Channel Lettering

Common Questions and Answers About Channel Letter Signs for Businesses

Common Questions and Answers About Channel Letter Signs for Businesses


What types of businesses should use channel letter signs?

Channel letter signs are typically used by businesses with a physical storefront or location, such as retail stores, restaurants, and office buildings. They are often used to display a business’s name or logo in a highly visible and eye-catching manner. They are particularly useful for businesses located in busy areas or in areas with a high level of foot traffic, as they can be seen from a distance and make it easy for customers to find the business.

How are channel letter signs made?

Channel letter signs are typically made by fabricating individual letters or shapes out of metal and plastic materials, and then backlighting them with LED lights. The process typically involves the following steps:

  1. Design: A sign designer will create a design for the sign, taking into consideration the size, font, and colors to be used.
  2. Fabrication: The individual letters or shapes are then cut out of metal and plastic using a CNC router or waterjet cutter.
  3. Painting: The letters are then painted or coated with a durable finish.
  4. Assembly: The letters are then assembled into the final sign.
  5. Illumination: LED lighting is installed within the letters to illuminate the sign.
  6. Installation: The sign is then installed on the building or storefront.

The process can vary depending on the design and materials used, but these are the general steps for creating a channel letter sign.

Do channel letter signs need power?

Yes, channel letter signs require a power source to operate the LED lighting used to illuminate the letters or shapes. The power source is usually connected to the sign through a transformer, which converts the electrical current to a lower voltage suitable for the LED lights – typically 12v. (Don’t confuse LEDs with NEON which can be deadly voltage!) The transformer is usually located near the sign, or in some cases it can be integrated into the sign itself. The sign will need to be connected to a power source, either to an existing electrical source or by installing a new one, this is done during the installation process. It is important to know that in California, it must be a dedicated circuit with a timer (photoelectric or mechanical).

Channel Letter Sign Illumination

What types of channel letter signs are there?

There are several different types of channel letter signs, each with its own unique characteristics:

  1. Front-Lit Channel Letters: These are the most common type of channel letter signs. They are illuminated from the front, with the LED lights installed within the letters or shapes. They are highly visible and effective for businesses located on busy streets or in areas with high foot traffic.
  2. Reverse-Lit Channel Letters: Reverse-lit channel letters are illuminated from the back, with the LED lights installed behind the letters or shapes. They create a halo effect that is highly visible at night, making them ideal for businesses located in areas with low light levels. These are also known as “Halo Letters.”
  3. Open-Face Channel Letters: These are similar to front-lit channel letters, but the face of the letters or shapes is left open, allowing the LED lights to be seen from the front (often made to look like neon). They have a unique, modern look that is popular among businesses looking to make a statement.
  4. Combination-Lit Channel Letters: As the name suggests, they are a combination of front-lit and reverse-lit channel letters. The front of the letter is lit and the back of the letter is also lit creating a halo effect. They are usually used for a more modern look and a higher visibility.


Back lit channel letter sign

Do channel letters need to be permitted?

Yes, permits are required for channel letter signs. Most channel letter signs need a building permit (to ensure safely installed) and sign permit (planning) to comply with city and town ordinance. Sequoia Signs & Graphics is a licensed contractor that is fully capable of acquiring both types of permits and installing your sign. Beware of some companies that will install signs without a permit – there are safety concerns in addition to the law.

What does UL approved mean? What is UL Certified?

UL stands for Underwriters laboratory. It is a safety organization that sets industry standards for new products. According to UL “continually check products to ensure they’re up to these standards. UL testing makes sure that wire sizes are correct or devices can handle the amount of current they claim to be able to. They also ensure that products are constructed correctly for the highest safety.”

UL Certification empowers companies to elevate their safety measures and align themselves with industry best practices. Holding a UL certification showcases a business’s commitment to ensuring consumer safety and the excellence of their products.

Can Sequoia Signs & Graphics design, fabricate and install channel letter signs?

Yes! Let us know how we can help your business elevate its presence using channel letter signage. 

