The decision of whether to use perforated vinyl, translucent vinyl, or standard vinyl for window graphics really depends on a number of factors. In a storefront application, the following questions need to be answered in order to make the right decision. Does the window provide significant light into the business that is appealing? Or does the setting sun have the business owner considering the purchase of window coverings? Do you want people on the inside to be able to see the reverse image of the exterior graphic? Is cost a significant consideration? How long will the graphics be up?
In a vehicle window wrap situation, the considerations may be around vividness of colors, need to be able to see out a rear window, or the desire for wood be thieves to not be able to see in the back window of a service van.
The advantages of “window perf” as it is called are that you have some visibility from the inside out, and it allows some of the brightness from the sun shine through – making the inside are less dark. Disadvantages of perforated window vinyl are that it is almost twice as expensive as standard vinyl once you have added the additional cost of optically clear laminate in. I always recommend using an optically clear laminate for covering vinyl window perforation as it will protect the vinyl adding significant additional life. Be prepared for the unsightly sheen that comes with optically clear laminate on window perf, but know that the sheen will go away after about 3 weeks baking in the sun. The heat seems to clear up the sheen. Additionally, perforated vinyl may not last as long as standard vinyl due to the uneven edges that come with perforating. This provides more opportunities for the vinyl to lift and get debris underneath. Thirdly, the printed images do not appear as bright and vivid on window perf because there is only half the surface area to lay down ink upon – a 50%/50% window perf vinyl has only half the vinyl surface area as standard vinyl.
Translucent vinyl is sometimes considered as a halfway point between perforated window vinyl and standard vinyl. This is because it does allow some brightness through and leaves the interior room a little lighter than standard vinyl, it is also difficult to get vivid printed color to come through on translucent vinyl when exposed to bright light and it is a little more expensive than standard vinyl. Translucent vinyl also lets patrons inside a restaurant, for example, see the reverse image of the exterior window advertisement.
So in summary, standard calendared vinyl without perforation or translucent properties is simply the least expensive and delivers the most visually appealing image of the three window graphics options. It does not allow images to be seen from inside, and it blocks 100% of the light in full wrap applications. If some light or brightness is desired then translucent vinyl may be the best selection and ranks second in terms of affordability. Finally, if the ability to see out is important, then perforated window vinyl is the answer. Be prepared to see less vibrant colors with window perf, and a good graphic designer will take this into consideration when choosing colors and images. Ultimately window perf allows window graphics to be installed where visibility is required or desired! Call Superior Signs and Graphics in Buena Park, CA today for a free quote on the right window graphics to fit your situation!