Material Matters: Choosing the Best Material for Your Custom Sign

Example of sign material

So many options to consider…choose wisely!

When it comes to custom signage, there are so many options consider – size, shape, color, design, mounting. Of all of the considerations, what material to use is probably the most important – and the most difficult. Mainly because selecting the perfect material requires industry knowledge that most customers don't have, and unfortunately, most sign companies don't share. But, we do…because material matters, and the more knowledgeable you are, the better off you'll be.

Here's the truth: some sign materials are better for certain types of signs, and not good for others. So, when having a custom sign made, you need to know not only which materials will work for your sign, but also which ones definitely will not.

For example, did you know that acrylic, although professional with a sleek, corporate look, is not recommended for outdoor signage? It's not shatter-proof – in other words, a windstorm by Mother Nature or a big rock thrown by the mischievous kid down the street could potentially break it into smithereens. In this case, you'd rather have a sign made of a stronger plastic, like Acrysteel or even a polycarbonate, like Lexan, which has 50 times the impact strength of standard acrylic.

And did you know that the popular, vibrant, and affordable PVC plastic is virtually shatter-proof, but should only be used for indoor signage? Extreme heat can cause it to warp and bow. So, unless you want your customers to give that "well-it's-creative-and-interesting" look when they see your disfigured sign, PVC would not be a good choice for your outdoor sign. Perfect for indoors, not a good choice for outdoors.

You see, it's important for you to know which materials are best suited for indoor or outdoor use, and also which can be double-sided and which can't. Don't allow any sign company to sell you what "looks good" without knowing the ins and outs of the material – it could cost you in the long run (or in the short run if that mischievous kid plays outside a lot!).

The chart below is an excellent resource for you. Use it when making your material choices:


Don't be sold on aesthetics – learn the basic qualities of popular materials before you have your custom sign made. The material you choose could determine how long your sign will last, so choose wisely. Material matters!

By the way, we've dished up the goods on sign materials in this Buyer's Guide. It's loaded with industry secrets about sign materials. Curious? Download it today!

Our most popular sign materials:


For custom outdoor signs:
  • Wood - Durawood, ARMOUR-Wood, HDU, Redwood
  • Aluminum
  • Lexan
  • Heavy Duty Vinyl Banners
  • Coroplast (for yard signs & sandwich boards)
For custom indoor signs:
  • Acrylic
  • Aluminum
  • Dibond
  • PVC
  • Cast Vinyl

When it comes to materials for your custom signs, ask lots of questions!

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