Sign Substrates: The Bread and Butter of Advertising

by | Feb 16, 2024

Hey there, sign enthusiasts! Let’s take a moment to appreciate the unsung heroes of the signage world. No, we’re not talking about the flashy graphics or the catchy taglines (although they do deserve a round of applause). We’re talking about different types of sign substrate – the sturdy backbone that gives your sign its body and soul.

Sign substrate is like the bread in your sandwich. Without it, you just have a pile of ham and cheese. With it, you’ve got a meal. So, let’s break down the different types of sign substrates and find out which is the perfect bread for your advertising sandwich.


Fusion Marketing Sign Substrates The Bread and Butter of Advertising Corrugated Plastic Sign Substrate

Corrugated Plastic (Coroplast)

Think of Coroplast as your trusty white bread. It’s a versatile, budget-friendly, lightweight material that can withstand indoor and outdoor use. This rigid signage substrate can be printed on one or both sides and is commonly used for real estate signage, construction site signs, POP displays, and other temporary outdoor signage. This corrugated plastic substrate is your go-to option when you need something reliable and durable against inclement weather.

You’ve seen all those election signboards or real estate signs littered on the side of the road, right? The double-sided ones that catch your attention even when trying to avoid them? (They’re even lightweight enough to blow around in a storm!)

Of all the different substrates possible, chances are they were made with corrugated plastic. It’s a popular choice for outdoor signage for political campaigns due to its affordability (thanks to digital printing advances!) and ease of use. Plus, it’s easily recyclable – making it an environmentally-friendly option, and that always looks good on the polls, right?


Fusion Marketing Sign Substrates The Bread and Butter of Advertising Aluminum Sign Substrate


Aluminum is the whole-grain bread of outdoor signage substrates. It’s robust, upscale, and has high corrosion resistance, making it ideal for outdoor signage like street signs – think directional signage, parking signs, or handicap signs. Aluminum substrate is rust-proof and designed for long-term use, making it an excellent investment for businesses looking to make a lasting impression.

You may think aluminum signs are limited to plain metal finishes, but that’s not the case. With vinyl graphics and full-color printing, you can customize your aluminum signage to match your brand and stand out from the sea of boring signs.


Fusion Marketing Sign Substrates The Bread and Butter of Advertising PVC Sign Substrate

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)

PVC signs are the sourdough of sign substrates. They’re durable, rigid signs that add a gourmet touch to any setting. PVC is water-resistant, making a PVC sign ideal for menu boards, trade show displays, and interior walls. Plus, it can withstand a coffee spill without turning into mush. Talk about durability!

PVC signs are also a popular choice for businesses looking to make an impact with their branding. The smooth surface of PVC allows for high-quality printing, making your printed designs pop and stand out from the competition.


Fusion Marketing Sign Substrates The Bread and Butter of Advertising Acrylic Sign Substrate


Acrylic is the chic, glossy brioche bun of the substrate world. It’s perfect for elegant indoor signage on office doors or in lobbies. And just like a brioche bun elevates a burger to gourmet status, an acrylic substrate can take your sign from ‘meh’ to ‘marvelous .’It’s scratch-resistant, easy to clean, and can withstand fading from UV exposure.

Acrylic signs are also popular for their versatility. With options for clear or colored acrylic, you can create a sleek and modern look or add a pop of color to your signage.



Foam Board

Foam is like a fluffy Ciabatta bread. It’s lightweight, easily cut, and great for presentations or temporary displays. But like Ciabatta, of all the substrates posted, foam board isn’t known for being durable. It can be a bit delicate, so handle with care!

This substrate is made of a layer of foam sandwiched between two sheets of paper or plastic. It’s commonly used for trade show displays, presentations, and indoor signage. With its smooth surface, foam is perfect for high-resolution printing. It can make your designs look clean and professional.


Fusion Marketing Sign Substrates The Bread and Butter of Advertising Vinyl Sign Substrate


Vinyl is the tortilla of sign substrates – flexible and versatile. It’s great for banners, vehicle wraps, and window decals. This substrate can withstand rain, sun, and wind, just like a good burrito that withstands salsa, guacamole, and sour cream. Plus, it’s easy to remove and replace, making it a popular choice for short-term promotions.

