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- Letter VS Readability Distance
- Banners need margins and white space


Matching Vinyl Colors Means Understanding Light

- The Principles of Light
- Investigating Lighting Conditions

- Additional Factors that Affect Color


Cast vs. Calendered Vinyl

- What Makes Vinyl Vinyl
- Cast Films
- Advantages of cast films
- Calendered Films
- Advantages of Calendered films



- High Impact Polystyrene Sheets For Printing
- High Impact Polystyrene Sheets For Forming


CPA Core, Aluminum Surface

- What are the benefits?
- What is it made of?
- What are the recommended applications?


Omega SignBoard
Hardwood Core, Vinyl Surface

- What are the benefits?
- What is it made of?
- What are the recommended applications?


Hardwood Core - Aluminum Surface

- What are the benefits?
- What is it made of?
- What are the recommended applications?



     Avoid using more than two type styles on a banner. Try to stay away from using all upper case lettering on your banner. It can be used for one word or a line of text for emphasis, however, it takes the human eye longer to read and process words in upper case.

     "How far away will the banner be from the viewer?" keep in mind that a driver only has about 1.5 - 3 seconds to read a message while in motion. The chart below will help determine the correct height vs. viewing distance.

Letter VS Readability Distance   Back to top...

Letter Height

Readability Distance For Maximum Impact

Maximum Readability Distance







30" 300'
36" 360'
42" 420'
48" 480'
54" 540' 2250'


     The following chart shows the most readable and successful color combinations in order of viewing effectiveness. Color combinations with high contrast between the background and letters are easier to read and can be viewed from greater distances. Always consider the type of business or event when choosing colors. Pink, purple, teal and orange colors aren't shown on this chart, but still can be used for certain holidays, special events or parties.

Banners need margins and white space   Back to top...

Margin widths are usually the most abused spaces on a banner. Common errors include stretching letters and graphics to fill the entire banner to the edges, or the text and graphic is too small for the sign and the margins are too big. A general rule of thumb is to have the top and bottom margin be 10% of the height, and right and left margins be at least as wide as one of the banner's main font character width. For example, a 48" sign should have a 4.8" top and bottom margin. A three-foot wide banner should have at least a 3" margin on the top and bottom. Avoid filling the empty spaces of the banner with graphics. White space helps keep the viewer's eyes concentrated on the text.

Matching Vinyl Colors Means Understanding Light

The Principles of Light   Back to top...

     Light is a type of energy called electromagnetic radiation, which travels through space in photons. This energy creates and electromagnetic field. Color is produced by the rate of fluctuation ­ or frequency ­ of this field.

     A large collection of wavelengths makes up the electromagnetic spectrum. Visible light is only a small part of the spectrum. Invisible frequencies include X-rays, ultraviolet, infrared, radar and radio waves. The light we can see is made up of every color in the spectrum: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. A common acronym for this is "Roy G. Biv."

     The color that we actually see is directly connected to the light source. For example, the color of a banana is yellow because it reflects the yellow ray in the white light. Where there is more yellow in the light source, more yellow is reflected and visible to the eye. In other words, the colors you see depend on the amount and color of light being reflected or absorbed by the vinyl.

Investigating Lighting Conditions   Back to top...

     Daylight is made up evenly of all the colors in the spectrum. But other types of light, with varying temperatures, throw different colors. Incandescent light, for instance, throws reds, oranges and yellows while fluorescent light throws greens. A good example is trying to tell the difference between black and navy blue in different lighting conditions. Blue appears more blue in daylight than incandescent light because the reds alter the perception of the color. Backlighting and can also dramatically change the way color is perceived.

     This discrepancy is called metamerism and illustrates the critical need to understand what lighting conditions in which your clients' signage will be displayed. So under what lighting condition do you properly match vinyl colors?

     "We match under northern light at about 11 a.m. if it's a normal day ­ if there's not a blizzard or rain in decent weather," said Margaret Walch, director of the Color Association of the United States. "The skies have to be clear."

