You’ve already decided to adorn your property with a monument sign. Now you’re in the graphic design stage, a step in the process where you can let your wildest creative ambitions run amok!
But not so fast. Every aspect of your monument sign must fit into an overall vision, and no aspect is more fundamental than the material your signage is made from. Beyond the aesthetic difference between various substrates, many offer a wide range of benefits and trade-offs.
As you might’ve guessed, there is no one-size-fits-all material for every business or organization. Choosing an ill-suited material can leave visitors with the wrong impression of your building, or even worse, perplex newcomers struggling to find your home office.
So, join us in taking a closer look at the different materials that make up monument signs.
1. Foamcore & Armored Foam
Expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) is lightweight, durable, and impervious to rot and water damage (unlike more traditional materials, such as wood and brick). If you’re on a strict budget, foam can be a great way to achieve the time-tested appearance of stone masonry without getting down on your hands and knees and laying actual brick.
And, if you’re looking for something even closer to the look of real masonry, foamcore-based paneling allows for the application of a veneer. These veneers range from synthetic stucco to granite; they feature the natural imperfections that give masonry its unique beauty.
Foamcore monument signs are much easier to remove than signage fabricated using other materials. So, if you’re thinking about replacing your monument sign later down the road, foam core might be your best bet.
2. Aluminum and Metal
If you prefer the sharp edges and the sleek simplicity of modern industrial design, you’ll love the look of an aluminum monument sign. Malleable, cuttable, and ductile, aluminum will give your business the highest degree of customizability as far as shape is concerned.
Other metals, such as wrought iron, will deliver a similar appearance with more rigidity. However, the biggest benefit of aluminum is that it’s rust-resistant, so you’ll have much less time and money spent on maintenance.
Now, if you want illuminated signage or a digital message board, you’ll be out of luck (for the most part). Aluminum monument signs can only be lighted from the exterior with angled lights. While this may be considered a setback for some businesses, exterior lighting delivers a moody, resort-like atmosphere at night.
Similar to aluminum, plastics like acrylic and high-density urethane can be formed into an extensive assortment of shapes and sizes. If you have a complex design in mind, plastic is the way to go.
Make sure to match the plastic monument sign to your building’s façade by choosing complimentary colors. Since plastic can be fabricated in almost any hue, accenting the color of the office or even coordinating with the same color can give your architectural signage a huge boost.
Commercial and municipal properties steeped in tradition, such as cottage resorts, state parks, hotels and luxury stores, benefit from a rustic and nostalgic quality that only wooden monument signs can provide. A charming routed or carved wooden sign can be an inviting addition to your business’s entrance or parking lot, too.
Fully varnished wooden signs are weather-resistant – however, expect to perform regular maintenance in order to avoid termite and insect damage. Wooden monument signs may also wear down over the years, especially if your business is located in a geographic area prone to adverse weather conditions.
5. Stone and Brick Masonry
Yes, it’s possible to build a monument sign out of the same type of material used to build the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China, and St. Peters Basilica. While by far the most expensive option on the list, natural stone monument signage is the most stable, and possibly the most elegant (depending on your tastes).
If you’re outsourcing the installation and transportation of your sign, be aware that this type of monument sign is much heavier. Hundreds of pounds heavier. Pricing might vary accordingly.
6. Poured Concrete
The most utilitarian option, concrete is a viable choice for those who want a no-frills look, along with longevity. Poured concrete is virtually indestructible, and is commonly found at the gateways to cities and local parks.