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.

Channel Letters1





Channel Letters2

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.’

Channel letters3








Channel Letters4






Channel Letters5










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.

Channel Letters6

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!

Franchise Signs – LED’s are Killing Neon


Bigger, better, economical and of course environmentally friendly; these characteristics are the driving forces behind todays’ signage. Marketers capture consumers’ attention through eye-grabbing signs that stand out from their competition while also making it affordable to produce, as well as, supporting this generations’ efforts for environmentally friendly (Go Green) product.

One product that has accomplished this is LED Neon Flex by Green LED Lighting Solutions, LLC. LED Neon Flex is a sophisticated lighting product that uses energy efficient and environment-friendly LEDs in flexible tubing for commercial signs.

Consistency and reliability are two critical elements in all franchise signage. Green LED has accomplished this as they replace traditional glass neon in exterior signs.


Production to delivery time is fast, in most cases fabricators receive their orders in less than seven days. Additionally, Flex products are easy to install, even inexperienced installers can do it successfully, rather than requiring professional technicians to install complicated traditional neon. Lastly, Green LED products are patented; a single manufacturer insures a consist product.


Flex products are dependable: the LED’s have a life span of up to 50,000 hours or more, a PVC jacket with UV inhibitors that protects the LED’s, and comes with a two-year warranty. This smaller, brighter, and more energy-efficient product allows franchisees to spend less money on their signage resulting in more money into their pockets.

 LED table

Why LED Neon Flex?

  • They consume 80% less energy than traditional glass neon.
  • Do not contain lead, harmful gas or mercury.
  • ROHS Compliant as well as UL and cUL Compliant
  • LED neon signs pose no shock or fire hazard and create very little heat.
  • Made with PVC instead of glass for more safety, less maintenance.
  • Constructed of high quality sheet metal and then powder-coated to prevent weather damage. Unlike traditional neon signs, they thrive in the cold.
  • While traditional neon typically lasts only 8,000 to 20,000 hours, depending on its environment, our signs have been built to last for 50,000 hours or more.

The innovations in LED technology have allowed for the improvements to commercial signage. Flex LED’s are already being used by major companies such as Philips, the 56th Grammy Awards, Universal Studios Orlando, and many others, Green LED products will ultimately replace traditional glass neon.

360 Signs | Franchise Signs – The Value of Good Communications


Effective communication between a new business owner and a sign provider is essential when choosing a sign company.  Over and over again we get calls with people frustrated by the lack of returned phone calls from sign companies.   We also get a lot of calls from people that are already working with a sign company, but struggling with uncertainty on progress and overall communication.

Make sure, that the sign company you choose to build your signs is:

  • Responsive from the beginning.   Being able to reach and speak to your sign rep or a live person that can connect you to the right person is important.  If your sign company answers the phone on the first ring, it says a lot about how they value customer communications.   If you always go to voicemail, it tells you where you stand on their priority list.   Ongoing communication can take many forms, a phone call, a short email or text to answer questions or update you on status, but that first phone call tells you a lot about how the company operates.
  • Has a positive and quality reputation.  Research the companies you are considering.  Read through online reviews and/or any feedback given from clients.   This is a case where quantity counts, a company with 25 or more positive reviews or testimonials had to deliver great results over a long period of time.   Are communications mentioned specifically in the reviews?    Good communications gets recognized.
  • Willing to answer questions.  This is important especially if this is your first time going through the sign purchasing process. Educate yourself as much as possible going into the process and the steps you will be guided through from the initial survey, estimate, fabrication, permitting, and installation.  Make sure you understand the timeline, your contract terms, and areas that you are responsible for like electrical connections.

Good communications is a two way street.  Not only does your sign company need to communicate with you clearly, you need to make sure to be responsive and available as well in case questions or vital information is needed.  Clear communication from both sides of the sign purchasing process will make the whole experience much more effective.


Franchise Signs – Deciphering Your Lease


When a new franchisee signs the lease on a new business space in a shopping center, the landlord includes a section in the lease that explains the approved sign specifications.  New business owners often feel that the sign section is a lot of jargon and new terms that can be confusing and frustrating to understand.  Not only that, the franchisee has to try to understand whether their franchise signs will be compliant with the landlord specifications.   360 Signs can assist in translating those sign specifications and insuring the franchisee gets the best possible, fully compliant sign.

Franihise Signs Landlord Sign Requirements

Landlord Sign Requirements

Here is a summary of some of what you may find in your lease sign restrictions:

  • Size of exterior channel letters or cabinet sign you are allowed
  • Length of the sign
  • Lighting required
  • Type of lighting
  • Colors of the lighting
  • Colors of paint
  • Colors of the returns
  • Colors of the trimcap
  • Colors of the faces
  • Specifying whether your sign needs to be on a raceway 
  • Backer panel required
  • Mounting hardware
  • Type of lighting – Front, back, both
  • Hour restrictions for having the sign installed
  • Wiring/electrical specifications
  • Window graphics
  • Banners – allowed or not allowed?  If allowed, for what length of time?
  • Pylon sign tenant slots
  • Monument tenant slot
  • Who is responsible for sign costs
  • Cost of installation
  • Cost of removal
  • Permitting


franchise channel letters

Massage Envy Channel Letters


Each shopping center has its own regulations to insure consistency within that particular center.  If you are a franchisee with a signed a lease and have no understanding of what the sign requirements are, give 360 Signs a call.  We can simplify the jargon and allow you to get back to starting your business.

360 Signs | Franchise Signs – Key Questions for Success


There is a lot to learn when opening up a new franchise, especially if it is your first time.  One thing that is great about purchasing a franchise is the startup and ongoing support from the main franchisor.  But as part of your critical education, how much is discussed about one of the most important elements of your new business, the franchise signs? 

