3D sign lettering is a common signage choice for business owners because it’s clear, readable and also versatile in design. 3D sign letters are ideal for both indoor or outdoor signage purposes, and can be very effective in building branding, expanding advertising reach, and helping your business get seen.
Because 3D sign letters can be so versatile, it may become hard to nail down an effective design that’s true to your brand. It helps to break the process down into three simple steps:
- Choose the type of sign lettering you’d like for your business.
- Decide on a sign lettering material and style.
- Determine your lettering thickness.
Throughout each step, make sure you’re thinking in line with your branding goals and corporate graphic guidelines. If you’re thinking–“we don’t have those!”, then now is the time to think through your business branding and establish your corporate graphic vision. We’ll guide you through the process–let’s get started!
Types of 3D Sign Letters
3D sign letters can be classified into two types: dimensional lettering and channel lettering.
- Dimensional lettering is for non-illuminated signs, which are favored for effectiveness. Dimensional lettering is clear and distinct, with many design and finishing options to choose from. Dimensional lettering can be used for interior and exterior signs.
- Channel lettering is for illuminated (or lit) signs. Similar to dimensional lettering, channel lettering is constructed of individual three-dimensional letters but is internally equipped to emit a particular lighting effect. Channel lettering is favored due to the benefit of day-and-night visibility and is commonly used as exterior or storefront signage.
Materials for 3D Sign Letters
- Plastic is a versatile sign letter material that is painted.
- Metals make for durable signage and are an attractive dimensional letter material for interior signs.
- Cast aluminum
- Stainless steel
- Letter foam is a light-weight, high-density material for 3D sign letters.
Styles for 3D Sign Letters
- Lighting: Outdoor lettering can be non-illuminated or illuminated in several styles. Learn more about lighting options for illuminated signs.
- Painted finish (Acrylic Letters): Acrylic letters are painted to add durability. Letters can be painted in several colors, offering the opportunity and versatility for creative sign design.
- Back-painted (Acrylic Letters): Acrylic letters can also be back-painted for a pristine look. Clear acrylic letters are painted on the back, offering color along with a glossy finish from the plastic.
- Acrylic Laminate: Acrylic can be laminated to PVC or letter foam for added dimension. Acrylic laminates are an affordable way to add dimension to your office or lobby lettering.
- Metal Laminate: Metals can be laminated to plastic (acrylic or PVC) or foam and then painted at the edges for the appearance of a metal look.
- Plaques: Dimensional lettering can be applied onto a plaque, lending a unique style. Plaques can be made from metal and acrylic.
- Digital Prints: Dimensional lettering can also be used with a digital print. Ideal for creative and unique signs, this is a good signage combination if your logo has a lot of intricate elements that are difficult to reproduce with traditional sign materials.See an example of a digital print sign overlay.
Sign Letter Thickness
Non-illuminated dimensional lettering can range from 1/8 – 2 inches in thickness.
Illuminated lettering can range from 3-5 inches in thickness. Reverse-lit channel letters (illuminated signs where light projects from the sign interior and off the wall for a halo lighting effect) are usually 3 inches deep, with the addition of wall spacers for the lighting effect. Most other illuminated sign letters are 5 inches deep.