Skip to main content

Channel letter signage terminology

I mentioned in our earlier blog that there are other types of signs such as routed push through letters, back lit and halo lit signs and the terminology of the signs when ordering and other manufacturing processes.

So, let’s start with what routed push through letters are.

These are when there is a solid fascia, this surface is routed out and then acrylic is pushed through the surface to create three-dimensional depth.  The internal lighting of the sign only lights the acrylic.  Alternatively, you can have routed and flush mount as well.  Same effect, except that the acrylic does not push out the routed area.

Back lit, Reverse Lit, Halo lit signs are all terms for the same process of casting light to make a glow around the sign.

If you have Solid Letters that are not front lit you may wish to have them back lit.  This means that the LED lighting is facing toward the wall to cast light onto the wall surface behind the sign.  Space is created by pinning the sign slightly away from the wall or placed on a rail (raceway) creating a halo of light around the lettering.

Backlit LED Channel Letter

Backlit LED Channel Letters

Open faced channel letters are a style where there is no face to the channel letter and you just see the lighting.  Open face channel letter signs were made in the past by using neon but nowadays either faux neon or LED bulbs can be used to create an effect.

Illuminated Neon Channel Letters

Illuminated Neon Channel Letters

When ordering signs there are a lot of terms that a salesperson will ask you.

Usually, the first question is what type of signage are you looking for?  The first thing to consider is if you want a wall mounted sign or a freestanding sign.  Wall mounted would consist of any type of sign that will go onto the fascia of your building.  Again, these will be either a fascia sign box, channel letters, plaques or pin mount lettering.  For freestanding signs, they can be a monument sign, pylon, high rise, pole sign, ground sign or directional sign.  All these terms identify the usage of a sign that is not attached to the building but stand alone attached to the ground.

Putting a sign together is like a menu of different toppings.

Once you identify the type of sign you want the variations are endless in order to obtain the effect you want for your branding.

Channel letters always start as a can (also known as ‘return’).  The process is that material is bent into shape to form the outline of the letter.  Different weights of material can be selected in making the can as well as depth of the letter.  From there you will need to choose the colour of the can.

Open-Faced Channel Letter Can Returns

Open-Faced Channel Letter Can Returns

Then you have to choose the face.  Your options at this point will be if you want a solid face or polycarbonate, lexan, acrylic face, this will affect the type of lighting you choose for the sign.  Next is the choice of lighting – back lit, front lit or both.  Again, if you have a solid face, your options would be limited to back lit only.

Trim (cap) can be the same colour as your cans, your face or a different colour to stand out.  Trim holds the faces to the can and can be painted to match a pms colour or in some cases can be pre-purchased in a standard pms colour from the supplier.

We at Elevated Signs can walk you through the whole process, provide layouts or concepts to uplift your brand.