When possible, we often introduce a second color as an accent to a set of halo letters. I believe that the accent adds interest and flare to this style of illumination. Pure white halos are tasteful in their simplicity, but they’ve become commonplace over the years I’ve spent in the sign business. With that said, I am going to share the following guidelines when lighting halo letters.

5 Considerations

1. Back halo letters with frosted clear polycarbonate of acrylic. The frost can be achieved by sanding the substrate (preferably on both sides) with 320 grit sandpaper. This simple step will facilitate an even diffusion of light.
2. Always aim your LED light sources into the letter, thereby creating the halo with reflected rather than direct light. This practice will also assist with light diffusion. By contrast, LEDs aimed outward often create hotspots or lighting polka dots.
3. Paint the insides of your halo-style letters a neutral white for added reflectivity. You can use white primer to save on costs. A finish coat isn’t required.
4. While much of the trade still uses 6500K white, we have moved over to 5000K for the simple reason that it falls in the mid-spectrum of available white. Therefore, the halo glows we attain appear as pure white untainted by blue overtones.
5. Use a high-quality LED. We’ve bought LEDs overseas for as little as 45 cents a foot. Trust me: the skimping will eventually bite you in the hind side. You’re going to pay the price one way or another… and you don’t want to pay with your pride, a pissed-off customer or perpetual service work.


For the Kaman project shown here, we sold the client on an orange light accent for the ‘K’ insignia. It made sense because their corporate style guide calls for an orange insignia when used in print, signage or online. One of the only disadvantages to halo-lit channel letters is that the colors of the letter “cans” can’t be discerned at night. They appear black or dark gray.


I’ll let go of one “trick of the trade“ for readers to note: Because orange LEDs have limited potency — the same applies to most color LEDs besides red — we painted the inside of the three insignia cans bright orange and flooded 2700K white LEDs into them. 2700 is a warm white bordering on amber. The combination proved to be dynamic. Ultimately, the client was pleased with our decision to introduce orange into the glowing mix.