Sign Basics – Vinyl Letters

In sign industry terminology, Vinyl letters are letters cut from an adhesive-backed vinyl.  This vinyl can have a variety of properties and qualities. It can be opaque, translucent, glossy, flat, or reflective. Unfortunately, not all vinyls are created equally, and the properties of a given vinyl will directly impact how the vinyl performs.  Discuss the uses you will be putting your sign or letters to with your sign professional when trying to select the proper vinyl.

Vinyl letters are generally cut with a computer-aided plotter (essentially a robotic arm with an exacto knife attached.) Vinyl letters can be cut to any size within reason, and can be any font.  That being said, extremely small letters or exceptionally narrow letters will generally have a shorter life expectancy than thick block letters due to the nature of the material, although this depends on the use they’re subjected to.

What you the consumer need to know about vinyl letters:

1. Vinyl is generally solid in color. If you need letters with a gradient, you’ll need either specialty vinyl, or your signage might have to be painted or digitally printed.

2. There is no perfect vinyl. Vinyl should be matched to the use the sign or letters are put to.

3. Vinyl is removable. Obviously this is great for making changes to an existing installation of the letters, but the problem is that it works out well for vandals too.  Be careful when placing vinyl signs in areas with public access.