Palram is a sign expert, providing sign media in a variety of materials , such as polycarbonate, PVC, foamed PVC, or acrylic, for printed signs, lit signs, channel letters, 3D signage, directive signage, and more. We know how to provide colors, finishes, and textures that fit different manufacturing processes. Palram’s expert technical consultants can help you select the right material that fits your fabrication process, whether you need to print, light, thermoform, cold bend, or laser cut.
Indoor/Outdoor Signage Materials
Whether you’re manufacturing signage for indoors, outdoors, or chemically aggressive environments (such as hospitals, public kitchens, mines, labs, and refrigerated areas), Palram will help you find materials and manufacturing techniques that will result in a durable and superior product. We’ll help you comply with electricity and fire restrictions, durability resistance requirements, and temperature differences.
Signs are printed and cut to all shapes and forms, but The choice of media depends on the processes that the material goes through after it’s been printed, cut, milled, or laser cut, glued, drilled or thermo-formed, etc. Other considerations refer to where it is going to be placed: indoor/outdoor, temporarily/permanently, Standard/premium look, protected or not, etc. You can find a lot more information in the printing and display solution page, where we really get into the details on this. 1
- printed media should have good ink adhesion and image quality
- consider post-print processes before final sign is ready
- Consider sign placement and environmental requirements (fire requirements, durability/impact, weather – temperature, hail, sunlight, etc.)
- Consider length of usage: short temporary use vs. long, permanent use
- Consider brand messaging: premium media and quality vs. standard signage media
Simple LIT sign faces
Simple LIT sign faces
Three ways for using sign faces (mostly rectangular lit signs)
1. Clear media for light boxes where the image is printed on vinyl or a similar material that diffuses the light. In these applications, the main purpose of the sign face is to protect against external weather and environmental conditions. The most common material is Clear Polycarbonate, which is ideal because it is virtually unbreakable, yet clear and fit for outdoor use. See PALSUN.
2. Diffused media between the light source and the image. The main requirement here is to diffuse the light evenly, be able to blur the light source even through thinner light boxes that place high-powered LED lights just a short distance away from the sign face. The most common material for this application is Acrylic – see PALGLAS. Manufacturers can also use Polycarbonate (PALSUN) for outdoor applications weather, or PVC (PALCLEAR) for indoor use.
3. A combination of the two above, where the image is printed directly on the front or back of the media. This results in higher image quality, and longer durability, but the trade-off is that one cannot reuse the sign face. Palram offers PALOPAQUE – opaque PVC sheets, and PALCLEAR – clear, translucent or diffused PVC sheets that can be printed and fabricated into display units, lit displays and signage, interior partitions, wayfinding signage, and more. Signage for these applications is made mostly (PALSUN) and PVC (PALCLEAR). Acrylic is Less useful due to poor ink adhesion.
- transparent clear Polycarbonate for back-lit sign faces (PALSUN)
- Diffused media for light boxes(Polycarbonate or PVC)(PALSUN LB or PALCLEAR DIFFUSER)
- Higher diffusion lets designers place sign faces closer to light source without light burns, and enables a whiter base when lights are off
- Coil-stock reels enable greater efficiency of cuts and higher ROI (PALSUN CS)
Channel letter sign faces are everywhere brands are advertised — gas stations, restaurants, coffee shops, major retailers and more. These are signs advertising a brand logo where each letter of the sign is a 3D illuminated light box. These sign faces are usually acrylic (PALGLAS) in which the media is cut to the graphic shape of the letter or the logo, and placed on a can with the LED source installed inside. The can itself is made of metal, or sometimes Foam PVC. The lower the can, the closer the sign face is to the light source. Therefore, a higher diffusion value is required. In some cases, when the sign stands out in cold weather and Acrylic may become brittle, polycarbonate can be used (PALSUN)
- Polycarbonate and Acrylic are excellent materials for channel letters
- A good diffuser sheet has high light transmission with high diffusion power and white appearance.
- Sign face should also withstand outdoor conditions – weather, vandalism, sunlight, etc. Polycarbonate (PALSUN), is preferable in these circumstances.
Thermoformed signage is unique in that there is no separation between the body of sign and the sign face. The sign is thermo-formed to receive its dimensional look and shape (think of the yellow McDonald’s 'M' letter). The most commonly-used media here is Polycarbonate which has the best properties for thermo forming and structural strength.
- Polycarbonate is the most commonly-used material for thermoformed outdoor applications. (PALSUN)
- Solid PVC can be used as well in some cases (PALOPAQUE)
Wayfinding signage is usually placed indoors and sometimes backlit. These signs mostly consist of a simple printed or laminated sign face with an opaque substrate. Common materials for these signs are solid PVC, Foamed PVC, or Foam PVC and Aluminum top layer. These materials are either engraved or digitally printed.
Occasionally, sign makers may choose colored glossy PVC. This material can be engraved with graphics, printed and back-lit (for emergency exit signs), or created from multi-layered or coated foam PVC.
- Wide range of materials available for different placements, and workflow processes, in many sizes and colors
- Select the right material to comply with fire requirements
- Permanent signage deserves better -looking, more expensive media
- Signs can be printed, engraved, laminated, back-lit and more