Election season is just around the corner – that time of year when we cast our votes to determine everything from Congressional representatives and city mayors to county treasurer, township trustee, and members of the local school board. And, of course, 2020 is a presidential-election year, too. As a result, political messaging and promotions/marketing will abound – and there may be no more efficient way to get a political message out there than the ubiquitous yard sign.
Not that yard signs can’t serve other uses, too: real-estate signs, business promotional signs, yard sales, directional signage for events, to name a few. They can be printed single- or double-sided, and cut to just about any shape. They can be placed on wire supports, installed in frames, or simply propped up or hung.
Given all of these possible applications and uses, a logical question is: What is the typical yard sign made of – and why might this material be ideal for this particular type of sign? The answer is corrugated plastic.
In this Signage 101, we’ll take a deep dive into why corrugated plastic is an ideal substrate for yard signs.
Corrugated Plastic is King
Corrugated plastic wasn’t always king – in the past, various other materials were utilized in making of yard signs, from single-panel aluminum to plastic and composites. Corrugated plastic, however, came out on top and is, today, the de-facto material when it comes to yard signs.
Why is corrugated plastic such a good choice for this particular type of signage? It’s a combination of factors: Corrugated plastic is durable, it’s lightweight, it can be made conducive to UV printing, and it’s relatively inexpensive. As a result, there’s probably no better option for a yard sign.
Let’s take a look at the basics of the material. Corrugated plastic is a plastic – most often polypropylene – that features fluted structures (“fluting”) at the core, set between two plastic sheets. You might also hear this hollow material referred to as “twin-wall plastic.” Conceived of and developed in the early 1970s by an Italian manufacturing firm, corrugated plastic is now produced by various manufacturers under an assemblage of names. And it’s used for an impressive array of applications: from signage and the graphics arts, to boxes, shelf bins, packaging, and even truck bed liners, construction projects, and shelters.
In its “natural” state, however, corrugated plastic is not receptive to printing inks or other coatings. To enable this capability, the manufacturers must give the plastic a “corona treatment” – which is a surface treatment that promotes adhesion (and, it should be pointed out, is not at all related to coronavirus or COVID-19). It basically works like this: High voltage is used to generate an electrical discharge (“corona plasma”), which changes the plastic’s surface energy and allows it to then accept ink. Depending upon the material or substrate, the corona treatment might have to take place twice, in order to ensure good adhesion.
Once that process has been completed, the corrugated plastic can then be printed on using digital printing technologies by your favorite sign producer (which, of course, is Signs.com!). And, as stated earlier, various brands are available – including Coroplast, IntePro, Cor-X, Corflute, and many others. In fact, the Coroplast brand name (which is now owned by Inteplast) has become so synonymous with corrugated plastic – especially in the signage and graphics markets – that you’ll often hear many use that name for the generic material.
All the Advantages
For our yard signs here at Signs.com, we utilize 4mm-thick corrugated plastic, and direct-print with colorful and durable UV inks. Here are just some of the reasons why we’re bullish on corrugated plastic for yard signs (and you should be, too):
Lightweight, portable, sturdy – Corrugated plastic is impact-resistant due to its fluted “ribs,” yet remains very lightweight. As a result, yard signs made from the material can be easily moved from location to location as needed, and they’ll be perfectly fine with all that relocation (see below for installation options).
Durable printability – Because of the aforementioned corona treatment, UV inks adhere very nicely to the surface. Of course, our UV inks are durable in and of themselves (fade- and abrasion-resistant), so the combination results in your graphic and message holding up well over time.
Weather-resistant – Corrugated plastic will repel moisture, and there’s zero danger of rot or rust.
Easily cut/routed – Because it’s easy to cut (manually or mechanically), corrugated plastic is great when it comes to producing custom shapes for your yard signs.
Recyclable – Polypropylene is capable of being recycled (resin code 5), although it’s not typically curbside-recyclable (check with your local municipality) and it’s not biodegradable; corrugated plastic can be recycled and repurposed into ice scrapers, rakes, pallets, battery cases, and other applications.
Easy-to-clean – You can wipe down corrugated plastic yard signs with mild soap and warm water; we suggest wiping in the direction of the corrugation.
Economical – Last, but certainly not least, corrugated plastic is relatively inexpensive; it’s one of the least-expensive materials.
Portability is Key
We gave a shout-out to the portability of corrugated yard signs in the above section, and this portability is enhanced by the ability to display them with wire stakes. Using wire stakes, you can install corrugated yard signs in seconds into any soft surface, and then easily take them down and use again in another location as necessary. They’re the ultimate in temporary, re-usable signage.
We offer two different types of wire stakes for our corrugated yard signs: standard and heavy-duty. The standard wire stakes are made from 9-gauge steel; simply step the stakes into the ground and position the points of the stakes over the yard sign’s flutes. If you want something that provides even more stability, we offer our heavy-duty stakes made from ¼-inch steel mated to a 9-gauge welded top. Both types of stakes measure 10 x 30 inches.
You have additional display options for corrugated plastic yard signs: You can, for instance, hang them using grommets and rope/string; attach them to a rigid substrate using washers and screws; place in a real-estate frame; or even add an A-Frame and use as a sandwich board.
Designing Your Ideal Yard Sign
Yard signs made from corrugated plastic can be a tremendously useful tool for a variety of marketing and promotional efforts. Political operatives recognized this fact decades ago, and as a result the use of yard signs in political campaigns surged, more than doubling between 1984 and 2008.
Signs.com can assist you in your quest for the ideal yard sign for your project. We’ll help you determine the best design, custom shape options, printing single-sided or double-sided, installation alternatives, and just about anything else you might need help with. Just don’t ask us for campaign advice!