Display and Signage Material Guide: High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS)

When choosing a material for product displays and signage, different options will yield different results. The material you choose will impact your budget, customization options, and the overall look of the finished product. One of the many material options you can choose is high impact polystyrene (HIPS).

Find out more about HIPS, its uses, and how it can be customized.

What is High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS)

High impact polystyrene is a synthetic polymer and one of the most common plastics in the world. It’s versatility, strength, and reasonable cost make it a very popular choice for fabricating a wide range of signage and display products. HIPS generally comes in sheets that can be molded and fabricated into a variety of shapes.

Why is HIPS Used?

As its name implies, HIPS is known for its strength. It is a very durable material that can withstand high impacts, making it ideal for use in heavy traffic areas. It’s not unbreakable by any means, but you will find that its durability exceeds that of acrylic and many other display and signage material options. Standard thicknesses for HIPS include .020 .030 .040 .060, .080, .100, .118, and .177, with other gauges being available.

High impact polystyrene has many benefits that include:

  • High impact resistance and strength
  • Design versatility: Thinner gauges are excellent for in-store signage, while thicker gauges are perfect for display fabrication.
  • Easy fabrication: machining, bending, and solvent welding
  • Is a great substrate for graphic printing, either by direct digital or by silk screen printing
  • Readily available in white or black colors, and can be custom produced to match most PMS colors (most custom colors require minimum quantities)
  • Excellent thermoforming characteristics
  • 100% recyclable
  • Low cost

HIPS Applications

HIPS is a great material for many different indoor applications. Retail environments favor the materials because of its affordability and machinability. It is generally used in these applications:

The Downside of HIPS

Like any other material, there are some drawbacks to using HIPS. The material is not suitable or ideal for some applications because of its low:

  • UV resistance
  • Temperature resistance
  • Chemical and corrosion resistance
  • Abrasion resistance
  • Large minimums quantities for custom colors


Thinking of using HIPS on your next project? Let us help you choose the right material and build a display or sign that’s right for you. Get in touch with our display specialists today.


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