Neon Signs vs. Channel Letters: What You Need To Know

Neon Signs vs. Channel Letters: What You Need To Know

Neon signs and channel letters are both popular options for outdoor signage, but they are vastly different in terms of their design, maintenance, and cost. Let’s take a look:

What are Neon Signs?

Neon signs are made from glass tubes filled with neon gas or other gasses such as argon or krypton. These tubes are bent into various shapes and sizes to create the desired image or lettering. The tubes are then lit by a high-voltage electrical current, which causes the gas inside to glow, creating a bright and eye-catching display. Neon signs are often associated with vintage and retro aesthetics and are commonly used in bars, nightclubs and diners.


Channel Letter Signs for StorefrontWhat are Channel Letter Signs?

Channel letter signs are made from metal and are typically illuminated by LED lights. The letters or images are formed by cutting the metal into shape and then attaching it to a backing, which is typically made of aluminum or plastic. The LED lights are then placed inside the letters or images, illuminating them from the inside. Channel letter signs are often used for modern and sleek designs, and are commonly used for business and commercial signs.


Old vs. New

Like a blast from the past, neon signs evoke emotion and feelings of nostalgia. Neon creates a dazzling and radiant display that is sure to catch the eye and calls up memories of diners, bars and night-clubs. 

Ironically, there was a time when channel letter signs were lit with neon lights inside of them. But those days are gone! Today’s modern channel letter signs are illuminated with LED lights, giving them a clean and professional appearance. Typically made of metal, acrylic or aluminum, channel letters create a sleek and polished look and have become the industry standard for business and commercial signs.

When it comes to maintenance, neon signs can be like a delicate flower, they need regular check-ups and if a tube breaks, the entire sign will need to be repaired or replaced. Channel letters, on the other hand, are known to be sturdy and dependable, having a longer lifespan and requiring less maintenance.


Potential Issues with Neon Signs

In terms of cost, neon signs are generally more expensive to produce than channel letters. The cost of the materials, as well as the specialized labor required to bend and shape the glass tubes, can make neon signs more costly. In addition to production costs, neon signs present other potential issues you should be aware of:

  1. Maintenance: Neon signs require regular maintenance to ensure they continue to function properly. The glass tubes need to be checked for leaks, and if a tube breaks, the entire sign will need to be repaired or replaced. This can be costly and time-consuming.
  2. Power consumption: Neon signs consume a significant amount of electricity, which can lead to higher energy bills.
  3. Environmental impact: The production and disposal of neon signs can have a negative impact on the environment. The gasses used to create neon signs are not environmentally friendly, and disposing of broken neon signs can be difficult and costly.
  4. Cost: Neon signs are generally more expensive to produce than other types of signs, such as LED or channel letters. This can make them cost-prohibitive for some businesses.
  5. Safety: Neon signs are fragile and can be broken easily. They are also dangerous if they are left on and have a broken tube.
  6. Heat: Neon signs can get quite hot and this could be a problem if they are close to flammable materials.


Neon signs and channel letters both have their own unique characteristics. In the end, we recommend using channel letter signs for business and commercial purposes. Channel letters offer flexibility, ease of maintenance and a plethora of creative design options. Let us know how we can help you create the ideal sign package for your business. Contact us today!

How Channel Letter Signs Enhance Storefront Visibility

How Channel Letter Signs Enhance Storefront Visibility

Looking for the best business signage for your business or retail location? The look, aesthetic appeal, and size of your sign will impact how well it drives people to your location. Whether your letters are lit, how much depth a sign has, and where it is placed can dramatically impact whether potential customers will notice your business.

Channel Letter signs showcase three-dimensional designs that appear to jump right off the side of a building. They grab the attention of potential visitors and passersby and emphasize your brand in an aesthetically pleasing way. Channel letter signs can be made with endless color combinations and multiple lighting options. These signs are typically made out of aluminum or acrylic material; making them light weight and impactful.

