Polystyrene Substrate for Signage
Whenever you’re looking for a sign, you’ll want to choose a substrate that fits your needs. You can think of substrates like the backbone of your graphics. Each substrate comes with its advantages, and choosing the right one can have a significant impact on the overall aesthetic and durability of your sign.
Having a solid foundation for your displays is one of the most crucial elements of using signage to draw people to your product or services. Without the right substrate backing your messages up, you run the risk of appearing unprofessional or choosing a material that will not hold up in the environment it’s placed in. For example, some substrate is perfect for the outdoors, while others will deteriorate quickly. As such, you need to explore what kind of substrate is right for you.
Among substrates, standard options include coroplast, gatorboard, acrylic, alupanel and PVC. Polystyrene is another frequently used substrate that many companies use for indoor signs and presentation boards. If you’re looking for a substrate to use, you should consider polystyrene.
What Is Polystyrene?
Polystyrene, or styrene, is a substrate that is perfect for point of purchase displays and other pieces of indoor signage. Typically, the substrate has a bright white appearance and is smooth to the touch, making it an attractive option for signs and posters. It can come in a variety of sizes and shapes, making it a very versatile substrate to use.
Placing polystyrene signs outside is not recommended as the color tends to yellow, and the material becomes progressively brittle after prolonged sunlight exposure. Additionally, it’s generally recommended to only use one-sided printing to avoid images bleeding into one another, as the material does have a translucent property.
You will often see these prints in malls, business hallways, retail stores, trade shows, offices and restaurants. Their versatility makes them popular as they can be displayed on tabletops, counters, backwall panel displays, hanging displays and more.
Benefits of Polystyrene for Your Graphics
Printing on polystyrene is one of the most popular uses of the material and for good reason. A styrene print comes with several benefits:
One of the top benefits to polystyrene is its ability to be flexible and cut to any size or shape that a company needs. They are perfect for times when your company wants to experiment with different designs to try to get a better sense for how your company could change its look.
Along with being perfect for testing new designs and signage, polystyrene signage can work for any occasion. The styrene print comes in a variety of visual styles like translucent and opaque and also comes in an unlimited supply of colors. Additionally, you can adjust its thickness to whatever you desire to match the space that you will be placing it in. Often, you will see styrene prints hung off the wall in exhibits and events. You can even fit them on curved walls, as the material can be shaped easily to fit onto the curve.
A styrene sign can be one of the most eye-catching pieces of any of your visual displays. Though polystyrene is white, it can be adjusted in the printing process to whatever color you wish, allowing you to utilize visually stunning color schemes. Along with the appeal of vivid colors, polystyrene sign board is an ideal canvas for your images and graphics, ensuring that they pop to customers. A styrene print will broadcast to customers your professionalism and help to spread brand awareness.
One of the reasons that polystyrene is so popular is its affordability. It’s widely known that it’s a cost-effective option for the needs of companies who are looking to have signs and posters made.
Along with being low-cost, it can be a very durable material, which helps it maintain its value long after being installed. The material is easy to clean and can be stored in almost any frame or stand. Additionally, it’s waterproof, preparing it for any accidents that come its way. Any company who is interested in getting the best value for their dollar should look into styrene prints.
4. Custom Printing Capabilities
Instead of using generic stock images or industry-standard prints, you will most likely want to customize and brand your signs or posters with your logos or images. With a styrene print, you can craft a unique display that shows off your message in the best way possible.
Along with custom imagery and messages, you can customize your display by cutting it to fit any space or into any shape that will catch the eye of a customer. If you’re going to be transporting these displays (say from trade show to trade show), they can be designed to adjust to being rolled and tubed. Whatever your need is, a custom styrene print can supply it.
Types of Polystrene
If you’re looking to add styrene print to your collection of displays, you’ll need to know the two most common types of polystyrene. Digital imaging companies generally either use foam core or ultra board for their polystyrene base. Each of these types of polystyrene come with their benefits and are appropriate for a variety of uses.
1. Foam Core
Foam board or foam core is an easy to cut and lightweight material that’s also very strong. It’s often referred to as a material that fits into a paper-faced foam board category. As it usually has a type of paper face, it will come in a couple of layers. The inner layer will be made out of polystyrene with the next layer typically being made with brown Kraft paper or clay-coated paper.
Foam core will be the less durable of the two materials as it can dent or bend fairly easily. As it’s less durable, it’s best used either for a one-time event or placed in a position where it’s unlikely to be moved or transported frequently. It’s an economical solution for events or signs that you don’t often handle. Additionally, the images on the foam are not typically laminated, helping to make it more cost-effective.
Typically, this sort of material is used to mount presentations that show off new products or services. Since this marketing material will go out of date as soon as the company has a new offering, companies do not need it to be durable for a long time. Rather, they need it to be affordable and attractive to serve a short-term goal. Additionally, foam core also goes well as backing material for picture framing that many companies use for cost-effective and stylish decoration on their walls.
