We Build Custom Large 3D TEDx Foam Letters
Table of Contents
Tradition + Technology
TEDx events are local gatherings designed to spark conversation and connection in a TED-like experience. We work with TEDx organizers to create a professional setting using our TEDx letters along with additional stage props and accessories to create that unique and memorable setting. We have standard TEDx large letters, but can also customize unique features and add-ons. We have large foam cutters, 3D printers, CNC machines, laser cutters, and many other fabrication technologies to make a huge impression at your special event.
Our TEDx letters are fabricated to conform with the TEDx sign/logo requirements. Here are the specifics of how our letters are built to comply with TEDx. For more information about our Large Letters, visit our Large Letters page.
Features & Benefits
Letters: TEDx, never TED only
Capitalization: TED is capitalized. “x” is lowercase. First letter of each word of location is Capitalized with the rest lowercase.
Alignment: The name of your event should always align left in relation to the “TEDx” part of the logo, and should be sized to be exactly the same height as the “TEDx” part of the logo.
- Colors: “TEDx” – Red Pantone 185, CMYK 0/100/90/0, RBG 230/0/40. Other Location Words – White or Black – Pantone Black, CMYK 70/50/30/100, RGB 0/0/0. Our letters are painted with a latex semi-gloss paint. This can be used outside.
Long Letters: For letters with descenders (“g”, “j”, “p”, “q”, “y”) we can build them by placing the other letters on a base so that everything aligns correctly.
Leaning Letters: Some Letters will not stand on their own, such as a “P” – it will fall over to the right. To work around this, double-sided tape can be used on the floor to hold the letters in place. They can be attached to a pre-built base.
Size of Letters:
Height – Most of our TEDx letters are between 2′ and 4′ tall with 30″-36″ being the most common height. Much of this is dependent on the stage and how far away the participants are sitting. Occasionally, we will receive an order with letters being 5′ and 6′ tall – these are for very large stages. A “TEDx Austin” at 3′ tall would equate to approximately 23′ in length – the same 4′ letters would be about 30′ in length. Pricing is greatly impacted by the size of the letters.
Width – This is an automatic calculation because the Helvetica font dictates the width, based on the height of the letter. On average, Helvetica has a width to height ratio of 75%, but this varies from letter to letter. For example if the letter is 4′ tall, the width will automatically be 3′ (75%).
Depth – Generally, most 3′ to 4′ tall letters are 12″ deep, which is a good depth to keep letters from falling over or being accidentally knocked over. Depending on the desired look, they could be anywhere from 6″ to 36″ deep. The depth of the letters also greatly impacts the price.
Size/pricing – a 48″ tall letter by 12″ deep letter can be over twice as expensive as a 30″ x 12″ letter.
Floating X: We can build the “x” to appear to float in the air (by using an acrylic backing or an acrylic dowel rod/with stand holding the “x” in the air). If cost is an issue the “x” can sit on the floor.
Coatings: Most of our TEDx letters are ordered without any smooth finish or without any special strength coatings. Occasionally an order will occur where someone wants a very smooth finish – this may be to accomodate the group signing their names on the front of the letters. Sometimes we will have special strength coatings applied, especially if the letters are to be used over and over. The smooth finishes and strength coatings usually apply to NON-TEDx letters.
Bases: Bases can be built in a lot of different ways, the least expensive base is with foam, but very commonly we build them with MDF, making a very solid-looking base. It is also common to build them with an acrylic or polycarbonate base and then the letters are glued in place. If the bases are painted, typically they are the same color as the location letters (Austin).
Process: After the dimensions and order specifications are finalized, our hot wire foam cutters start the process. Each letter is cut individually. We use 2 pound EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) which is common for foam letters. This means that a cubic foot of foam weighs two pounds. The letters are cut thick enough so that they will stand on their own or with the help of a base. Next comes the painting of the letters. The paint is specific to the TEDx requirements for Pantone colors. If the “x” is meant to look like it is floating, we then attach a dowel rod/stand or an acrylic backing.
