Front Lit vs Reverse Lit Channel Letters: How to Make the Right Choice?

Channel Letters Edmonton

Is there really a right answer in the front-lit or reverse-lit channel letter signs debate? Perhaps the folly lies in the question itself. We get many customers asking if front or rear-lit signs are more effective. Which sign is right for you depends on the design, where it is to be installed, and what kind of mood you want to evoke.

Describing Channel Letter Signs

Custom channel letters are a combination of dimensional letters and lighting setups incorporated within the sign itself. Letters are typically made of aluminum because it is soft enough to bend into small shapes, strong enough to withstand weather, and resilient to corrosion. Signs may also be made of plastic, though these are mostly suitable for indoor use. For front fascia, they may be open-faced (without any sort of covering) or have a glass/acrylic front.

Lighting is an important part of these signs. LED and neon are the most common lighting options for signs. Front-lit signs are those which have light shining through the front fascia of the sign. With reverse-lit signs, light is shone on the mounting surface to create a halo effect around the sign.

Types of lighted dimensional letters

  • Front-lit
  • Backlit/Reverse-lit/Halo-lit
  • Front and reverse-lit
  • Open-face lighting

Which is right for you: front or reverse-lit?

Both signs are equally ‘effective’ as advertising and promotional tools. To find which sign is right for you, consider these points.

Spacing

Reverse-lit signs require additional space behind the sign to create an adequate halo effect. Not every location has the space or the permission to create a sign that protrudes the few extra inches. If that’s the case for you then front-lit signs are the obvious choice.

Mood

Front-lit signs are universal and aesthetically appealing no matter where they are used. Reverse-lit signs exude a naturally upscale charm. It’s why you will find them above commercial buildings, jewelry stores, and the like. What kind of audience you want to advertise to will help you decide which sign is right.

Practical considerations

With front-lit signs the lighting setup is incorporated within the sign itself. It means little or no additional space needs to be allocated externally. This means front-lit signs are self-contained and relatively easier to maintain. Reverse-lit signs, on the other hand, require the right color and quality of mounting background. The halo effect may also require a backing plate. This may make for a visually appealing sign, but are more complex.

If you can’t decide whether you want a front-lit or a reverse-lit sign, don’t worry, you can do both!

Ask Yourself These Questions

If you are stuck trying to decide between lighting configurations, ask yourself these questions:

  • Visualize the sign above your frontage. Which looks better?
  • Will the sign be day and night, or just in the evening?
  • Will the mounting wall behind the sign make a good background?
  • Are there any legal/lease requirements that limit your signage options?

Whichever Sign You Choose…

3SixtySignSolution is the go-to sign shop for custom channel letter signs in Alberta. We work with all types of businesses on creative signs that will get you noticed. Speak to a representative to find out how we help customers design signs and figure out installation. We are a full-service sign company that takes care of design, construction, installation, and maintenance of the sign.

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