Banner Materials & Sign Substrates

Level: basic

Smartpress’ online printing services offer superior banner materials and sign substrates. Before you place your order for custom banners, signs and more, check out our high-quality materials (including eco-friendly green alternatives) to find the one that best suits your online printing project.

Banner Materials & Sign Substrates

Alumaboard sign substrate

Aluminum Composite – White

  • Lightweight and rigid composite panel
  • White aluminum face and back
  • Black plastic core with UV blocker increases UV-resistance
  • Perfect flatness, even with thin sheets
  • Durable and weather-resistance material
  • 100% recyclable and environmentally-friendly
  • Aluminum alloy offers increased corrosion resistance
  • Polyester lacquer guarantees ideal printing properties
  • Highly recommended for indoor, outdoor, long-term or permanent use
  • Excellent exterior stability within a range of temperatures from – 58 to +175°F and minor thermal expansion


  • Heavyweight cotton/poly blend canvas
  • Matte finish
  • Waterproof
  • Scuff-resistant
  • Strong yet flexible
  • Features a specialized coating that allows for vibrant printing with a wide color gamut

FSC Cardstock

Cardstock sign substrates
  • 2-sided coated material
  • FSC certified
  • Can be printed double-sided
  • Can be cut to any shape
  • One of the standard sign substrates for printing indoor signage, stanchion signs, various signs that fit into sign holders, window signs with suction cups and more


  • .045” polymer-coated aluminum
  • White or brushed metal
  • Matte or gloss finish
  • Dye sublimation printing ensures photographic quality with outstanding clarity and resolution
  • Fade-, flame- and scratch-resistant
  • Lightweight and durable
  • For indoor use only
  • Common uses: metal prints, wall decor for home, business or professional settings

Corrugated Plastic

Corrugated Plastic sign material
  • 4mm fluted polypropylene material
  • Opaque white
  • Great for outdoor signs
  • High-quality twin-wall profile sheet
  • One of the standard sign substrates for both political campaign yard signs and other lawn signs

Expanded PVC Board

PVC sign substrate
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Great for both single and double-sided print
  • Used extensively for fabricated fixtures
  • Can be thermoformed
  • Can be heat bent, routed laminated and pressure- or vacuum-formed in a variety of shapes
  • Excellent for a variety of POP displays and signs
  • Allows for easy configuration of challenging displays, shapes or promotional material


Falconboard sign substrates
  • Rigid substrate
  • Recycled-paper honeycomb core
  • Strong yet lightweight and portable
  • Great for both single and double-sided printing
  • Can be can be direct-printed, upholstered, laminated, veneered, pressed with decorative foils or painted
  • Can be mitre-cut, folded or curved, shape-cut, photo-mounted and fastened with adhesives


Foamcore - Close up
  • Polystyrene foam board encased in coated cardstock
  • Similar to the material found in most art supply stores, usually called something like foam board
  • Perfect for Zund cutting and die cutting
  • Pillowing foamcore provides a compressed edge that stays closed when die cut or scored on the Zund cutter
  • Applications and lifespans:
    • POP Displays – Short-term
    • Exhibits, kiosks – Short-term
    • Framing – Long-term
    • Framing (archival) – Not recommended
    • Signage (interior) – Short-term
    • Signage (exterior) – Not recommended
    • Signage (structural) – Not recommended

Foamless Foamcore

  • Sustainable alternative for Foam Board Signs
  • 100% recyclable
  • 100% compostable
  • Thickness: 3.8mm
  • FSC certified
  • Multi-layer paperboard with a smooth surface
  • Embossed paper core ensures a high level of rigidity and flatness
  • Indoor use only

Heavy Knit

  • One of our most used fabrics
  • Highest opacity knit in the industry with light four-way stretch
  • Rich appearance and opacity
  • Easy to install
  • One of the best banner materials for SEG displays, backdrops and banners (dye sublimation, transfer, UV and latex)

Honeycomb Cardboard

  • Formerly known as corrugated cardboard
  • Designed with three layers: a white cardstock front, a white cardstock back and a Kraft honeycomb core in the middle
  • A biodegradable alternative to foam board
  • Rigid, durable and extremely lightweight
  • Affordable and easily portable
  • Can be printed on one or two sides
  • Great for retail marketing, POP displays, presentations, trade shows and exhibits

Paper-Based Backlit Film

  • Sustainable alternative for Backlit Signs
  • 100% recyclable
  • 10% post-consumer waste
  • Thickness: 8 pt.
  • FSC certified
  • Bright white coated substrate
  • Designed to provide uniform translucency and image definition
  • Resistant to moisture, warping and wrinkling due to climatic changes that often affect other substrates
  • Indoor use only