At this point we ship the letters (all of them are individually wrapped). One of the most surpising things to our customers is how they are shipped. The normal UPS and FedEx carriers won’t ship these large items, so typically they are shipped via Motor Cargo. When shipping, remember that the larger the letter, the more expensive the shipping will be and it usually means that it will take a few days longer to arrive.
Technology & Materials
- We use foam fabrication technologies such as CNC Cutting, Hot Wires, Laser Cutting, Hot Knifing, and Sculpting.
- With 3D printing technology, you aren’t limited to straight lines and boxes. 3D printer can easily create detailed, complex shapes. We use six different 3D printing technologies using different materials including digital plastic and UV-cured resin. The type of physical end-product determines which material will produce the best results. We can help you choose the material that is best for your project. Resolution on our printers is finer than a human hair. Our color 3D printers can print in full-color (over 750,000 variations of color) for awe-inspiring reality.
- Our in-house spray booth gives us flexibility in different types and grades of paint and finishing capabilities.
- Depending on requirements for durability, weather-proofing, temperature, mobility, strength, and flexibility, different finishes for our large letters can be used. These finishes may be combinations of painting, air-brushing, flat-to-glossy finishes, natural environment finishes, soft-shell and hard-shell coatings, sealers, and glassing. These can be from latex, acrylic, urethane, polyurea, epsilon, polyurethane, and many others.
Custom TEDx Letter Pricing
The cost of custom 3D letters are based on the volume of materials (size of the letters), type of materials, the time it takes to create the 3D design, production labor, and possible installation time and materials, as well as other specific elements unique to the project. Each large letter project is bid individually and the best way to determine cost is to email us, call us at 385-206-8700, or fill out the form below and let us bid on your project.
Get a Free Price Estimate
Custom Fabrication Workflow
Common Questions & Answers
- Can you use my custom artwork?
Yes. Please send us your file in a vector AI, EPS, or PDF format.
- 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 stage presence
- 3′ letters to 12′ letters for trade shows
- What is the largest letters model you can make?
There is no limit to the size of model. Transportability will be your only concern on an extremely large letter model.
- What features can a large letter model have?
Letters can be finished with paint or special strength coatings and even airbrushed. They can also be covered with any special look you might want from organic coverings to special materials. Custom bases or special shapes are also available.
- What file type is required if I need to incorporate special fabrication into the project?
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. If you design in 3D, we will start with your 3D files. If you have 2D blueprints, artist’s sketches (or even napkin drawings), we can build a model from these as well.
- 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 sometimes deadlines are tight and we can accommodate rush orders in shorter amounts of time.
- I have to fit my letters in a certain length of space. How do I know they will fit? What is the maximum size that will fit?
Please let us know what your maximum line length should not exceed. We will then calculate what size letters can fit.
- Can I use a custom font?
Yes, you can use a custom font for your 3D letters project. You will need to send us the font in a .ttf (True Type format). If we are buying the font for you, that will be additional.
- What technology do you use for large letters?
It can be a number of different technologies, individually or combined. These range from 3D Foam, 3D Printing, Metal, CNC Cutting, laser cutting, laser etching, casting, molding, sculpting, painting, airbrushing, laminating, vinyl printing, and woodworking – all meant to produce highly engaging models that fit your exact needs.
- What is the material used?
We match the correct material and fabrication process to your requirements in terms of presentation, size, and transportability. We fabricate in our model shop using different types of foam, wood, metal, resins, and acrylics. We can also 3D print in full-color sandstone, uv-cured resin, plastic, rubber-like acrylic, and nylon. Our large letters are typically made with EPS foam, Metal, and sometimes with wood. Need a special facing? The sky is the limit! (we once created letters with green moss)
Do you have a question we didn‘t answer? Don’t hesitate to contact us at 1-385-206-8700 or [email protected].
WhiteClouds has delivered models around the world.