Printing Coroplast Signs

Ever wonder what printing corrugated plastic yard signs looks like?  Take a look at this brief video on a print shop floor:

The process to print on corrugated plastic is call screen printing.  You can see some of this in the video but there is a stencil with woven mesh over it.  The printer puts the corrugated plastic in the machine, the stencil sets on the substrate, and a roller forces ink through the mesh onto the sign.

Campaign Yard Sign Substrate – Poly Bag or Plastic Bag

Larger campaigns will often find that poly bag yard signs are the most economical choice. In addition, poly bag campaign signs are weather proof, easy to ship, recyclable and simple to assemble. Corrugated plastic yard signs, while a popular choice for smaller campaigns, don’t compare in value to poly bag and poly coated cardboard lawn signs. Poly coated cardboard signs are also an inexpensive choice for big campaigns but for orders more than 2,500 poly bag usually has the edge. It’s important check prices for both substrates to ensure that political campaigns are getting the best value for their campaign yard sign dollar.

Political Poly Bag Yard Sign Disadvantages

The biggest disadvantage is that this lawn sign type is only available in large quantities or prohibitively expensive in small runs. For orders of less than a thousand campaign signs, consider poly coated cardboard or corrugated plastic lawn signs.

While most of plastic yard signs are printed with an opaque lining, ensure that this is the case. Without a lining, voters will be able to see through the side of the candidate sign.

Durability is a mixed bag. Because of the flexibility of the substrate, voters won’t notice bends or dings in a political bag sign like they will in corrugated plastic or cardboard signs. This material, however, is thin and is more susceptible to holes and cuts that effect the integrity of the campaign yard sign. The sign may also buckle from a heavy wind.

Generally, the ink doesn’t hold up as well compared to other campaign sign types. While the lawn sign itself is weather proof the ink will fade over time. Plastic bag sign ink, however, will hold up for at least a couple of elections.

Why Campaign Poly Bag Lawn Signs Are a Smart Choice

For political campaign concerned about the environment, bag campaign yard signs are biodegradable and recyclable. Corrugated plastic is the second best choice and fold over political signs are the least recyclable because of the coating.

Assembly is a snap. The best method is to bend the ends of the wire frame close to one another and slip the bag over the top. If an intern or volunteer is assembling thousands of yard signs they’ll appreciate the ease of assembly. Also, if individual supporters are putting them together, they won’t have to worry about locating a staple gun and packing tape, which are recommended when putting a cardboard campaign sign together.


While it’s important to keep in mind all the pros and cons of political plastic bag lawn signs compared to other substrates, more than any other type of sign price is important. If your political campaign is ordering thousands of campaigns signs, the price will more often than not be dramatically lower than other options. Likewise, bag signs aren’t available in very small and orders or are going to be far more expensive that either fold over candidate signs or corrugated plastic signs.

Campaign Yard Signs – 7 Essential Printing Terms

Campaigns have their own jargon. Canvassing, direct voter contact, eday, GOTV, and visibility are just a few of the terms that you may have already encountered. Likewise, the printing industry uses its own terminology including some terms that apply to yard signs. Knowing some basic printing terms will help your political campaign articulate exactly what it is looking for with regards to their candidate yard sign and be able to communicate with a printer in regards to problems, reorders or other questions.

Bleed: A full bleed is printing that extends to the edge of the printing surface after trimming. Bleed has a professional look and feel and helps focus the eye to the ad copy on a political yard sign but there is additional cost that for most campaigns, isn’t worth the investment. Most political yard signs won’t have a bleed.

Polycoat: A shortened form of polyurethane coating, it is the coating that enhances a cardboard lawn sign’s weather resistance.

Polyurethane is an inert, safe compound. Printers usually apply the polyurethane coat through the traditional liquid paint process or a powder coating process. For campaigns that are going green, it is important to note that the powder coating does not require a solvent, so it is more environmentally friendly than liquid paint. Many printers are now powder coating since it is environmentally friendly and cost effective.

The capital layout for small orders is high, which ordinarily makes corrugated plastic signs less expensive than folder over or plastic bag candidate signs in small quantities.

Cure: Curing is the process of drying ink on a printed lawn sign to the touch and internally. If a political lawn sign didn’t go through a curing process, it may be dry but it won’t be as durable as a sign that was cured fully. There are numerous methods of curing for each lawn sign substrate. Depending upon the substrate, the type of ink used and the curing method, these factors can add days till the political campaign receives their yard sign order. If time is of the essence, work with the printer to determine what options you have to speed up turnaround time.

Spot Color Printing: For one, two, or three-color jobs, spot color printing is an inexpensive option. This type of printing uses solid colors. In contrast, four color process printing uses for colors; cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK); to mix an infinite number of colors. For full color images, this is standard process but yard signs printed using spot color printing will realize cost savings and have signs that will last longer than signs printed using a four color process.

Opacity: Opacity is the extent to which light shines through the printing surface or material. Particularly for two-sided political campaign lawn signs, it is important to ensure that the sign is opaque.

Proof: Printers provide customers with a test sheet, so that the customer can ensure that the campaign sign has accurate copy and the design is correct. It is important to review the proof so that thousands of lawn signs don’t show up at the campaign office with the candidate’s name misspelled or some other error!

Substrate: A substrate is the surface, which is printed on. In the case of political yard signs, the most common substrates are corrugated plastic, poly coated cardboard, and poly (plastic) bag. Economically, campaigns often choose corrugated plastic for small orders, fold over signs for medium orders, and plastic bag or cardboard signs for large orders.

While political campaigns won’t need to talk shop with their printers, understanding a few key terms will help campaigns choose the best sign for their bid for elected office. Understanding what substrates are, bleeds, opacity, curing and printing processes along with election sign coatings will help political campaigns choose the most effective and professional sign done on time and at the best price.