Never judge a book by its cover, but DO judge a business by its signage!

Have you ever been walking around a shopping center on vacation or after eating dinner somewhere, and a sign just catches your eye? For some reason, you feel compelled to walk inside before even seeing their inventory.

That’s what a good sign does for your business, and whether you realize it or not, one of the main elements of a good sign is the material.

Alabama Metal Art helps companies bypass the need for sign repairs and replacements down the road by creating every sign out of premium, long-lasting materials like the ones listed below.


If you are looking for an affordable, quality material, steel is a great option. Steel is made up of iron and carbon, which makes it have a more matte finish. It is a great, durable option if you prefer a powder-coated finish or a matte metal finish.

We recommend steel for signs with a matte finish, background pieces, structural pieces, and signs that will use a powder coat finish.

Key Characteristics of Steel:

  • Much more affordable than stainless steel and slightly more affordable than aluminum
  • Matte metal finish and a great option for a fresh, colorful powder coat


metal signs stainless steel example

Stainless steel may be more expensive upfront but remains one of the most cost-effective in the long run with little to no maintenance needs. This is because stainless steel has a higher percentage of chromium which acts as the protective shiny outer layer.

We recommend stainless steel for signs with a natural metal finish as it would not make sense to powder coat the already extremely durable and beautiful stainless steel!

Key Characteristics of Stainless Steel:

  • More expensive than any other material but little to no maintenance costs
  • Lasts the longest
  • Shiny, protective finish


metal signs aluminum example

When it comes to creating unique designs and shapes, aluminum is more malleable than steel making it a more diverse material. Not to mention, aluminum is much lighter in weight, so more of it can be used to create details and layers in the design. Also, aluminum looks great with an unpainted, brushed appearance, or it can easily be powder coated, so there are more options when it comes to its finish.

We recommend aluminum for signs that have a lot of details and for very large signs that need to stay under a certain weight limit. It’s also just a great option all around if you can’t decide up front on a metal finish or powder-coated finish.

Key Characteristics:

  • Much more affordable than stainless steel but slightly more expensive than regular steel
  • The most malleable and lightweight metal
  • Looks great with a brushed metal finish or apowder coat, so you can keep your options open


metal signs mixed metals example

If you struggle with choosing between two different excellent choices, why choose just one? With layered metals, we create contrast and depth in our client’s signage. Layered metals potentially reduce the overall weight of the sign since part of the sign may be a lightweight material like aluminum instead of steel or stainless steel.

We recommend layered metal to be used in your signage if you want to create depth and dimension. We also love back-lighting layered metal signs with LED lights to make the contrast of the materials pop even more. 


custom metal signs university of north alabama

Even with the longevity of steel and aluminum, you may be interested in a protective coating to make it look new for longer. That’s when powder-coated metal signs make the most sense for your business. Not only so, but this is a way of adding color to your signs. If you love your brand colors and want to show them off, we can finish off your beautiful custom-made sign with a fresh powder coat!

Many businesses may think that metal signage can only look masculine, but powder-coated metal can look playful, fun, trendy, and youthful! This is a great option for kids’ brands, clothing stores, coffee shops, salons, and any other type of business that wants to add color to its design.


metal signs mixed media example

Although metal is in our name, we also offer many other accent materials like acrylic, plastic, and wood. While we do not typically recommend these materials for outdoor signage due to their more temporary nature, they can be great options for indoor signs.

These options may be a good fit if you are looking for a more cost-effective layering material for multiple indoor signs. But we always recommend some form of metal in every sign (after all, it is in our name!).


making custom business signs

Why settle for ordinary business signs when you can wow your customers? Our goal is to help you stand out from the competition and to draw new customers in! We make your life easier and your business more noticeable with quality business signs. Learn more about our work and our process here.


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