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Digital Print vs. Cut Vinyl - Which Lasts Longer?

Discussion in 'Digital Printing' started by Bob C, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. Bob C

    Bob C New Member

    Dec 12, 2011
    Hello Sign Gurus,

    I have recently started working for a sign shop that has been clinging on to some of the old ways for a very long time. I'm having a hard time convincing my new fellow employees of the benefits of digital printing (among other things). We have a 30" Roland printer and we use to print small signs and banners. We also have an archaic 15" GSP plotter that we cut almost all of our vinyls with.

    My question is, as implied by the title: is cut high performance vinyl lettering superior to digitally printed and laminated vinyl? Do digital prints fade faster? We know that printing is a big time saver but they are not convinced that a digital print will last as long as cut vinyl. I can't seem to find any information that states otherwise.

    Suggestions? Thoughts?

    Thank you very much - I always enjoy coming here for good info!

    SIGNTIME Active Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    printed vinyl will last about half the time as a good quality cast cut vinyl
  3. JgS

    JgS Member

    Dec 8, 2012
    Yes cut vinyl lasts longer. It's just more time consuming and limited. Especially with only a 15" cutter.
  4. FireSprint.com

    FireSprint.com Trade Only Screen & Digital Sign Printing

    Cast cut vinyl is one of the most durable ways to letter a sign reasonably. It will outperform most digital or screen printed inks, even with a clear coat or overlam.

    Make sure you get the right price from the customer though, since it outlasts the other options, you may not see that customer back for a while. :smile:
  5. OldPaint

    OldPaint Major Contributor

    printed media, no matter what prints it or whos inks you are using.....wont last more the 3 years....and most of the printer manufactures will say this.
    now for longevity.......HP VINYL (avery red with silver backing) can and i have vehicles(in n.florida) 13 years old and still look like the day it was installed(2001)....this picture was take 2013!!!!!

    Attached Files:

  6. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

    Jun 7, 2006
    Location of any given sign is the answer. In most cases, a digitally printed vinyl you can say will last between 3 and 5 years depending on the direction it faces.

    A good cast vinyl will last between 7 and 10 years without a problem.

    We have a sign out above one of our garage doors and it's probably 17 years old. The picture faded out a year or two ago and is now almost gone, while the vinyl is still in fine shape. It was printed with thermal resis ribbons, unlike the inks of today, so it was figured to last at least 10 years. Got about 12 or 13 out of it.
  7. Bob C

    Bob C New Member

    Dec 12, 2011
    Thank you!

    Thank you to all who responded!!! As always, your comments were very helpful and informative.
  8. smott

    smott New Member

    Apr 25, 2007
    Sad to say, but we have become a disposable society. Everyone wants instant service. Many years ago when I hand lettered everything, I would sometimes have a two month backlog of work. Customers were willing to wait for quality work. In today's world they want it instantly. I've actually had people call to order a sign and want to pick it up in 30 minutes. Then there are the people who drive a new truck to my shop and expect for me to letter it right then. I still have hand lettered signs in the field that are 25-30 years old and still look good. The first vinyls were horrible, but they got better and better, until finally I had to switch in order to compete in the market. Digital printing is getting better and better, but still has a very limited life. Just give them time.

    I recently had a church bring their van by my shop. The burgundy cut vinyl lettering was starting to curl a little. I looked up the job. I had originally done the job in 1999. When I told the customer how long it had been, they were most happy to pay me to remove the old lettering and replace it exactly like it had been originally.

    I still do more cut vinyl than any other form for that reason. I have been in the business for over 50 years(I am second generation), and I still take pride in doing quality work.

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