Designing a Channel Letter from a Company Logo

Sometimes you will be asked to design a channel letter project that includes a company logo which may never have been done three dimensionally before. This isn’t all that tricky until you are confronted with restrictions from the city and/or strip-mall landlord. Following are some tips for success.

  • Do an accurate site survey. Taking the time up front to perform an accurate survey—with plenty of measurements, scalable photos and details of the signs the customer is currently using—will help avoid headaches later.
     
  • The placement photo must be scalable and without distortion to ensure accuracy in the placement on the building. Measuring brick size, where appropriate, can help you determine scale. A quick photo with a tape measure on the brick assures accuracy and eliminates further questions.
     
  • Dissect the logo. The logo will likely be provided in a PDF file. Most of these are fine for digital printing, but may require reworking for fabrication as a channel letter. Start by separating the logo into individual color layers. Keep in mind fabrication restrictions such as material size and the weight of the finished sign.
     
  • Initial Concept Drawings. The objective with this type of project is to make as few changes as possible to the original logo, but sometimes elements have to be modified or eliminated to meet construction requirements. Determine how flexible the client is to changes. This knowledge will help you decide on fabrication options as well. For example, will digital printing be needed on the face material or will colored vinyl be enough?  This drawing is for conceptual understanding by the customer and landlord on how the sign will be fabricated.
     
  • Final fabrication drawings. Once the general fabrication methods have been approved by all parties, create a final fabrication drawing that includes details such as electrical requirements, the gauge of aluminum to be used, how many and what colors of LED lights will be used, what type and color of trim cap will be used, wall fastener placements, etc.
     
  • Placement Illustration Once the redesign and construction methods are approved, create placement illustrations to illustrate both day and night views, along with a finalized construction illustration drawing. At this point the customer should be able to quickly understand the new construction method for their logo sign.