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Indoor Building Signs: Which Materials Should You Use?

7/5/2018

Indoor Building Signs: Which Materials Should You Use?

The options for indoor building signage seem truly limitless. Custom messaging, shapes, colors, and sizes – with all of these design factors to consider, it’s easy to lose track of the bigger picture.

As you’d expect, the discussion about what your sign will actually consist of often gets lost in the shuffle. Consumers and business representatives may fail to bring up the subject of sign materials. Consultants may generalize in laymen’s terms, brushing over the finer details (such as asking if you want plastic signs instead of differentiating between acrylic, PVC or Coroplast).

Well, at Signs By Tomorrow, we believe informed customers provide the greatest partnerships – if you win, we win; and everyone leaves happy as a result. So, let’s look at the nitty-gritty of indoor building signage materials, and discover which substrate best suits your business or organization.

1. Corrugated Plastic (Coroplast)

This is one of the more popular materials, but not necessarily for building signage. In fact, you’ve likely encountered Coroplast signage alongside neighborhood lawns during the election season when they’re primarily employed as displays of political solidarity.

The reason? They’re cheap, lightweight, and include wire frames and posts. While we don’t recommend using them indoors (as they’re limited in design and less aesthetically pleasing than their alternatives), they’ll last for about seven years in an office or indoor space.

2. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

When it comes to signage, PVC isn’t anything close to the PVC piping you get at the hardware store when you’re experiencing plumbing difficulties. Nope, PVC signage usesa lightweight foam, instead ofthe hard, white plastic we've come to know and love.

Looking for a medium-term indoor solution that looks somewhat upscale, yet modest? PVC is your best bet. Many people utilize its homogenous consistency (meaning no layers, unlike Coroplast) and satin finish for menu boards, POP displays, and trade show wayfinding signage. While PVC foam signs can be placed outdoors and indoors, they’re better suited to interior applications.

3. Polystyrene/Styrene

Polystyrene signs offer unmatched durability and versatility. While this type of signage lacks the eye-catching allure of a PVC or aluminum sign, polystyrene can be contour cut, fabricated into dimensional letters, and manufactured at various thicknesses.

For these reasons, these signs are popular among those who desire an almost indefinite lifespan for their building signage, as well as those who just want to avoid creasing or yellowing.

4. Acrylic and Plexiglass

A flexible substrate that finds its way into lobby displays, backlit signs, three-dimensional lettering, and wall placards,acrylic offers an upscale appearance without the hassle or fragility of glass. Indoors, plexiglass can theoretically last forever, though you should take care to avoid scratching or dropping the material.

This type of sign material is typically paired with translucent paints or vinyl messaging underneath to ensure readability. Almost any company can find a use for acrylic in their visual communication strategy.

5. Aluminum DiBond (ACM)

ACM, or aluminum composite materials, are stronger than solid aluminum sheets, yet cheaper. Their durability and resistance to high heat makes them excellent outdoor signs, but image-conscious business owners will love the elegant appearance of sheet metal indoors too.

That professional look you see at dealerships and dentist offices? That’s achieved with aluminum DiBond – two sheets of .012 aluminum with a solid polyethylene plastic core. We recommend DiBond if you’re searching for sleek, modern wall and lobby signage.

6. Foamcore & Gator Foam

Foamcore substrate consists of a soft, inexpensive pulp, and a wood-fiber veneer. As complex as its constituent parts sound, in reality, foamcore signs aren’t too far off from the foam poster boards you see in office supply stores. Gator Foam is similar,but contains a polystyrene core, as well as two layers of ultra-thin polystyrene veneer.

Foamcore is common in office displays, kiosks, exhibits, easel signs, and signage that needs a custom shape. Standard foamcore damages easily – you can leave a mark on it with merely a fingernail and a little bit of force – so we only recommend this substrate for temporary applications like events and trade shows.

Gator Foam, on the other hand, is much more durable. And, due to how well the material laminates, GatorPlast has been widely adopted as an inexpensive means for mounting digitally-printed, full-color graphics.

For more professional tips and tricks involving building signage, you can rely on the experts at Signs By Tomorrow®.

“What signs will work best for my indoor environment?” you ask. Find out with an expert site assessment courtesy of Signs By Tomorrow®. We have a variety of Indoor Solutions for all applications and budgets. And if you’re looking for an eye-catching display for your office, we offer Reception & Office Signage. We invite you to learn more about what Signs By Tomorrow can do for you. To get started, contact us today.

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