Our Sign Materials guide

In this guide, we're looking at a detailed breakdown of the materials commongly used for printed signs. Our digital printing machines are able to print onto other flat materials, so reach out if you have bespoke printing requirements onto materials different to the below.

Self Adhesive Vinyl Sticker Sign Material


Self Adhesive Vinyl (stickers)

Self-adhesive vinyl is a plasticised film with a permanent acrylic based adhesive backing. Backing paper is used to cover the adhesive side of the vinyl, which can be easily removed before it is applied to the surface. Self-adhesive vinyl can be used internally and externally on non-porous, smooth surfaces so it the sign can be completely flattened to secure its position. It generally performs better internally as whilst the vinyl is waterproof, ongoing exposure to water and moisture can affect its integrity over time. Self-adhesive vinyl should not be used on brick, stone, rendered or wood surfaces.

  • Easy to affix to the required surface
  • Cost-effective signage option
  • Best suited to internal, flat or curved, smooth surfaces (non-porous)
  • Gloss finish available

PVC Rigid Plastic Sign Material


Rigid Plastic PVC

Rigid PVC Plastic is available in a variety of thicknesses and is used in a host of commercial environments. It’s a durable material that produces a clean, clear print, making it ideal for both interior and exterior signage. The material is relatively inexpensive and lightweight and is largely used for safety signage, with drill holes or a self-adhesive backing available if required. Rigid PVC can be cut into a wide range of basic shapes and can be fully recycled after it has been uninstalled

  • Ideal for internal and external installation
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Can be cut into many different shapes
  • Produces a clear, long-lasting print

Aluminium Composite Sign Material


Aluminium Composite (Dibond)

Aluminium composite signs (also known by a manufacturer's name 'Dibond' signs) consists of two thin aluminium sheets that have been bonded to a non-aluminium polyethylene core. This type of material is the most commonly used for outdoor signage due to its durability and versatility. The material is usually 3mm thick and can also feature pre-drilled holes can be included in the order to support the installation process. Composite aluminium signs are long-lasting and able to withstand exposure to elements, making them ideal for use outdoors in testing environments.

  • Rigid, Strong yet lightweight material
  • Suitable for long-term use under testing environments
  • Fully weatherproof
  • Does not rust or corrode over time

Correx Corrugated Plastic Sign Material


Corrugated Plastic (Correx)

Correx is a twin-walled fluted polypropylene plastic that is commongly described under a brand name 'Correx'. , Correx is commongly used for outdoor temporary signage eg: Real Estate Signs, Event Signage, Construction site signs, etc. Correx is very light, but strong in the direction of the corrugations and not so in the opposing direction. It is available in various thicknesses and is often classed as 'temporary signage', but can last years depending on the environment.

  • Lightweight material
  • Cost effective temporary signage
  • Weatherproof
  • 100% Recycleable

Foam Board Sign Material


Foam Board

Foamed plastic signage (also known as Foamex) is a lightweight material made from high quality PVC foam that is used for external signage. The material’s flexibility is one of its key benefits as it can be cut into a wide variety of shapes. Despite being lightweight – which makes these types of signs very easy to install – Foamex is very robust and strong and serves as a great alternative to wood and MDF signage. Foamex works well in outdoor environments (although is better for short-term use) thanks to the material being weatherproof and water repellent, so it does not absorb moisture

  • Water repellent and weatherproof
  • Suitable for use indoors and outdoors
  • Lightweight and easy to install /li>
  • Can be cut into a variety of basic shapes

Glow In The Dark Sign Material


Photoluminescent PVC

Photoluminescent PVC is available in 1.3mm Rigid Plastic or Self-Adhesive Vinyl (sticker) materials. Commongly used for Fire and Emergency signage to help instruct in dark or dimly lit areas. Otherwise known as glow in the dark signage, it complies with British Standard BS5499-2:1986 and is completely self-charging, so no batteries or electrical source is required to power it. The material absorbs natural daylight which is emitted in low-light conditions. It can be designed in a variety of shapes and sizes and is very easy to install.

  • Suitable for use indoors and outdoors
  • Typically used for signs in low-light or emergency environments
  • Self-charging Photoluminescent materials
  • Available in Rigid Plastic or Stickers


"Class B" and "Class C" Photoluminescent Sign Materials Explained

Glow In The Dark signage will vary in quality, with the number of luminous pigments, base materials, inks and printing quality affecting a signs luminous performance and longevity.

The PSPA (Photoluminescent Safety Products Association) rating system indicates "Class C" rated products can emit up to 3x greater luminance over that of Class B photoluminescent products.

Our standard photoluminescent glow in the dark range is "Class B" which offers good performance and exceeds PSPA recommendations for way-finding signage. For higher performance signage that will glow for longer periods (and in order to be compliant with ISO 16069) "Class C" photoluminescent wayfinding signage should be used.

All classes of photoluminescent signs we manufacturer have our price promise and a 5 year warranty against cracking or fading.

You can read a bit more on Class B vs Class C glow in the dark signs in our resource hub article.


Brushed Aluminium Sign Material


Brushed Aluminium

Brushed Aluminium, Brushed Steel, or the equivilent terms is very similar to 'Dibond', in that it's two thin aluminium sheets bonded to a non-aluminium polyethylene resin core. The differene is the external aluminium sheets contain a 'brushed silver' finish to give a premium smart superior looking finish to the sign. Brushed Aluminium can be used both indoor and outdoors and is a strong long lasting premium sign material.

  • Premium material with a superior finish
  • Will not rust or corrode over time
  • Can be used indoors or outdoors
  • Still fairly lightweight for its strength

Zintec Metal Sign Material



Zintec (or Zinc Steel) is a steel metal plate that has been electrolytically coated with a thin layer of Zinc. Often used for Road Works Stanchion Signs this steel sheet metal has good corrosion resistance and is a good option for signage to be used outdoors, stored or under regular transit conditions. Zintec signs can be available in a reflective vinyl finish for increase visibility.

  • Suitable for more heavy duty applications
  • Strong corrosion resistance
  • Sturdy and dependable material
  • Ideal for outdoor stanchion frame signs

Magnetic Sign Material



Magnetic signs are made from PVC vinyl laminated to a ferrite material, the result being a lightweight, flexible, and weather-resistant magnetic sign material. Available in a range of thicknesses, magnetic signs are often used for vehicle signage, skips, temporary removable signs on metal objects. Magnetic signs can be easily fitted and re-used as required and the material can be cut into various shapes.

  • Water resistant
  • Indoor or outdoor use
  • Flexible magnetic material
  • Easy to remove and reuse