Longest lasting Digital printing?

David Wright

New Member
I have a quote to do for the local historical society furnishing 2' by 2' metal signs with digital printing. Their main concern is longevity and want them to last at least 15 years. (Of course they want a guarantee).

What is the best one can expect with digital printing on hp vinyl with laminate? The sample brought in was from an east coast company that specializes in this. I don't know if this is printed directly or even another type process. See sample pic.


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3M cast materials (ij180/380 Cv3), no question. Use primer94 on perimeter of material before application, make sure your client is aware that color fading will NOT be covered and you're set.
maybe even incorporate a clear plexi cover for extra surface protection?

i recently donated some signage to my childhood summercamp, where longevity was the biggest concern as the sign panels mark nature trails with full color graphics of local wildlife. I reverse printed on cast clear and back laminated with cast white and applied to plexi to give it extra damage protection from falling debris.

charge double with the guarantee if they're looking for 15+ years. should last just fine at the first attempt, but if you're putting your neck on the line then you should at least have your *** covered if you have to redo anything in the next decade.
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New Member
15 years! Well, go with the materials that Mike suggested. Will the sign be facing a southerly direction, receiving a lot of sun?

Maybe have it printed on hi-perf cast and have it clear coated with an automotive grade clear. Just a thought.


New Member
I wouldn't even worry about the vinyl. The ink will fade long before the vinyl fails if you're using good materials, and they're caring for it properly (think a silicone based wax).

No way I'd guarantee something for 15 years. I'd fully expect that it would never come back, as after five or six years things tend to change, people are promoted/fired/quit, so you'd probably never hear anything about it. I just have a hard time telling people something will last longer than I truly believe it will.


New Member
give them the 15 year guarantee... but put your competitors Ph# on the back somewhere. Then in 10 years when they want to get it replaced they won't remember who they bought it from so they will look at the label on the sign and call the guy down the street!


Get an etched plaque from gemini. They can do pics like that and they have a LIFETIME guarantee.


Premium Subscriber
I would tell them upfront, that there isn't an outdoor inkjet available that will last anywhere near 15 years. No has invented one, so don't be fooled by competition saying otherwise. Many hacks out there will say the vinyl is good for 10 or 12 years, but they purposely neglect to mention the inks are only 5 or 6. I'd tell them 6 or 7 years based upon which way the sign faces. The vinyl will probably last 10 or so years, but gain their trust by being honest and maybe they'll agree to 8 years or so, knowing full well they'll have to replace it.

If they want 15 years.... suggest cast bronze plaques and shorten the storyline so it will fit.


New Member
I would not chase this as more than likely that is a porcelain sign. You will not be able to touch the longevity/quality of a porcelain sign with a digital print no matter what vinyl/laminate combo you use. Porcelain is a glass ink that is printed onto steel and then baked in an oven. Very heavy duty and will last a life time.


New Member
Here is what I would do on Invoice:

item 1: sign cost - $250 with standard 4 year warranty.

item 2: 15 year warranty: $750 (figure we have to re-do 3 times maximum).

Red Ball

New Member
Perhaps high pressure digital laminate.

Try I-Zone. 888-464-9663.

Not fifteen year, but longer than anything most of us can print.


Active Member
The only thing that I know will last close to that long (that's not a metal/cast or porcelen sign)is a sub surface "embedded" graphics like "Fossil" makes and they only give 10 years

Pat Whatley

Nothing from an inkjet printer is going to work.

Screenprinting will last 10 years or so, more if you cover it with an automotive clear.

Fossil 12 color process promises 10 years, I've seen them last more and less time

I want to say that Gregory offered a system for parks and zoos and such that had a look of sublimated corian with a UV lexan laminate that was supposed to last 15 years. I don't see it on their website now, but I'm pretty sure that's who had it.

Personally I think Mosh has made the best suggestion.

David Wright

New Member
Thanks for all the suggestions. I called Gemini, no color for their plaques.
Rick, I am getting a quote from KVO for the hpl prints as he said porcelain would run over $400 sq. ft. I believe.

Pat, I will also look into your idea.