Hand & Stone Channel Letters

Franchise Sign – Illuminated channel letter sign

Your signs are a reflection of your choice to invest in the franchise.  It is the first thing people see before walking into the front door of your new business.  They have to find you and see your signs before they even walk in to meet you or before any transaction occurs.  A few years ago, a sign manufacturer performed a study of its clients to find out whether their signs were bringing in customers. The businesses surveyed were a year or less old and the surveys were conducted within 30 to 45 days after the installation of a new sign. Thousands of shoppers were asked, “How did you learn about us?”

The results, shown in Table 1, clearly demonstrate that the signs attracted half of the start-up businesses’ new customers – more than any other form of advertising the businesses used and even more than their word-of-mouth referrals.

Table 1: How did you learn about us?
Number of Customer Responses

On-Premise Sign

Word of Mouth


Yellow Pages









Percentage by Category







Naturally, as your business becomes more established, more of your sales will come from repeat customers and fewer will be directly due to your sign. But that does not mean the sign has become unimportant. On the contrary, you must constantly remind your regular customers that you are there. Even more importantly, studies show that on any given day, as many as 35% of the people passing your business have never seen it before and could become first-time customers because of your sign.

How much about signs and potential costs for new signs did your franchisor share with you in training?  Do you understand what steps it takes for a sign company to design, manufacture, and install your new signs? 

Franchise Sign - Reverse illuminated channel letters

Franchise Sign: Reverse illuminated channel letter sign

The first step many new business owners take is to just start calling sign companies they have found through a referral or the internet.  They learn quickly that there are a lot of questions that are asked by a sign company, and they have to explain the same information over and over again to try to get quotes for what signs are needed.

When calling to request a quote, especially if you know nothing about signs or it is your first time, here are a few pieces of information that will be helpful to have gathered before hand:

  •         What you want your sign to say (or what is allowed by the franchise)
  •         What kind of signs you need inside and outside. (Channel letters, window graphics, ADA signs, monument tenant sign, pylon tenant signs,message boards, interior door signs, directional signs, etc).
  •         A copy of your signage requirements.  This is usually a paragraph or so written into your lease that explains the specifics on signage you will be allowed at your new location.
  •         Pictures of building front, walls, windows, etc. where ever you want your new signs.
  •         An idea of the size, colors, lighting, thickness, etc that you might want or that is allowed.
  •         Graphic design artwork such as .ai or .eps files of logo and business name
  •         Full exact address of location site the new signs
  •         Your opening date

If you have all of this information before calling any sign companies, the entire process will go so much more smoothly.  At 360 Signs, we assist new business owners and help explain all the steps needed to make this process go as smoothly, in the end, saving you hours of research, effort, and stress and getting the best value for your sign investment.    If we have already been working with your franchisor, we will already have much of the information required, making the process even easier for you.


Five Reasons That Starting a Restaurant is Hard Work


Everyone loves food. And at some point many people have dreamed of owning a restaurant. It seems so perfect, right? Mixing your love for food and cooking with the joy of entertaining guests and being social.

But while owning a restaurant is certainly rewarding, there is more to it than just hiring a manager and mingling with your guest. As many successful franchise owners and operation managers can attest, the tasks that go into creating a successful dining business can be difficult at best. Let’s look at some of the challenges of owning and operating a restaurant business:

[Read more…]

Consistent Signage Attracts Repeat Customers


Ask any business owner what they work the hardest at and you will invariably hear the same thing; retaining loyal customers.  So when you’re putting out great product at your different locations, why would you want to jeopardize that relationship? When you’re operating a small business with multiple locations or even a franchise why would you want to somehow differentiate yourself from that success? Having franchise signs which are consistent and immediately recognizable are essential to earning consistent and repeat business. Many business owners might not realize how much potential business they are losing because they haven’t invested in consistent signage.

Here are three reasons why franchise signs can stand out by not standing out:  [Read more…]

Layperson’s Guide to a Face Lit Channel Letter


You probably pass by hundreds of examples daily without even knowing it!

A channel letter in itself is just a three dimensional letter.  However, a face lit channel letter is much more exciting, it is not only three dimensional, it is a letter that emits light. The face lit channel letter is the most common illuminated letter type, as the name implies, this type of sign only illuminates from the front face of the letter.  A channel letter is a custom made, three dimensional letter or shape, typically created using aluminum sheet with an acrylic face.  Behind the face are the white LED lights mounted to the back of the letter.  The light is directed to the face of the letter by the return.  The primary electric line sits behind the return and mounts to the LED power supply. The channel letters can be attached to a raceway or you can directly mount the channel letters to a wall or building.  A raceway is a long tube that conceals the electrical wiring for the illumination and attaches to the building and is less invasive to the structure. Many landlords require raceways.


Because they can be custom made to any size and because they are most often illuminated they are one of the most highly visible (and therefore effective) forms of outdoor signage.  You see front lit channel letters on all sorts of buildings and they are bright looking letters. These versatile signs create a professional look that will stand out day and night.





Signs Help Restaurant Chains Expand Their Brand


Building a strong brand is a challenging task. In addition to attracting clients and delivering customer satisfaction, restaurant owners have to manipulate a host of factors to be successful. One of the latest trends is social media marketing, but one of the most powerful tools in their arsenal has been used for ever in the restaurant business: signage. [Read more…]

Business Signs | Are Phone Numbers Obsolete?


Are phone numbers obsolete? 


As new technologies emerge older obsolete technologies fade into oblivion.  Wireless communication has allowed for instant access to almost everything.  Remember, at one point pagers were the pinnacle of technology.  Pagers became cinder blocks when cell phones became more prevalent.   The information posted on signs are no different.  [Read more…]