Channel Letter Signs: Choosing the Right Material for Durability Landmark Sign Company July 5, 2024

Channel Letter Signs: Choosing the Right Material for Durability

colorful, lighted channel lettering spelling "aloha"

When it comes to making your business stand out, nothing beats the impact of channel letter signs. They’re eye-catching, versatile, and perfect for building a strong brand presence. But choosing the right channel letter sign is crucial for ensuring they last and look great year after year. 

What Are Channel Letter Signs?

Channel letter signs are three-dimensional graphic elements often used on the exterior of commercial buildings. Each letter is typically crafted from metal, acrylic, plastic, or vinyl and can be illuminated for nighttime visibility. They’re a popular choice for business signage, offering a professional and polished appearance.

Different Types of Channel Letter Signs

There are several types of channel letter signs, each with its unique features and benefits. The most common types include:

Front-Lit Channel Lettering

These are the most popular, with illumination coming from the face of the letters.

Back-Lit (Halo-Lit) Channel Letters

These have illumination from behind, creating a halo effect around each letter.

Combination-Lit Channel Letters

These feature both front and back illumination, offering a striking visual impact.

Open Face Channel Lettering

These have exposed neon or LED lights, giving a vintage look.

Each type offers different aesthetics and visibility, so choosing the right one depends on your brand image and visibility needs.

Factors Influencing Material Choice

Choosing the right material for your channel letter signs is essential for ensuring their durability and effectiveness. Several factors should be considered including: 

1. Environmental Conditions

The environment where your sign will be installed plays a significant role in material selection. For instance, coastal areas with high salt content in the air may require more corrosion-resistant materials. Similarly, areas with extreme weather conditions will benefit from materials that can withstand heat, cold, and moisture.

2. Installation Location

Whether your sign will be placed indoors or outdoors is another critical consideration. Outdoor signs need to be more robust and weather-resistant, while indoor signs can focus more on aesthetics.

3. Aesthetic Preferences and Brand Image

Your choice of material can also impact the overall look of your sign. Metal letters may convey a modern and sleek feel, while plastic might be more versatile for creative designs. Aligning the material with your brand image ensures consistency and helps in building a cohesive visual identity.

Different Material Options for Channel Lettering

When it comes to choosing materials for your channel letter signs, there are a few common options, each with its own set of pros and cons. Here, we’ll explore these materials to help you make an informed decision.


Aluminum is a popular choice for channel lettering due to its durability and versatility.


  • Rust-resistant: Unlike other metals, aluminum doesn’t rust, making it ideal for outdoor use.
  • Lightweight: Easier to install and handle without compromising strength.
  • Customizable: Can be painted in various colors to match your brand.


  • Cost: More expensive than some other materials.
  • Dent-prone: While durable, aluminum can dent more easily than heavier metals.


Acrylic, a type of plastic, is frequently used for illuminated channel letter signs.


  • Versatility: Can be molded into various shapes and sizes.
  • Light Transmittance: Ideal for illuminated signs as it allows even light distribution.
  • Cost-effective: Generally less expensive than metal options.


  • Fragility: More prone to cracking and breaking compared to metals.
  • UV Sensitivity: Can become discolored over time if not treated with UV-resistant coatings.

Aluminum is almost always used for channel letter signs, but if you’re wanting an illuminated sign, acrylic is your best bet.

Brighten Your Brand with Channel Lettering 

Ready to brighten your brand with durable channel letter signs? Contact Landmark Sign today to get started on creating eye-catching and long-lasting signage that will make your business shine.