School Campus Custom Large Metal Letters

We Build Custom Large 3D Metal Letters for University, College, & High School Campuses

Table of Contents

Why have Custom Large Metal Letters on Campus?

Metal Letters are a growing recent trend, where people of all ages flock to take selfies and group photos. They often become popular landmarks, well-known to everyone in the community. Here at WhiteClouds, we specialize in making extraordinary, extra-large, and extra-durable metal letter displays for a host of situations. In the case of your school, promotional photos may be taken alongside your school campus custom large metal letters that could be used as marketing for your university or school. They also provide your students with a great experience and an even greater backdrop, such as for graduation, school dances, or acceptance photos for your students. Students (past, present AND future) will be drawn to these letters to memorialize their experience at the university with a signature photo of these displays. 

In making these custom large metal letters, we can match the exact font your university or school has for their marketing as well as the exact tone of your representative school colors. Whether it’s a university slogan like “Bear Down” with a deep history, or simply your school name or acronym, having a display of school campus custom large metal letters can be just the thing that could represent the school spirit of your campus. Both indoor and outdoor installations are possible, depending on if you’d like it in the library or out in the university courtyard. 

School Campus Custom Large Metal Letters Project Gallery

Frequently Asked Questions

Why metal?
  • Durability: While there are other cheaper and lighter materials (such as fiberglass and foam) which are also commonly used for large displays and letters, metal is the best option if you are looking for a durable material to protect your outdoor installation from elements of weather or from human interference, as a number of people may come near or onto your display to take photos. Fiberglass can be susceptible to cracking due to its brittle nature and foam could easily be bent out of shape, both of which would not be appropriate dependent upon the age range of your target audience (particularly in high schools or younger where adolescents are likely to be less careful). Even in a university setting with so much foot traffic from students, professors, staff and parents, the more durable your school campus metal letters are, the better.
  • Strength: Metal is also one of the strongest materials for our large letters. Depending upon the design, it can withstand almost any weight and take a lot of abuse. There’s less risk of it breaking during transit or installation and once it’s installed it could last forever – as long as it’s treated correctly and kept from the elements. Our production team will ensure that your letters can last as long as your university stands.
  • Aesthetics: You may want the authentic metallic finish only metal can provide for aesthetic reasons. The sleek, smooth, reflective surface in modern design or the rusty look in a vintage design is hard to replicate with other materials. It all depends on how these metal letters can best fit the atmosphere your school already has.
These letters were painted with automotive paint for outdoor use
FDR Metal Letters Installed
Original Metal Surface

Materials

What materials do you use?

Here at WhiteClouds we strive to provide the best service that matches your expectations. This means that we help you choose the material that works best with your vision.

Thickness and material, cost, aesthetics and presentation, durability, conductivity, weight and size, bend-ability, workability, corrosion and transportability are all things that may need to be considered to make the best decision for your desired outcome. In coming up with the best price, our estimators take all the aforementioned factors into consideration so that you can get the best price with the best materials for your specific needs. We typically use Aluminum, Hot Rolled Steel, Stainless Steel with options for Diamond Plating Metal or Corten Steel if preferred. Each metal has specific properties that may be better suited for different cases. You can read more about the pros and cons of each metal type and finish in our Metal Letters page.

How hot can the letters get in the sun?

This depends on the color of the finish but a good comparison would be how hot cars get in the sun (i.e., black cars get much hotter than lighter or white cars). We can also put on a slightly textured hard coat finish called Polyurea ULXL66 that keeps the surface from getting too hot (amongst several other benefits).

What sort of finishes are available to protect the metal? 

It has become a common practice to finish coating all of our Custom Metal Letters with Polyurea Hard Coating. This optional coating is one of the hardest coatings (reaching a 60 on the Shore D Hardness Scale) that is most commonly sprayed onto outdoor use surfaces to provide maximum protection against bumps and scratches as well as weather erosion and damages. Visit our Polyurea ULXL66 Hardcoat page for detailed information on its benefits as well as FAQs.