2. Ultra Board
Unlike foam boards, ultra boards are extremely durable. They are made out of lightweight structural panels that consist of rigid polystyrene foam core. Both sides of the board are coated with a moisture-resistant sheet of tough polystyrene.
Companies often use this board when they are planning on making it a permanent fixture or if they are going to be consistently handling it. The image can also be laminated to further protect it from scratches, smudges and fingerprints on its surfaces. This material will highlight your company’s professionalism and will make for a visually impressive display.
Examples of Polystyrene Signage
Contour-cut signs and presentation boards are two of the most popular forms of polystyrene. With a polystyrene substrate, you can craft a visually stunning product that displays your message in style.
1. Contour-Cut Signage
Polystyrene is easy to cut and adjust, making it a popular material to use for contour-cut signage. Often, polystyrene will be paired with contour-cut signage to craft a unique display that creates eye-catching, unique designs.
What Is It?
Contour-cut signage is a very flexible form of signage that you can configure in almost any way possible. When it’s created, it will be cut along the edge of a pre-determined line or your graphic’s design. As it’s cut along the edge, it will usually not have much of a border. Creative companies tend to like it as the final product of a contour-cut can be shaped like their company name, a unique shape or their logo.
You can think of contour cutting like when you had to cut pictures out of a magazine for an elementary school project or for when you were making a collage. Instead of scissors, a digital imaging studio will use a specialized software program with a digital cutting machine to cut out the desired graphic.
You can use contour cutting to make decals or signs from a variety of materials. As it’s such a customizable and efficient way to create graphics, it’s perfect for unique shapes and borderless signs that will help your graphics catch the eye of someone passing by. A contour-cut sign will make a statement with its attention-grabbing design.
Benefits of Contour-Cut Signs
The choice to go with contour-cut signage comes with several benefits that you’ll want to be aware of while you decide on the types of signage you want to employ. Choosing the right signage will help to deliver a message that fits your brand perfectly. You can find some of the top benefits of a contour-cut sign below:
- Accuracy and reproducibility: Since the cutting machines deliver only the most accurately cut designs, you’ll be able to produce highly specialized designs. Additionally, you’ll be able to reproduce unique designs with ease. By maintaining consistency in your designs, you’ll be able to build a professional image.
- Efficiency: With contour cutting, you’ll be able to produce graphics quickly. Cutting machines operate primarily on their own, which helps to speed up and automate the process. Additionally, many digital imaging companies will use a machine that can cut and print signs, making the process even faster.
- Specialized designs: As contour cutting can produce very accurate cuts, it’s an excellent form of signage for companies that need a customized design. You can craft an unlimited supply of designs that will make your company’s message pop.
Why Polystyrene Is Perfect for Contour-Cut Signage
The most common form of polystyrene used for contour-cut signage is foam core. As it’s easy to cut and is a cheap material, it’s ideal for signs that need to be produced on a large scale and still look unique. Additionally, both sides of the sign can come laminated with a coated-paper stock.
2. Presentation Boards
Do you regularly attend meetings where you need to illustrate important information? Are you always looking for better ways to pitch fresh new strategies or ideas to an audience? What about making training material memorable during onboarding sessions? If any of those questions speak to your workweek, a presentation board can be a great help.
With a presentation board, you can walk into a meeting knowing that you have a visually appealing accessory backing you up while you’re presenting something. Your presentation will draw the attention of your audiences by being aesthetically pleasing and making your message more tangible.
With the right digital imaging studio, your presentation board can be printed with the highest level of detail and the most vibrant colors. Your graphics will come to life in the eyes of your audience.
One of the best materials to make a presentation board with is polystyrene due to its affordability and ability to act as a complementary background to beautiful designs. Since presentation boards often need to be updated or changed out for new messaging, you’ll want to use a material that’s not too pricey and can be easily replaced.
Foam Core or Ultraboard for Presentation Boards
When it comes to designing a presentation board, you can either go with a foam core or ultraboard for your polystyrene base. See the following features of the two types of presentation boards:
- Foam core: A foam core presentation board is perfect for the short term. If you’re continually updating your messaging or specializing each board for your audience, you’ll want to go with this option, as it’s the more affordable of the two. Often, the polystyrene will be 3/16ths of an inch or a half-inch wide with sheets of clay-coated paper on either side of it. Depending on your preference, you can place your designs on both sides of the board, or you can have it on just one side.
- Ultraboard: An ultraboard presentation board is a more long term choice, as it’s more durable. It starts with a similar-sized polystyrene board at the core but then adds two more rigid and thin sheets of polystyrene on either side to make it sturdier. With its increased strength, ultraboard presentation board can withstand general wear and tear, like dents. This material is perfect for any presentation board you are planning to use multiple times.
Ready to Design Polystyrene Posters or Signs?
If you’re looking to create a stunning polystyrene presentation board or sign, you’ll want to see how SpeedPro can take your graphics to the next level.
With a nationwide network of digital imaging studios that specialize in large-format graphics, SpeedPro can handle all of your printing needs. Find your local studio to see what they can do for you.