Billboards are a premium signage product. They are one of the most sought-after options, thanks to their high impact and improved visibility. However, the effectiveness of signs is heavily dependent on their design.
The content and appearance can make or break the sign. You don’t want a high-end product like billboards to fall short of their full potential. So take a look at our guide to creating a sign that will stand miles above the competition.
Whenever you’re planning on creating a sign, there is a process that you should follow. Following these steps increases the chances that your boards will pack a punch and be a success. Arguably, this is even more important with high investment products like billboards.
You don’t necessarily need to work through them in a specific order. Plus, you might need to repeat some of them more than once. But you should try to complete each one at some time.
1 – First, you should do some research to make the best out of your sign. To do this, you should find out more about your target audience, competition, and advertising techniques.
2 – Second, you should also research the sign-making companies in your area. You want to get some information like quotes and then compare them to each other. Check that you’re going to get the bang for your buck.
3 – Next, you need to work out the design for the billboard. This includes deciding on the content, text formatting, images or graphics, color schemes, and more. Take your time with this step. There might be a lot of back and forth, particularly if you are consulting an expert on this.
4 – Even if you’re happy with the design, you should ask for a final proof. Images always look different once you’ve printed it. Therefore, to avoid wasting money and time later on, ask for a mock-up from your sign company.
5 – Once everything has been double-checked, you can move on with the process. Sit back and relax while the manufacturers do all the hard work.
6 – Finally, all that’s left is to do is to install the sign. You can set up some signage by yourself. But we strongly recommend that you hire the sign making company or other experts to mount a billboard. These signs are simply too heavy and large to handle without expertise and equipment.
A good story
Billboards are essentially a type of visual storytelling. You are trying to tell people more about your brand, your products, or your services. Why are you doing this?
Well, because it’s easier to remember a story than pure facts. You are aiming to make your signs memorable and have them leave an impression with your audience. The ability to do this is what often distinguishes an average sign from a fantastic one.
Don’t just list the ingredients on your pizzas on the sign. Instead, show them how delicious they are and how people enjoy eating them with their friends and families.
Overall, with billboards, you want to convey your message mainly using images. They grab attention, are easy on the eyes, and take much less time to understand. Often with billboards, the words are just the icing on the top.
In case you want to make your sign even more impactful, try to get at people’s funny bone. If you can make people smile, they will undoubtedly be able to recall your ad better than that of your competition.
Location, location, location
Choosing a good location is crucial for any type of sign. But dare we say, it’s even more so with billboards. These products were designed specifically for outdoor advertising. In particular, sign companies produce them to place over freeways or other high traffic roads. For this reason, they are big, bold, and highly visible.
Generally, freeways are the ideal locations for billboards. Did you know that American travelers, on average, spend more than 18 hours on the road per week?
Besides this, 71% of travelers look at messages next to the roadside. These statistics are great news for anyone interested in creating a billboard.
Do a bit of research on the roads in your area or leading to your town or city. Choose a roadway that is fairly busy. Preferably, pick one that is often congested up with traffic. Luckily, there are plenty of companies that have frames to rent for billboards.
If you want to, you can even use several signs to build up some hype. Work out intervals like installing boards every five miles, reminding them of your business.
Call to action
According to this study, billboards have a significant impact on consumers’ purchasing decisions.
Three-quarters of viewers go shopping on their way home from work. And more than two-thirds decide what to buy while they drive. All these figures are quite impressive and show how influential billboards can be.
You need to take advantage of this potential impact. These signs will give you the chance to really increase your profits and sales.
One way you can do this is to include a clear call-to-action (CTA) on your signs. The phrase refers to a statement that is constructed to elicit a response from the audience. Through this, marketers are trying to convince people to act on what they’ve seen, like buying the advertised product.
Nowadays, this marketing strategy is incredibly popular for digital signs. But it can work just as well for billboards too.
Good ideas for a call-to-action on a billboard are:
- Let people know that you are on social media and encourage them to take a look.
- Give directions to your storefront, offices, or physical location.
- Ask them to call a specific number or use a specific email address.
- Direct your audience toward your website.
When you are using a CTA, you might find these tips helpful:
- Choose your words carefully
- Make sure the instructions are easy to perform
- Keep it simple and easy to understand
- Focus on trigger words
- Create a sense of urgency
- Highlight and make the CTA visible
Say it in less
One thing to always keep in mind when designing billboards is that people are going to see the signs on the go. Most of them will be driving cars on their way to work. Unfortunately, this means many viewers will only be able to spare a glance.
Ideally, you want them to understand the message on the board in 5 to 10 seconds. Typically, this will be how much time people can spend looking at the billboard.
Remember that this doesn’t mean you will have their undivided attention for that time. More likely than not, they will be looking at the road or distracted by other things along the way.
So this means you want to keep your message short, very short. Generally, you want to stick to a maximum of seven words for your main point. Don’t worry. This might sound too little. But the good news is that it forces you to be creative.
Aside from this, you will probably need to include some essential info like contact details. These don’t count towards the word limit. However, try to prioritize what you include.
If you include more content, you will only be wasting some of your time and effort. But not only that, the additional ink and colors that the manufacturers use to print it can mean more money too.
The chances are that viewers will give up trying to understand a message that is too long and complicated and look at someone else’s board that is clear and concise instead.
Play with textured and 3D elements
One way to make your billboard unique is to play around with textured or 3D elements on the sign. If you do this well, it’s one surefire way to create signs that are interesting, exciting, and memorable.
Due to the size, these elements typically add a touch of novelty and even humor to the design. As an example, for a construction company’s advertisement, it could be as simple as adding bricks or objects that resemble them.
It’s a good idea to use these types of features to show what your company is all about.
But you don’t necessarily have to add an actual 3D object to the design. Clever use of the environment around the sign and cutouts can create an illusion of depth that can work brilliantly.
Go big or go home
Compared to other signs, billboards are massive. The size is one factor that makes them so visible and eye-catching. There are generally three types.
Bulletins are usually 14’ x 48’ while posters are 10 ’x 22’. And junior posters are the smallest at 6’x12’.
Depending on your requirements, you can fit a few standard sheets together if you want to.
But no matter the size, you need to adjust the content to those dimensions. You can’t put teeny, tiny letters or graphics on these gigantic boards.
So if you want your billboard to hold its own against the competition, you need to go big and bold. The rule applies to both the text and images.
Here are some general guidelines for text size on billboards:
- 1 Foot letter height
- Readable at 120 ft
- It takes 1.25 seconds to decipher at 60 mph
- 2 Feet letter height
- Readable at 240 ft
- It takes 2.5 seconds to decipher at 60 mph
- 3 Feet letter height
- Readable at 360 ft
- It takes 4 seconds to decipher at 60 mph
- 4 Feet letter height
- Readable at 480 ft
- It takes 5.25 seconds to decipher at 60 mph
Avoid using several small images on the sign. Instead, pick one sizeable primary picture for the design. Not everyone uses images for billboards and people can create striking boards using only text. But a well-chosen image can take the sign that extra mile.
