Bringing Retail Displays to Life: 5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing Material

Posted in Sign & Display
Bringing Retail Displays to Life: 5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing Material
By Anthony Martin, Business Unit Manager Industrial Plastics Division

When starting from scratch on designing a new display, what do you look for when deciding on the ideal material to use?

If you want the final product to be easy to work with for the end-user and last long-term, some attributes that should come to mind include durability, machinability, print quality, structural integrity, ease of assembly, and cost.

But the real question is – Why are these specific attributes so important, and what material can provide them all? Below are considerations you should make during the design stage to help you choose the optimal material:

Can I design this display to be three-dimensional?

Although one-dimensional displays use less floor space, they lack the stunning visuals achievable with real depth and a multi-dimensional design.

Adding volume to your display will turn more heads and deliver your message from different angles, catching potential customers’ eyes from across a showroom or store floor.

How crucial is ease-of-assembly?

A simple assembly process typically results in a more efficient display for the end-user. If given a choice, any designer or fabricator would love not having to use adhesives, screws, or pin rivets during assembly.

Additionally, with accurate CNC machining, you can route display materials to create unique fastening elements that maintain their functionality even after repeated use. This is only possible with substrates that are both rigid and easy to route, drill and cut, such as multilayer PVC sheets.

Can the display be easily disassembled and reassembled?

Building a 3D display from a flat fabricated substrate requires v-grooving and precise cutting. However, repeated use often weakens the material at its bend point.

It’s crucial to choose a material that can withstand this type of abuse and multiple assemblies while maintaining structural integrity.

Materials such as cardboard and foam board are typically used for temporary, one-time use displays. Additionally, while wood and ACM are durable enough for repeated use, assembly time is usually extensive due to the need for mechanical fasteners – making multilayer PVC a better choice for many applications.

Which factors do I need to consider if I need to print on my display?

If your design requires digital printing, consider the below 3 factors when choosing material:

  • Ink adhesion: the ability of the pigment to attach to the surface of the printing media, either mechanically or chemically.
  • Color retention: the ability of the printed media to maintain colors long-term without any fading.
  • White point: a set of color values which systematically define the color ‘white’. The media’s white point is crucial for the image profile generation within the printer software.

Many substrates lack good ink adhesion and miss the mark on color retention. Those that are capable, like PVC, should be extruded in a way that unleashes these key traits – such as Palram’s co-extruded multilayer PALBOARD™.

How big can I make this display?

Some end-users may specify an oversized display, whether it is for an extravagant exhibition booth, a shopping mall holiday attraction, or even a POP display for a retail store.

Constructing large 3D displays requires a durable substrate that isn’t too heavy, so that the final product can support its own weight without deflection.

Aluminum composite sheets are a good option, but their heavy weight can be challenging. Popular lightweight options such as foam board and cardboard are severely limited by their poor structural strength.

For these reasons, multilayer PVC is a smarter alternative, due to its impressive strength-to-weight ratio.

Wrapping Up

Using a substrate that is easy to move, handle, and assemble leads to lower freight and labor costs. Do not waste your time on materials that can be easily damaged during storage or transport, such as cardboard or foam board.

Aluminum composite panels may be robust but require significant labor to handle and ship. This not only inflates processing costs, but also limits the size of the assembled unit.

Additionally, foam board and cardboard are easy to work with, but lack the durability required for many complex designs.

Enjoy the benefits of a high-end polymer – PALBOARD’s Unmatched Durability

For your next display, consider PALBOARD™ – Palram’s innovative multilayer PVC sheet, designed specifically for sign and display manufacturers who require flexible substrates that deliver endless possibilities.

It can be digitally printed, has a high white point, and can be cut easily, v-grooved, cold-bent, and more. Structures built with PALBOARD are easy to assemble/disassemble and can be shipped/stored flat.

PALBOARD is not only waterproof and corrosion resistant, but it is also suitable for high humidity and wet displays. It can be cleaned easily and is resistant to a wide range of chemicals, including adhesives and lubricants. Other popular lightweight substrates tend to absorb humidity and are often restricted to indoor use only.

“We chose PALBOARD over many alternatives, mostly because it is so easy to fabricate. It is also perfectly suitable for digital printing, CNC routing, and V-groove cutting. Once we tried it, we knew this was our solution. We can even cold fold V-grooved sheets to 90° multiple times and they maintain their structural strength.” – P. Steinberg, Product Designer/Managing Director at Clear-Designs LTD.

For full specs or to order free samples, see here.

Also check out this YouTube playlist of demos, assembly videos, & hands-on testimonials so you can see how inspirational PALBOARD™ is to this generation’s designers and fabricators!

About Palram Americas

Palram Americas is an end-to-end, state-of-the-art thermoplastics manufacturer based in the Lehigh Valley, PA. For 60 years, Palram has provided high-quality polycarbonate & PVC solutions used in countless markets spanning construction and architecture, sign and display, agriculture, safety & security, transportation, DIY and outdoor living.

Whether you’re a contractor, fabricator, designer, architect, printer, or even a homeowner interested in DIY projects, Palram’s range of polycarbonate and PVC solutions will help transform your vision into reality. Together, we will build on.

To learn more about Palram’s PALBOARD product line, see here.

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