Channel Letter Signs

Channel letters come in a wide variety of styles and sizes to fit any kind of business, whether it’s a retail store, restaurant, manufacturer, distributor, school, apartment or other type of building. 

As a 3D graphic design element, channel letter signs are typically fabricated from sheet metal, usually aluminum because it won’t rust.

A flat sheet of aluminum is cut on a table by a computer-controlled router, creating the back of the channel which 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 strip of aluminum sheet around the aluminum back. This return can be welded at the seam or flanged and riveted to the back to create a solid “can” in the shape of the custom channel letter.

The letter can is then painted and fitted with the LED modules.

A translucent plastic face (usually of 3/16″ thick sheet acrylic or polycarbonate) is routed out to fit the open face of the letter can. A plastic 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.

Another option for manufacturing channel letters is from injection molded plastic.

Channel letter signs can be made with an illuminated sign cabinet called a pillbox, logo box or cigar box. Channel letters can also be designed so that the light comes out from behind the letters. The letters are raised from the surface allowing the light to bounce off of the back. These are called reverse channel letters.

Another type of channel letters are open faced. The channel letter does not have a face so you can see the lighting. And because it’s exposed, these must be illuminated using neon lights.

Today, unless specified, channel letters are made using LED illumination instead of neon or florescent because they last much longer and are much less expensive to manufacture. LED lights last longer, costing you less electricity plus less maintenance on your sign.

Mounting Channel Letter Signs

The least expensive overall sign will have the letters mounted to a raceway. This rectangular structure is typically made of aluminum. It conceals and protects the electrical components of the channel letter such as the power supply. It’s less expensive due to the ease of installation. Only one hole needs to be drilled through the wall to push the electrical wire to the power source.

A direct or flush mounting of channel letters is when each letter is directly attached to the building surface. In this case each letter must have a hole drilled through the wall! Plus, all these wires must be connected to the power supply in a junction box; then the Master Electrician will run power to that junction box.

Yet another way to mount channel letters are on a backer. This is similar to a raceway mount except that instead of a metal box, the channel letters are attached to a metal cabinet or backer panel that is typically larger in height and width than the channel letter sign configuration.

The power supply and wiring can either be housed inside the backer “cabinet” or behind the bulkhead wall or facade.

Our channel letter signs are UL certified. A quality set of channel letters should be Underwriter Laboratory (UL) certified. The label placed by the manufacturing company on the side of the channel letter lets buyers, building owners, and inspectors know the sign has been constructed to comply with international standards. This means that the sign’s electrical connections are insulated. The sign will be properly grounded and when exposed to the elements, the sign will drain properly.

It’s important to understand your city’s rules and regulations; not only your city but your zone within the city. Some zones only allow flush mounting of channel letters. We’ll help guide you through the codes, working with the city directly to get the sign plans and design approved.

KORT Sign Design is licenses and bonded in the state of Minnesota and licensed in all the local cities around the Twin Cities including most suburbs.

Channel Sign Design

It all starts with the design. Our staff of artists and graphic designers will provide professional and comprehensive sign plans based on their industry  knowledge and manufacturing best practices. We can help your business by creating a sign to attract customers while meeting all building codes and regulations.

We promise to exceed your expectations in quality, customer service, efficiency, and accommodation. Work directly with one of our professional designers to turn your ideas into an awesome channel letter sign.

We’d be happy to sit down with you and show you samples plus discuss the various options. Our recommendations will be based on your brand guidelines, the site location, your budget, timing and specific sign regulations for your location. Give us a call today!

Need Help? We’re Here!

If you have any questions or concerns about your design, please give us a call.

“Kort Sign Design does amazing work. We had them do both interior and exterior signs. Great quality and even better customer service.”
John Unverzagt
Google Review

For more examples of our work, please visit our Pinterest page.

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