Know Your Rigid Sign Printing Options

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We love helping clients with their business and special event signage.  Inevitably, they ask, “What type of signs do you make?”  We sound a little like “Bubba” from the movie Forrest Gump when we rattle off the types of signs we create: “We have Coroplast signs, Foam Core signs, Poly-styrene signs, Gatorboard signs, Ultra Board signs…” and the list goes on.

So, to help our current and future customers, we have developed this overview of the more popular materials available for your customized projects.  One caveat: this is not the complete list, and one of our friendly team members will be happy to help determine the best solution for your exact application.

For an inexpensive solution for r short-term outdoor use, such as directional signage to a special event, this is a versatile material to use – possibly the most common for temporary outdoor signs.  Corpolast is a corrugated plastic. Thin metal “H” stakes can hold up this material, which can be printed on both sides.  When used indoors, Coroplast will last for years.  Coroplast is an inexpensive option for a human “sign spinner” because it is lightweight and can be cut into virtually any shape (a classic arrow, for example).



Foam Core Board

For more rigid large format printing, including trade show graphics or even life size cut-outs, many clients choose to have their graphics printed on Foam Core Board.  Foam Core Board can be thin (1/4”) or thick (1/2”), depending on the need for rigidity, and it can be printed on one side or two.  We can also go BIG,with graphics up to eight feet tall.  Options for glossy or matte finishes make this an inexpensive, versatile material, perfect for indoor graphics.




PVC (Sintra)

Sintra PVC is a great option for outdoor signs because it is durable, with more heat resistance for extreme outdoor temperatures and good scratch and dent resistance.  Many businesses will choose this material for above the door of a commercial building or warehouse.  PVC board is moisture resistant, so your printing won’t fade, colors stay bright, and the sign won’t warp.




Ultra Board
When you have more detailed graphics – such as photographs or multi-color logos, and you want a higher quality, long-lasting sign to brand your business or showcase your products, then Ultra Board is an excellent choice.  Ultra Board is a plastic product, and we recommend it often for screen or digital printing for permanent displays and interior signage, including way-finding or backdrops corporate office applications.  Ultra Board is durable and won’t warp, and no matter how much ink is used in printing, the material won’t soak it up. Ultra Board is great when you are ready to go big and bold in promoting your brand.



Poly-strene is a thin plastic material that is often selected for interior retail displays.   Unlike some of the more rigid materials we’ve mentioned above, Poly-styrene is flexible.  Individual letters look great when cut from this material, so many businesses will choose this for lettering above the reception desk.  Different thicknesses are available, and we’d be happy to help you determine the type of poly-styrene application that is just right for you.




Gatorboard is an interesting material that is a composite of polystyrene foam, melamine and a wood fiber veneer.  It is a step above your standard Foam Core, and structurally it is very firm.  It has a quality that lends itself to indoor signage designed to last for several years, although it is not as easy as some other materials to cut into intricate shapes.  It is important to note that, as a composite, this material is not acid-free, so eventually graphics may discolor or begin to break down.




When you want a metal look in a light weight material, LusterBoard is a great choice. It comes in a variety of colors and just about any size – from a fence sign to a billboard.   With LusterBoard, you get a painted aluminum that is bonded to plywood.  You can’t get a lot sturdier than this unless you go with a metal sign.  LusterBoard is great for outdoor use, and it lasts for years, even in demanding weather conditions.





When you want the look of glass, but you don’t want the fragility, acrylic is a material you can count on.  Our production techniques can create acrylic signage or artwork that has a high resolution.  That’s why you will see this material used in art galleries and high end boutiques.   With acrylic, you are taking your large format printing to new heights, creating a long-lasting and eye-catching graphic display that screams “quality!”

Now that you’ve learned a little about some of the large format printing materials available, contact us to discuss your ideas.  We’ll find the solution just right for you.

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