Additional Factors that Affect Color   Back to top...

     Light is the primary concern when matching colors, but there are other factors that impact the way color is perceived, such as the vinyl's finish. Glossier vinyl’s appear darker where matte, or non-glossy, finishes appear lighter.

     The thickness of the vinyl can also make a significant impact on the way color is perceived. Translucent and opaque films, for example, produce much different results in terms of color. Translucent films are backlit ­ the light source shines through the film. Different thicknesses affect how much light shines through the film and that impacts how the color is perceived.

     Opaque films, on the other hand, always reflect color from the surface of the film and thickness is not a factor.

Cast vs. Calendered Vinyl

What Makes Vinyl Vinyl   Back to top...

     Most vinyl films are made from the same basic raw materials. We begin with polyvinylchloride (PVC) polymer, which is simply basic plastic, and is, by nature, relatively rigid. Other ingredients are then added to the PVC. These ingredients include: plasticizer to make the film flexible, pigment to make the desired color, and additives to help achieve specific properties such as UV absorbers to improve resistance to UV radiation, heat stabilizers, fillers and processing aids. These raw materials can be chosen from a wide range of quality levels. Of course, for a film with limited durability, often the least expensive raw materials are chosen.

     Apart from the type of raw materials that are used at manufacturing, the manufacturing process and the type of plasticizer used create the main differences of vinyl films. Vinyl films can either be made by calendering or by casting. Each of these processes renders different qualities of films. Casting generally results in better quality films. The grade of plasticizer that is used to make the film flexible also greatly affects the grade of the film. Generally for pressure-sensitive adhesive films a choice is made between polymeric and monomeric plasticizers. We won't go into detail on the plasticizers in this article, but for simplicity's sake consider polymeric to be the higher grade and monomeric to be the economy grade plasticizer. The combination of these factors greatly determines the durability of vinyl films.

Cast Films   Back to top...

     Cast films, also known in the industry as premium, high-performance or 2 mil are considered to be a premium product with excellent durability and conformability characteristics. The term "cast" refers to the manufacturing process of this type of vinyl. Making a cast vinyl film is a lot like baking a cake. The vinyl begins with a "recipe" calling for a list of ingredients known as the formulation. These materials are
added to a "bowl" or mixing churn in a predetermined order while mixing at specific speed and for a set amount of time to ensure a complete and consistent mixture. This liquid mixture, known as organosol, is then "poured" or cast onto a moving web known as the casting sheet and is then processed through a series of ovens which allows for the evaporation of solvents. When the solvents are evaporated, a solid "film" is left behind. The film is then wound up in large-diameter rolls for subsequent adhesive coating. The casting sheet determines the texture of the film.

     Because the vinyl is cast on the casting sheet in a relaxed state, this material offers very good dimensional stability. This process also allows the film to be very thin (most cast films are 2 mil), which helps with the conformability of the product. Material manufacturers recommend the use of cast films on substrates such as fleets, vehicles, recreational vehicles or boats where the customer wants a "paint-like" finish that will last a long time, usually five to eight years depending on how the film is processed.

Advantages of cast films   Back to top...

     Shrinkage is the lowest of all vinyl films because the "casting sheet," not the film itself, is pulled through the machine. Since the film has not had any stress applied during the manufacturing process it does not try to resume or shrink back to its original form.

     Durability of cast films is generally higher than that of other vinyl films due to the manufacturing method and the raw materials used.

     Cast films can be made very thin which produces a conformable product that allows application over substrates with rivets, corrugations, and complex curves. Also, once applied, this low caliper makes the graphic less vulnerable to abrasive forces.

     Cast films also maintain their color and other properties better than other vinyl films. This results in better performance of pigments and UV absorbers.

     The manufacturing process of cast films makes it easy to run small productions of special colors to match. It is relatively easy to change color during production making color matching in small batches possible.

