter Signs?

Channel letter signs are a type of signage whose structure creates a hollow channel inside the lettering. Their 3D design makes it possible for them to stand out more than other types of signs. The internal channel can be used to house interior lighting that increases their visibility even further. These signs are typically made out of metal and acrylic and are most commonly lit by LED or neon lights.

How Are Channel Letter Signs Made?

The return (sides), face (front), backing (back), and lighting elements make up the four parts of channel letter signs. The returns are usually made from metal. The face and backing can be made from either metal or acrylic, depending on what look is being created.

Manufacturing is done either by hand-operated tools or computer numerical control (CNC) manufacturing. The latter tends to be more precise with a reduced rate of error. Because of the increased precision, signs made through CNC manufacturing tend to hold up better to water since it’s less likely to get inside the sign.

What Types of Channel Letter Signs Exist?

The most common type is the front-lit channel letter sign. Front-lit signs are lit so that the light shines through the face. This type of sign tends to be highly visible regardless of whether it’s day or night.

Halo or reverse-lit channel letter signs typically have an acrylic back and an opaque front so that the light shines out from behind the sign, creating the halo-like effect that this type of channel letter sign takes its name from.

Open face channel letter signs are designed to allow passersby to see the actual light inside of the sign, thanks to being fabricated out of clear acrylic.

The last type is the combination front/reverse-lit channel letter sign. This type combines the look of the front-lit sign and the reverse-lit sign. The returns are still made from metal, but the facing and backing are generally acrylic. This allows the light to shine through the front while still creating a halo effect behind the sign. If you want to get fancy with this type of sign, you can even have it designed to have different colors showing in the front and the back.

What’s the Right Size for Your Channel Letter Sign?

The whole point of having a sign outside a store is to make it more visible. How big the sign is will have a significant role to play in how visible the sign is. As a general rule, for every inch the sign is tall, you can reasonably expect it to be readable from ten feet away. So a channel letter sign that is five inches tall should be readable from about 50 feet away. A sign that is 36 inches tall should be readable from about 360 feet away. The right size for any given sign will depend on how far away passersby are likely to be and how far away the sign should be easily read.

Business Benefits of Channel Letter Signs

The obvious benefit of having a channel letter sign installed is the increased visibility. While this is a clear benefit to the store owner, it also benefits the landlord. The better your tenant does, the longer they’ll keep renting. Having a successful business makes your location more valuable, which means you can justify charging higher rent.

Common Channel Letter Sign Mistakes

Some of the most common mistakes made with channel letter signs are failure to get the proper permits, having a handyman do the mounting, or trying to do that yourself. When it comes to sign mounting and installation, it’s best to leave it to the professionals. They have the tools and training to do the job right the first time. That minimizes the impact to the building and helps ensure an attractively installed sign right from the start.

Channel letter signs can be an excellent signage option for both store owners and landlords alike. Thanks to their fantastic visibility, customizability, and the different types available, virtually any business can have an attractive channel letter sign that helps bring in business. You may find you like this signage option enough that you recommend it to your tenants when they come to you to talk about the business sign they want to put up.