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Signage 101 – Comparing Outdoor Signs

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This post compares outdoor signage types in terms of size, durability, reposition ability, and cost. Determine which outdoor sign is perfect for you using the table below:

Outdoor Signs

SmallMediumLargeMild conditionsHarsh conditions$$$$$$
Yard Signs✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️
Rigid Plastic✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️
A-Frame Signs✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️
High Adhesive Decals✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️
Window Decals✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️
Pop Up Tents✔️✔️✔️✔️


Small signage is anything less than 12″ x 12″

Medium signage is greater than 12″ x 12″, but smaller than 50″ x 100″

Large signage is anything greater than 50″ x 100″

Mild conditions include light rain, mild wind, and minor dirt/dust

Harsh conditions include heavy rain, strong wind, and moderate dust/dirt

“$” is anything less than $15

“$$” is more than $15 but less than $450

“$$$” is anything more than $450


Banners are by far the most versatile outdoor sign and can be hung virtually anywhere. They can be small or large, depending on your needs. They are very durable and can roll up for easy transportation and storage.

Vinyl banners come in small, medium, and large sizes. They can withstand both mild and harsh conditions. Using the hanging accessories (grommets or pole pockets) banners are easy to display and move. As is the case with all signs, the cost is affected by the size of the banner. Banners have a wide price range with the smallest being less than $15 and the largest ones costing more than $450.


Aluminum signs are great for outdoor use. They are most commonly used in parking lots, but can also be used for ‘no trespassing’ and other outdoor signs. They can be hung using drilled holes and drilling them to a wall or metal pole.

Aluminum signs come in small to medium sizes. The heavy duty aluminum can withstand harsh outdoor weather conditions. They can easily be moved and are in the low to medium price range.


There are a number of different flags: feather flags, spirit flags, standard flags, etc. Flags are a great way to advertise. Feather flags can be placed outside of businesses to draw attention. Standard flags can be hung up outside on a flag pole or using a simple PVC pipe. Flags are perfect for windy locations as they move with the wind.

In comparison to banners, flags are less durable. They come in small to large sizes. Flags are fragile and need to be treated with care as they can easily tear or fade in the sun. They can withstand mild conditions. Like banners they can easily be moved and hung somewhere else. Flags vary in price from medium to high based on the flag type, accessories, and size.

Yard Signs

Yard signs are a great and inexpensive way to advertise outdoors, especially in large quantities. This makes them great for political campaigns. They are lightweight and can include wire stakes or grommets if need be. Wire stakes are great if you plan on placing them in yards and/or other areas with soft ground. If that doesn’t work, you can add grommets to your yard sign and hang them against a chain-linked fence. Yard signs can be cut to the exact shape of your design. This is known as contour cut. They can also be cut with a border around your design, also known as halo cut.

Yard signs are one of the least expensive outdoor signs on the market. Similar to flags, yard signs come in small and medium sizes and can withstand mild conditions. They can easily be moved from one location to another.

Rigid Plastic

Rigid plastic is very similar to yard signs, except that it is made with a stronger and more durable plastic. They are great for property, real estate, directional, park, trails, safety, and surveillance signs. Rigid plastic can be cut in a number of different ways including a standard rectangle, halo cut, contour cut, or rounded corners.

Like yard signs, rigid plastic come in small and medium sizes and are priced in the low to mid price range. Rigid plastic signs are more durable than yard signs. As a result, they can withstand more harsh conditions. They are typically hung up using 3M command strips, velcro, zip ties, suction cups, or permanently mounted with screws. Depending on how rigid plastic signs are hung, they can easily be moved to different locations based upon your needs.


Backlit signs are an adhesive vinyl that are placed on an internally lit light box. When the light box is turned on, the colors become more apparent. One of the biggest advantages to backlit signs is that they are great for night use. They are very durable and can be used both indoors and outdoors.

Backlit signs come in a wide variety of sizes from small to large. If installed properly, they can withstand harsh weather conditions. One downside to backlit signs is that once fully installed, they cannot be removed without ruining the adhesive vinyl. They range from medium to high price, depending on the size.


A-frames, also known as sidewalk signs, are great for directing more traffic to businesses. They are often placed directly outside of the business. A-frames consist of the plastic “A-frame” and the printed sign. The printed sign can be a vinyl decal, a corrugated plastic, or a hard rigid plastic depending on your A-frame type.

All of our A-frames come in one size. The printed part of the A-frame measures 24″ x 36″. A-frames are made of a strong plastic and are very durable. In addition to that, they can be filled with sand or water to withstand harsh conditions. The A-frame makes it possible to fold and easily store and/or move. A-frames are priced in the middle price range.

High Adhesive Decals

High adhesive decals are one of the most durable outdoor signage types. Because of their high adhesive, they can be applied to multiple surfaces such as wood, cement, metal, and even brick. The ability to stick to all these surfaces, mixed with their wide range of sizes makes them great for outdoor signage. They are commonly used in construction, landscape, real-estate, and other outdoor businesses. This includes fleet vehicles. They come in three different cut options: standard, contour, and halo.

High adhesives can be as small as 4″ x 4″ and as big as 52″ x 400″. Due to 3M’s Controltac technology, they can withstand heavy rain, wind, and dirt. They cannot be reused and are difficult to remove. As a result, it is important to put them in places where they will not need to be moved. Depending on the size, high adhesive decals range from mid to high price.

Window Decals

Window decals are exactly what the name suggests—decals for windows. They come in a wide variety from opaque to frosted to clear. Check out this post to see which decal is right for you. Window decals can be placed both inside and outside of the window depending on the use. They are often used in stores and restaurants for advertising.

Window decals come in small, medium, and large sizes, custom to what you want. If installed properly, they can withstand harsh weather conditions. Similar to high adhesive decals, they cannot be reused once installed. They can be removed by peeling them away and washing off any remaining residue with a damp rag and mild soap. Their price ranges from low to high depending on the size.

Pop Up Tents

Pop up tents are one of the larger signage options out there and are used primarily outdoors. They are one of the more functional types of signage in that not only do they provide a great way to advertise, but they also provide shade from the sun. Pop up tents are great for sporting events, trade shows, fairs and other outdoor advertising uses.

Pop up tents come in one size—10′ x 10′. They can withstand mild conditions, but should be taken down in strong windy conditions as it can damage the frame of the pop up tent. They can easily be taken down and folded into a compact travel case, making them easy to move and store. Because of their size, pop up tents are on the higher end in terms of price.

A Custom Choice

Regardless of your outdoor signage, all of our signs are customizable; your design will be printed to impress! Need help making that eye-catching design? Our free design services can help! If you still need some assistance in choosing the right banner for your needs, give us a call at 888-222-4929.

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