Calendered Films   Back to top...

     Like cast, calendered film also gets its name from the manufacturing process. These films may also be referred to as intermediate, 4 mil, short-term or economy. Calendered vinyl is formulated with similar raw materials as cast, except that no solvents are used. The batch is mixed and heated to a molten state that resembles pizza dough. Once the film reaches this molten state it is extruded through a die and is then fed through a series of calendering rolls. These polished steel rolls progressively squeeze and stretch the vinyl into a flat sheet (similar to flattening out dough with a rolling pin). Because the film is stretched into shape, it has some degree of memory and therefore is less dimensionally stable than cast vinyl films. This means that when a calendered film is exposed to heat the film will have a tendency to shrink or pull back towards its original form. Calendered films also tend to be thicker (usually 3.2 to 3.4 mils) than cast films because of the limitations of the calendering process. Unlike casting where a textured or smooth casting sheet is used to produce the film finish, calendering implements a special finish cylinder at the end of the process while the film is still warm. This process is extremely fast and is ideal for bulk production runs. Therefore, color matching is very unattractive on these machines. However, due to its bulk production with high yields, calendered films are relatively inexpensive.

     The quality of calendered films can range from economy to intermediate with durability of one to five years. These films generally are not recommended for vehicle applications because they are thicker, less conformable and less durable than cast films.

Advantages of calendered films   Back to top...

Greater production yields equals less cost

Stiffer/thicker film equals easier handling

Thickness of film increases resistance to abrasion

Subtrates   Back to top...

     Omega-Lite® aluminum composite panels provide durable, eye-catching fascias, soffits, canopies, and decorative towers for retail, schools, hospitals and high profile commercial projects.

     With over 40 standard colors and 2 different surface finishes to choose from, you get the look you want and the colors you need Installed in a fraction of the time.

     Panels are non-absorbent and water insensitive; consequently, they do not rot, swell, corrode, or delaminate.Total installed costs are generally less than $15 per square foot, thanks to Laminators’ proprietary installation systems.

     Omega-Ply panels provide a decorative accent for fascias, soffits, and storefronts.  A high impact-resistant plywood or hardboard core provides exceptional strength and rigidity.  These panels are easy to handle and install at a very low cost using extruded moldings.  Panels are available in smooth or stucco-embossed finishes in your choice of over 40.  Unlike plastic cores, the wood cores of Omega-Ply panels may absorb water; consequently, special attention to caulking is essential for a long-lasting, high quality appearance.

     The name Coroplast‘ applies to a wide range of extruded twinwall plastic sheet products produced from a high impact polypropylene copolymer. Coroplast uses a copolymer resin in order to increase impact and low temperature performance. Chemically, the sheet is inert, with a NIL pH factor. At regular temperatures most oils, solvents and water have no effect, allowing it to perform under adverse weather conditions or as a product component exposed to harsh chemicals.  All Coroplast twinwall profile sheets can be modified with additives, which are melt-blended into the sheet to meet the specific needs of the customer. Special products that require additives include: ultra violet protection, anti-stat, flame retardant, custom colors, corrosive inhibitors, static-dissipative, etc. Coroplast products are offered in a wide range of standard andopaque colors. The sheet is extruded in widths across the corrugation up to 106" (corona treated to 102") with gauges ranging from 2mm to 10mm in thickness. We have co-extrusion capabilities for 3MM to 6MM on our 60" line in Dallas and 2MM to 10MM on our 104" line in Vanceburg.

     The Coroplast name is known throughout the Sign Industry for a Consistent High Quality Printable Surface. This reputation allows Coroplast the recognition of being the material supplied through the largest number of Plastics and Sign Supply Distributors in North America.

     COROPLASTâ„¢ is the material of choice for today's screen printing industry. COROPLASTâ„¢ is ideal for indoor and outdoor applications. It is tougher than corrugated fiberboard and lighter than extruded plastic sheet. It is waterproof, stain-resistant.

