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Your Guide to Choosing the Right Outdoor Signage

Written by Colleen Cabili    ●    Published on March 18, 2022

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Your restaurant is hosting a highly anticipated PR event. The invitation clearly indicates the program starts at 5 in the afternoon, but half of your guest list is still missing. In the next hour, more guests arrive, annoyance plastered on their faces instead of the excitement you’ve been expecting. Everyone is echoing the same sentiment: They all had difficulty finding your establishment.

This is an all-too-common experience for drivers of all ages. In fact, a survey revealed that 64% of women aged 18 to 24 drove past their destinations due to unnoticeable signage.

Don’t let your brick-and-mortar business make the same avoidable mistake. The simple solution? An eye-catching outdoor signage.

Larger Than Life: Different Uses of Outdoor Signs

Outdoor signages are graphic displays placed – you guessed right – outdoors to convey information to the passing public. We encounter and get influenced by hundreds of these daily, so much so that 7 out of 10 drivers make their shopping decisions while driving. “We’re on GPS and on social media. Why else would we need an outdoor sign?”, you argue. There’s a reason they date back to Ancient Egypt – time has proven that the best outdoor signs are highly effective in making businesses visible and their products and services easily identifiable.

Aside from being tried-and-tested and cost-effective promotional tools, outdoor signs are also useful for wayfinding. How else would you know where to exit on the freeway? Plus, signs are useful for indicating nearby services and for pointing out oncoming hazards and obstacles.

Whatever the purpose, outdoor signages accomplish one primary goal – they get your message across when you want it, where you want it.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Outdoor Sign

Since outdoor signages have different uses, it goes without saying that each sign is created and designed depending on its purpose. Here are some things to keep in mind before you hit the checkout button.

  • Material – Outdoor signages are made of various materials and for a beginner, the sheer number of choices can get overwhelming. Moreover, you’ll get different responses if you ask for the best material for outdoor signs.
    • Acrylic – Although costly, acrylic is one of the most durable outdoor sign materials. It doesn’t rust nor corrode, and it has water, chemical, and UV-resistant properties. Illuminated signs are often made of acrylic.
    • Aluminum – It’s lightweight yet long-lasting, and it’s malleable enough to be made into different shapes. Its only glaring disadvantage would be its metallic sheen, which can affect visibility on sunny days.
    • Corrugated Plastic – This refers to a wide range of twin-wall plastic sheet products that look like corrugated cardboard. Made of polypropylene resin, it has the tendency to warp and bend over time, making it an affordable option for business owners seeking to print out short-term signages.
    • PVC – This is also an affordable outdoor signage material choice known for its durability and versatility. However, unlike the incredibly lightweight and translucent corrugated plastic, PVC is heavier and more opaque, making it more suitable for long-term use. Billboards are made of PVC.
    • Vinyl – Vinyl takes the cake for being an all-around player. It’s lightweight, low maintenance, easy to store, and relatively affordable. Before electronic printers, sign makers either hand-painted or screen-printed their designs directly on the material. Nowadays, majority of the outdoor signages you see are made of vinyl – pole banners, floor graphics, vehicle wraps, reflective stickers, among others.
  • Placement – You’ve spent a good number of hours designing your outdoor signage and now you know the best material to print it on. It’s legible, comprehensible, and highly visible – but from what distance? Your outdoor sign’s location is just as important as its material and design. Property signs and real estate signs need to be visible from a moving vehicle, while floor stickers and window clings must be vibrant enough to pop out from the surface you stuck them on. For mounted signages, the International Sign Association has a guide for the minimum required legibility distance.
  • Longevity – Not all outdoor signages need to last a lifetime. Case in point: a week-long promo only needs to be displayed on the duration of the promo itself, so window clings and posters are a smarter option compared to retractable banners.
  • Maintenance – Expect to incur additional costs on your outdoor signage’s repairs and replacements over time, but there are still ways you can minimize the expenses. For starters, invest in high-quality materials if you plan to put up your sign for a long time. Durable materials such as aluminum and acrylic can last years, however, they are difficult to restore once they sustain dents and scratches. Even the weather and overall climate can affect your outdoor signage’s lifespan. UV exposure, for instance, can break down the colors and graphics of your outdoor signage. 

What’s the Best Outdoor Signage for You?

Now that you’re familiar with the basics, it’s time to choose the best outdoor sign depending on your needs:

  • A-Frame Signs – Portable and easy to set up, A-frame signs are best suited for sidewalks and other areas with high foot traffic. The frame is either made of metal or plastic, while the sign itself is corrugated plastic.
    Metal A-Frame Signs
    Plastic A-Frame Signs

  • Hanging Banners – Made of high-quality vinyl, hanging banners come in different styles and sizes that offer great visibility and durability. You can also choose among various finishes such as matte, smooth, and see-through. We also have fabric banners made of polyester!
    Vinyl Banner
    Pole Banner
    Mesh Banner
    Fabric Banner

  • PostersWaterproof PVC posters are best suited for short-term, large-scale promotions since they’re easy to put up and take down.
    Mounted Posters
    Poster Signs

  • Yard Signs and Real Estate Signs – Get your real estate advertisements immediately noticed with an outdoor sign that’s durable and highly noticeable. Our yard signs are made of corrugated plastic with optional grommets, while our real estate signs come in either aluminum or corrugated plastic.
    Yard Signs
    Real Estate Signs

Are you ready to get your own custom signage? Create yours in minutes using 48HourPrint’s easy-to-use online design tool, or feel free to use any of our banner design templates.

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