Channel Letter Signs for Storefront

All About Channel Letter Signs

If you want to get your business noticed and work a new advertising angle into your location’s exterior, channel letters are a great way to go. This style of business sign is used primarily outdoors. However, channel lettering can also be used indoors, especially in large retail locations, malls, or indoor plazas. When it comes to captivating storefront signage, channel letters are a fantastic choice to consider because they can be beautifully illuminated.

Channel letter signs


If you want to learn more about channel letter signs, we encourage you to give us a call! We can answer your questions and walk you through the many possibilities for signage. Or, keep reading to learn all about the aspects of channel letter signs!

What are Channel Letters?

Wondering why they are called “channel” letters? The answer is pretty straightforward; these signs are constructed with a face and side walls creating a channel effect for each element of the sign. This channel leaves interior space for the light mechanisms to create a stunning, highly visible effect.


How Does LED Lighting Work with These Signs?

Channel letters have interior channels. As such, LED lighting can easily be run through the channels to attract attention and increase visibility. When lighting is poor or the weather is causing visibility issues, backlit and LED channel letter signs really shine. Backlit LED lettering can be a major advantage when you need customers to see your business easily from a distance as well. As a licensed California Electrical Sign contractor, we can help you with all of your sign lighting needs! So, to find out more about your sign lighting options, call us.

Channel Letter Sign Illumination

What are the Lighting Options for Channel Letter Signs?

Halo Lit Channel Letters

There are a few illumination options for these signs.

Front Lit Channel Letter Signs

Front-lit signs have individual LED strips inside of them that light up the face of each letter. The sign face is usually constructed using a translucent material like acrylic.

Reverse Lit Channel Letter Signs

Reverse lit signs are typically made using aluminum. Since they light up from the back, they have a halo-like glow. This is why they are sometimes referred to as halo-lit signs.

Dual Lit Channel Letter Signs

Dual lit signs implement a combination of reverse and front lighting. This creates a visually appealing glow and illumination effect.


How Large Should a Channel Letter Sign Be?

It will all depend on your individual business needs! With that being said, the minimum size for these letters is around 8 inches tall. This is so that the letters can be illuminated effectively. Ideally, your sign will be between 18 and 36 inches per letter. It is important to note that the larger your letters are, the stronger their material construction should be.

How Channel Letter Signs Help Your Business Stand Out

How Long Do Lit Channel Letter Signs Last?

Many people wonder how durable these signs are. If you implement proper maintenance, these signs can last anywhere from 30,000 to 50,000 hours. That means if they are turned on for half of the day, they can last about 10 years! Plus, replacing LED lighting components and bulbs is an easy task.


What’s the Difference Between Channel and Dimensional Letters?

Both types of signage have many similarities and three-dimensional elements. Dimensional letter signs involve cutting a sign’s components from solid material pieces. As a result, nothing fits inside of them. Channel letters can be used in many ways and offer more versatility because they have channels. This lends room for illumination and multiple color concepts. Channel signs can also be customized inside and out, down to their thickness and materials. Additionally, these signs tend to be used for different applications. Dimensional signs are ideal for indoor locations like lobbies. These signs can also often be found in malls, offices, restaurants, and even manufacturing locations. Channel lettering, on the other hand, is ideal for exterior locations. With that being said, channel letters can also be used in indoor plazas, malls, and other locations where lighting is a key concept.


Why Choose Channel Lettering for Your Business Sign?

These signs are effective, easily noticeable, and great for an array of applications. For one thing, channel letters can be designed in many ways. These letters can feature slogans, company names, logos, and custom requests. Moreover, these letters let you unlock new levels of creativity to best showcase your business and brand. Churches, businesses, schools, clinics, and retail locations across the United States and around the world often take advantage of this type of signage.


Ready To Get Noticed? Call Us!

If you’re ready to start discussing new signage possibilities, call us! Our licensed California electrical sign business can help you create stunning designs in an array of styles, colors, and sizes. Whether you want channel lettering, interior dimensional signs, or something else, we have you covered. To learn more, contact our team. We proudly serve businesses in the East Bay area. From Oakland to San Jose and Benicia to Pleasanton, we are ready to provide creative inspiration and exceptional business sign designs for all of your aesthetic needs!


