4 Signage Material Swaps You’ll Appreciate

February 2020


Do you have a vision? Your space speaks to your brand and creates an experience or achieves a distinct look for your visitors. Advances in technology have made it possible to produce durable, lightweight materials to use for ADA code signage, donor recognition walls and signs, exterior signage, and interior signage.

Here are 4 Easy Materials Swaps that will save you time and money on almost any signage project.


We regularly work with in-house craftsmen on beautifully finished woodwork for cabinets and enclosures for signage as well as room signage. With advancing technology there are more options than ever. Today we can use laminates, digital prints, and a type of foil that actually wraps the edges of an ADA room sign to provide the fully finished look. Whether the copy is etched or raised, there will be a "real wood" and a "faux wood" option that may work. Options are nice to ensure the solution aligns with the design and your budget.


This natural material is often requested in branded signage. Whether it connects to a holistic vibe or communicates strength and permanence, stone is a popular material. And an expensive one. In addition to the cost of the stone, it is heavy, which makes transportation, production, and installation costly and time consuming. Floors and walls often need to be reinforced to support the weight of a solid stone piece, furthering timelines and budgets. For many projects, replacing real stone with a laminate is a smart choice. There are so many options to achieve the look and texture desired. The material is lighter weight, comes in smaller pieces, and is easier to produce and install. Stone-look laminates reduce timelines and budgets.


Similarly, metal instills a space with a specific feeling. It’s a material that helps tell a story. Is this space modern and cutting edge? Or is this space cozy and welcoming? Whether a client wants an industrial chic look or a rustic appearance, metal laminates create the ambience they want without the cost.
The cost of sourcing metal fluctuates as much as the stock market. Like stone, they can be heavy and difficult to produce and install. Metal-look laminates offer more varied design options, they’re lightweight, and durable. Real metal will continue to oxidize over time, changing the look. That oxidation process doesn’t happen with laminate. It’s also easy to clean, making it a great choice for health care facilities.


The versatility of glass has made it a popular option for decades, but it’s still a fragile product. Polished acrylic can create the sleek look of glass while providing greater resiliency. Acrylic is easier to print directly on and easier to handle during transportation and installation.

Acrylic also offers so much design flexibility. Opacity and color can be adjusted to suit almost any design specifications. Graphics can be printed on the back or front, creating unique designs. Acrylic itself can be cut into almost any shape. The possibilities are endless.

With all of these options, it’s really important to engage a professional early. Initial concepts can be created or reviewed, budget and environment are also evaluated to choose the right option to fit all aspects.

There are so many options when it comes to picking materials, and as a signage expert (for more than 20 years), I walk clients through their vision to realize what are the best products to make their dream a reality.

Find your expert if you’d like to explore products or have questions.

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