Dimensional Sign Letters

Dimensional Sign Letters

What are Dimensional Sign Letters?

Dimensional sign letters are 3D letters made from Acrylic, or Metal that are mounted individually to the wall. They can either be raised on clear spacers or mounted flush with the wall. Options for depth include 1/16" to 1" for flat cut materials and 1" - 5" and up for layered Foam, Layered MDF or Channel letters.

We have years of experience designing signs. Thanks to our experience, after seeing your logo, we can always suggest the best way to bring it to life using different materials, depths and finishes.

However, here is everything about what goes into making dimensional signs, letters and logos. These options will give you a better sense of our recommendations.

If you are a designer or looking to take part in the sign design process, feel free to draw upon this information when discussing your sign idea with us.

Types of Dimensional Letters

Dimen­sion­al let­ters are made using two dif­fer­ent meth­ods of production.

1. Flat Cut­ting (CNC)

2. Chan­nel Let­ter Forming

1. Flat Cut Letters

Flat cut let­ters are CNC (Com­put­er Numer­i­cal Con­trol) cut using a com­put­er con­trolled machine with a laser, water jet or router bit attachment.

2. Fab­ri­cat­ed Chan­nel Letters

Chan­nel let­ters are met­al or plas­tic signs made of bent chan­nels that are glued or weld­ed into cus­tom shaped let­ters or symbols.

3D Letters 101

How do 3D let­ters work? What type of mate­r­i­al do you use, what col­or should the let­ters be, what are my options? 

3 Main options when mak­ing dimen­sion­al signs:

1. Depth

2. Mate­r­i­al

3. Fin­ish

1. Depth / Thickness

Flat cut mate­ri­als nor­mal­ly range in depth between 18″ to 1″. It’s best to choose your let­ter­ing depth based on the size of the let­ter­ing and how they’re going to be used.

For exam­ple, thin­ner let­ters mount­ed flush with the wall work bet­ter for high traf­fic areas like desks and hall­ways. Thin­ner let­ters have a low­er pro­file and don’t get in the way.

On the oth­er hand, less fre­quent­ed areas like walls behind recep­tion desks are more pro­tect­ed and can allow for indi­vid­u­al­ly cut let­ter­ing raised off the wall on pegs for an addi­tion­al float­ing effect.

Most com­mon flat cut mate­r­i­al depths along with their best use case:

  • 18″ (One Eighth Inch) — Good for very small let­ters (under 1″ high) mount­ed flat on the wall. We usu­al­ly cut this depth with an adhe­sive back­ing to sim­pli­fy instal­la­tion. This thick­ness can also be used to bring out fine details on symbols.
  • 14″ (Quar­ter Inch) — Ide­al for sub­head­ings and sec­ondary infor­ma­tion. Also a great option if you are on a bud­get. We usu­al­ly cut this depth with an adhe­sive sticky back.
  • 12″ (Half Inch) — Our most pop­u­lar depth for 3D raised let­ters. This Depth can be raised on spac­ers (small peg mounts) for an addi­tion­al float­ing effect or direct­ly to the wall on dou­ble sided tape. Pro­vides a sub­stan­tial look and feel.
  • 34″ (Three Quar­ter Inch) — Excel­lent for when you need a beefi­er, bold­er look.
  • 1″ (One Inch) — Per­fect for a very bold look. Usu­al­ly the max depth for flat cut materials.

How far are they raised off the wall?

Anoth­er ques­tion relat­ed to mate­r­i­al depth is how far the let­ters stick off the wall. Mean­ing how far are the dimen­sion­al let­ters spaced off the wall on mounts, pegs, rods, or spacers.

In most cas­es, we raise our signs off the wall on 12″ spac­ers. This gives the indi­vid­u­al­ly cut let­ters an added float­ing effect that makes them appear more 3 dimensional.

Depend­ing on your light­ing, rais­ing your sign on 12″ mounts will also cast a shad­ow. The shad­ow effect can be increased or decreased by adjust­ing your lighting.

Although the aver­age spac­er depth is 12″, we can also accom­mo­date requests for cus­tom spac­er depths such as 14″, 34″, 2″, 5″ or any oth­er depth.

Cer­tain wall types, such as ledge stone or irreg­u­lar pat­terned walls may require the dimen­sion­al let­ters to be raised at var­i­ous depths. In this case we usu­al­ly include thread­ed rods with no set spac­er depth and the height of the let­ters off the wall can be adjust­ed man­u­al­ly, ensur­ing the let­ters are level.

When dimen­sion­al let­ters are flush mount­ed with sticky back or dou­ble sided tape, then they will only raise off the wall by the depth of the let­ters them­selves because the tape itself does not have much thick­ness to it.

Materials

Acrylic

Our most com­mon­ly used mate­r­i­al for mak­ing indi­vid­u­al­ly cut 3D let­ters and sym­bols is acrylic which we cut using an indus­tri­al CNC laser cutter.

Acrylic is a type of high grade plas­tic. It’s a mate­r­i­al that can be clear, frost­ed, pig­ment­ed, or used with films and lam­i­nates to pro­duce end­less fin­ish options.

We use acrylic because it is ver­sa­tile, high qual­i­ty, and very durable. Most impor­tant­ly, acrylic can be laser cut. 

