Need Directions? – A Quick Guide to Wayfinding Signage Solutions

Wayfinding signage, is usually the main form of communication in any public area.  From hospitals to train stations, the airport to the grocery store, you can find signs that point you in the right direction everywhere you go.  The wide variety of signs and locations means that there also needs to be a wide variety of print films and adhesives available to meet the various demands of each application.  At Tekra, we have several options for print media to meet demands from outdoor wayfinding signage intended to hold up to the elements, to temporary signage meant to guide you in the direction of a special event, or new traffic patterns. So, how do you know what is the best choice?  A few simple questions can help get you started on the right path: 

  • Do you need floor signage or wall signage?
  • Will this signage be indoors or outdoors?
  • Is the signage temporary or permanent?
  • How will the sign be cut to size?
  • How much traffic will the sign be exposed to over time?
  • How large will your sign need to be?
  • How will you be printing your sign?
  • Does the sign need to be illuminated? 
  • Will you need to apply adhesive post-print?

Once you can answer the above questions, you can begin your wayfinding signage film search.  Below are a few options that Tekra has to offer:  

Interior Wayfinding Signage

Marnot Advanced™ Polyester Film.  This material is durable. It offers chemical and scratch resistance with a pencil hardness up to 3H.  It will withstand high-traffic public areas where the sign is within reach of contact and other harsh environments, and its chemical resistance means it can be sanitized with most cleaners and will maintain its appearance.   Easily die-cut without edge shatter and is emboss-able for when a raised or tactile graphic is required. 

Marnot® Anti-Glare/AM Polycarbonate Film.  This material offers antimicrobial properties, reducing bacterial growth, for areas where signage may be at a touchable level. It also has a slightly matte appearance, which reduces glare from retail lighting, ensuring the signage is always readable.  Combined with the abrasion and chemical resistant properties of our Marnot coating, this material offers the ‘Holy Grail’ for durable public signage. 

3M™ Controltac™ Print Film 40C. If you’re in the market for directional signage to apply to flooring, this print film is a versatile substrate printable with traditional screen inks, UV inkjet inks and latex inkjet inks.  It is 3 mils thick, offers a removable adhesive and available in gloss and matte finishes. 

3M™ Safety-Walk™ Slip-Resistant General Purpose Tapes and Treads. if you’re looking to provide anti-slip protection in areas with potential slips, trips and falls while conveying a wayfinding, safety, branding or any kind of message, you have two options: a low profile, general purpose product and a conformable product which is great for plated or irregular surfaces; both are mineral-coated products, can be imaged using UV printers, have a reliable adhesive and are easy to install.

JetView™ Blockout Display Film.  If a hanging graphic to point people in the right direction the best choice for the venue, this digital print film offers nearly opaque signage with lay-flat properties, preventing curl when hanging.  10 mils thick film is printable with solvent inkjet, UV inkjet and latex inkjet films, and offers a semi-matte finish allowing colors to pop.

Exterior Wayfinding Signage

ProTek® Weatherable Polyester Film.  This material will stand up to the UV exposure outdoors and is scratch and chemical resistant to help ensure your sign remains readable over time.  It is offered in clear gloss and two textures, providing options if you need something for the clearest visibility of text, or a textured finish that can reduce glare and have excellent tactile while reducing the visibility of finger prints if the signage will be touched.  Reverse print with traditional solvent or UV inks and keep your print protected.   Also available for HP Indigo printing and can be custom coated for UV inkjet printing as well.

Digitally Printable Wayfinding Signage

For signs you only need one or two of, it’s often more cost-effective to print using a digital print method. Tekra offers digitally printable films intended for HP Indigo, UV inkjet and latex inkjet machines.  HP Indigo printers are utilized for smaller signage, with sheet size specifications being: 12”x18”, 13”x19” and 20.8125”x29.5”, depending on the HP Indigo model while UV Inkjet and latex inkjet machines offer options for larger signage, with size specifications greatly ranging depending on the printer model being used.  Tekra can offer rolled materials up to 60” on many products and sheet sizes may vary, but standard sizing is 24”x48”.

