I liked the idea of the lettering having some thickness to it, like plates welded to the hull rather than just painted on. It also allows for the possibility of a back-lit or edge-lit self-illumination scheme, as shown here:
This makes for a cool effect but I think it needs further refinement. The glow effect probably wouldn't spread out as much in reality and it could use a greater suggestion of actual light sources beneath or along the edges of the letter plates. I'm not ruling it out just yet, but I'm not at all dead-set on using it either.
Incidentally, this effect was accomplished with a simple targeted spotlight and a mask map in the shape of the name and registry with some heavy blur applied. The name and registry objects themselves are excluded from illumination and shadow casting by the spotlight so the glow appears to be coming from behind them.
That is interesting because I had played around with a similar idea for lighting the registry numbers (and only the registry numbers) on my CG Constellation.
I was recalling what it was like while growing up in Coronado where from my home I could see out over the ocean and at night I could tell which carriers were coming and going by the lit island numbers (the Constellation always being the easiest to pick out... for obvious reasons). And I was looking at solutions the Navy used and noticed that they had changed how it was done on the Bush.
For my test I used a limited number of lights behind raised registry numbers... just enough lights to make the numbers somewhat readable. I only got around to testing the idea on the big primary hull number on my model, but I've included a sample of the idea I had for the other numbers.
I didn't follow through with the idea as it was moving away from what I was attempting to do with that model, but I still liked the idea as a possible solution.