360 Signs | Making Franchise Signs


What exactly goes into making a sign? As a consumer, you see signs everywhere, in malls, shopping centers, and stand-alone buildings. However, all you see is the finished product. How are signs made, and what exactly goes into making one?

There are many different types of signs, some include Pylon, Cabinet, Monument, Blade and perhaps the most common, Channel Letters.

Three types of channel letters include standard, reverse lit, compound channel letters.

Standard Channel Letters:

A standard channel letter is a 3-D graphic sign element. It is most often fabricated from aluminum since the majority are exterior signs and exposed to weather, this material will not rust. A flat sheet of aluminum is typically cut on a table by a computer-controlled router. This creates the back of the channel and 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. The return can be welded at the seam or riveted to the back to create the shape of the letter. The letter can is painted and fitted with any lighting components with light-emitting diode (LED) modules. A translucent plastic face made of acrylic or polycarbonate is cut to fit the open face of the letter can. Lastly, a trim cap border is applied to its edges to hold the face to the returns and gives the letter face a finished appearance.  The resulting product is an eye-catching sign that grabs consumers as they pass each store.

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Reverse-Lit Channel Letters:

Reverse-lit channel letters are fabricated somewhat opposite of standard channel letters since they typically have aluminum faces and clear polycarbonate backs. This is to ensure that the light cannot escape through the front of the channel letter rather it shines out the back, this creates the ‘halo effect’ that is iconic to the reverse-lit channel letters. Both the standard channel letter and reverse-lit channel letters can be fabricated on a raceway; however reverse-lit need to be placed on a backer-panel in order for the LEDs to reflect off a surface to create the  ‘halo effect.’

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Compound Channel Letter:

As the name suggests, this type of signage combines both the front lit and back lit channel letter. These channel letters are fabricated in the same way as reverse-lit channel letters. However, the aluminum face is replaced with a translucent colored face, this allows the LEDs to illuminate through the front. Similar to the reverse-lit fabrication process, compound channel letters also use a clear polycarbonate back. This process allows for illumination through the face, as well as, the back, seen in the picture below.

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Channel letter signs can be produced in almost any font, color or size. This flexibility permits channel letter specifications to be matched exactly to the client’s needs. LED illumination are the most common letter type now, as neon illumination has decreased dramatically. Channel letter signs enable franchises to attract customers during both the day and night!

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