Billboards Basics

Billboards are becoming more and more popular today. Perhaps it's because they reach more people for cheaper prices than any other type of media. Or because it's because people are spending much more time in their vehicles now than ever before. Since billboard advertising is increasing so much, I think it is very important for all business owners and everyone involved in advertising to know the basics of billboards

Painted Billboards

Painted billboards are the oldest form of outdoor advertising. This concept originally came from the drawings on cave walls. Since the cave drawings, billboard advertising has adapted to technology and grown phenomenally.

Billboard companies use a special outdoor paint for their signs. This special paint is weather resistant, and it also has an ultra-violet absorber that will resist fading.

Painted billboards are also known as painted bulletin boards or paintings. We recommend painted bulletinlets for signs that do not have complicated graphics but do have long contracts.


  • Long Lasting – Painted Bulletins can last from 12 months to 36 months.
  • Quick – On average, it takes 7 days to produce a painted bulletin.
  • Rain Resistant – Unlike vinyls or posters, the rain will not damage painted signs.

Unfortunately, painted bulletin boards are almost a thing of the past. Today most billboards are either vinyls or posters.


A majority of the billboards with complicated graphics have vinyls on them. These vinyls are printed on a wide format printer. All of our vinyls are protected with a special Ultra-Violet coating that allows the vinyls to last for years. This is by far the most popular type of billboards today.

Types of Vinyls:

Adhesive – These vinyls have sticky backsides. Adhesive vinyls can be used to attach a photograph on a painted bulletin or the entire sign can have an adhesive vinyl placed on it. Since adhesive vinyls have sticky backgrounds, they can not be moved.

  • Pressure Sensitive Adhesive (PSA) – This is the type of vinyl that is used on tri-vision billboards. PSA's can also be used to cover up parts of vinyls. For example, let's say a new franchise restaurant will soon open a store in a brand-new location and they want a billboard that says "Opening Soon." After the restaurant opens, they will want their sign to say "Now Open." PSA's allow us to print the vinyl with "Now Open" and print a cover that says "Opening Soon" which will be placed on the vinyl when it is first installed. When the restaurant opens, the "Opening Soon" cover can be pealed off to reveal "Now Open." This method is a lot more time and cost effective than ordering a new vinyl.

Flex vinyls are the most common type of vinyl. These vinyls do not have sticky backs like adhesive vinyls, rather they are "hung" on the edges of the boards. Flex vinyls can easily be moved to several different locations.


  • Long Lasting – Vinyls can last years.
  • Flex vinyls can easily be moved to several different locations
  • Your imagination (& the law) are the only limitations to what you can put on billboards with vinyls.
  • Colors matching: it's extremely easy to make a vinyl's colors match anything you have.


Poster Panels are very common along secondary roads. Posters are very similar to wall paper. They are printed on several sheets of paper and glued on a metal faced sign. Posters are printed on paper in either 8 sheets (junior posters) or 30 sheets (10.5 feet by 22.8 feet standard posters.) Below are examples of posters.

Poster panels are also known as papers, paper bulletin boards,

30-sheets, or junior posters. Since posters must be installed on metal faces, you can easily identify poster signs by the thick metal frame around the edges.


  • Rotation – Due to weather conditions, posters only last for 30 days. This allows advertisers the opportunity to change locations and designs every 30 days.
  • Flexibility – The contracts can be long term (12 months) or short term (30 days)
  • Time Sensitive Material – Posters are great for companies that want to remind potential customers of their current specials, birthday wishes or grand openings.

Gross Rating Point (GRP)
GRP is the total number of postings in a marketing schedule versus the population. The GRP is calculated by dividing the traffic count by the population.

Posters can be purchased as 25, 50, 75, or 100 GRP (shows). For example, if you want a 50 GRP (showing), than 50% of the population should see your billboards every single day.

Studies have shown that in a 100 showing, advertisers can reach 88% of the adults 28 times a month. In a 50 showing, advertisers can reach 83% of adults 15 times a month.

Common Billboard Terms
Spectaculars – stacked billboards or when two billboard faces that are on top of each other are combined to make one big billboard. Below you will find an example of a spectacular

Copy – All wording (text) on billboards

Bleed – The edges of a flex vinyl that is used to wrap around the sides of the board. We normally use a 6 "bleed with 4" pockets on our vinyls.