Why Durable Labels and Outdoor Signage Fail

While out on my daily, early morning walk today, I came across some signage in the park. The signage was no longer legible as hot and cold weather had caused the signage to deteriorate to what you see in this blog’s picture.

The signage had not been there for much over a year, whereas proper outdoor signage and labels should be able to hold up outdoors for up to a decade. In this case, someone from the public sector was tasked with the job of ordering and placing park signage. But what went wrong?

Label Catalog Houses and Buyer Ignorance

One assumption we can make is that the signs were ordered from a catalog house, with the person ordering the signage, being ignorant of the outdoor requirements. Another assumption is that the company who provided the signage was aware of the requirements, but used the wrong materials. And yet, a 3rd assumption is that the cheapest labels were ordered, as a way to save money. Now, as a taxpayer, I am responsible for not only paying the original tab, but also have to open my wallet even further--to have the signage re-ordered, and also to pay people to re-affix the signage.

This could have all been avoided by ordering from a company who could have guided the buyer to the proper material for long-term outdoor use, and ordering from a company who has experience with solutions for durable labels. A quality guarantee would also be in order.

Proper Durable Label Specifications

Long-term durable labels for outdoor use, which get affixed to signage, are typically made from polyester films and vinyl. The adhesive needs to be acrylic, which is suitable for hot and cold temps. The inks are typically UV resistant, so they hold up for years in the sun. Some labels require a protective lamination. Finally, the personnel affixing and mounting the labels needs to be sure the substrate is clean and dry before applying the labels. The labels and signage shown in the picture appear to be made from a brittle film, which ended up just flaking away.

Sales Pros To The Rescue!

Those responsible for ordering durable labels that are UL recognized or that need to withstand outdoor elements, or hold up to abuse from gasses, solvents, and cleaners, would be best served by reaching out and doing business with sales professionals who can guarantee the proper solution. Sometimes, as in this case, the catalog house alternative is too expensive.

Contact Rightertrack for durable labels and signage. 215-493-7191 or e-mail

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