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Combining Lettering Types to Meet Specific Needs

March 13th, 2014 · Comments Off


“I have different surfaces where my letters will be mounted. How can I still use your letters?”

This happens often. Not all buildings, or sidings, are created equally, but there is a solution: combining lettering types and styles to meet your specific needs.

The picture below shows formed plastic letters with vinyl letters. The customer used 15 inch and 6 inch Formed Plastic Building Letters and 12 inch Vinyl Lettering to achieve a professional look.

Formed plastic letters come with a lifetime guarantee against cracking, fading, peeling, etc. Vinyl lettering should last about 7 years under the manufacturer’s guarantee.

Both are easy to install. Formed plastic comes with four mounting options, and vinyl is a simple peel and stick application. Many colors, fonts and sizes are available for both types of lettering.

It is not always possible but when installing sign letters of different types you would want the sign letters to have a flush reveal. That is, the face of the sign letters are on the same plane.

Most different lettering types have different depths, some letters will stand off the wall more than the other. For example, the 6 inch letter will stand off the wall 1/2 inch and the 15 inch will stand off the wall 1-1/2 inch.

A trick of the trade is to add spacers to the back of the sign letters to give them more depth.


Comments OffTags: Plastic Sign Letters · Vinyl Letters

What’s that marquee board called for my metal church letters?

February 21st, 2014 · Comments Off

metal copy board replacement panel


We are often called by churches all over the United States looking for a replacement board that works with their metal letters from many moons ago. Often times, the person in charge of changing the church marquee sign is left with the task of finding new sign letters and refurbishing the sign board.  But because it an existing marquee sign, the previous church committee person had not left information as to where you can buy sign letters.

There are so many different styles and manufactures of church marquee signs over the years that it is difficult to know what to call the marquee boards when you are trying to describe to a professional signmaker the type of letter you need. You may end up with the wrong style of sign letters for your church board if you incorrectly describe  the letterboard. Or you may not be able to find the church marquee letters at all.

We like to start with the type of material the sign letter is made from. Is it metal or plastic? From there, we like to get a description as to how the church marquee letter attaches to the changeable marquee sign. Does it fit between sign letter tracks, does it have tabs on the back of the letters that push into grooves, or does it hang over a slotted track? Then we like to get specific information about the sign letter such as its size, color or gauge. With that type of information we can show you the type of sign letters that will work on your church marquee sign. Occasionally, we may ask you to email a picture of your reader board and letters just to be certain.

Many times the church letters are not named magnetic letters. Sometimes people will call them magnetic meaning that they stick to a readerboard. But magnetic letters are a ferrous based material and will rust outdoors.

The most difficult church readerboard to describe is the custom boards, called Metal Copy Board Replacement Panels or Inner Copy Boards, that are specific to Metal Church Letters. They are made from aluminum slatz that are stacked upon each other and welded to a perimeter frame. The metal church letters have a lip along its top and hang from the aluminum slatz.

These metal boards are grooved to hold any of the metal church letters we sell from sizes 1.5 to 4.125 inches. The grooves will hold Traditional Style Letters or  Sure Grip Letters.

Metal Copy Boards are made from aluminum and powder coated in matte white or black, and there’s a one inch aluminum band around the panel. These panels are meant for outdoor or indoor use and look great in a cabinet.

If you have a traditional marquee from 50 years ago in your quaint country church but the board is in rough shape, this is the perfect solution.



Comments OffTags: Changeable Letters · Directory letter Boards

Swinger Sidewalk Signs Draw Potential Customers

February 11th, 2014 · No Comments

Swinger sidewalk sign black message board with Deluxifier header panel

Swinger sidewalk sign black message board with Deluxifier header panel


What sign do you carry that’s easy to see and quick to change the message?

Businesses are always looking for new ways to advertise. Sidewalk signs are a popular choice, but there’s a whole host of signs out there. Do you want an a-frame? Something that swings? Plastic or metal? Letters, write on/wipe off or a poster?

The Swinger Sidewalk Sign is a great option for versatility and weather. The sign is made of steel and coated in plastic, so it will endure rain, snow or sleet. It has a ballast that can be filled with sand or water, so it will deflect wind up to 25 mph.

The Standard Swinger comes with changeable letters and a tracked board, but if you want to use a poster down the road or even a marker board, this sign is a great choice. You simply take the panel off the center crossbar, and put on your printed coroplast sign or marker face in its place.

Alphabet Signs carries the tracked message faces, sidewalk sign letters and markers for these signs.


→ No CommentsTags: Sidewalk Signs

Mugshot Letter Board Used for Entertainment

February 7th, 2014 · No Comments

The mugshot letter board is great entrainment for parties

The mugshot letter board is great entrainment for parties


Mugshot letter boards!

