Display and Signage Material Guide: Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (ABS)


Looking for materials to build a custom display or sign? There are many to choose between, and they all have their own benefits and drawbacks. What’s more important is that choosing the right material based on your application will affect the performance, longevity, and price of the final retail displays or signs. 

One of the materials you can choose is Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (ABS), which is a great designer-friendly material that also boast high durability and longevity. 

What is Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (ABS)?

Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene is a thermoplastic and amorphous polymer that is opaque and comes in a variety of colors and textures. The material is dense and durable, making it suitable for a variety of different applications. ABS is typically used for injection molding because the material liquefies at a high enough temperature (221 degrees Fahrenheit). The chemical process of creating Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene results in the material binding together tightly. This creates a tough, hard, and highly resistant surface, which also has a natural gloss to it. 

Why is Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (ABS) Used?

The durability of ABS is its most attractive feature. The material is especially ideal when used at thinner gauges, which allows for room to cut costs during manufacturing. ABS is still resilient at thinner gauges, more so than many other materials, and less of it is needed to achieve the desired end product. The ability to add textures and finishes, along with multiple colors, also makes it a very designer friendly material for displays and signage. 

There are many benefits to using Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene as a display and signage material: 

  • Durability: ABS has a very high impact resistance, structural strength, and stiffness 
  • Resistance: ABS has a high chemical and water resistance 
  • Temperature performance: ABS performs well at high and low temperatures 
  • Insulation: ABS is a good electrical insulator 
  • Fabrication: ABS can be shaped using injection molding and is also easy to paint and bond together 
  • Color options: ABS comes in a wide variety of color options for custom displays and signage 
  • Printing: ABS can accept printing graphic images very nicely


Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (ABS) Applications

ABS is used in a variety of areas, industries, and applications, including: 


The Drawbacks of Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (ABS)

The downsides of using a material like ABS include: 

  • Sunlight exposure can damage the material and graphics 
  • Hazardous: when exposed to flames, the material can be toxic 
  • Limited food uses: because of its toxicity, it’s not generally recommended to be used in food displays 
  • Cost: it does cost more than some materials, but it makes up for it in the ability to use less of it while maintaining its structural integrity


Considering using Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (ABS) in your displays or signs? Let us help you decide if the material is right for you!