Business establishments like to have a lot of name recognition. When you pass by the street, shops with eye-catching signage are likely to grab your attention right away. The timeless look of these letters is designed to give off a sleek and stylish appearance-enough to make a brand stick to your head.
A popular style of signage is the channel letter. These letters use various materials to spell out a brand name, slogan, and other essential business matters. Usage of it has grown in recent years, with a new variant even popping up “trimless” channel letters.
What Exactly are Channel Letters?
Before we discuss trimless channel letters in detail, let us talk about the original version first. Channel letters are usually constructed using strong plastic or metal. These signages are often found on too of commercial establishments. You may also see them inside malls, particularly in some hardware stores, cafés, restaurants, and groceries.
Most of the time, the letters have an internal light source. There are some stores, however, that use unlit letters as decorations. Despite the name, numbers and other characters can also be crafted in the same vein as channel letters.
The Parts of a Channel Letter
Conventional channel letters have a few distinct parts. The first of these is the face. It is the part of the letter you see when looking at it. Faces are usually made of acrylic sheets. These are cut into shapes using computer numerical control routers or acrylic cutting machines. The sheets are customizable, and there are a wide variety of colors available on the market.
Clear or transparent sheets are even becoming more common these days due to minimalistic design trends. Traditionally, the face is fastened to the frame using a trim cap-but trimless variants are becoming more prevalent.
The sides of the letters have an unlikely name. Instead of being called “sides,” these are known as “returns.” There is an intricate level of care put into the return. Precise measurements are used to ensure that they turn out to be of high quality. The standard range of depth lies around three to eight inches.
These parts of the letters serve as the form of the product-they are bent using automatic channel letter bending machines calculated to flex them into the appropriate shapes and sizes. The return is often painted with a color chosen by the client, reflecting their brand or design palette.
The backside of a letter is constructed with aluminum sheets, a contrast from the acrylic or plastic material of the other parts. The breadth varies per product, although .040 and .080 are standards measurements.
Traditional signages are not complete without a light source. Although channel letters can be made without light, the vast majority of signs still use some illumination to stand out. These days, LED bulbs are used to save on costs-they are much more energy-efficient. They also cause less harm to the environment.
This is the part that is not in the newly popular versions-a mechanism that holds the acrylic letter in place. These are usually made out of a sturdy form of plastic, which is then attached to an aluminum foil. This cap will be used to fasten the channel letter face in place with the help of a sticky liquid. This glue-like substance will fuse the cap to the face. Afterwards, the face will be firmly in place to the rest of the letter.
Trimless variants omit the cap for multiple reasons. For instance, trim caps have been known to crack, fade, discolor, and shave off after being exposed to some substances. These affect how the letters look, which is why innovations are focused on putting out signs without trim caps.
How Trimless Channel Letters Are Made
Innovations in the design and signage industry happen on an almost daily basis. Creators are constantly tinkering around their tools and materials to come up with the latest developments. One such example is the trimless channel letter-a version of the famous signage without a trim cap.
The outcome is simple: a sharp, sleek shape that is less prone to wear and tear. The trim cap in the more traditional letters causes fading and breaking over time, and a trimless variant may save the client time and resources.
Different service providers have their ways of extruding the materials to come up with trimless letters. Some may use a handheld laser welder to ensure the excellent quality of the product. Despite the lack of a trim cap, the letters remain attractive and sturdy-you may spot them in parks, malls, buildings, and other establishments.
Coming Up With a Trimless Output
Now that you understand how many parts there are to a channel letter-you might be wondering how exactly they are placed together in a trimless setup. After all, trim caps have been known to serve as the “glue” for the different parts.
As clich & eacute; as it may sound, the only answer to this is continued innovation. Businesses respond to ongoing design trends by investing in service providers that can turn in letters that look more minimalist. They prefer collaborations with people that are committed to using the highest quality tools.
Still, high-end designs do not have to mean expensive. Trimless channel letters have been around in the previous decades. However, the process of creating them involved multiple fasteners. It was a complicated cycle-the thick acrylic used to hold a letter together was also quite pricey.
The trim cap is completely removed from the entire output. Machines today are more efficient at creating faces and returns, and they turn out finished products faster. Since there is no trim cap, devices have a quicker turnaround period. And despite the fast nature of the machines, their output is more durable since the cap used to be the least sturdy part.
The Costs of a Trimless Letter
Trimless letters cost a bit more because of their sleeker, minimalist appearance. The visual appeal adds more value to the product. Also, there is still a fewer amount of makers, especially when compared to trimmed signages.
Since the trim caps were omitted, the letters also weigh less. As a result, the shipping fees are cheaper. Some couriers even deliver the items free of charge based on some promos and vouchers.
The Technological Aspect
Considering that the signage industry is machine-based, it is not surprising that developments to equipment happen often. People are always on the search for ways to cut back on costs and maximize materials. After all, previous versions of letters resulted in several waste products. These are leftover acrylic from the faces and caps-the absence of the latter helps remove a portion of the wasted material.
The machines used in previous decades were enormous-they took up a vast surface area of the room. They were uncomfortable to use for some people, and they were quite slow. Furthermore, their products were rough around the edges. Sign fabricators still had to fine-tune the letters to fit their assignment. Otherwise, they would be left with blotched letters that look pixelated or unpleasant.
Nowadays, automatic letter benders allow people to produce signs faster. The resulting products are also more polished-they retain the client’s distinct style while being true to the machine’s capacity. They are much more accurate; fabricators rarely have to correct the edges by hand. If any corrections have to be made, they are very minor and can be completed within minutes.
Some machines are even designed to churn out unbelievably sharp three-dimensional images that use clear typefaces for words. There are also light sources that are much more sustainable and cover more ground. The signs are also less hot to the touch-back then, you could burn a finger by simply placing your palm on the sign.
Why People Go Trimless
People often go trimless because it looks cleaner. The results are stylish and timeless, a sharp contrast from the more outline-heavy look of trimmed letters. However, the reason that clients switch to trimless also lies in its sustainability. The fabrication process is more streamlined, and clients do not have to replace their signs as frequently as before.
Another reason that people go for trimless letters is that design trends these days are more subdued. Gone are the days of the bold and brash typefaces. People and businesses now prefer a quieter, down-low vibe to their designs. Trimless designs reflect this-they are less tacky.
Since trimless channel letters have become more popular, the price gap between them and traditional trim cap letters has lessened. Trimless letters are catching up as people see the value and convenience that they offer. After all, they offer a more sleek and stylish look while also being more cost-efficient. Clients rarely have to replace them since they are more durable.
The signage industry will continue to innovate-trimless letters are just one brilliant development. Varisigns products are some of the most reliable channel letter machines for creating trimless letters. If you are looking for a way to produce them, then their wide range of automatic and handheld equipment are ideal purchases for you.