Just remember that the resolution needs to be pretty high for images of these dimensions.
Visibility is always a critical factor in sign design. Because billboards are typically placed next to the roadside, people will drive by it at all times of the day and night.
You need to make sure that there are already lights mounted on the frame for the board. Or else make sure that you install suitable lighting. Usually, people fit them so that they protrude overhead or underneath the sign so that the whole sign is illuminated.
Lights won’t just make your signs easier to see. They can make your sign more appealing too. For instance, if advertising a car, you might mount LEDs where the headlights would be. So there are opportunities to get creative with this.
Similarly to other kinds of signs, the use of color is a critical component of the design. Effective use of colors can be a brilliant way to get your billboard to stand out.
There are two main routes you can go.
First, you can use a very bright and colorful palette. Generally, doing this will make your billboard stand out from its surroundings. Many of these bright colors are inherently appealing to most people like a bright blue or green.
But as with other types of signs, you don’t want to use too many different shades lest it might turn your design into a bit of a mess. Instead, pick two to five colors that will be the main ones.
Alternatively, you can use more muted shades as long as you use contrast well. The colors should stand out from one another without clashing like black on white.
Whatever palette you decide to go with, always keep the colors for your branding in mind. Plus, consider how the colors could affect the mood of your viewers and how they interpret the sign. For instance, people often associate yellow with summer and feelings of happiness.
Don’t be afraid to be unique
Whenever you’re creating media for your business, focus on your brand and identity. You need to bring that across. But you should also keep contemporaries at the back of your mind. Competition is often stiff, and advertising is a vital strategy to hold your head above water.
As you can see with billboards, you must brag about the features that make your company unique. By showcasing this, you can add some creative sparks to your signage.
Part of your holiday preparation may include creating holiday-themed signs for your business. But what if you’re feeling fresh out of inspiration? After all, knowing you want to do something and actually carrying through on the idea are two totally different things. Sometimes, you just need an extra boost of inspiring ideas to help you generate a good idea then execute that good idea. And that’s what we’re here for today—to show you some signs to motivate your own holiday sign additions.
#1 Wordplay on the window
If your office space or restaurant has plenty of windows facing the street, you may already know that these could be a prime spot to reach passersby. (And a side benefit to window signs is that you don’t have to remove them at the end of the day as you might with a sidewalk A-frame.)
Of course, window signs can reach your customers as they walk in your door. But they can also reach people who happen to be strolling past—and that could make for good advertising. An eye-catching sign might just turn a random jogger or passing driver into a customer or client. Even if they don’t divert their path into your shop today, they might return tomorrow or next week based on what they saw.
Check out what this Virginia coffee shop did to welcome the season. There’s so much to love about their cheery design. Not only is it whimsical and welcoming, it’s also humorous thanks to the play on words. If you can get your patrons laughing before they even come in the door, that has to be a good thing, right?
#2 Coziness and colors
And check out how the same coffee shop used bright colors and upbeat words to get their holiday cheer outside their shop’s four walls. Incidentally, this is actually a great example of reusing your signs on social media, too.
#3 Say it with lights
If you have the time, resources, and know-how, cheery holiday lights can actually do some of your speaking for you. Check out this sign at the Detroit zoo to see what we mean (photo 3 of 4). After all, if your sign needs to welcome people to a light display, what better way to go than to make your announcement with…more lights!
Try co-opting this idea for your own business needs. Be sure to connect with a specialist if necessary to make it happen. Holiday lights could make for showstopping signage on an exterior wall of a brick building. Or, if your facility has plenty of lawn space, setting up a sign made of lights in the middle of your grass might also be a great option.
#4 Let them know with Legos
It often makes sense to create a sign that’s specifically related to your area of specialty. So, if you’re a dentist, signage that incorporates a tooth is a natural idea. And if you’re a restaurant or coffee shop, somehow including food, dishes or cups in your signage is also reasonable.
But if you happen to have a very specific niche, then your holiday signage might just turn out to be as unique as unique can be. Case in point—LEGOLAND Florida’s Christmas Bricktackular. While Christmas countdown calendars are a normal part of holiday preparations for some, you have to admit that LEGOLAND’s version (photo 1) is one-of-a-kind.
When it comes to signage, it doesn’t get more unique than building it with Lego bricks. And while this may not work for every business, it surely teaches us to think outside the box. What unique elements of your own company could you use as a springboard for a holiday sign?
If you’re a storage facility or a fulfillment center, try creating a cheery sign on the exterior of a cardboard box. (Note, however, that if this sign will be exposed to the elements, you’ll definitely need to explore options that look like cardboard but are actually more durable.) Why not spread a cheery message across the exterior of your oversized box, tie a huge bow around it and display it by your company’s road sign or monument sign? It’s sure to turn heads.
Take it away!
With a little inspiration, it’s time to start brainstorming for your own spectacular holiday signs.
And don’t just stick to the ideas you found here. Tap into the deep knowledge you have of your business’s specialties and your target market. What could you do that would catch people’s eyes and also display a festive attitude? For more enjoyable inspiration, be sure to check out our 3 Fun Ways To Get Your Signs Ready For The Holidays.
There are only a few weeks left until winter and best of all, Christmas. It’s a time of transition where the world around us changes in many ways. But what does this mean for your marketing and your signage in particular?
Signs are all about communicating with potential clients and existing customers. As a business owner, you should use all the opportunities you can to connect with your audience. To help you stay on top of your advertising, check out our tips for designing signs for winter.
The challenges of winter
Before we jump into the solutions, let’s first define the problem so that you know what you’re dealing with. Afterward, you will be in a better position to counteract them. So, what are the difficulties you are dealing with when designing signs for winter?
The slow season
First, many industries thrive in some seasons and stagnate in others. Sometimes this is because people only really use the products or services in certain types of weather. Otherwise, it could be the general off-season for tourism in the region.
In winter, everyone might be fleeing the town or city for warmer weather. Unfortunately, this can leave seasonal businesses in the lurch. For example, companies that often struggle in winter are landscapers, pool cleaning services, ice cream stores, plant nurseries.
Many small businesses simply close their doors for the off-season. But in some cases, you could be able to take steps to turn things around.
Harsh and cold weather
One of the critical reasons why winter can be a slow season is the cold and harsh weather. Of course, the impact of this is enhanced in areas like Michigan, where winter can get rough.
Aside from this, did you know that it can affect your signage too? Certain conditions can damage and wear down your sign.
You need to keep this in mind when you’re designing the products.
Issues with visibility
Multiple weather conditions that are common during winter can decrease outdoor visibility. So, they can impact how well your audience can read your signs or whether they can see them at all. It’s crucial that you plan to combat this with your design.
Conditions to watch out for are:
- Ice storms
But undoubtedly winter isn’t the off-season for everyone. It is the time when snow removal services, Christmas decor stores, ski stores, and more get the time to shine.
