Outdoor posters – Litho & digital print

Outdoor posters are required for lots of different environments from petrol forecourts and outside of supermarkets to billboard hoardings and fly posting spots. How they’ll be used and the life expectancy, as well as the quantity and budget, determines the best way to print your outdoor posters.

Plastic and PVC poster printing

The great thing about plastic posters is that they are completely weatherproof, including waterproof. However they’re not produced quite the same way as normal paper posters. Unlike paper they don’t have a porous surface to absorb the ink. Instead they have to be printed using special inks that are then dried using UV lamps that sets the ink and bonds it to the plastic sheet. They can be digital, silk screen or litho printed depending on the quantity required.

Until recently most plastic posters have been printed on PVC, however it is not the most economically friendly material as it is not biodegradable or recyclable. Recently a lot of our posters are produced on polypropylene which is both recyclable and biodegradable (although it does take quite a few years to degrade). Sometimes people still request PVC though as it is more rigid and has a lightly smoother glossier print surface than polypropylene which tends to have a slight grain, giving it more of a matt look and feel.

Encapsulated posters

Encapsulation is where paper posters are enclosed in between two sheets of clear printed plastic. It is similar to laminating but using a thicker plastic film (various thickness options). Encapsulation used to be a lot more popular prior to UV printing onto plastic but is not as popular these days as it tends to be more expensive. It does however offer a good waterproof protection for outdoor use and offers an extra layer of protection between the print and the sun, wind and rain.

poster encapsulation

Billboards and fly posters

Printing for billboards and fly posting is almost always done on 115gsm blue back poster paper. It is white to the print face with an opaque blue on the reverse. The posters are applied to billboard hoardings, usually directly over older advertisements, or in the case of fly posters simply over other older posters, using a strong wallpaper paste. The reason for the opaque blue backing is to avoid any show through of the older advertisements pasted underneath.

Lightboxes and outdoor frames

The other popular type of outdoor posters are the kind that are printed to a standard white paper, usually 150gsm white cartridge, and put into waterproof poster frames. These are usually either lit with external lighting onto the frame and poster, or fitted into light boxes where the light is illuminated through the poster from the back. Most lightboxes you see outdoors at bus shelters etc are what we call 6 sheets.

Choosing the right type of poster

We’d love to help with any outdoor posters you might be considering as part of your marketing for your or your clients. Please use the link below to contact us and discuss your project.

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