Screen vs Digital: A Printing Conundrum That’s Good to Have

Screen vs. Digital

For anyone who’s been working in the print industry for some time, it would be easy for them to tell the difference between a screen-printed sign and a digitally printed one. If you’re new to the industry or if you just want a better understanding of what these differences are, then you’ve come to the right place. Instead of asking yourself which method is better, you should be asking which is better for the way you plan on promoting your signs. What you need your signs for, will help determine which option is better for you. As we jump into the different techniques, we will discover the pros and cons of each method and highlight which attributes make them worthy competitors in the industry. For this particular comparison, we’re going to assume the same material (corrugated plastic) was used for both formats.


Screen printing has been around for a very long time. It has proven to be one of the most reliable ways to get the job done and at a decent price. This technique requires a fine mesh screen that gets coated with a chemical known as an emulsion. Once dried, a stencil can then be made to print with. It then gets placed into a machine or some form of printing table where ink is added and the print can begin. The image then gets transferred to the correx, (the material commonly used for yard signs) with the swipe of a squeegee that has a good amount of pressure on it. After printing is complete, it goes under a UV light to cure the wet ink, and boom, you got yourself a sign.

Most screen-printed signs are printed with a standard color selection of UV inks, so they can be cured quickly, and they will last longer against outdoor elements. Because of that feature, they are most commonly used outside. The ink used in screen-printing also has more of a gloss finish when completed. A big reason why people use screen printing is that higher quantities can be printed at a lower cost. One downside to printing in this manner is that full-color signs cannot be done. That means you can only print with a maximum of 4 colors in one design. However, most print shops that do screen-printing limit it to 3 colors. On average, signs done with this style tend to last about 3 – 5 years, enduring the weather that all the seasons have to offer.


In the other corner, we have digitally printed signs. Digital-printing presses have become more popular lately and are commonly used for their faster turnaround times and the ability to modify an image. These signs are printed in the way the name implies, digitally, meaning a big printer that usually uses Inkjet or Laser printing to lay down a design onto the sign. It’s like a desktop printer, just on a larger scale. An image is loaded into the machine’s queue, along with the desired material, and then the print can begin. As it prints, a giant print head moves back and forth, putting down the image one band at a time, also curing the ink being used at the same time. Once finished, the sign comes out ready to use; no extra drying time needed.

Digitally printed signs are used more in an indoor setting rather than outdoor. Although the ink used is also UV ink, it’s only rated for 2 – 3 years of prolonged outdoor exposure. On the plus side, digital printing can allow full-color signs along with full bleed. Full bleed means the image goes to all edges of the sign. In screen printing, a 1/3 of an inch blank border is left on the sign. Due to these benefits, digitally printed signs are more expensive per unit than screen-printed ones.


Depending on your needs for signage and where you plan on having your business or campaign signs placed will be the biggest determining factor when it comes to choosing which of these methods is the best fit for you. If you have a simple design, that you need a lot of copies of, and want to put them around the neighborhood, then screen-printed signs are the way to go. On the other hand, if you need just five duplicates of an intricate layout, we would recommend the digital option for that. Let’s say you have a full-color design and need a high quantity. You’re going to land at a middle price point but might have to pay just a little extra for your signage. The same goes for a small quantity with a simple design. Since it takes more resources to make a screen-printed sign than it would for a digitally-printed one, it’s more cost-effective for any customer to go digital for an order like that. This should help give you a better understanding of the two formats and aid you in your purchasing decision.

If you have any further questions or are still apprehensive of which way to go, feel free to contact our customer service specialists who are ready to help.

Affordable Business Signs That Appeal to Customers

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Yard signs have stood the test of time and have been most popular to 3 local markets; good old fashion garage sales, political campaigns, and real estate. There are other markets to appeal to such as small businesses or contractors, but the ones mentioned before are the three main contenders. So, what does it take to make those signs eye-catching? Is it the font or colors? Is it a unique design? With only a few seconds to attract the attention of your audience, knowing these certain insights can give you an extra boost over your competitors and could have potential clients choosing you first. As we go over these tricks of the trade, keep in mind that your signs are not limited to these guidelines and you are free to create your signs as you see fit.

Why use yard signs for your business?

Yard signs are much cheaper than larger forms of advertising and are highly effective from a local standpoint. Made from a 4mm piece of corrugated plastic, most yard signs are 18” x 24” and are printed with a UV ink which helps for prolonged outdoor exposure. They’re less expensive than billboards, LED and digital ad displays, but will endure the elements as well.

Insider Knowledge

Something to consider when designing your sign is the budget you have to work with. The bigger the budget, the more colors and/or higher quantity you can attain. A smaller budget suggests a one-color sign at a much lower quantity. Another thing to think about is, what colors do your competitors use? You don’t want to have signs that match too closely to your competition’s colors or design. Below are more key points to help you achieve your goal of an affordable and appealing sign that gets your message across.

  • Keep It Local!Yard signs are a great local strategy for small businesses and using the local lingo to promote your message is a great way get your point across. If you can easily communicate with your community then it makes reaching your market that much more effortless.
  • Keep It Simple! – By keeping the message on your signs simple and clear, you’ll be able to get more attention with just a few words. Overdesigned logos or too many words can deter someone from wanting to read your sign. For yard signs, there is a small window to nab the reader’s attention so keeping it easy to read should do the trick.
  • Text Layout! – Make sure to distribute the words on your signs wisely. Too much clutter will defeat the purpose of the sign. You want to make it as aesthetically pleasing as possible, so simple fonts and bold colors are what you’re going to be looking for when designing your sign.
  • Location of Signs! – High traffic areas are key to the success of your signs. You’ll also want to consider the height of which your signs are going to be displayed. Finding that perfect viewing angle can be tricky, but oh so rewarding. The surroundings of your signs are something to think about as well. You wouldn’t want a pesky bush getting in the way of your reach.
  • Be different! – Having a funny slogan or a witty phrase can definitely help with standing out from the rest. As long as you keep it tasteful, non-offensive and in-line with the message you are trying to put out there, then there is no reason you can’t make a sign to remember.

These are just a few of the deciding factors to consider when creating your sign’s design. Remember, you don’t have to adhere to these methods entirely, just use what you need to help get your layout started. Hope these tips were useful and have answered some doubts you might have had about making your signs more appealing to your customers. With this new-found knowledge behind you and a wide variety of templates to choose from online, there’s nothing to hold you back from getting started!