Other quality finishes are available to prevent any damage ranging from full-color automotive paint to powder coating. They also come in a variety of textures such as clear, brushed, chrome, polished, satin, oxidized, or vintage. We are also able to match a specific color code or airbrush gradients. Browse our Metal Letters page for more examples of our finishes.

I Heart UC Metal Letters with Polyurea Hardcoat
These Metal Letters were coated in Polyurea ULXL66 and then painted with automotive paint
FSU Panama Metal Letters
These letters were painted Metallic Gold with automotive paint right over the metal for a shiny, smooth finish..
Aluminum vs Steel?

Whether we use aluminum or steel is dependent upon what project they are being used for as well as how long they are expected to stand. For example, steel may rust if exposed to to the weather over long periods of time, but aluminum runs the risk of anodizing over time. Of course, our high quality finishes are meant to reduce these risks of rust and oxidization.

Aluminum is lighter, but steel is stronger so if you are going for durability, steel may be the best option. Steel is also more cost-effective when compared against aluminum. For other differences you can view our Metal Letters page.

How much more expensive are metal letters compared to other materials?

The cost of metal letters is dependent on a variety of factors, but they may not end up costing much more than outdoor-grade foam or fiberglass and there is the added bonus of its greater durability and strength, requiring less maintenance over the years.

Size

What are the largest letter models you can make?

The sky is the limit when it comes to our school campus custom large metal letters. The only concern with extremely large letters is transportability. For extra-large displays, we may divide your letters into smaller sections so that they are easier to transport and move.

Although we are able to accommodate ANY 3D letter request, sizes at least 3 feet or above are our recommendation and our preference. The average sizes of our large letters range between 4 feet to 8 feet tall.

How do I know what size letters I need for viewing distance?

A general rule is that you can see a:

  • 6″ letter from 125 feet
  • 1′ letter from 250 feet
  • 2′ letter from 500 feet
  • 4′ letter from 1000 feet

To maximize marketing impact, you might consider some of these sizes:

  • 4′ letters to 10′ letters for capitalizing on use of social media immersion (think selfies).
  • 3′ letters to 10′ letters for the ‘WOW’ factor or creating a presence.
  • 3′ letters to 12′ letters for presentations for special events or large audiences.
I have to fit my letters in a certain length of space. How do I know they will fit? 

If you let us know what your maximum line length is, our production team will calculate what size letters can fit and ensure that they will fit in a limited space. 

How heavy are they?

The weight is dependent upon the size and requirements of your school campus custom large metal letters, but there are different ways of reducing a weight if preferred such as using different materials and/or thicknesses. Typically, our finished products are light enough (or divided into smaller sections) that they are able to be moved by a team of 2 or 3 people.

Customization

What features can a large letter model have?

Creativity is our specialty! If you provide us with your vision, our design team can work within that to give you a variety of options. You could also mount your metal letters onto a custom base to incorporate your school name or mascot or provide a background of any size, shape, or material. We could light up your display with LED lights. We are excited to do anything that promotes the legacy of your university or school. 

Can you use my custom artwork?

Our design and production teams are experts at bringing your visions to life from any medium such as a written description, a 2D sketch or logo guide, or a fully designed 3D model. We work with all architectural CAD programs and modeling programs including AutoCAD, Revit, Chief Architect, ArchiCAD, Maya, 3DS Max Design, Zbrush, and Sketchup, just to name a few.

Can I use a custom font?

If your school or college has a particular font which they use for marketing, we certainly can incorporate it. You are not in any way limited to straight lines and boxes. Our plasma cutters and metal rollers can easily create curved walls and rounded structures allowing us to create metal letters in any font.

You will need to send us the font in a .ttf (True Type format). It will be an additional cost if we are required to purchase the font.

What colors are available? 

For those who have specific college or high school colors, we are able to match the tones of your iconic colors exactly so that it blends in with all other campus adornments. With the use of our automotive paint booths and special paint guns, our letters can be painted to match the exact aesthetic design of your project you desire. We even have paint airbrushing capabilities to create unique and detailed designs for our custom letters. 

Installation

What is required for installation?