If you are in one of these industries, you need to leap to take advantage of this.
That’s why competition for seasonal products and services can be fierce. Therefore, you need to find ways to stand out from the pack.
Tips on designing signs for winter
In general, you want to keep these challenges in mind when you’re designing your signs for winter. To do this, you need to consider different elements of the design, like colors, fonts, and graphics.
These hints will be particularly handy if you’re designing new signs to be put up during or before winter. But you can also use them to change and update your existing signage, which is especially hassle-free if you are using digital signs.
#1 Go bright and bold
We’ve mentioned that visibility can be significantly decreased during winter. One way to compensate for this is by choosing the colors on your signs wisely. Preferably, you shouldn’t use just any palettes. Instead, you should use colors that have been optimized for winter.
You want to use shades that stand out against the snow and the other conditions. In a winter wonderland, the environment is typically coated in white and other muted colors.
The critical phrase here is contrast. In other words, you should use colors that are strikingly different. That’s why you want to stick with dark and bright colors on your designs mainly.
You don’t want to limit your palette to only darker hues. But instead, use these strategically to make your signs more noticeable.
#2 Push the right products and services
Clearly, a central decision in designing signs is selecting the content. You have to decide carefully what the purpose of the sign is and what you want to communicate. One of the key goals is certainly advertising.
Generally, you should try to sell products or services that work all year round or even ones that are specifically tailored for winter. For example, offer a spiced hot chocolate drink or heater repairs.
Once you’ve set this in place, make sure that you brag about it in your advertisements. You want to let your community know that you’re getting into the winter and festive spirit too.
You should make these products a central part of your signage. Highlight them using text, colors, graphics, and layout.
#3 Seasonal greetings
Show your customers that you care by adding a seasonal greeting to your design. Add a small message that will warm their hearts. By doing this, you can encourage new customers to support your business.
You can keep it simple by adding “Happy Holidays” or something similar to the start of your text.
#4 Winter images and graphics
Typically, graphics and images are a crucial part of any signage. They aren’t equally vital for all sign types. Images are usually less critical for informational and directional products but more so for promotional ones.
You can refresh your designs by adding some winter-themed graphics.
Ideas of images that you can use are:
- Snow, snowflakes, and ice
- Santa Clause themed graphics
- Christmas trees
- Fires and fireplaces
- Warm and cozy clothing
- Skis and sleds
- Holly, mistletoe, and pinecones
- Steaming hot drinks like cocoa
- Decor items like garlands, ornaments, and string lights
#5 Winter sports for the win
All in all, you should try to think of any seasonal event, activity, or theme that can help you make your designs relevant. In the US, you can’t do this without considering sports. It’s one of those things that brings people together and gets them excited.
So it’s a fantastic idea to add some references to winter sports in your signs. You can do this by adding graphics, symbols, and showing support for your local team.
For example, you can embrace sports like:
- Ice hockey
- Ice skating
#6 Light it up
Twinkling lights are synonymous with Christmas cheer. Just think of light shows, string lights, and flickering candles. So one way to show your business’s festive spirit is to include some customized lighting on your signs.
Aside from this, illumination plays a critical role in making signage more visible even in the worst weather conditions. For this purpose, you want to choose lights that are brighter, more intense, and illuminates the majority of the sign.
A few lighting solutions to consider are:
- Sticking some temporary strip lights to your signs
- Using LED’s
- Incorporate an electronic message center
- Hanging string lights over your signage
- Adjust your lighting for shorter days
- Or use illuminated products like lightboxes, digital signs, or electronic message boards.
Many of these are more permanent design features. But others can potentially work as quick, easy, and temporary enhancements.
It’s essential that you also check all your existing lighting and replacing lights and bulbs that are beginning to dim.
#7 Craft your palettes
Next, you must choose and create a color palette that is ideally suited for either winter and the holidays or both. Have some fun and get creative with the colors that you use. You aren’t stuck only using red and green to show festive cheer.
One option is to use wintery colors. In this case, we’re specifically talking about themes that match the shades in the natural environment. First, you can use icy colors like icy blue and grey. Second, you can use earthy palettes like brown, orange, and dark grey.
Another option is to go with warm colors. Doing this will help you to create pleasant associations with your business. They will be drawn to the warmth. Colors like red and orange will work well. Dark jewel tones are also an incredibly popular choice.
Nowadays, winter and the holidays are often associated with a bit of sparkle and shine. Therefore, you can incorporate glitter and metallic colors into your designs.
Plus, you can evoke a winter wonderland look and feel by using appropriate palettes that include white, light grey, cream, and pastels like light blue and peach.
If you want more ideas, take a look at these winter-themed color palettes.
#8 Wintery fonts
No matter the type of sign, using seasonal fonts can be the perfect way to increase their relevance.
Luckily, there is a huge variety of ready-made fonts available online that you can use. You might need to pay for some of them. But others are on-the-house.
The following are fonts that you should keep in mind:
#9 Festive touches
You don’t necessarily have to go all out with your winter and Christmas themed designs. Instead, including tiny touches can make all the difference.
One fun idea for adding some holiday flair to your signs is by temporarily adding festive touches to your logo. You don’t have to change it completely, and you can revert to the old one afterward.
However, it can work well to modify it by, for example, adding Christmassy or wintery colors, graphics like snowflakes and sprigs of holly, and so on.
#10 Choosing the best signs for winter
Overall, when you’re putting up new signs in winter or just before it, you should be careful about the ones you choose. Unfortunately, not all signage stands up as well as others during cold and harsh weather.
Yes, your sign making company can produce most signs with weatherproof materials and other protective measures. But some types will still work better than others.
A few of the options that we recommend are:
- Any illuminated signs like channel letters, LED signs, or lightboxes.
- Digital signs such as electronic message boards so that you can easily change the content and because they are great at drawing attention.
- All the different kinds of indoor signs.
#11 Weatherproof materials
Additionally, you need to consider your hardware as part of the design process. Preferably, you only want to use materials that can withstand the cold and harsh weather during winter.
Generally, you should ask your sign company for help and advice.
If you are given the option to choose the material for your signage, we recommend the following weather-resistant materials:
- Stainless steel
#12 Protective measures
Besides choosing durable materials, there are other protective measures that you can try. These can keep your signs safe, working, and in the best possible shape.
Tips include but aren’t limited to:
- Securely fasten and mount all your signage
- Apply water repellent to your signs
- Mount your signage out of the wind.
- Regularly clean any dirt or debris from the boards.
- Move vulnerable signs indoors when a storm starts.
- Prevent moisture build-up
#13 Seasonal promotions
Seasonal offers, sales, and events are a great way to spice up your business during the slow season. These limited promotions work really well to entice customers to buy your products or services.
Therefore, it’s important that you advertise them on your signage. You can include related information and images in the design.