Materials recommended to run on HP Indigo Printers:

Dura-Go® Textured ProTek® Polyester.  This film offers a tactile hardcoat on the first surface making a durable product ideal for indoor high-traffic areas, and is primed for HP Indigo print receptivity on the 2nd surface, allowing the inks to be protected behind the film.

Dura-Go® Marnot™ Polycarbonate Film. This film is offered with the abrasion and chemical resistance in our standard Marnot hardcoat line, with the second surface coated for HP Indigo printability.  This material is stocked with 55% gloss unit, allowing for a slightly matte appearance, which helps reduce reflection and glare from surrounding lighting. Materials recommended to run on UV Inkjet Printers:

JetView™ UV Polycarbonate Film.  For signage printed using a UV inkjet printer that also requires adhesive applied to the second surface, our JetView line of films is optimal.  Printable second surface, the ink is protected behind the media, and the coating supplies superior anchorage to the CMYK inks to ensure the adhesive does not pull the inks up when applied.  This is a great choice for signage that needs to be adhered to walls in lower traffic areas where you need the durability of a polycarbonate film to protect the ink and handle light, everyday contact.  For high traffic signage areas, our JetView UV Polycarbonates can be hardcoated on the first surface to provide additional abrasion and chemical resistance needed for high-traffic, high-contact areas contact and cleaning. 

Illuminated Wayfinding Signage – Digitally Printed

Backlit signs are often seen in areas that you really want to draw attention to, and offer both directions and additional advertisement, maximizing your signage real-estate.  Conventions, transportation signage and shopping center maps are great examples of informative directional signage that offer a little more than simple text. 

JetView™ Latex 7.6 mil Backlit Display Film.  This material offers UV inkjet and latex inkjet printability, while being thin enough for scrolling signage, while robust enough to be long-lasting. With a translucent appearance, it diffuses the light to allow optimal color enhancement, without creating ‘hot spots’ that can detract from the visual appeal of the printed sign.

JetView™ Latex White Translucent Polycarbonate.  If you are in need of a thicker and sturdier material to more easily slide into a frame, this film is the answer. It offers a light transmission that will enhance the colors and draw attention to your signage, without showing the light source behind it.  It also offers printability of the matte and gloss side, offering versatility for your finished look. The gloss side offers a clean, smooth print that will pop in darker areas, while the matte side offers just enough matte to reduce glare from surrounding retail lighting.

Temporary Wayfinding Signage

Rigid Vinyl.  Rigid vinyl can be printed without a coating using traditional screen inks, as well as UV inkjet and Solvent inkjet inks.  It is easily die-cut, laminated and available in a wide variety of thicknesses.  This substrate provides a durable, quick, and cost effective solution for temporary wayfinding signage, often used at conventions or for temporary changes in traffic patterns.

JetView™ Lowtack Window Film. For signage needed to be quickly applied at the store-level that will provide guidance right at the door, this material offers a non-adhesive option that can be easily applied, will stay in place for days, and is printable with both UV inkjet and latex inkjet print methods.  Available in white, clear and frosted, this is a great option for directions or daily messages. 

Dura-Go® Static Cling Film. Available in clear or white, this cling product is intended for small format HP Indigo sheet printers, and an idea choice for store front messages alerting customers of temporary changes or areas inside:  ‘registration for today’s event is to the left’.  This adhesive-free print film can be applied at the store level, and can be rinsed and reused.

With the wide range of options on the market, knowing which product fits your specific needs can be overwhelming.  Hopefully this guide was able to point you in the right direction!

For additional information on these, or other product Tekra has to offer, please contact us at 800-448-3572 to speak with a representative.


Image of an outdoor wayfinding signage

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