Installation materials and costs will depend on how each finished product will be used as well as the size and weight of the desired project. This is determined as part of the bid process before we begin the project. 3D Metal signage is most often shipped to your university or school for self-installation after fabrication, but we are able to send a crew for on-site installation if preferred. Large free-standing metal structures will have metal brackets welded to the bottom so they can be bolted to concrete or metal slabs.

How hard are these to install?

We design the installation of each of our school campus custom large metal letters to be as easy as possible and installation is discussed and determined during the bidding process before production even starts.

Typically, our letters have welded metal brackets. This allows for bolts to go through the brackets into a concrete slab to secure the display. No professional experience is required. Watch the videos on our Metal Letters page for examples of some extra-large letters being installed. You can also read our ‘Bear Down’ University of Arizona Metal Letter Display Case Study or the Sharp Corner Park’s Metal Letters Case Study for a specific example of what went into the installation of their large metal letters.

Metal Letter Bracket Installation
Metal Letters are easy to install with attached brackets
Metal Letters are easy to install with attached brackets
Does WhiteClouds send a team to install them on-site? 

We don’t typically send a crew to install our custom Metal Letters since they’re very easy to install. A general maintenance crew or local general contractor should easily be able to handle the installation. 

What kind of maintenance is required after installation?

Your metal letters are much like an automobile. After 15-20 years you may want to put a fresh coat of paint them, but we design them to be durable so that they can last far after your students (and even their children) graduate!

Is there a way to prevent graffiti? 

Considering these letters are to be placed in a university or high school, where they may be the target of some student mischief, a few people have asked if we can add a special “anti-graffiti” coating. The final clear coat we put on helps for easy removal of graffiti without messing with the paint underneath, so we recommend that you buy a paint removal or “graffiti remover” solution online. Worst case scenario, you can also sand off the graffiti and apply a fresh clear coat. Of course the best way to prevent any such vandalism is by taking precautionary security measures.

Other FAQ's

What is the turnaround time for custom 3D letters?

This is totally dependent on the size of the project. Typical projects can be completed in two to six weeks. We understand that deadlines can be tight so we are able to accommodate rush orders in shorter amounts of time if necessary.

What technology will you use for the school campus custom large metal letters?

WhiteClouds uses a combination of metal fabrication equipment. For cutting, large hydraulic shears and CNC plasma cutting water tables are used. Bending requires sheetmetal leaf brakes. Heavy-duty power plate bending rolls are used for rolling and shaping curved surfaces. To weld all of the pieces together, MIG (metal inert gas) welders are necessary. Lastly, metal grinding and sanding equipment perform some finish work in preparation for our painting processes.

What is the creation process like? 
Our internal steps for creating large letters are:
    1. If available, we like to receive a CAD file (drawing file) from our customer but a simple 2D sketch will do if that is all you have. In the past, we have also worked with a logo brand guide provided by the customer. Many times we will design the file with our team of designers based on requirements from the customer. If letters need to be stand alone or be attached to a base, then some additional design work is required.
    2. Our metal comes in different gauges or thicknesses. The desired finish and design requirements will dictate which metal type and thickness we use.
    3. According to the detailed approved bid, our artisans begin work by cutting, bending, rolling, welding, grinding, and forming the metal to get the desired shape.
    4. Letters may be attached or connected to other materials for specific desired looks.
    5. Individual letters are prepared for finish work. They may be polished, sanded, primed, painted, airbrushed, etc. depending on customer requirements.
    6. If the letters need to be attached to a structure or stand, the metal brackets and hardware is completed according to the original bid. This needs to be determined pre-production.
    7. Letters are prepared for shipping by either being wrapped/packaged in foam or special shipping containers as outlined in the bid proposal.
    8. WhiteClouds has completed or can create 3D metal projects that range from Corporate Metal Wall Signs, 3D Metal Logos, Free-Standing Metal Outdoor 3D Letters, Metal Tradeshow 3D Displays, Metal Memorials, Metal Lighted Displays, Metal Letter Photo Props, Campus Art, and more.
Do you have a question we didn‘t answer? Don’t hesitate to contact us at 1-385-206-8700 or [email protected]

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