Picking the Right Sign Material

Signs are everywhere. Businesses, schools, museums, charities, real estate sales, even local events use signs. And what do these places have in common? They want the attention of people passing by! Whether it’s letting people know about events, offers, and locations, or simply advertising a business, fantastic signs and sign material are a key indicator of quality. 

Some say that whatever the benefits of different material for outdoor signs, at the end of the day, the best sign material is whichever one directs the most traffic to your business. While this is broadly true, it’s also important to consider the longevity, cost, and purpose of your signage. Choosing the right material for your signage could be the difference between pristine advertising that lasts years, and faded, dated signage that reflects a less-than-ideal image of your business. It can also mean the difference between perfect seasonal signage that’s simple to change or dispose of, and expensive, permanent, out-of-date signage which has outlived its usefulness. 

One of the most important steps in choosing custom sign materials is finding the right print shop to partner with. For example, when you come to Gold Image Printing, a business with years of experience in both business and specialty print services, you’re not just getting a fantastic end product. You’re able to draw on years of expertise in sign material selection, as well as customer service and design teams with reputations for excellence in their fields. 

Many people would argue that choosing materials for your custom signs comes down to four factors: environment, required longevity, cost, and purpose. Let’s break them down one by one and simplify our comparison of common sign materials.


Choosing the best sign materials for your environment is a vital aspect of ensuring your signage looks its best for as long as possible. If you live somewhere where the weather is consistently warm to temperate, you might be tempted to go with corrugated cardboard, but unexpected rain, or even surprise winds can damage or destroy these signs before you even realize there’s an issue. There’s not much that looks less professional than a bedraggled sign left sprawled out on the street. Coroplast yard signs and acrylic signs are great choices if you want to avoid this. Coroplast is the perfect material for signs which need to stand up to the elements, but also need to be moved at short notice. For more permanent signs, such as those outside a business, acrylic signs will stand the test of time, looking pristine for as long as you need them. 

But what if your business is somewhere that is less favored by the elements? While acrylic and coroplast are both durable enough to stand up to harsher weather, the fantastic wind sign II, a real upgrade on the original, is a perfect choice for outdoor advertising which is sure to give you a leg up on the competition. 


Not all signs are supposed to last forever, but for the ultimate in long-term signage perfection, aluminum signs are the answer. Signage material is an important aspect to consider when thinking about long-term signage solutions, and both plastic and aluminum-based signs have their advantages. Aluminum takes printing beautifully, but can be somewhat heavy and difficult to deal with. Plastic is lighter, but has its own set of drawbacks. Some kinds of plastic aren’t suited to more permanent signs, and may not be durable enough for all outdoor applications. Luckily, Dibond signs are here to split the difference. With their thin layers of aluminum bonded to either side of a layer of lightweight, high-density plastic, Dibond signs are the perfect solution when you need lightweight signs that will stand the test of time.

For a permanent indoor display, ultraboard plus is a fantastic option. With two plastic faces with a foam core sandwiched between them, ultraboard is a lighter-weight choice which is perfect for signage used in museum displays, trade show events, indoor retail, and even partition walls. Just as long as you need your signage to maintain its pristine looks for as long as possible, ultraboard plus is fantastic. 


If you need to travel with your signage to trade shows or outdoor events, and you’re looking for signs which are lightweight, durable enough to withstand transport, but economical enough to replace seasonally, look no further than styrene signs. Styrene signs are waterproof and are printed on directly, so you don’t need to worry about printed paper losing its grip on your signboards and creating unsightly furls.  

Plenty of sign substrates are suitable for a multitude of purposes. PVC boards can be cut to the perfect size for anything, from event and expo signage all the way down to name tags and menus. Indoors or outdoors, permanent or temporary, PVC boards might just be the perfect choice for your signage needs. 

Gator Board is one of the most popular signage materials in the industry, and for good reason! With printed surfaces made from wood-fiber veneers, and a proprietary Gatorfoam core, Gator Board is a durable, moisture-resistant material which is much stronger than other similar signage solutions. Perfect for museum displays, permanent and semi-permanent signs in retail outlets, expos, or anywhere you need to show off top-of-the-line signage. 

When wall-mounted signs are what you need, whether they’re for a menu board outside your restaurant, or for your shop front signage, Dibond signs are an elegant solution which are perfect for this purpose. Aluminum is an ideal surface for printing, and with their lightweight plastic core, Dibond signs are less prone to weight-related structural failure. If you want your outdoor signage to look pristine well into the future, Dibond signs should be a serious consideration for your business. 

If you’re running a museum with constantly moving exhibits, a retail store which needs to promote seasonal deals, or indeed any business which needs semi-permanent signage, foam board is a fantastic choice. Lightweight, easy to hang, and available in a multitude of thicknesses, foam board is tough to beat in terms of easily moveable, semi-permanent signage. These are also great for filling out your Restaurant Printing Essentials.


At the end of the day, whatever your signage needs are, most of us are constrained in some way by price. However, skimping on the cost of your business signage may cost you more in the long run. Whether it’s in terms of constantly replacing lower quality signs, in lost business through customers being turned off by less than professional signage, or both. If you’re confused about how to choose the best signage for your particular needs, Gold Image Printing has provided fantastic artwork guidelines, which should help you find the balance between cost and finding the correct material for you.