Channel Letter Signs for Businesses

Channel Letter Signs for Businesses

Channel letter signage for busines

Chances are, when you think of signage for a business, you are envisioning Channel Letter signs. Channel letter signage is one of  the most common exterior sign product used for retail shops, stores, office buildings and medical offices.  

Channel letters get their name from the 3-dimensional nature. Each individual piece is crafted into a 3-d graphic element ranging from 1/2 inch to 5 inches deep. Every letter has a front face, side channels and a backing. Often times electrical wiring is added inside or behind the backing to create illumination. When each of the individual elements are displayed side-by-side, a full sign is created! 

Don’t be fooled by the “letter” in Channel Letter signs. A channel letter sign can contain any letter, number, character or logo that, when combined, make up the entire sign presentation. 

Channel letter signs are optimal for storefronts or business because they are flexible and customizable. Commonly made out of aluminum, steel and/or acrylic, channel letters can either be mounted on a raceway, mounted on a backer or mounted directly to the wall. The customization options are endless! At Sequoia Signs, we help you create the best shape, size, color combinations, borders, and stylized fonts to create a one-of-a-kind sign for your business.  

Channel letters can be either illuminated or non-illuminated. Today, mostly all internally-illuminated channel letters are fabricated using LED lighting, resulting in significant energy cost savings over neon or other options. Read more about the 3 most common types of channel letters. 

Face Lit  

Face Lit Channel letters are inlaid with LED to illuminate the face. The sides and backing are generally made of aluminum with a translucent acrylic face, or the aluminum letters left open depending on the desired lighting effect.  

Face Lit Channel Letters Face Lit Channel Letters

Halo Lit   

Halo Lit Channel Letters usually have an aluminum face and are backlit instead of face-lit. Because they are mounted slightly away from the building, the light shines out from behind the letter and creates a halo or glow that radiates out from behind the sign. 

Halo Lit Channel Letters Halo Lit Channel letters


Fabricated Channel Letters that are non-illuminated can range from one inch to five inches deep.  They are lightweight and commonly seem mounted directly to the façade of the building. 

Fabricated channel letter sign Fabricated channel letters in Walnut Creek, CA

Whichever channel letter sign you choose, you can be sure that your business or storefront sign will make a high impact visual statement! We’re here to help your brand make a strong and lasting impression! 


Berkeley, CA – Benefits of Custom LED Light Up Signs for business

Berkeley, CA – Benefits of Custom LED Light Up Signs for business

Custom LED Light Up Signs are hard to ignore and that’s exactly why you want to invest in an illuminated sign for your business. Home to the University of California, Berkeley provides plenty of business opportunities. There are many options to choose from when it comes to Lighted Outdoor Business Signs (which you can find here). Every LED Light Up Sign provides it’s own benefit, which we have summarized for you in this article.

Custom LED Light Up Signs - Sequoia Signs Berkeley, CA

Benefits of Custom LED Light Up Signs

Visible day & night

Although this almost seems too straightforward to mention, it’s one of the most important benefits of Custom LED Light Up Signs. If your business sign is not illuminated you might loose out on potential customers, simply because your storefront is not visible enough. Even beyond your opening hours, you can benefit from lighted signs to create awareness of your company.

Variety of Sign options

When we are talking about LED Light Up Signs, we are not talking about just one type of sign. Custom Lighted Signs come in a variety of options, including one that’s right for your business. From individual channel letters to digital signs, pylon signs & light box signs, the options are endless and within different budgets.

Customizable design

No matter the font, logo or color, at Sequoia Signs & Graphics we can match the design of your sign with your company branding. We understand that the design and visual appeal of your sign are critical and therefore this is an important step in the process. Our creative team of graphic designers will ensure your custom sign is an accurate representation of your brand.

Multiple mounting options

Apart from the visual aspect of the sign, it also needs to be suitable to be mounted on your facility or storefront. The surface of the wall and the accessibility of the electricity needs to be taken into consideration. Therefore LED Light Up Signs are available with different types of mounting options. For example, a Lightbox sign can help to hide a previous sign. When it comes to Channel Letters Signs, they can either be installed flush mounted or on a raceway.