24/7/365- Make every season count
‘Tis the season to connect. Design your signs or update your old ones to show your community that you are getting ready for winter with them. Plus, you can show them that you are as excited about the festive celebrations as they are.
You can get much more out of your boards by designing them with year-long use in mind and following some of our tips. If you want to add more lighting to your signs to achieve this, take a look at three fun ways to use illuminated box signs + design tips.
With the holidays just around the corner, it’s a perfect time to plan for incorporating them into your business signage. If you’re looking for ways to display holiday cheer in and around your location, your existing signs are a natural option. But just what can you do to deck them out for the season? Let’s break down your signage decor in two ways. We’ll explore tangible/3D decor ideas. Then, we’ll look into visual/2D or intangible decor.
Tangible and 3D decor
This is the decor you’ll actually be able to hold and touch—and it will take up space. Granted, it won’t necessarily take up very much space, but it will take up space nonetheless.
A prime example? Planting whimsical snowmen figures by the monument sign at your office’s entrance. That will certainly take up space, and if your work involves children (e.g. dentist’s office, school, library, etc.) it will be a fun way to get their attention. Another option is to place a wreath near your business sign on your building’s facade, as you see in the second photo here.
On top and wound around
Monument signs, post and panel signs, and pylon signs are all candidates for garlands or greenery. Twining holiday-themed items around your posts or poles is one way to go. And don’t forget you can add lights, too. Even lights alone could have a striking effect—especially when the evening darkness falls sooner thanks to daylight savings time.
Small signs and indoor signs
These ideas also hold true for smaller signs, whether indoors or out. Additionally, if you’re working with indoor signs, you can feel free to use decor items that might not hold up outside.
Cozy plaid ribbons can be tied around desktop signs or A-frame signs. And they can also be tied into bows and applied to wall plaques. Image a hallway full of offices—each office’s occupant identified by the plaque outside their door. Now image what a striking appearance you could achieve down the hall by placing a festive plaid bow on each plaque.
Intangible and 2D decor
Now it’s time for the second type of holiday decor that your signs can sport—holiday-themed visuals. Unlike draping garlands over your monument signs or affixing wreaths to your pylons, deploying intangible decor and 2D decor will consist of items that are less touchable.
This could include selecting holiday-themed graphics for your billboard. Or, it could look like changing your sign messaging or LED display. But it could also mean selecting add-ons to your already existing physical signage—like sprawling holiday chalk paintings across your cafe’s menu board.
Your LED display changes will be mostly intangible. You can see them, but you can’t really touch them. Theoretically, you could actually reach out and touch your menu board chalk paint (why would you though?). So, we’ll concede that that’s tangible. But unlike garlands and wreaths, it’s 2D visual decor.
Time off for the holidays
Of course, you may also need to rope in some special holiday signage to let your clients and customers know that you’re closed or are only working special hours. After all, you’ll likely be taking some time off this season. But there’s no reason your “out of the office” signs have to be boring or spiritless. Instead, infuse them with humor and cheer.
Use humor or a play on words
It’s the perfect time for your company signs to display a sense of humor. That is, if humor is appropriate in your line of work (it isn’t in every industry, of course). For instance, you could paste a cheery sign in your office’s front window (or on your door). It could say, “We will resume our awesome work after the holidays are past.” And you may even want to leave the date on which clients can expect you back in the office.
If you’re a bank, or otherwise in the financial services industry, a laughable statement could be, “We’re not Scrooge—we close for the holidays.” A changeable message sign or LED display is a perfect place for more wordplay or humor. Try something like, “Closed until ___ [insert date] so our team can be Home for the Holidays.”
Beyond the building
Another fun idea is to get temporary signs for your business’s branded vehicles. You might opt for magnets or explore some other temporary solution with your sign specialist. It’s a creative way to extend the festivity beyond the four walls of your physical location.
Match your decor with your company
Keep in mind you may be able to match your holiday decor with the colors of your logo or other elements of your company. Even more importantly, you’ll want to ensure that the image your decor projects matches with your company image.
Choosing whimsical decor may be appropriate for certain companies. But it’s doubtful that all companies should go that route. If you run a funeral home, for instance, you may need to select holiday decorations that are subdued and classic.
Talk it out
Don’t stick with just our ideas. Ask co-workers and employees for ideas to get everyone thinking creatively. Plus, you can always ask your sign specialist if they can recommend any sign types that would be easy to personalize for the holidays.
Winter is slowly approaching. The temperatures are gradually dropping, and the conditions are becoming harsher. These changes can take a toll on everything in the environment, which includes your outdoor signage too.
Many types of signs are at an increased risk of damage caused by frost, wind, and snow. Now is the perfect time to start implementing protective measures.
Because we know how important signage is for any business, we are going to show you how you can protect your signs in cold and harsh weather.
The risks of cold and harsh weather
As you know, winter in the Northern hemisphere can be a bit rough. Depending on where you live, you have to contend with all kinds of conditions like snow, sleet, and wind.
For example, here in Michigan, winter storms are not uncommon, which can even include real blizzards. The 2019-2020 winter is expected to come with an “arctic cold.” On average, it is about 27 °F. But the temperatures can drop lower.
Sounds chilly, right? Let’s look at the specific conditions you need to be concerned about.
Weather conditions to watch out for:
- Fog: It is basically a cloud that is floating at ground level. Typically, the phenomenon is more common when the seasons turn, especially when autumn changes to winter. Significantly it can cause moisture build-up.
- Rain: Once again, the main problem with rain is moisture. It can seep in between the parts and panels of a sign. If the metal isn’t protected, it can rust. Unfortunately, it can also damage the quality of an image.
- Snow: There are two critical ways in which these frosty flakes can cause trouble. First, snow is pretty heavy, so it can weigh down your signs. Second, when it melts, it can leave your products wet and damp.
- Cold: Lower temperatures also pose a risk to signs. Extreme drops and increases in temperature are especially hazardous. Materials like plastics can crack if they heat up or cool too quickly.
- Ice and frost: Like snow, ice and frost can cause trouble in several ways. They can cause mechanical or physical damage to the boards and scratch the surface. Clearly, the cold that accompanies it is also an issue, not to mention the moisture.
Tips for protecting different kinds of signs
All of these conditions put your outdoor signs at risk. The more they are exposed to the elements, the bigger the potential problems.
Luckily, there are various steps you can take to keep them safe.
Due to variations in structure and material, the weather can affect different signs in different ways. That’s why we will cover some of the common sign types and how you can protect each one.
On the whole, banners are one of the most popular sign types. They are incredibly cheap, versatile, flexible, customizable, and easy to find. In general, they are one of those products that work as well inside as they do outside.
However, some harsh weather conditions might be too much to withstand. These signs are lightweight and cover a large surface area. Hence, banners take tremendous strain from any wind.
If not tied down securely, they can fly away. Or in some cases, the wind can rip them apart.
