Custom aluminum signs are the blue jeans of the sign industry
Everyone knows that safe, comfortable, amazing feeling you have when you slide on your favorite pair of blue jeans. They are durable, well made and just right for any occasion. Everyone's favorite pair of blue jeans are unique. They come in all styles, all shapes and all sizes. No two are made, worn or look exactly the same!
Custom aluminum signs did for the sign industry what American blue jeans did for fashion. They made signs durable, long lasting, unique and perfect for any business. No matter the event, promotion or purpose, custom aluminum signs can be made to fit.
Just as every pair of blue jeans you own are not alike all custom aluminum signs are not created equal. Customcan be created and manufactured in a number of different ways. Each customer is trying to make a different statement, promote a different image and create their own sense of style.
How are custom aluminum signs made?
Aluminum signs can be manufactured in a number of ways. We are going to discuss the three major ways that custom aluminum signs are printed in the sign industry today.
Cut vinyl - Traditional aluminum signs were all made from precision cut vinyl lettering being
weeded, masked and applied to the aluminum. Sign companies still have the ability to, and occasionally do, produce custom aluminum signs just this way.
Cut vinyl is rated 3-5 years durability if using intermediate vinyl and 7-10 years if using high performance vinyl. To accomplish this vinyl is precisely cut on a plotter, weeded, masked and hand laid onto aluminum. This process is a more time consuming process, but is still rated the longest lasting vinyl method out there. Only disadvantage is that your design is created from individually cut letters so it is open to being tampered with, letters removed, etc.
Sign industry manufacturers provide numerous colors and finishes of vinyl. Ranging from standard intermediate and high performance vinyl colors to DOT reflective grade there are several manufacturers out there consistently coming up with new options. Today you can purchase camouflage, carbon fiber, neon colors and so much more. Cut vinyl can be done with outlines, drop shadows and multiple colors. Cut vinyl cannot provide gradients, fades , custom colors, etc.
Which leads us to option 2…
Digitally Printed Vinyl - This is the world we live in today. Most sign shops own and consistently use their digital printers. Printing all vinyl for custom aluminum signs is more time and cost effective than cut vinyl. Although digital printed vinyl is only rated for 3-5 year no fading, manufacturers have developed a number of laminates to extend its longevity to 7-10 years plus without fading. Digital printed vinyl offers a more consistent and economical process for sign development. There is less room for human error while prepping and laying your designs onto your custom aluminum signs.
By digitally printing your custom aluminum business signage you open doors to numerous design options that would otherwise be unavailable. This is required to produce fades, gradients, custom pantone color matches, etc. The ways that you can add to your design are limitless if you go with digitally printed vinyl on your aluminum signs. Laminates available include Dry Erase, Graffiti Proof, and standard laminate.
Direct print - Aluminum signs can now be printed directly to the substrate as well. This can be done two different ways: screen printing and flat bed printing.
- Screen printing offers high durability, crisp edged printing and awesome clarity. It is used especially when doing large quantity orders. It is the perfect process when doing spot colors, you cannot do gradients or custom fades. You can screen print in half tones, but it is not the effect that most customers today are looking for.
It does have limits though... screen printing costs more when needing to do full bleed printing or when custom pantone colors need to be mixed and matched to get the specific colors that are needed.
- Flat bed printing is the most cost effective, quick turnaround, most flexible printed method out there next to digitally printed.
Flat bed printing has several print speeds and print quality levels depending on the type of signs needed and how they will be used. Print quality on thousands of Coroplast yard signs is the total opposite of a high end full color custom aluminum real estate sign. The advantages are that there is no vinyl application time because the printer prints your design directly onto the aluminum.
It offers the same durability as screen printing, but offers more printing options. Flat bed printing allows more opportunities for your custom aluminum signs to be more custom and unique. It allows for full color printing, fades, gradients, custom colors, etc.
Next to digitally printing your aluminum signs, flat bed printing allows the most options to achieve the look you desire for your company.
How do you decide what type of custom aluminum sign is best for you?
When you go to your local sign shop ask how your signs will be manufactured. Ask what methods of production they have available. Ask how they would suggest that your custom aluminum sign design be produced.
By knowing the options out there, looking at your design and working along with your sign company you can make the best decision for your investment.
Custom aluminum signs are one of the best investments you can make for your business or organization. They have limitless uses ranging from for sale signs, job site signs, special events signs to larger signs for your buildings, larger construction sites and so much more.
What do you do next?
Like that favorite pair of blue jeans you love, you have to shop for your one of a kind custom aluminum signs as well.
By working with your sign shop you can identify your niche for your own unique custom aluminum signs. Remember they are durable, well made and just right for any occasion. Just like those blue jeans your custom aluminum signs can come in all styles, all shapes and all sizes. No two are made, worn or look exactly the same! Make sure yours is unique, shows off your style and brands your business.
Aluminum signs are an investment you will not regret. Ask questions, create a design that you are comfortable with, that you are proud of and that shows the image you want for your business or organization.
If you do all of this your custom signs will offer the same safe, comfortable, amazing feeling for you as you have when you slide on your favorite pair of blue jeans.
For more information check out our Custom Aluminum Signs page.