Business signs made with channel letters are fairly common. They are typically found on big box stores, hotels, department stores, corporate headquarters, and upscale businesses that want their signs to be seen at night. They have a certain design aesthetic, presenting a sleek, modern image, and one of stability and durability — not just for the signs themselves, but the businesses as well.
Channel letters are also not as “dark sky intrusive.” That is the term used when a plane is flying over a city, and the whole city is lit up below. It is also known as light pollution, and can hide the night sky from astronomers and hopeless romantics who only want to see the stars.
Many local politicians around the country want to minimize the dark sky intrusion and the ensuing light pollution. They know a lot of light pollution comes from lighted business signs, so they want to reduce their use. Channel letter business signs actually help municipalities cut down on light pollution. That’s because lighted box signs or a sign being lit via spotlight gives off a lot of light. Meanwhile, individual channel letters give off a lot less light, which means it is not nearly as intrusive.
That is because channel letters are built with some directionality — the light only shines outward, not up. Light boxes have light leakage, and are omni directional. That is, the light can shine up, as well as outward. That is what causes most of the light pollution. But channel letters are sealed around the edges, and do not have the same leakage.
Channel letters do cost more than other lighted signs, but they also look better. City managers certainly like them much more. Many cities have outlawed light boxes because of their concern with light pollution and the local aesthetics. The light pollution issue is one of the main reasons behind these laws, but many city planners just do not like the way the big light boxes look in their community.
Channel letters also make it seem like the business is going to be around much longer, and will be a permanent fixture in the community. That is because of the quality of these types of business signs give off that image. Some business signs just do not lend themselves to that feeling of longevity or permanence. They also make it seem like the business just did not have a big enough budget to purchase the right kinds of signs to properly market the business.
When it comes to retail businesses and corporate headquarters, channel letters can give the building and business that feeling of importance, longevity, and seriousness that a community may need or want from their corporate members.
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