When to Use Lower Grade Vinyl

Written by: Mark Gregory

Don’t Mess Around With Jim

The late popular singer Jim Croce had an Album and a hit song titled "You Don’t Mess Around With Jim”
In the song, there is some good "life advice.”

"You don't tug on Superman's cape
You don't spit into the wind  
You don't pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger
And you don't mess around with Jim"

I’m going to be so bold as to add to this wisdom, here goes.  

From my experience as a male of the species, you don’t pee into the wind either.  And as a guy who has made graphics all my life, you don’t mess around with low-quality vinyl material only to save a few pennies per square foot.

I’m all for saving money (my wife has some other names for it which don’t sound so virtuous).  But when saving money can result in an unhappy customer because the graphic you supplied failed, then the cost is much higher than the amount you saved.  Redoing a job is one thing, but having a customer lose confidence in your ability or the products you provide can have a far-reaching economic impact on your business.
Unhappy Customers VS Happy Customers

Sure, there is a time and a place to go cheap.  When you know a graphic truly is for short term, or you know the graphic won’t be subjected to a harsh environment or direct sunlight, then a lower grade of vinyl can be used.

However, if how the graphic will be used is out of your control, my advice is to use a high-quality cast vinyl material and laminate for your printed or cut graphics.  Here are my recommendations:

3M IJ180Cv3 with 3M 8519 Luster Laminate for digitally printed graphics
3M IJ680CR with 3M 8519 Luster Laminate for reflective printed graphics

There are other high-quality vinyl materials from Orafol and other manufacturers.  And my company sells these too.  However, my personal experience is you can’t go wrong using the materials I have recommended, and your customers will be happier over the long term.

My company is a 3M Strategic Authorized Distributor so we can supply materials for your printing and cutting operation.  Or, our Wholesale-2-Trade graphics manufacturing service can supply you with ready to apply printed or cut graphics.

Oh yeah, two more pieces of life advice: "If you’re in a hole, stop digging,” and "Never miss a good chance to shut up.” 
I’m going to do both right now.

As always, if you want to comment or contact me feel free to do so.
Mark Gregory