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Front Side vs. Back Side Custom Engraved Acrylic Signs

Front Side vs. Back Side Custom Engraved Acrylic Signs


Custom engraved acrylic signs are commonly used to show company trademarks, logos, or high-resolution photographs. The ink is applied right to the surface of the acrylic to customize these logos or images. 

There are two different printing solutions - printing on the front or the back of the acrylic sheet. The purpose of this blog post is to help you decide which of the two choices is best for you. 

Before deciding to print the front side (standard surface) or the backside (second surface) of your acrylic sign, it’s essential to know the properties of the acrylic sheet itself. Acrylic is well-known for its durability and excellent light transmittance. And its hardness is approximately five times stronger than that of glass. This makes acrylic an ideal material to use for signage used in a variety of environments. It won't shatter into sharp pieces in the same way glass does. The custom engraved acrylic signs can have the most aesthetically beautiful style and patterns, but it also had some drawbacks. For example, it is relatively prone to scratches, so if you want to make your sign look brand new, make sure to get around the use of sharp objects near it. 

Pros and Cons of Front Side Custom Engraved Acrylic Signs

Standard surface printing is the most common and least expensive method. The ink is printed directly on the front or top surface of the acrylic. This causes the image to have a matte and non-glare look. Generally, the "ink" is covered with some sort of fixative to guard against it from being rubbed off too easily. You can feel the ink if you run your fingers across the face of the kind of custom engraved acrylic signs. 

The standard surface printing is much less expensive than printing the acrylic with a second surface print. The reasons are not only because it is easier to apply the ink to the material in this manner, but also because second surface printing costs more resources.

However, standard surface printing also has its drawbacks. Its matte finish may be considered as a con due to lack of sleek and light-reflective luster, making the signage not eye-catching enough. Also, as the print is on the front of the material, it does not have an original clear acrylic look anymore. Beyond that, it’s easy to scrape the images off a front side printed sign because the ink is protected only by a layer of fixative. If you’re going to display the sign in a place within people’s reach or where it will be bumped by other objects, you may be better to avoid choosing standard surface printed custom engraved acrylic signs as their finish or painting is easier to be scraped off or get stained.

Pros and Cons of Back Side Custom Engraved Acrylic Signs

Regarding the second printing method, the ink is printed on the back of the material, adding a high-end, elegant look to custom engraved acrylic signs. This printing method allows you to look through the clear acrylic material to see the print. This gives the overall look of a glossy finish which standard surface can’t offer. Essentially, you can look through the acrylic sheet to see images and text due to its polished, glossy look. 

Besides, since the print is on the back of the acrylic, the acrylic substrate acts as a barrier, protecting the image from wear and tear, and framing is not necessary anymore. Backside printed texts or images of acrylic signs are hard to vandalize or destroy. No matter how someone scrapes the sign or writes on this type of acrylic sign it is easy to clean it and polish it again. And the printed image will keep its original shape and color perfectly since it is printed on the back of the acrylic sheet. Whether the application is a window graphic, floor decal, or overlay membrane graphic, backside printing gives the custom engraved acrylic signs more protection from both the harsh weather and vandalism. When you’re to put the acrylic sign outside, it's better to choose this printing option.

Like front side printing, this option also has its own disadvantages. Due to the material properties, this process takes a longer time, which eventually makes it cost more. Because the print is on the back of the material, second surface acrylic can cause glare and is hard to see in direct sunlight. It's also susceptible to fingerprints’ gathering because of its glossy finish. If you place one within the reach of people, it’s very likely to you need to clean it frequently.

The above-detailed illustration has clearly shown the respective drawbacks and advantages of standard surface and second surface printing of custom engraved acrylic signs. It’s up to you to select the best option based on your specific applications and budget.

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