Paper-Based Styrene Alternative

  • Sustainable alternative for Styrene Signs
  • .030″ or .040″ thick
  • 100% paper-based
  • 100% recyclable
  • PVC-free
  • FSC certified
  • Smooth, coated substrate that’s static-free for smoother, faster printing
  • Up to 20% lighter than styrene (more savings on shipping)
  • 94% brightness for clearer, longer-lasting imagery that won’t yellow over time
  • Ink absorption allows for exemplary printing without banding (lines or streaks)
  • Resistant to fingerprints (paper-based composition does not capture oils)
  • Indoor use only


PETG - Close up
  • Transparent and frosted, thermoplastic sheet
  • Offers superior impact strength over acrylic and cost-effectiveness compared to polycarbonate
  • Offers deep draws, complex die-cuts and precise molded-in details without sacrificing structural integrity
  • Easily die-cut, punched, painted, silk-screened, UV-printed and hot-stamped
  • Can be bonded or fastened with adhesives, ultrasonic welding or rivets
  • Easy to fabricate, form, bond and decorate
  • Perfect for a variety of POP displays and other applications

Polystyrene Foam

Polystyrene - Close up
  • Formerly known as Ultraboard or Gaterplast
  • Features a plastic, styrene surface rather than paper or wood fiber veneer
  • Lays flat and rigid with styrene liners bonded to the foam center
  • Moisture-resistant and durability
  • Smooth surface allows ink to stand out vividly
  • Primarily for indoor use
  • Great for permanent displays and signs
  • Applications and lifespans:
    • POP Displays – Medium-term
    • Framing – Long-term
    • Framing (archival) – Not recommended
    • Exhibits, kiosks – Medium-term
    • Signage (interior) – Medium-term
    • Signage (exterior) – Short-term
    • Signage (structural) – Not recommended

Post-Consumer Waste Cardstock

  • Sustainable option for Cardstock Signs
  • 100% recyclable
  • 100% post-consumer waste
  • Thickness: 24 pt.
  • Coated recycled paperboard
  • Double clay-coated surface provides a clean palette for graphics
  • Indoor use only

Rigid Paper Board

  • Sustainable alternative for PVC Foam Board Signs
  • 100% recyclable
  • 100% compostable
  • 10% FSC certified post-consumer waste
  • Thickness: 3mm
  • Rigid surface
  • Moisture-resistant
  • Maintains superior stability during typical changes in temperature and humidity that tend to affect other rigid substrates
  • Indoor use and short-term outdoor use


  • UV-printed backlit fabric
  • 100% polyester
  • Resistant to creasing and fraying
  • Good flatness
  • Very popular for banners, lightbox displays, table throws and bean bags

Soft Flag

Soft Flag - Close up
  • Perfect for both indoor and outdoor use
  • Feather flags are printed via dye sublimation onto premium high performance 3.4 oz flag material for lasting durability

Soft Knit

Soft Knit - Close UP
  • 4.5 oz. soft knit fabric
  • 100% polyester
  • Printed via dye sublimation for a high quality, vibrant and durable print
  • One of the most popular banner materials for table throws, front lit silicone edge graphics and a variety of banners


Styrene - Close up
  • Lays flat
  • Perfect for printing applications
  • Can be printed double-sided
  • Excellent for short-term, temporary indoor and outdoor use
  • Easily coated, metaled, die cut and heat-bent
  • Features both a higher heat distortion and excellent low temperature characteristics
  • Very economical in the plastic community
  • Great for: POP displays, table tents, shelf strips and talkers, signs, pump toppers


  • Sustainable alternative for Styrene Signs
  • 100% plant-based
  • 100% recyclable
  • Thickness: .020″ or .030″
  • Produces up to 80% fewer greenhouse gases
  • Ocean-safe (dissolves in water)
  • Biodegradable (breaks down in landfills)
  • Uses up to 52% less non-renewable resources in its manufacturing process
  • Indoor use only


  • Backlit dye sublimation fabric
  • 100% polyester
  • Resistant to creasing and fraying
  • Very soft with stretch
  • One of the most common banner materials and great for lightbox displays

Learn more about our sustainable materials: Sustainable Signage: 8 Substrates for Planet-Friendly Printing

Have a calendar or direct mail project in mind? As an eco-friendly online printer, we offer a range of high-quality small format paper stocks, too.

If you have questions about sign substrates, banner materials or any other printing services, please contact customer service.