One of the most popular and versatile manufacturing materials used in trade show exhibits and retail environments over the past few decades has been acrylic.

Acrylic is not a natural substance – it’s a synthetic made from petroleum-based materials and it’s used in thousands of everyday products, from retail environments to consumer electronics, cars, boats and aircraft. Commercial names for this material include PMMA, Plexiglas, Perspex, Acrylite, and Polycast.

In manufacturing, acrylic has been a commercially successful product for more than a century, but it is gradually being phased out in trade show exhibits and retail stores as companies look to more lightweight alternatives such as fabrics and 3D technologies (we will explore these new alternatives in a future article).

The main reasons why acrylic has been so widespread in custom exhibits, cabinetry, countertop displays and other retail fixtures is because of its versatility, resiliency and lightweight properties. Rubber compounds are added to acrylic to increase its strength so that it can support large or heavy objects.

Other advantages of acrylic include its transparency, its lightness compared to glass, and its flexibility. Acrylics are bent or molded into various shapes using heat or thermoforming.  . Designs can be replicated to accommodate multiple, standard-sized displays or units.

But, acrylic is not a perfect material; one of the disadvantages of acrylic is that it is not scratch resistant, and actually scratches easier than glass.

To remedy the susceptibility to scratching, different coatings are sometimes applied to acrylic to provide a scratch resistance surface, and to guard against solar reflectivity and weathering. Acrylic can also be tinted or colored, mirrored or made opaque.

In addition to using acrylic as a stand-alone application to showcase commercial products, services and signage, acrylic fabrication accessories and attachments can be used to enhance any type of custom exhibit, retail kiosk, retail environment or presentation showroom.

The visual appeal of acrylic allows companies to promote the uniqueness of their brands in various design features, from shelves, display cases and backdrops to point of purchase displays, furniture and lighting fixtures.

When planning your next custom trade show display, point of purchase stand, promotional accessories or boutique retail exhibit, consider the benefits of using acrylic to boost visual appeal and visitor engagement.

For more information about acrylics and other lightweight materials for your next project, contact a Geron Sales Consultant today at 905-470-0205.