To prevent this, we recommend that you try some of these measures:
- Did you hang the banner over a street or corridor? In this case, only use heavyweight material and consider using steel cables to tie it down.
- Try to install the signs against a solid surface. In general, this will help to reduce the exposure to wind.
- If you did secure it against a flat surface, make sure it is sitting as tightly to it as possible. You can mount it with grommets and pull it tight to make sure there is as little space as possible for air to enter.
- Consider using bungee cords instead of rope to hang the banners. The material is slightly elastic, so it has a bit of stretch in high winds.
- Interweave the rope or cord through more than one grommet.
- Regularly check the lines and tighten them if necessary. Higher tensions mean less movement and less chance of ripping.
Electronic signs are brilliant inventions. These products have improved visibility and viewing distances during the night and day. But they are very vulnerable to harsh weather.
Moisture from rain, fog, and snow can affect the way they work. And temperature fluctuations can cause havoc to their hardware. On top of this, any conditions that apply force to the surface pose a risk.
Therefore, to protect your electronic signs, you should take the following steps:
- Check that your sign company used hardware that’s appropriate for outdoor use.
- Inspect and regularly maintain all of your digital signage. Pay extra attention to the seals and make sure there aren’t any spaces between their parts where moisture can seep in.
- LED’s for outdoor signs usually work optimally at a temperature between 59°F and 77 °F. The temperatures usually drop below that during winter. So ask your sign company if they have any heating or heat maintenance solutions.
- Overall, the most effective solution is to build or buy weather-resistant enclosures for your electronic signs. It should have a tight seal, good ventilation, heating systems, and consist of rust-resistant materials.
- Securely mount the sign so that it won’t be carried off by the wind. Aside from this, you don’t want any smaller parts to break off, either.
- Another critical step in thermal management is using suitable insulation. You can pack foam insulation into the sides and back of the enclosure to help to keep the heat in.
Metal panel signs
Another staple of the industry is metal panel signs. Businesses use them for a variety of purposes, from advertising to giving directions. Once again, they are relatively expensive and durable. Yet they aren’t immune to damage from harsh weather conditions.
Here are some strategies that you can try:
- Choose the right material. Aluminum and stainless steel are particularly weatherproof. Both of these are rust-resistant, so they should work well in areas where there is frequent rain and snow.
- If you use other metals like iron or bronze, you must coat it with a waterproof sealant that will prevent corrosion.
- You need to weld the panels together correctly. They should sit tightly so that they won’t be pulled apart. Plus, you should seal the connection so that it won’t rust.
- Typically, it works best to use a single metal panel.
Nowadays, businesses usually rely on metal, acrylic, and other fabricated materials for their signage. But there is nothing wrong with wood signs. You can still work wonders with these. However, they are often less resistant than some of the “newer” contenders.
You need to take several steps to keep them safe.
First, you should seal the wood with a laminate or water repellent. Usually, it’s safer to go with more than one coat.
Second, you can attach plastic or metal caps to the edges of the signs. The trim will keep water from seeping in and prevent the wood from warping and swelling. Aside from this, it can be useful for protecting the sign in storms with debris flying around.
Third, you have to remove rot, mold, or mildew as soon as it appears. Inspect your sign every few weeks or after a few days when there has been heavy snowfall or rain.
More tips and tricks
Now we can look at some additional tricks that you can use with different kinds of signs and materials.
Commission high-quality signage
The better the quality of your sign, the better it will be able to withstand wear and tear and the ravages of harsh weather. Therefore, if you don’t want to replace signage frequently, make sure you hire a good sign company.
Moreover, you need to choose materials and designs that are appropriate for the outdoors. There is a reason why fabricators recommend specific products for outdoors use. You can’t always the same signs in the interior and exterior of your business.
Replace old products
Everything has an expected lifetime. You can take protective measures to prolong their usefulness. But eventually, you’ll have to get new. If you don’t want the boards to look worn out and shabby be sure to replace your sign once it is nearing its end.
Overall, you can reduce the risk of damage if you use several measures at once. While this may take more time and effort up front, it is a sensible decision in the long-run. There are a variety of weather conditions that can cause problems, and different strategies are needed for each.
Focus on the mounting
No matter what type of sign you are dealing with, you should make sure to mount it securely. The weight of frost, ice, and snow can distort structures, loosening or breaking parts off. Overall, wind can affect signage in much the same way.
Therefore, you need to pay attention to the way you install your signage.
Poles are one of the most durable ways to mount signs. Attach your board to more than one leg for extra security.
Preferably, you should choose metal for the material. Carbon steel is a fantastic choice as it can withstand floods, as well as hurricane-and-tornado force winds.
Besides this, it’s a good idea to fix the base of the structure in cement or concrete.
Prevent water build-up
This strategy is particularly essential whenever snow or ice is beginning to melt. The water can damage many materials, and the added weight can also become too much. In some cases, it can even wear away at the support structures for the sign.
Regularly clear away any water from depressions on the product. And consider installing a cover like an awning over it if the problem becomes excessive.
Preventing water build-up is vital in the case of freestanding signs or products that you install on the ground like monument signs. To do this, you should place them on well-draining soil. Or even dig a trench around them to direct the water.
On the move
Admittedly sometimes, the best solution is to take the sign away. Usually, this is the only guaranteed way to protect your posters from harsh weather. You can store the boards at night when the temperature drops or when a storm starts picking up.
If this sounds like the right plan for you, consider investing mainly in freestanding and mobile signs like A-frame sidewalk signs. Alternatively, you can install some wheels to the frame of the sign so you can roll it inside.
Aside from protecting the products, you can benefit from being able to relocate it as you see fit.
Above all, don’t wait until it’s too late. Without a doubt, it’s better if you could implement preventative measures before the harsh weather strikes. Once the damage is done, you might only be able to slow its progress.
Use the environment
Last but not least, you want to use the features of the environment to your advantage. By doing this, you will be working smarter, not harder. You can exploit existing cover without needing to construct any additional structures.
For example, keep your eye out for:
- Surrounding buildings
Try to put your signs in spots that are less exposed but still visible.
Stay ahead of the game
The cold and harsh winter weather can cause significant damage to unprotected outdoor signs. This isn’t the only challenge. It can also make it trickier to install new signs.
However, business rarely stands still. Therefore, you should consider reaching out to expert hands to help you keep your signage in tip-top shape year-round.
But it’s not all bad news. The festive season is also on its way. This means that there are fun and merry times ahead. Plus, new opportunities for you to promote and grow your company. So check out: how to make your signage seasonal without spending a lot of money.
Most of us are more likely to associate Michigan winters with colorful and joyful Christmas gift wrapping. However, it’s also important to consider your car wrap under these extreme weather conditions.
With temperatures as low as 3 degrees or under and up to 9 inches of snow, Michigan winters are certainly tough on us – and our cars.
A vinyl wrap is a great way to protect your car’s paint job or as branding/advertisement for your business. However, a vinyl that’s not well cared for can have the opposite effect.
