POP Displays: Rigid Materials That Last

Previously, we explored Point of Purchase advertising and the rigid materials most commonly used for short-term POP displays. Creatives and brand managers often use those rigid materials (Foamboard, Gatorboard & Ultra Board, Styrene and expanded PVC) for monthly or seasonal graphic advertising, to introduce new marketing campaigns or to move an oversupply of product. Value engineering is a key to short-term POP displays.

For long-term retail displays; whether as brand building, way-finding or as part of a POP merchandising display, a unique array of high-quality substrates comes into play. Such displays are typically rigid and designed to withstand high-traffic environments. These rigid graphic materials provide designers the opportunity to increase the visibility and attraction of their brands in eye-catching ways.

From the retailer’s perspective, increased competition and the need to enhance consumers in-store experience requires brands to achieve the best possible performance from their point of purchase advertising.

Let’s examine popular rigid materials for durable POP displays and what makes them unique:

Outdoor Rigid Display - Food CityAluminum Composite Material (ACM)  Dibond®, the most well-known ACM brand, has a solid polyethylene core sandwiched between two sheets of thin aluminum. The Dibond board resists bowing or warping and is easily routed to add dimension and shape. The common surface color is white, making it ideal for digital printing and at about half the weight of aluminum, is perfect for mounting to walls. Dibond is available in attention-grabbing textures and colors; such as brushed aluminum, stainless steel, dark bronze and copper. Weather-resistant and available in thicknesses from 2mm to 6mm, Dibond is stronger than aluminum of similar thickness and is less expensive, making it superb for long-term interior or exterior POP displays.

Second surface printed acrylic signsAcrylicPlexiglass® is the most common name for acrylic graphic material; available in clear, white and colors in a range of thicknesses. Acrylic is easy to work with and can be cut, drilled, flame-polished, taped, glued and heat-bent to form self-standing pop displays. From signs, to floor displays complete with electronics and lights, innovative designs with acrylic graphics allows you to maximize your in-store marketing potential. Need to create table top displays to showcase your product? Acrylic graphics deliver the “look” for upscale point of purchase advertising.

Polycarbonate  Lexan® is the most popular brand name for this clear plastic, which is typically more expensive than acrylic graphic material. It is so strong, that it’s even used in the manufacturing of bullet-proof glass. Though not as easy to bend and form into shapes as acrylic, Lexan is an excellent choice if your POP display is going to be outside or in a high-traffic area. Designing way-finding signage where the graphic extends out from the wall? Consider Lexan, which is available in clear, white and other standard colors.

The “Wow” Factor – one of the most elegant looks for Point of Purchase advertising, is second-surface or sub-surface printing on clear rigid plastic. When a graphic is printed on the top or face of a material, it is referred to as “first-surface” printing. When a graphic is printed on the backside of a clear substrate and intended to be viewed from the front or through the material, it is referred to as “second-surface” printing. After the image is printed backwards or wrong-reading, it is flooded with white ink to add opacity. When viewed through clear material, the image appears right-reading, creating an effect unmatched by other printing methods. Acrylic and lexan are outstanding for second-surface graphics and sure to wow customers.

MDF Wood –Medium density fiberboard (MDF) is a high-grade, composite material that can perform better than solid wood. Made from recycled wood fibers and resin, MDF wood is machine-dried and pressed to produce dense, stable sheets. Inexpensive and durable, the surface of MDF wood won’t warp. When cut to shape, MDF wood provides a smooth cut instead of a jagged edge. The high stability of MDF wood makes it perfect for wall graphic displays, floor-based retail displays, hanging signage and wall graphics.

Durable, high-quality POP displays make products easily recognizable by brand or style. Today’s cluttered retail environment requires marketing professionals to tell their story in a limited space. The rigid materials we’ve explored, when combined with high-resolution digital printing and computer-controlled routing, offer companies a way to communicate identity, provide information and create visual experiences that connect people with their brands at the retail level.

About the author: Peter Fradin is a 25 year industry veteran and a display solutions print specialist with BPGraphics. BPGraphics is a nationally recognized screen and digital graphics printer offering large, wide and grand format print solutions for 55 years. From fabric to vinyl – to rigid substrates of all kinds – big or small, BPGraphics’ knowledge and experience in the industry is unparalleled. You can reach Peter at 602-272-7907.