(HIPS) Don’t Lie.

November 01, 2022

(HIPS) Don’t Lie. 

High Impact Polystyrene, known in acronym form as (HIPS), is a regular performer in our daily production schedule here at Telepathic Graphics.  If you stop by the wide format department, it is very likely that operators are printing, cutting and finishing HIPS products for a wide variety of projects and clients. 

What Is This Stuff? 

Polystyrene is a smooth sheet of semi-rigid, flexible but not brittle white plastic. We buy it in sheets that lay flat, but it can be rolled for easy transport. Then we apply a vibrant layer of UV ink and cut to size or custom shapes, resulting in a versatile and durable communication tool. 

You See It Everywhere… 

Every time you walk into a convenience store or grocery store, polystyrene is nearby. This stuff is the kudzu of the retail store industry–It’s all over the store!. Shelf talkers, graphic headers, end cap displays, and general signage are just some of the many shapes it takes. It is primarily an indoor product but you will even find it outside on gas pump headers which are rotated frequently with replacement advertising messages. 

The Thick and Thin of It… 

Polystyrene is sold in a variety of thicknesses. We keep .020, .030, .040 and .060 on the shelves. For reference, the .030 polystyrene is 30 thousandths of an inch thick, the thickness of an average credit card. The .020 polystyrene is approximately the thickness of a penny. The .060 is the thickness of two credit cards or three pennies stacked on top of one another. 

Looking Good… 

This product looks fantastic when printed on our flatbed UV printer. Be sure to make use of bold graphics and colorful imagery for the greatest impact. High end designers and fast food product manufacturers alike promote their products with this inexpensive product. It is available in a translucent version for backlit displays and in a limited number of colors. 

Making the Final Cut… 

Custom shapes and sizes are no problem. We routinely cut and rout polystyrene on our Zund S3 Digital Cutter. Working with 48” x 96” sheets allows designers great flexibility in developing an advertising message and the results are often quite dramatic.  

The Finishing Touch…

We often apply double-sided mounting tape or hook and loop strips so that customers can adhere their polystyrene to shelving systems, counter tops, sign frames or display panels. It also accepts grommets for easy hanging. 

The Verdict. 

High Impact Polystyrene is that coworker who always comes through. You know the one: sometimes quiet, sometimes loud, but always there for you, doing the job and getting it done.