Vinyl signs also come in a large variety of finishes – gloss, matte, or reflective – giving your sign the perfect texture and look. And with advancements in printing technology, you can achieve vibrant colors and crisp graphics on your vinyl signage.



You can also apply vinyl lettering to other substrates – like an aluminum or PVC sign face – to create a unique and eye-catching sign.


Fusion Marketing Sign Substrates The Bread and Butter of Advertising ACM Sign Substrate DiBond JBond

ACM (DiBond, JBond)

Think of ACM as the ryebread of the sign world. This aluminum composite material blends two worlds – the lightweight charm of plastic and aluminum’s sleek, high-quality finish. Like a sandwich on rye, ACM adds a touch of sophistication to your everyday signage. As far as sign materials Ideal for both indoor and outdoor signs, aluminum composite, also known as DiBond or JBond, is a winning combination of durability, elegance, and affordability.

Our fearless leader, John Hofmann, feels a certain way about ACM panels, saying, “ACM Panels are like the hidden gem in the signage world. They’re the Swiss Army knife of materials: durable, versatile, and affordable. Whether you have a plan for outdoor or indoor use, aluminum composite is a go-to choice for countless projects. It’s like getting a five-star dining experience on a fast-food budget! With ACM Panels, you can achieve the elegance of a diamond necklace without breaking the bank.”


Fusion Marketing Sign Substrates The Bread and Butter of Advertising Bubble X Sign Substrate

Bubble X

Let’s talk about Bubble X, the bagel of signs. This tough, versatile, and uniquely structured plastic sheeting is like a bagel sprinkled with poppy seeds, adding strength (flavor) without the weight (calories). This sturdy plastic weather-resistant sheeting laughs in the face of harsh weather, making Bubble X a rockstar choice for outdoor signs.

(Note: we do not offer contour cuts or grommets on this material))

Bubble X is a popular choice for trade show displays, billboards, and other outdoor signage. Its unique structure allows it to be easily cut into custom shapes and sizes without compromising its durability. Plus, with full-color printing, you can create eye-catching graphics to draw a crowd at any event.


Fusion Marketing - Sign Substrates - The Bread and Butter of  Advertising - Wood Sign Substrate


Let’s not forget wood signs, the whole wheat bread of sign substrates. It’s hearty, durable, and adds a touch of rustic charm to any sign. A wooden substrate is perfect for those who appreciate the natural beauty of grain patterns and warm tones. It’s also a sustainable option if you choose one of the many wood products sourced from responsibly managed forests.

Wood signs are often used for outdoor signage, like post and panel signs or monument signs. They can also add a unique touch to indoor signage, such as wall hangings or directional signs. And just like bread, there are different types of wood to choose from – pine, cedar, oak, and more – each with its own distinct characteristics and charm.



Sign Off on a High Note with the Right Substrate

Choosing the right substrate for indoor or outdoor signage is as crucial as picking the perfect bread for your sandwich in the delectable deli of signs. Each one brings its unique flavor to the table, serving up a smorgasbord of choices tailored to meet the diverse needs of your business.

Whether you’re leaning towards the lightweight versatility of Coroplast, the glossy sophistication of Acrylic, the robust resilience of Bubble X, or the composite convenience of ACM, Fusion Marketing has got you covered when it comes to the materials to make signs stand out!

Don’t let a decision on indoor or outdoor signage materials overwhelm your creative spirit. Reach out to us today, and together, we’ll create a signage solution that leaves a lasting impression.
Give us a call, drop by, or click on our website – however you choose to connect, just make sure you do. Your next sign deserves the expertise and innovation only Fusion Marketing can bread… er, we mean, bring!

Call Fusion Marketing for your next sign project!


About the Author

Atarah Pipe-Rougeau
Hi, I'm Atarah! As Fusion Marketing's Content Curation Specialist, I focus on creating engaging and educational content for our clients' websites and social media platforms. My commitment to crafting informative content not only captivates audiences but also drives organic SEO results for lasting success.

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