Affordable & Low Maintenance

Although a non-illuminated sign might be more cost effective then an illuminated sign, they still are affordable. LED illumination is energy efficient and therefore cost efficient. Furthermore LED Lighted Signs require low maintenance, resulting in a lower overall cost.

Custom LED Light Up Signs for business - Sign Company Berkeley, CA

LED Light Up Signs in Berkeley, CA

Did you ever run into the challenge of not being able to find a business due to a lack of good signage? Make sure that this doesn’t happen to your business and invest in effective signage. You can rely on our experts at Sequoia Signs & Graphics, serving your business in Berkeley and the entire Easy Bay region.

Call us today at (925) 300-1066 or fill in the contact form for a quote for your next Sign Project!

The must-have Channel Letters Signs Guide for your business in Oakland, CA

The must-have Channel Letters Signs Guide for your business in Oakland, CA

Channel Letters Signs are one of the most popular sign types when it comes to building signs and storefront signs. As your local sign company in Oakland, we are going to explain everything you need to know about Channel Letters Signs in this article. You’ll learn important points of consideration before purchasing this kind of sign. We’ll answer your questions from what is a Channel Letters Sign? To what are the benefits? How are they made? And what are the different types of Channel Letters Signs?

Channel Letters Signs - LED Illuminated - Sequoia Signs & Graphics Oakland, CA

What is a Channel Letters Sign?

Let’s start with the basics and find out what they are. A Channel Letter Sign is a three-dimensional fabricated sign, shaped into individual letters, numbers or logo’s. They can be fabricated out of plastic or aluminum, whereas aluminum is the most common in order to comply with local city codes in Oakland and the East Bay region. Most signs have LED modules to illuminate at night, however they are also available without illumination.

Storefront Channel Letters Signs - Sequoia Signs & Graphics Oakland, CA

 What are the benefits of Channel Letters?

Now that we know what a Channel Letter is, let’s look at it’s benefits. We have listed the main benefits of this type of business sign, considering a sign with illumination. We are confident that these benefits will help you to understand why they are so popular.

  • Extra visibility during the day AND night
  • Creating brand awareness due to unlimited options in terms of design
  • Cost effectiveness as it’s a one time investment that is extremely durable
  • Establishing professionalism and authority of your business

Channel Letters Signs - Front Lit - Sequoia Signs & Graphics Oakland, CA

 How are Channel Letters Signs made?

Without getting too technical we would like to give you a quick overview of the different elements that channel letters are made from, explaining you how they are made.

  • Face: an acrylic face, which is routed into the shape of the letter, number of logo. Acrylic faces are available in standard colors, as well as custom colors.
  • Trim Cap: Holding the face and the body of the letter together, molded around the edges of the face.
  • Returns: these are the sides of the letter, which are fabricated out of aluminum and available in different depths.
  • Back: the back of the channel letter is similar to the face of the letter, routed into the shape of the letter, number or logo. The back is fabricated out of aluminum or clear acrylic (for a halo effect).
  • Light Source: an illuminated letter has a light source inside the letters which are LED modules.

Channel Letters Signs - Back Lit - Sequoia Signs & Graphics Oakland, CA

 What types are available?

At Sequoia Signs & Graphics we offer a wide range of sign options to make you stand out. Below is a short description of the different types of Channel Letters Signs available.

–        Front Lit or Standard: The most common type of channel letters, using LED’s to illuminate the front face of the sign.

–        Back Lit or Reverse Lit: Illumination from the back of the letter, creating a halo effect.

–        Front & Back Lit: Illuminates both the front and the back of the channel letter.

–        Open Face: Open at the front, often used with bulb lighting as part of the design effect.

We hope to have answered all your questions about Channel Letters Signs! However do not hesitate to contact us for any other questions or to start your next sign project.

Helping East Bay businesses get noticed with custom business signs

Contact us today for a free design consultation

Helping East Bay businesses get noticed with custom business signs

Contact us today for a free design consultation

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