Channel lettering is a popular three-dimensional lettering style commonly used in signage. It involves forming aluminum sheeting or other materials into the shape of a letter, creating a letter-shaped container. Channel letters are often illuminated with transparent plastic faces. They are lightweight yet capable of reaching large sign dimensions, making them ideal for department stores and logo use.
The fabrication process starts with cutting a flat sheet of aluminum on a computer-controlled router to create the back of the channel and form the letter shape. The sides of the channel, known as returns, are then bent around the back to create a solid can. The letter can is painted and equipped with lighting components like neon gas tubes or LED modules. A translucent plastic face is cut to fit the open face of the letter can, and a trim cap border is applied for a finished appearance and attachment to the can.
When illuminated, channel letters attract attention, especially at night.