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  • November 18, 2016

Printing Signage — Foam Core, Corrugated Plastic, and PVC

Corrugated Plastic

coroplast plastic signage

Also known as Coroplast, corrugated plastic is a sturdy, semi-permanent material. It is ideal for outdoor use, as both the material and the printed surface (which is typically created with cured UV ink) is resistant to most weather conditions. This material does not damage easily and is still holds up aesthetically even if it does somehow get bent.

There are limitations on finishing and customisations, as the image is printed directly onto the material. Corrugated plastic is also more difficult to cut and re-size by hand. It isn’t easy to affix to surfaces with adhesives, as it’s a bit too heavy and plastic has poor adhesive properties. I can also be more expensive than foam core.

Foam Core

Foam core, or polyfoam, is a low-cost, lightweight material commonly used for indoor signage. It’s relatively easy to produce, due to the fact that you don’t need to print directly onto the material. This makes it ideal for customisations, as anything that can be printed on paper can be attached to it. You can also use any kind of finishing (gloss, matte, non-coated) of the surface.

Outdoor use of foam core can be problematic, as rain would almost certainly damage the surface and its light weight does not stand up to strong wind. Hot weather might cause some materials to peel off the foam board. Foam core is also a delicate material which dents and breaks easily.

polyform foam core foam board signage



pvc plastic signage


The thinnest material covered here, PVC is just a few millimeters thick. It is suitable for smaller displays, such as room signs. It is quite sturdy and resistant to elements, making is suitable for indoor and outdoor use. It is flat and rigid with the image being printed directly on the material, giving it a clean, professional look.

PVC is most suitable for smaller displays. A large piece can be awkward to as the material is floppy and would require a mount or frame to stay in place. Due to its weight and sharp edges, PVC is the last material that you want falling from a distance. It also has a way of shattering into sharp, pointy pieces.

[1] By Sweetie candykim – Own work, CC0,

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