You have a vision for the future of your business and decided to invest in advertising. There’s a perfect real estate placement for signage, and all you have left to do is order it. 

You do a little internet research on where to buy your finished sign and end up in a wormhole. Printing on both sides is an option for most substrates, and indoor use only materials exist? 

Deciding on which material to choose for your design is a challenge. You will need to sort through so much information, but we’re here to help you out! 


There are specific considerations you want to take before determining your substrate (aka sign material.) One of the biggest being its placement indoors or outdoors. 

If the sign is staying indoors, you can eliminate the need for durable, expensive materials and narrow your search. Try a lightweight foam material or opt for a more sustainable, biodegradable option, such as wood. 

 If your placement is outdoors, especially in an area prone to a lot of sunlight or rain, you will need a sturdier option, such as PVC, aluminum, or magnetic substrate.


A big sign can make a significant impact. But have you ever drove past a grand opening of a new retail store where there are lawn signs every ten feet on your way to that store? Also hard to miss.

 Depending on the space that’s available to advertise, consider which strategy makes the most significant impact. Maybe having 50 standard signs outside your business doesn’t make sense if you’re in a rural location, but you do understand the impact billboards have on small, Midwest towns. 

 If you go the 50 standard signs route, corrugated plastic is the way to go. There’s a reason all the political signs you see look the same – it’s inexpensive and can stand up to most weather elements. 

If you decide on a large sign, it’s placement will probably be more permanent, so you should consider investing in a durable material. Try sign blanks for a smaller job or aluminum substrate for even more curb appeal.

Printing Technique

How the words get printed on your substrate is almost just as important as the material you choose. Some techniques, when applied to the right materials, can last in even the harshest conditions. Other scenarios are completely impossible – like trying to screen print a glossy vinyl. 

You should not have to be the expert, but the response you get when asking which printing techniques are available on your substrate will tell you a lot about a company you are working with and may open doors to more creative solutions that suit your needs.


It would help if you went into your order, having a budget for your advertisement. After doing some research on possible sign solutions for your business, you should know what is reasonable to spend on your sign(s). While it doesn’t hurt to shop around for pricing, keep in mind that the cheapest isn’t always the best option. 

Reputable companies will often want to discuss the details of your order to make sure your advertisement goals match what they can offer as your finished product. Trust that Design 4 will take the time to validate and invest in your project just as much as you do.

With all of the choices in the substrate for your advertisement, your simple task of getting something printed can seem not-so-simple. 

We hope this blog will guide you in the mindset of asking the right questions to get a finished product that will serve as the perfect advertisement for your needs. If you have any questions about substrates, printing techniques, or advertising designs, we are here to help! Call us with questions: (402) 339-6856.

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