These small boards are 12 inches wide by 8 inches high and are great for fun events like photo booths, weddings or parties, but they can always serve serious purposes for correctional facilities or prisons.

The popular Mugshot Letter Board was reintroduced by Alphabet Signs a couple years ago, and its popularity is off the charts. Customers love the portability and classic look.

Letters are available in not only white but red, blue, green, silver and gold, if you need a fun change of pace. The most popular letter set for this sign is the Tabbee kit. The Tabbee kit comes with letters, numbers and punctuation and is affordable. The board is grooved every 1/4 inch, so any of the tabbed letters we sell will fit. We offer 1/2 inch to 3 inch tabbed letters.

The frames are made of sturdy aluminum, so they are durable enough to pass around at a wedding’s photo booth or themed birthday party.

Alphabet Signs can make many sizes of these style boards, so if that size doesn’t strike your fancy, let us know what size you’re looking for. Mugshot boards are always in stock and ready to ship, and custom boards can be made in less than a week.

→ No CommentsTags: Changeable Letters · Directory letter Boards

Best way to raise revenue in PA is through growth

January 31st, 2014 · No Comments


The Marketplace Fairness Act is an outdated proposal to raise taxes on Internet businesses that have, and continue, to rapidly change. Pennsylvania is already collecting sales tax from the largest Internet retailers and the proposed legislation does nothing to help main street businesses compete against those large retailers.

Most main street businesses now have web sites and will be further burdened with red tape and paper work. Each product will have to be assigned a tax category. Each customer’s address will have to be validated. Existing technology is neither simple nor proven. It is difficult for main street merchants to install and learn, train employees, log-in and run reports, remit taxes, provide accounting reports and withstand an audit.

The sales tax technology is prone to network timeouts and security risks. The technologies can actually hurt main street businesses ability to grow and make more sales. A local Internet retailer is expanding in Gap providing 300 construction jobs and 500 employees. Another Lititz based retailer is expanding operations and will employ 380 people. The best way to raise revenue is called growth.

→ No CommentsTags: Business · Civic

Custom Logo Stencils Leave a Lasting Imprint

January 31st, 2014 · No Comments

custom pavement stencil

Radio station 92.5 Maxima sent us this easy-to-use file which we converted to create a custom stencil of their logo.


Custom stencils can be used on many surfaces, for many applications. Alphabet Signs can take your file and turn it into a sturdy, re-usable stencil that’s great for businesses, schools or advertising. Many businesses will power wash the custom logo stencil over a dirty sidewalk to leave an imprint for all pedestrians to view. The possibilities are endless.

How do I send my custom stencil file to your company for a quote?

Getting a quote on a custom stencil is easy. Just email us your clean file, preferably a .pdf, .jpg., .ai, etc. Let us know what size you would like the stencil, and we will get a quote back to you. Typically, we can quote stencils the same day and ship the customized product the next day, if the file is ready and easy to open and read.

Stencils typically need to be at least 12 inches by 12 inches because the bit on the cutting machine cannot handle smaller stencils in a custom format. We can do stencils in many sizes, typically up to 12 feet or more. Larger stencils will usually come in pieces because of the raw material’s size.

Our stencils are made from 1/10 inch thick maxi-tuff plastic material, so they are industrial strength and made to use over and over again. Paint will dry on the stencil, so you can easily crack it off; if you are doing a bigger job and cannot wait, you can wash the paint off, as well. In most cases, we recommend a water based paint.

These stencils come with a one year guarantee against tears or rips. Stencils will come rolled and will usually lose their “curl” in a warmer temp after a day or so.

Contact us to get a custom stencil quote, and you will not be disappointed with the high quality and quick turn around.

→ No CommentsTags: Stencils

Building Sign Letters with Flange Mount may not be the best choice

January 29th, 2014 · No Comments


Does Alphabet Signs offer flange mounted building letters? This is a question we often receive, and often, we will try to discourage this type of mounting.

These brick-mounted red building letters are formed plastic letter style with a flange mount. There are many mounting options, and for stability and long lasting durability, we discourage the flange mounting method for building sign letters.

Many amateur sign installers think that it would be easier to just run a fastener through the flange of the letter.  Unfortunately, the building sign letters look fatter and the hardware is exposed, not concealed.

Flange mounts are typically used when the letter is ‘pushed through’ a retainer or sign face. The flange is then glued or fastened from the back side of the face.

Flange mounts are not as reliable as stud mounts or even pad mounts when used as building sign letters. They will get flimsy over time and can cause the letter to break and fall off.

Also, the additional area of the flange adds to the stroke of the letter and makes it look fatter or more bold than it should be. Remember, the flange mounting method is best used for ‘pushed through’ letters and the flange is supposed to be concealed behind the retainer and not seen.