     Graphic houses have been using COROPLASTâ„¢ successfully for years with some of the uses being: Retail Signs, Real Estate Signs, Political Signs, P.O.P.Displays, Bus and Truck Signage, Election Signs, Yard Signs, Agricultural Signage, Special Event Advertising and Trade Displays.

High Impact Polystyrene Sheets For Printing   Back to top...

     High impact polystyrene (HIPS) offers a consistent, easily printed matte surface for either one or two sided printing applications. This polystyrene product, available in sheet or rollstock form, is especially suitable for Lithographic or Flexographic printing of displays, POP graphics, signs, translights, tags and cards.

     High impact polystyrene (HIPS) is an inexpensive, lightweight plastic typically used for handling-trays which accommodate lightweight product. It has marginal resistance to impact and tearing, although it can be modified with a rubber additive to improve its durability. 

opal cream yellow orange red green lilac blue purple brown silvergrey




Printing Applications For High Impact Polystyrene Sheets
Signs ID Cards Name Tags Dials, decals Various P.O.P. Applications

High Impact Polystyrene Sheets For Forming   Back to top...

     High Impact Polystyrene Sheets is perfect for demanding end-use applications in the food, dairy, and medical packaging industries. The properties ensures compliance with strict food and medical regulations. Available in sheet or rollstock form, is especially suitable for form-fill-seal, thermoforming and die cutting applications. Its low residual volatile make it particularly useful in packaging for taste-and-odor-sensitive products.

Forming Applications For High Impact Polystyrene Sheets
Medical packaging Dairy containers
Food trays and containers Industrial packaging
Model Making Lids, plates, trays, patterns and forms


High Impact Polystyrene Sheet Standard Dimensions & Colours
Colour Finish Sheet Size Sheet Thickness
White & Black High Impact Polystyrene Sheet (HIPS)
White & Black Matt 1372mm x 660mm 0.25mm / 0.5mm / 0.75mm / 1mm
1.5mm / 2mm / 2.5mm / 3mm / 4mm / 6mm
White & Black Gloss 1372mm x 660mm 0.5mm / 0.75mm / 1mm / 1.5mm
2mm / 2.5mm / 3mm / 4mm / 6mm
White & Black Gloss 2500mm x 1250mm 1.5mm / 2.0mm / 2.5mm / 3mm
4mm / 5mm / 6mm
White & Black Gloss 1600mm x 1080mm 1mm / 1.5mm / 2.mm / 3mm
White Gloss 2000mm x 1000mm 1.5mm / 2mm / 2.5mm / 3mm
White & Black Gloss 1220mm x 915mm 1mm / 1.5mm / 2mm / 2.5mm / 3mm
White & Black Gloss 915mm x 610mm 1mm / 1.5mm / 2mm / 2.5mm / 3mm


Colours Available for High Impact Polystyrene Sheet (HIPS)
opal cream yellow orange red green lilac blue purple brown silvergrey
Colours Gloss 1372mm x 660mm 1.5mm / 2mm / 3mm
Colours Gloss 1830mm x 1220mm 1.5mm / 3mm


Black Pinseal High Impact Polystyrene Sheet (HIPS)
Black Pinseal - 1372mm x 660mm 1.5mm / 2mm / 3mm

CPA Core, Aluminum Surface

What are the benefits?   Back to top...

     Alumalite is ideal for paints, screen print inks, and pressure sensitive vinyl which bonds securely to it. It has the same reflective surface as vinyl graphics, so the final sign is visually coordinated.

     Alumalite is strong and lightweight. It’s the same weight as .040 aluminum sheet metal, tipping the scales at just 24 lbs. However, Alumalite is over 50 times stronger for a 4' x 8' sheet.

     Alumalite has an average outdoor life expectancy of 10 years (when properly installed).