Because acrylic can be laser cut, it allows us to get very cre­ative when mak­ing 3D let­ters and logos. Laser cut­ting allows us to make very com­pli­cat­ed logos in a num­ber of impres­sive look­ing col­ors and finishes.

Acrylic can be lam­i­nat­ed with com­plex prints, cus­tom films, brushed met­al and mir­rored or chrome fin­ish­es to make very high end and high­ly cus­tomiz­able 3D logos.

We often com­bine acrylic with brushed sil­ver or chrome mir­ror fin­ish­es and paint the pre­cise, laser cut edges to match the sur­face of the mate­r­i­al. This allows us to achieve the look of high end met­al fin­ish­es with­out using heavy and expen­sive real met­al fin­ish­es. The major­i­ty of the met­al look­ing signs in our exam­ple gallery are made using this finish. 

We call brushed sil­ver lam­i­nat­ed acrylic fin­ish­es: brushed met­al substitute.

Met­al

We can use the fol­low­ing types of met­al for dimen­sion­al signs:

  • Alu­minum
  • Stain­less Steel
  • Brass
  • Bronze
  • Cop­per

We have acrylic based, brushed met­al sub­sti­tutes” for all met­al options. These acrylic based metal­lic fin­ish­es are com­mon­ly pre­ferred because they are more cost effec­tive, involve more pre­cise laser cut man­u­fac­tur­ing tech­niques and often pro­duce a clean­er, sharp­er logo.

Tra­di­tion­al flat cut met­al is often used for dimen­sion­al let­ters and signs in cas­es where more cost effect acrylic based, brushed met­al sub­sti­tutes can­not be used such as out­doors or in spe­cif­ic envi­ron­ments requir­ing a cer­tain met­al finish.

Wood

We can use a num­ber of wood fin­ish­es for dimen­sion­al let­ters and signs:

  • Raw wood
  • Stained wood
  • Raw MDF
  • Paint­ed MDF

Wood is laser cut to make wood­en dimen­sion­al let­ters and logos. Any part of the wood that is cut will have a dark burnt edge. This edge can either be left nat­u­ral­ly dark or addi­tion­al­ly it can be stained or paint­ed a cus­tom color.

Wood can also be laser engraved or etched. Details that are laser etched will nat­u­ral­ly come out dark and burnt. We con­trol the lev­el of dark­ness based on how much pow­er we use to laser etch the design. The etched design can either be light or very dark depend­ing on the look you pre­fer. The dark­er the image, the deep­er the engrav­ing will be.

We also use laser cut wood for dimen­sion­al let­ters requir­ing cus­tom cer­tain fin­ish­es such as faux rust.

Wood is a very cost effec­tive option for large orders of dimen­sion­al letters.

Finishes

Com­mon­ly used dimen­sion­al sign let­ter finishes:

  • Paint­ed to match cor­po­rate col­ors (Cus­tom pan­tone, PMS #‘s)
  • Brushed nick­el
  • Brushed gold
  • Mir­rored (Chrome)
  • Frost­ed Acrylic (Pas­tel Ice Frost®)
  • Glossy black (Pig­ment­ed acrylic)

We con­tin­ue to inno­vate with a wide array of cus­tom finishes. 

We have the widest selec­tion of acrylic based brushed met­al sub­sti­tute fin­ish­es that pro­vide the look and feel of sol­id met­al, with a crisper and more refined appear­ance at a frac­tion of the cost.

Com­plex gra­di­ents and graph­ics can be dig­i­tal­ly print­ed onto the mate­r­i­al and cut to shape. The edges of the mate­r­i­al can then be paint­ed to match the gra­di­ents on the faces of the letters.

How are dimensional letters made?

4 Few easy steps for mak­ing 3D sign letters:

  • Art­work Preparation
  • Laser Cut­ting
  • Paint­ing
  • Instal­la­tion

Art­work Preparation

In order to ensure the high­est qual­i­ty final prod­uct for your sign, we require the orig­i­nal art­work files for your logo. This could be a file in either .EPS, .PDF or .AI for­mat with vec­tors. You should be able to get this from the per­son who designed your logo. Although we can­not pro­ceed with­out this file, if you do not have it, we will help you recre­ate it.

If you have spe­cif­ic col­ors to match such as Pan­tone col­ors or paint swatch­es, we need them at this point so that our team can mix our paints accordingly.

Laser Cut­ting

We use a high grade indus­tri­al CNC laser cut­ting machine that fol­lows every point and curve of your logo to ensure your dimen­sion­al sign is cut pre­cise­ly to specifications.

Paint­ing

Once your dimen­sion­al let­ters have been cut, we paint them to match. Brushed fin­ish­es also have edges paint­ed sil­ver to match for a sol­id, seam­less look.

Instal­la­tion

We pro­vide every­thing required to mount your sign in the box, includ­ing easy to use mount­ing pat­tern, instal­la­tion instruc­tions, hard­ware and adhe­sives. We also pro­vide local instal­la­tion pro­fes­sion­als to help with dimen­sion­al sign let­ter installation.

Excited to start your Dimensional Sign Project?

We make cus­tom dimen­sion­al signs quick and easy— from design­ing, and sug­gest­ing mate­r­i­al options to deter­min­ing wall mount­ing details for instal­la­tion— We have you cov­ered! Get in touch to quote and order your own dimen­sion­al sign.

Get Quick Quote

Examples of Dimensional Sign Letters