Alphabet Signs offers several kinds of mounts: stud, pad, combo and combo-all for all types of letters, and plain or double faced tape for acrylic letters. Several videos are available on our website under building sign letters to help you learn how to install your new sign quickly and professionally.



→ No CommentsTags: Building Letters · Plastic Sign Letters · Uncategorized

Choosing Davson Quartet Letter Assortments

January 27th, 2014 · No Comments

Tenant Directory

Directory for tenants in three story office building


How many letters do I need for my directory?

Deciding on which directory board letter kits to buy can be tough, especially when it’s not known for sure what the sign is going to say.

This board is a great example because the customer was able to make an educated guess, knowing he would need several of the letters “S” and “O” and lots of numbers.

Alphabet Signs offers number kits and bags of 100 of the same character. A standard 300 piece directory letter kit comes with 4 of each digit from 0-9, so adding a number kit with 10 of each digit 0-9 helps when doing a big directory with tenants, school classrooms or offices.

On average, we recommend one 300 piece letter kit per 18in x 24in sign. This is of course assuming the sign will have regular spellings. For example, if a pizza shop is ordering, it’s recommended to order a bag of 100 “Z”‘s for obvious reasons.

If the board is in need of several periods for times, arrows for direction or any other type of punctuation, there’s a symbol kit that includes a variety of commonly used punctuation marks. A standard letter kit will provide just a few periods, commas, dollars and so forth.

When doing a large directory, it’s best to stick with white Helvetica style letters, as this is the font style with the most choices available. Colored letters, like red menu board letters, Pepsi letters or gold letters, are only available in letter kits and do not offer special items, like same character bags or number kits.




→ No CommentsTags: Changeable Letters · Directory letter Boards · Marquee Signs · Menu Display · Offices · Schools

Why a Planked Marquee Sign Face is Stronger

January 24th, 2014 · No Comments

Planked marquee signs faces add strength and rigidity.


Marquee sign faces can be smooth  and flat. Other marquee sign faces pop out and have dimension with rounded edges or  faces that are corrugated or ‘planked’. So why the difference?

The corrugated faces have more depth which adds to its rigidity and strength. Many corrugated sign faces can be found on portable roadside marquee signs. The corrugation is made from a fiberglass named Filon.  The ‘planked’ style faces look like vertical planks of boards seamed together. They too are corrugated which adds to their strength but they are typically made from a stronger polycarbonate plastic. Polycarbonate is a shatter resistant sign face material and are usually found on more permanent marquee signs.

Determining which type of marquee sign face is best for you really depends on the sign cabinet. The flat faces need to fit in a grooved retainer about 3/8 of an inch wide while the corrugated or planked marquee sign faces need to fit within a retainer about 3/4 of an inch wide.



→ No CommentsTags: Marquee Signs · Portable Marquee Signs · Uncategorized

How Many Sign Letters Do I Need For a Marquee Sign

April 26th, 2013 · Comments Off

how many sign letters needed for a marquee sign

The larger the sign then the more letters you will require.


You never seem to have enough characters for a changeable letter marquee sign. Most character assortments provide more vowels and primary consonants than the lesser used alphabet. But if they give you more of one character it is at the expense of another. Most sign writers resort to being creative and turning their P’s upside down for B’s, or add some black tape to an F to make an E.

The only solution is to buy a larger kit. But you should never do more with what you can do with less. So how do you determine the correct font size for a changeable letter marquee sign?

The smaller the letter height then the more characters you can fit on a line. The larger the sign then the more letters you will require as well.  One other factor to consider is the font style; you can fit more condensed style letters on a line than a normal style letter.

To start, determine how big your sign is by measuring the marquee’s lineal feet. Huh, nobody told you there was going to be math? A lineal foot is figured by (number of rows on sign) x (width of marquee sign) x (number of sides). For example, a double sided 4 feet by 8 feet sign with 5 lines of letters is , ( 5 rows) x ( 8 feet) x (2 sides) = 64 lineal feet.

Then multiply the lineal feet by a letter height multiplier from the chart below to determine the MINIMUM font size for your marquee. For example, an 8” letter has a multiplier of 4. So 4 x 64 lineal feet equals a minimum 256 character set.  We would recommend getting a 300 piece kit.

We have found that you should round up to the next kit size so you don’t run short. You usually will get a better quantity price break and save money on shipping.

We offer marquee sign kits with a predetermine assortment of characters that satisfies most business requirements. Our commercial sign letter kits include letters, numbers but only a few punctuation.  You should determine if your organization needs more characters or symbols.  We are happy to custom pull the letters for your kit, a pizza restaurant may need more Z’s.


Letter Size Multiplier
4″ 5
6″ 5.5
6″ Cond 7
8″ 4
8″ Cond 5.5
10″ 3.5
12″ 3
15″ 2.5
17″ 2
24″ 1.5


Comments OffTags: Changeable Letters