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 C3Controls.com: 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. 

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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