To get the most out of your wrap and to give it the longest lifespan possible, you should follow some common-sense steps to protect it during winter.
How long do car wraps last in Michigan?
Generally, a car wrap lasts anywhere from 5 to 7 years. It depends on the quality of the wrap as well as how well you take care of it. Since winter conditions, like cold and snow, don’t have much effect on a car wrap, your wrap should have the maximum lifespan if you care for it well.
How to keep your car wrap fresh through the Michigan winter
Store your car inside whenever possible
Your car’s wrap is its first line of defense against the elements. That also means your wrap is the first thing that gets worn down. Try to limit your car’s exposure to only when you’re actually driving.
While the cold of snow in itself shouldn’t do much harm to a high-quality vinyl wrap, it can indirectly make wrap care much harder. If there are already small tears in your wrap, the snow can also go underneath and interfere with its adhesion.
Prevention is better than cure, as they say.
Be gentle when clearing snow from your car
No matter how hard you try, chances are your car will get snowed under at least once. Although it’s considered a normal way to clear off snow, almost all wrap professionals will warn you against using scrapers. In fact, scraping, in general, is a no-no, no matter what you use.
Instead, opt for something like a snow brush. It’s almost just as effective as a scraper but much easier on your wrap (and paint job). If your car got snowed on, clear it as soon as possible, before it turns into a crusty ice layer. Soft snow is much easier and safer to get off.
Wash your car regularly
Like most states with heavy winter snow, Michigan roads are treated with de-icing chemicals. Chemicals like sodium-, magnesium-, or calcium chloride and calcium magnesium- and potassium acetate are used to stop a layer of ice from forming or to break up an existing layer. These chemicals are sometimes referred to as, or are ingredients, of road salt.
While they’re very effective at de-icing roads, unfortunately, they can also get kicked up and stick to your vehicle wrap. They can then slowly start to erode your wrap and spoil your car’s finish.
You should aim to wash your car every other week to get rid of them. Washing your car or finding a car wash that’s open in winter might be tough, but it’s a must for winter wrap care.
Fix any tears or holes ASAP
Even tiny tears or holes in your wrap can snowball into bigger troubles over time, on top of looking bad. For one, small tears will inevitably get larger with time until they are fixed.
Secondly, snow, dust, grime, or other particles can work its way in between the wrap and the car. This can increase the rate of your wrap’s deterioration. Even worse, the wrap can trap the particles causing them to slowly wearing away your car’s finish.
Can you install a wrap during winter?
Although it’s possible to DIY car wrap your vehicle, we don’t recommend it. For one, it’s a very tricky process and you need to get it 100% right. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with ugly air pockets or creases and there’s a good chance you’ll have to get a new wrap.
In winter, it’s even trickier because car wraps don’t apply well in cold weather. If you let a professional do it (which you should) you should make sure they have proper facilities. They should be able to keep their workshop to a minimum temperature of around 50-70 degrees.
If the temperature goes below this, the wrap won’t be as pliable and the adhesive won’t have the same sticking power. This can lead to it becoming brittle and a much shorter lifespan.
Take care of your wrap and it will take care of you
As you can see, winter car wrap care isn’t rocket science. In fact, you probably already take some of these steps as general winter car care. Hopefully, this information just enforces why you should take care during this trying time and make these tips a habit.
If you do, you’ll be rewarded with a car wrap that stays looking better for longer and protects your finish along the way.
Business owners have plenty of things to think about, and compliance with applicable regulations is one of them. Do they have the right permits? Are they reporting revenue correctly? And when it comes to compliance, companies and organizations also need to think about their signage—what is and isn’t allowed?
Today, we want to share some info to help you get informed and (we hope) enable you to be more compliant in the long run. Plus, we’ll talk about how to figure out what regulations apply to you in your locality.
1 – Building sign regulations
Here’s something that you want to know about. The exterior of your business is not always yours to do with as you wish. And it’s a great idea to get this down before you invest in building signage that’s unexpectedly prohibited. How do we know? Because the issue came up in Detroit in 2017.
Take it from the Detroit Free Press on the topic of signage spread across certain buildings: “…nearly all of these commercial wall signs from the likes of Apple, Shinola, Meijer, Fifth Third Bank and the Detroit Pistons will have to come down by Dec. 31 as the city cracks down on building owners who have been violating what was once a seldom-enforced ordinance against such advertising.”
Obviously, it’s better to know what is and isn’t allowed before you install signage than to discover it after you’ve already invested time and money into the arrangement.
2 – Rules that apply to awnings and sidewalks (or walkways)
It’s also important to know that the space outside your business, whether in the air or on the ground, is also not yours to dispose of at your pleasure. Just ask NYC businesses about the awnings issues that arose last year. Check it out from the Bklyner —Merchants Take Down Signs As Panic Over Fines Sweeps City. As they report, the sign-related ticket for one business weighed in at a hefty $6,000.
Sidewalk signs like A-frames aren’t necessarily allowed either. A-frames became a subject of interest in Chicago in 2018 according to Block Club Chicago. Alisa Hauser reported that one business owner was hit with a $450 fine for his A-frame. At the time, A-frames weren’t allowed outside businesses, although she reported the city’s aldermen were considering a change to that rule.
3 – Window sign rules— it’s a sign. Or is it?
A friendly piece of advice. What you call art, others may call a “sign” instead. And while a difference in terminology can sometimes be harmless, other times it can be vital. If you’re differing with the government on the definition of a sign, then that’s something you’ll need to give due attention to.
Case in point—a soon-to-be sushi restaurant in Massachusetts. This building’s window signs became a contested subject related to zoning regulations. Did the Chinese characters on the windows count as signs or as art? They were ruled to count as signs.
Plus, when it comes to window signs particularly, you should know that there may be restrictions on the percentage of the window your sign is allowed to take up. For instance, take the City of Phoenix as an example: “Window signs generally are prohibited if they exceed 30 percent of any window area or placed on glass doors.”
How can I discover the rules and regulations that apply to me?
Different localities could have different rules and regulations, so you’ll want to find out what applies to you in your particular location. Here are some ways to get started.
First, check with your sign company. As a specialist in the industry, they may be able to fill you in on the rules that will apply to you and to the type of sign you’re installing. They may also be able to point you toward the proper permitting agency to secure any necessary permissions.
Second, check with your local government. This is something you can do when you’re getting started. But it should also help later on when you simply want to keep abreast of any recent developments. If you’re not sure of the exact department to contact, call or drop by your locality’s administration office and tell them what you’re looking to find out. They should be able to point you in the right direction.
Third, you may be able to find the answer to some of your questions online. In fact, you may even be able to discover the sign code for your area. Or you might find specific directions for the department to contact.
To make this easy, let’s just take Detroit as an example. Need to find out about sign regulations in the Motor City? You need the City of Detroit’s own website. That way, you can get the info straight from the government itself.
