“Dimensional letters” is sign industry “lingo” for those 3D letters and logos you see on buildings. Dimensional letters can be used as indoor signage as well as outdoor signage, but probably most often as building identification signs. However, there is such a wide range of design options that, even though they are so frequently used, they do not have to appear “standard” or “common”.
- Metal dimensional letters are at the upper end of the cost spectrum whether they are cast metal letters or laser cut metal letters. The finishes can be painted polished, anodized, or oxidated.
- Formed plastic letters like those from Gemini Incorporated provide a durable – a lifetime warranty in Gemini’s case – sign with a wide range of styles and colors.
- Painted HDU (high density urethane) foam is a more affordable option that is resistant to moisture, mold, and cracking when exposed to the elements.
- Exterior Letterfoam is a 2lb foam with a metal face for an economical option with a good lifespan.
- Acrylic letters come in thicknesses of 1/8” to 1”. To add more dimension, acrylic can be mounted to sign foam up to 3” thick. Acrylic letters can be back painted with custom colors if need be.
- PVC letters are typically painted to match your colors but have rather limited lifespan.
Exterior signs are frequently lighted in some fashion so they are visible while a business is open in the evenings or, in many cases, 24/7.
- Externally lit dimensional letters are typically lighted from above or below the letters with goose-neck lights or bar lights. Sometimes they are lit with flood lights at ground level. There are other options but these are most common.
- Internally lit dimensional letters have lighting inside the letters that shines through the face and sometimes the sides of the letters. These are called “channel letters”.
- Halo-lit or back-lit letters are lighted from behind. The sides and faces of the letters are solid so the lighting shines out from behind giving the letters a glowing effect.
Whatever materials and lighting options you choose, dimensional letters make stunning exterior business signs that will work for you 24/7. Don’t forget they can be used as interior signage as well.
As with any exterior signage, always check with everyone who may have a say in what can or cannot be done on the property – start with reading your lease and talking to the landlord / property manager and then look to the city or county sign code. A large shopping center will have very specific sign criteria where as a smaller complex may be more lenient. When a business complex / shopping center has a sign criteria it is very likely it meets or exceeds the city or county sign codes unless changes in the code have occurred.
Have a professional sign company help you design your dimensional letter sign. They will be well-versed in understanding sign criteria and sign codes. Sign criteria and sign codes are not always written in layman’s language and / or have rather confusing formulas for figuring sign size. Most sign companies will help with or do the entire sign approval and permit process for you, albeit for a fee. The process can be more onerous in some areas than others.