When printing signage for clients, the design is only part of the decision that has to be made. Once your designer has created the layout, a suitable substrate (material) is chosen. Choices depend on the usage and your budget. Several materials can be used for the same purpose, although one substrate may have greater advantages than others.
For example, metal real estate signs are often made of either aluminum or aluminum composite. Aluminum is an excellent choice for permanent signage due to its resilience and durability. Aluminum composite is essentially an amalgam of two aluminum components surrounding a core of additional material, often plastic, which makes it more lightweight than its pure aluminum counterpart. It is extremely durable and somewhat stronger than solid aluminum sheets with an often lower price tag. Both aluminum and aluminum composite come in various thicknesses. Graphics can either be printed directly on either substrate or, for richer, truer, more vibrant colors, graphics can be printed on 3M vinyl then applied and laminated.
Alternatives to metal signs are plastic (PVC, acrylic) which are better indoors for long-term use as fading can occur in sunlight. Corrugated plastic (Coroplast) is often seen as yard signs on metal stakes. These signs are cost-efficient, waterproof and lightweight and are preferable to cardboard which is not weather-resistant. Coroplast signs are not used for long-term or permanent signage although they can be reused many times.
Another type of indoor signage is brushed aluminum which gives a high-tech look to graphics. It can be used as flat signage or as wraps on a 2” frame. For an informal look, gallery wrapped canvas is excellent for artwork and photos.
When discussing signage with your Graphic Designer, be sure to mention how you will be using the sign (indoors or outdoors) and how the sign will be hung (on stakes, in frames or on a post) so the correct substrate can be chosen. If you have questions about the various sign material, ask your designer for assistance.