Foam Core & Gatorboard Printing

Foam Core & Gatorboard Printing

Foam Core vs Gator Board Printing

The terms “foam core” (or foam board) and “gator board” are often used interchangeably. While the two materials have a similar appearance and are generally used for same purposes, there are some distinct differences between the two.

Both foam core and gatorboard are designed for use as temporary indoor signage or displays. Neither product will hold up well when exposed to moisture or prolonged periods of sunlight. For outdoor displays or signage, one should consider materials such as coroplast, acrylic, dibond, aluminum, Lexan, or even wood.

3d meeting guyFor indoor usage, both foam core and gator board give you a lot of bang for your buck. The surfaces of the materials are designed for printing. This means that the ink adheres beautifully and the print colors come out as true to source as possible. Both materials are also easy to cut into nearly and shape, which allows for some creative signage and display possibilities.

For temporary displays, both products are great options. The key word, of course, is “temporary”. The answer to the question “how temporary?” is what will help you decide which material is best for your needs.

Foam Core

For a one-time presentation or display, foam core is probably the way to go. This is the material commonly used as direction signage at conventions, or by presenters who are giving a single presentation.

Foam core is made from two sheets of paper pressed around a foam center. It is somewhat pliable, but flex it too much and it will snap. It is also quite easy to puncture foam core. So, if you are reasonably careful, foam core will do fine for a one-time event. If you try to use it year after year, however, you are pushing your luck. Odds are that your foam core will not hold up year after year.


In instances where you are using a sign or display for repeated occasions, we recommend gator board. This is especially helpful if you are going to be traveling with your products.

Gatorboard is made from a dense polystyrene. It is much more rigid, and slightly more pliable, than foam core. It can even tolerate some limited exposure to moisture. A properly cared for gatorboard display will last at least two years.

If you are still unsure about which product is right for you, contact us today to speak with a project manager!

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