Or, if you have a technical mind and you just love to read long legal documents, check out the draft form of the proposed new sign ordinance. At 100+ plus pages, it’ll be a hefty read. On the other hand, you can also use the government’s website to learn more about sign permits.
Of course, not everyone lives in Detroit. But the basic principles we gave in this example should hold true. If the information is not available on the internet (and it may be, so you should check), give your local administration a call so they can point you in the right direction.
Keeping up with changes
Naturally, sign codes don’t stay the same forever. Though from a compliance perspective, it might be nice if they did. Just how can you keep up with the changes? Well, again, use the internet and your local government to help you out.
Scour, search, ask
For the nerdy folks among us, you may be able to keep up on your own if you know where to look. Scanning publicly-available meeting minutes for your locality’s governing body could give you a heads up when changes have been made. Also, calling the appropriate authorities is still a good idea if you can’t find the info you’re looking for online. And you may even want to call the authorities either way—just to be sure you’re not missing something. Check with your sign company, too, because they may know about changes before you do.
Without a doubt, we need signs year-round — signs to point us to our destinations, to direct us away from danger, or even just to show us which parking space we can use. If you’re realizing you or your company don’t have the right signage, then you might be casting about for the best specialist and signs to help you fix that. But you’re wondering if the upcoming winter months could pose any special challenges to your signage experience.
Great question and we applaud you for thinking ahead. We thought we’d dig into it a little today by addressing some things to keep in mind as you acquire signs during the winter.
1 – The ground may be frozen
Here’s something to think about whether you’re digging postholes for a post and panel sign or stabbing a yard sign into the turf. The ground in winter can be much harder (even rock-solid) depending on where you live. Granted, if you’re a Floridian, this probably isn’t going to pose much of a problem for you. But if you live in the Upper Midwest or New England, you better know it’s going to be a struggle or an impossibility to make much headway in the cold, hard ground.
For us Michiganders, of course, the ground will likely be cold and frozen. No sunny Florida winters (or temps) for us. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t put up signs in the winter. You don’t have to give up simply because we experience this season in all its cold, snowy glory.
2- You might be able to get a deal from your sign company
We agree with this suggestion from Home Advisor. Ordering a sign in the winter months might just be a good move. For your wallet, that is — and your schedule. When discussing the cost of buying signage, they had this to say: “A great tip is to order designs in the offseason during the winter because sign companies are typically busiest in the summer. Ordering during the winter may result in promotions and discounts on order as well as a shorter turnaround time.”
3 – The area could be slippery
This is something to keep in mind whether you’re installing a sign yourself or having your sign company do the installation. For yourself, you need to realize that there are some inherent hazards to outdoor work during the winter season. Snow and ice can make passageways slippery, and you may not always be able to see that the slick surface is dangerous. Be smart by using deicers where needed and wearing adequate outdoors gear (boots with good tread, for instance) when working on your sign.
Obviously, any weather-related hazards can also pose problems for the sign company working on your property. Again, you want to keep the area clear and safe for them with appropriate deicer at work. But you also want to be sure that your sign company is licensed and insured. Check with them to verify that they carry appropriate coverage for any slips, trips, or falls that occur in the course of their work.
4 – Your message may need to reflect the time of year
Likely this should go without saying, but you do want your signage to be seasonally appropriate. Of course, this is relatively easy with something like a changeable message sign or LCD display. Simply adjust the message as the seasons pass.
But if you have a less adaptable option, you’ll want to think ahead about what messages will and won’t be right for the season. For instance, maybe the dead of winter isn’t the best time for banner signs whose colors, fonts, and sentiments look beach-inspired.
5 – Your sign needs to account for winter weather
This is just something to think about before you dive in. If you’re working in a locality with plenty of snowfall each winter, try to account for that in your planning. Similarly, high winds or plenty of rain should also be factored in.
See what your specialist recommends as far as signage that won’t be constantly obscured by snowdrifts. Additionally, check how far away from roads and driveways you need to position your signage, You want them to be safe from snowplows and the snowbanks they create. Another factor could be choosing signage that won’t be damaged by exposure to deicers like rock salt or pickle brine.
Shoot for signs that are strong enough to stand in the face of whatever wind can reasonably be expected. And select materials that are prepared to hold up against rain or sleet.
Consult with the pros
For those with little experience selecting or installing signage, turning to a specialist is a great option. Some specialists can even help you in the design phase of your project. Be sure to find a specialist with good reviews and a company attitude that you’re comfortable with. Check out our What To Look For From A Sign Making Company + Questions To Ask
Signage is a brilliant investment for any business. But to make sure you get returns on your investment, you need to consider it from all angles. In this case, it includes paying attention to how it is constructed to make sure that you get signs that are durable and reliable. Read our guide on choosing the best sign material for outdoor signs. We’ll cover everything from selecting a product to additional tips for protecting the boards.
What’s the point of outdoor signs?
Outdoor signs will play a critical role in the advertising strategy of most brick-n-mortar businesses. They are a fundamental part of the “face” of your brand.
These signs are incredibly versatile. You can use them for a variety of purposes and goals, depending on your business and its requirements.
Some of the recommended uses for outdoor signs are:
- To promote your business, products, services, or events
- Increase brand awareness and recognition
- To give directions
- As health and safety signs
- Attract customers
Types of outdoor signs
Before we get to the materials for signage, let’s look at the products you can choose from.
You can divide the signs into different categories. First, some of the products that we will mention can also work indoors. However, some of them are the most effective if you use them outdoors.
Second, you need to decide whether you want a sign that is a permanent or temporary solution. But also consider whether you want one that is mobile or not.
The following are some of the most popular options:
- Pylon signs
- Window graphics
- Pole signs
- Monument signs
- Channel letters
- Illuminated sign boxes
- Vehicle graphics
- LED message centers
How to choose the material for an outdoor sign?
Decisions, decisions. There are so many choices to make that you can often get completely overwhelmed and confused. One way to navigate this is to accurately define what you need to get out of the sign.
A pro tip is to work through the following factors to make sure that you choose the best sign material for outdoor signs.
As you might guess, a crucial consideration for outdoor signs is the weather. You don’t want your signage and your money to blow away in the first storm. But you also want to protect your sign from longer-lasting conditions.
That’s why you always need to keep the local climate in mind.
Is your area windy? Does it rain regularly? And so on.
You should try to choose a material that is resistant to the conditions it will face. Luckily, signage companies have a whole range of options to help you get signs that will remain intact as long as possible.
Cleaning and maintenance
One factor that you need to consider is cleaning and maintenance. You won’t always be able to mount the sign and leave it.
Imagine a dust storm. It will probably leave your boards covered in dust and debris. But daily dirt can also build up an obscure the surface of the signs, not to mention the damage caused by vandalism.
Therefore, you should think about using materials that are low maintenance and that you can easily clean.