What is it made of?   Back to top...

     Alumalite is a strong, aluminum composite panel with a high density, corrugated polyallomer (CPA) core that will not swell, wick water, corrode, rot, or delaminate even under prolonged water exposure.

     Both faces are high-gloss painted aluminum for rigidity and to minimize warping.

    Alumalite features factory baked, acrylic-painted aluminum faces for high gloss brilliance and is warranted not to crack, chip, flake or peel.

What are the recommended applications?   Back to top...

  All outdoor applications including: post and panel, hanging, wall/fence mount, multiple panel signs, point of purchase displays, cut-outs, channel letters, kiosk, laser printing, score boards, silk-screening and more.

CPA Core Aluminum Surface 

What are the benefits?   Back to top... 

     An economical alternative to Dinbond, sheet metal or expanded PVC.

     Only 3 mm thick yet strong and lightweight. 

What is it made of?   Back to top... 

     The core is a high densite corrugated polymer CPA, that will not swell, wick , water ,corrode, rot or delaminate making it perfect for all outdoor or UV exposed indoor applications.

     Finished surface is .012inch high gloss white aluminumon two sides or with a light gaugealuminum backer. An aluminum surface is bonded to both sides to balance the boardand maximmize flatness.

     Factory baked acrylic paint surface is highly reflective and warrented not to crack, chip, flake or peel. Colorfast ten year limitedwarranty. 

What are the recommended applications?   Back to top...

     Wall mount, Cut out, Kiosk, Photo Mounting, Post and Panel (supported)

     Billboard Fascia, Channel, Letterbacks, Hanging signs, POP Displays

     High resolution, digital flatbed printers (UV or Solvent)

Omega SignBoard
Hardwood Core, Vinyl Surface

What are the benefits?   Back to top...

     Omega SignBoard's hardwood plywood core is lighter and stronger than MDO.

     Unlike traditional MDO products, the vinyl surface does not require time consuming and costly painting, is smooth and uniform, and will not flake or peel like a painted surface.

     Omega SignBoard's vinyl surface is almost “self-cleaning,â€� resisting dirt and the construction makes it easy to fabricate with standard wood cutting tools.

What is it made of?   Back to top...

     The hardwood core is a premium grade, rigid, exterior furniture-grade plywood with smooth, tight, sanded veneers for optimum surface beauty. It also is less likely to have gaps or voids in the inner-plys which is common in many MDO boards.

     The vinyl surface is impact resistant and formulated with high performance UV inhibitors to reduce the fading effect of the sun.

     Panels are single sided and have one finished, white vinyl surface. The other side is a bonded decorative plastic backer sheet for water resistance and balance. The finished side is shipped with a protective mask.

What are the recommended applications?   Back to top...

     Omega SignBoard is ideal for pressure sensitive vinyl.

     This product can be used for signs of a more temporary nature like real estate signs, and billboards; however, its hardwood core must be edge-sealed before using outdoors.

Hardwood Core - Aluminum Surface

What are the benefits?   Back to top...

     1/4" LusterBoard is half the weight of 1/2" MDO yet 85% as rigid making it easier to install and handle.

     1/2" LusterBoard has strength similar to 3/4" MDO but weighs much less.

     The colorfast surface means you can change copy again and again with little or no ghosting.

What is it made of?   Back to top... 

     LusterBoard's hardwood core is a premium grade rigid exterior furniture grade plywood with smooth tight sanded veneers for optimum surface beauty.

     LusterBoard panels have two finished white (or painted color)aluminum surfaces. 

What are the recommended applications?   Back to top...

     LusterBoard is color fast impact resistant and has a smooth, glossy aluminum surface that makes it ideal for post and panel applications such as real estate and business signs. However its hardwwod core requires edge sealing for outdoor use. 

     LusterBoard can be fabricated with standard carpenters tools. This makes it a good sign board for cut out shapes used in signs fixtures and displays.


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