Channel Letter Glossary

Need a quick channel letter term definition? Here are a few common ones:

Acrylic: Type of plastic used for face of front lit letters.

Backer Panel: Optional feautre that can help optimize appearance of channel letters, typically aluminum or ACM. 

Backs: Back of channel letters using router cut sheeting, in ACM, .040, .063 and .090 aluminum. Lexan for halo lighting.

Channel Letter: Fabricated three-dimensional letter that can be lit or non-lit.

Cutoff Switch: Electrical on/off switch placed on a building's exterior, on a raceway or individual letter. 

Direct Mount (Flush Mount): Letters are attached directly to building facade using a pattern. For halo letters are attached with 1.5' standoffs.

Drain Holes: Small holes placed at the bottom of a channel letter's return to prevent water from accumulating in a letter's interior.

Electrical Sign: Any sign containing or using electrical wiring.

Face: The front surface area on a sign where advertising copy is displayed.

Front Lit Letter: An illuminated channel letter with translucent face, most popular product.

Front & Halo Lit: This combo lit sign uses acrylic for the faces, and lexan backs to illuminate front and back of letters.

Halo Lit: Channel letter style with aluminum for faces and returns and lexan backs to illuminate front and back of letters.

LED: Light Emmiting Diode, that is the light source for channel letters. 

Lexan: Brand of polycarbonate for back of halo lit letters.

Logo Box: A circle, rectangle, square, or custom shaped box that is built like a channel letter with vinyl or digital print on face for advertising of business.

Open Channel Letter: A dimensional letter that has no face and if illluminated the light source is visible. Used for installing neon inside of cans a lot of the times.

Pattern: Paper template showing mounting and electrical holes for flush mounted signs.

Power Supplies: Electrical component that regulates buildings power into sign, remote or inside raceway. 

Raceway: A one piece electrical enclosure containing wiring and power supplies, that also serves as a mounting structure for the sign. 

Return: The aluminum sides of a channel letter.

Reveal Edge: Vinyl that does not go to the edge of letter, so that it has an outline that lights up a different color. 

Stroke Width: The thickness of a font or logo, needed to produce letter. 1.5" stroke for front lit or halo lit, 2.5" stroke for front & halo lit on same sign.

Trim Cap: Creates a fastening surface to attach it to the aluminum return and gives letter face a finished appearance.

UL Certification: Underwriter's Laboratories (UL) is an independent product safety certification organization. UL approval means that all sign components meet UL standards for electrical safety. Often required by cities for permits. 

Vinyl: Graphics material used to show non standard acrylic or multiple colors on a letter or logo. 

Whip: Electrical wiring comin gout of the backs of individual letters or logo box.

Wireway: Two piece meta enclosure to house wiring, slimmer than raceway and can be oversized for design element. 

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