What Materials are Used for In-Store Signs?

Learn about the different materials used for in-store signs such as aluminum, acrylic, foam core, Coroplast, galvanized aluminum, brushed aluminum, ACM (Aluminum Composite Material), corrugated plastic & more.

What Materials are Used for In-Store Signs?

Aluminum is the most commonly used material in the signage industry due to its durability and rust-resistant properties, making it ideal for outdoor signage. Acrylic is often the best choice for backlit signage or 3D lettering, as it helps letters and images stand out and gives an elegant and vibrant look. Foam core and Coroplast materials are excellent for short-term signage and displays because they are lightweight and economical. The difference between them depends on where the signs will be displayed and what look you're going for.

Acrylic is often used in the form of outdoor signage called a “light box”, which is a rectangular metal frame with fluorescent bulbs in the center, two colored acrylic sheets with printed or vinyl graphics slide on both sides of the metal frame. This creates a double-sided sign that lights up from the inside and is visible day or night, making it great for roadside businesses. Aluminum is a durable substrate that is commonly used for outdoor signs, such as parking lots and directional signs. It usually comes painted white, but can be painted in a variety of colors.

The aluminum substrate can be printed on or vinyl graphics can be applied to it. Galvanized aluminum is a common method of making metal resistant to corrosion by coating it with a thin layer of zinc, giving it a textured appearance that is ideal for shop window signs and more exclusive home decorations. Brushed aluminum is also commonly used to create dimensional graphics or letters, giving aluminum a matte look that is perfect for an elegant and classy look. ACM (Aluminum Composite Material) is a versatile and durable substrate that is ideal for outdoor or indoor signage.

It is made of two aluminum sheets with a solid polyethylene core (a common thermoplastic) which makes it lightweight compared to solid aluminum. Unlike solid aluminum, ACM can be easily cut and routed for custom dimensions and shapes. It generally comes in 4×8 sheets and comes painted on one or both sides in a variety of colors, usually black or white. ACM sheets can have a thickness of 3 mm or 6 mm and can be printed directly or vinyl can be applied to it. Coroplast signs are an excellent substrate for temporary outdoor signage, such as yard signs, directional traffic signs and for indoor signage, such as menu panels.

Coroplast signs are completely waterproof and resistant to heat and cold, lasting 1 to 2 years outdoors and up to a decade indoors. They are made of two thin sheets of polypropylene connected by polypropylene ridges that create “flutes” between the two front sheets, like cardboard. Coroplast generally comes in 4mm white sheets but can be ordered in a variety of colors. Coroplast signs are affordable, lightweight and relatively easy to cut by hand. Corrugated plastic is a very versatile material that is used for a wide variety of different objects such as rolls, sheets, containers and plastic boxes.

It has also been successfully used for signs due to its ability to be easily printed on, its durability, light weight, resistance to chemicals and other external elements as well as its availability in several different colors, shapes and sizes. A strong and flexible plastic used for signage is ideal for outdoor retail environments and window signage. Custom vinyl banners can feature different finishes for an eye-catching texture while Coroplast is a lightweight and cost-effective signage material. If you are confused with signage materials which can be used for your commercial space, consider the information provided above. Retail displays are used to advertise and offer samples of specific new products and special offers in stores. Both materials are intended for permanent indoor use and have similar prices so your decision depends on the type of finish you prefer.

Emmett Heyduck
Emmett Heyduck

Evil food scholar. Certified food trailblazer. Infuriatingly humble zombie guru. Passionate music fan. Wannabe web aficionado.

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