You need to ask whether the material you want to use will fit your budget. Often the higher quality materials cost more. So you will need to find a balance between choosing the best product that you can, but making sure that it will be a cost-effective solution for your business.
Ask yourself, how long do you need the sign to last?
Most of the time, people will try to choose a material that will last as long as possible. However, this might not always be necessary. For example, you will only need to use some signs for a short time, as products for events.
You might also want to replace promotional signage more regularly than other types like wayfinding boards.
So check whether the product will suit your timeline.
Repairs and replacements
Unfortunately, you need to prepare for potential damage. Even the most durable materials aren’t invincible.
We recommend that you investigate what kind of damage each of the mediums is prone to. For example, aluminum often bends or dents.
On top of this, you should find out whether you can repair the signs, and if so, how? Some materials like acrylic might be very durable, but you can’t fix them when they chip or crack, so you will need to replace them.
UV exposure deserves a whole section of its own.
In some cases, this will be a bit of a catch 22. You will need sunlight to see signage that isn’t illuminated. But over time, it can wear down many types of signs. Significantly, it can cause the colors and graphics on the board to fade. This can make your once-perfect boards difficult to read and ugly to boot.
If your sign will be directly exposed to sunlight throughout the day, investigate UV resistant materials or at least treatments and finishes.
Best sign material for outdoor signs
Now that you know what you and your sign are up against, you can make an informed decision about the materials. You will also be better able to discuss your options with your sign company.
Below are a few of the best material fits for outdoor signs.
Let’s start by looking at aluminum. Of all the materials used for signage, this is probably the most popular. You can use it for indoor signs as well, but it is outdoors that these products truly shine.
Fabricators typically use aluminum to create panels. However, it can be used to create all kinds of signs and is often combined with other options such as acrylic when you are making products like channel letters.
In general, you will be able to choose from three options.
The first ones have a .040-gauge thickness that makes it perfect for real estate and political signs. The next thickness is .080-gauge aluminum. Therefore, they are sturdier and will work well for street signs.
The thickest option is .125-gauge aluminum. This is the choice for you if you need a heavy-duty sign.
Pros of aluminum:
- Strong and durable
- The material is pliable, so you can bend it into different shapes
- Easy to print on
- Scratch proof
Cons of aluminum:
- The metallic sheen is not for everybody
- Prone to denting
- Could reflect light which will interfere with visibility
- It still costs more than some of the options
Another top contender for signage materials is acrylic. The substance is made by manufacturers from a methyl methacrylate monomer and is also sometimes called plexiglass.
Typically, sign companies use it for a variety of different signage products, including channel letters and lightboxes. As we’ve said, they often combine it with other materials like aluminum.
People love to use acrylic for illuminated signs because of the way that light can shine through its panels and sheets.
Pros of acrylic:
- Sturdy and durable
- Won’t rust or corrode
- Chemical resistant
- Great thermal properties
- Doesn’t create glare
- Resistant to UV
Cons of acrylic:
- These signs are often heavy and need additional anchors and connectors.
- Prone to scratches and dents
- Difficult to repair
Are you looking for the best of both worlds?
In this case, you might want to consider Dibond. The unique material is an aluminum composite. Manufacturers produce it with a plastic polyethylene core, which they sandwich between two aluminum sheets.
Thanks to this combination, these signs are pretty strong. So they are a fantastic option for outdoor use.
Pros of Dibond:
- Waterproof and heat resistant
- Easy to cut
- Dibond panels are the flattest of any sign.
- More shock resistant than regular aluminum
Cons of Dibond:
- Slightly less rigid than solid aluminum
- Relatively expensive
- Finishes can be costly
- Often have rough or sharp edges after being cut
Next, we are going to look at another aluminum composite – Alumalite.
The material also consists of several layers. It has a thicker core of ribbed or corrugated plastic. As with the Dibond, this means that it would be lighter than solid aluminum. Once again, fabricators cover the core with metal sheets.
You can choose from different thicknesses that your sign company can cut into the right shape for you.
Pros of Alumalite:
- Lighter than solid aluminum
- You can print on them with a variety of substances like paints, digital inks (both UV or solvent cured), screenprint inks, and pressure-sensitive vinyl.
- Cuts easily
- Rigid and durable
- Can use both sides
Cons of Alumalite:
- Thicker than aluminum
Vinyl is an extremely versatile material. Sign companies use it for a variety of different products. Overall, it is mostly used to create banners. In this case, it is often reinforced with nylon. Alternatively, you can use it for murals, floor graphics, window graphics, and vehicle graphics.
But vinyl overlays can also be applied as an alternative to traditional printing techniques.
Here we will talk about vinyl as it is used for outdoor signs.
Pros of vinyl:
- Ideal for temporary or event signs
- Low maintenance
- Vinyl graphics are easy to install and remove
- Banners that are made from vinyl are portable.
- Relatively fade-resistant
- Easy to clean
Cons of vinyl:
- Not as long-lasting
- Overlays cannot be reapplied once removed
- Not rigid
- Less sturdy and durable
- High-gloss vinyl surfaces can cause glare
All in all, PVC is also a great option for outdoor signs. In general, the products come in a black or white substrate.
You should note that there are many variations of PVC, which can differ in thickness, durability, and weight. On top of this, many brands produce their materials in different ways or processes.
Pros of PVC:
- Widely available
- One of the most durable signage options.
- Great for small cutouts as well as larger signs
Cons of PVC:
- Heavier than other options like aluminum
- Prone to chips
- Difficult to repair
Coroplast is the name for a specific type of corrugated plastic sheeting.
You can use this nifty material for outdoor as well as indoor signs. It’s incredibly versatile, and sign companies create a wide range of products with Coroplast like yard signs, golf signs, and real estate signs.
Overall, it is one of the top products for temporary and short-term signage, especially if you have to print a huge quantity.
Pros of Coroplast:
- Very light
- Easy to cut into different shapes and sizes
- Chemical resistant
Cons of Coroplast:
- Prone to bending and warping
- Does not look expensive or permanent
Tips for protecting your outdoor signs
Choosing the right material goes a long way towards creating outdoor signs to last. But sometimes this isn’t enough. The climate might be particularly harsh at your location or something similar.
In cases like this, you could take a few extra steps to protect the signs such as:
- Install awnings over your signs to give some shelter from sunlight and the elements.
- Try to install the signs in less exposed spots. For example, install it where it will be in the shade for part of the day.
- You might even find that the wind mostly blows and the rain falls in a particular direction. So consider figuring this out and mounting the sign where it will be less vulnerable.
- One option is to install cooling systems for your digital and electronic signs.
- Ask your sign company about treatments or finishes that they can apply to seal and protect the products. Also, ask them about UV-resistant ink.
Made to last
There are plenty of factors to think about when you are in the process of creating signage. And the best sign material for outdoor signs is just one of those considerations.
So don’t stop there. It’s essential to hire and work with a sign making company that knows what they are doing. They will be able to advise you on creating the best signage solutions for your business.