Testing label durability

Four years ago, in November of 2019, Graphics Output began our scientific journey of our Weather Testing Board. (This blog was published in December 2023). We are currently using this board to test the durability of various print methods and materials in Midwestern weather over several years. Photos are taken monthly to document the progress of decay for a variety of factors.


Photographing the weather board, November, 2019.

Changes we’ve been watching for:

  1. Image/color fading
  2. Peeling or cracking
  3. Polycarbonate or polyester yellowing
  4. Adhesive failure
  5. Delamination

The Conditions

  • The test board is made of painted metal and sits against a building facing east, with all other directions exposed to the elements.
  • The test board was thoroughly cleaned with alcohol before we applied any decals.
  • Over the timeline of the test, the board is exposed to sun, wind, rain, snow, and ice.

Section One tests various ink durability for:

  • Digital roll solvent ink
  • Digital roll solvent ink with 1 mil polyester over-lamination
  • Screen print UV ink
  • Digital flatbed UV ink
  • Digital gel UV ink

The hypothesis: Graphics Output believes the digital roll solvent ink will fade first, and the screen print UV ink or the digital gel UV ink will fade last.


The results: The flatbed ink without lamination has faded the most from its original state, with the digital roll solvent ink without lamination following close behind. Overall the inks have not faded much, if any, in the past four years.

Section Two tests screen print ink color durability for:

Nazdar 3500 Series Ink, designed for vinyl films with exterior applications, in the following colors…

  • Yellow
  • Orange
  • Red
  • Blue
  • Black

The hypothesis: Graphics Output believes that the red or yellow ink will fade first and the black ink will fade last.


The results: The yellow ink has started to fade slightly, but overall the inks have not faded much, if any, in the past four years.

Section Three tests subsurface printed materials and various flatbed UV ink colors durability, including:

  • Standard polycarbonate (10 mil 8B35)
  • Hard-coated weatherable polycarbonate (10 mil HP12W)
  • Hard-coated weatherable polyester (8 mil Autotex® F200XE)

The hypothesis: Graphics Output believes that the standard polycarbonate will fade or delaminate first, and the weatherable polyester will fade or delaminate last.


The results: The standard polycarbonate has faded the most and has yellowed severely. That is to be expected, as there is no built-in UV resistance. Overall, none of the inks have faded much, if any, in the past four years, with no signs of delamination.

Overall results:

Most inks and materials used on the weather testing board have warranty lifespans of 5+ years, so the lack of fading, peeling, and cracking after only four years was expected.

Durability plays a huge role in decision-making when it comes to purchasing decals for your outdoor equipment. While many of our suppliers test their materials in weather chambers, which exaggerate and accelerate the effects of different weather elements, Graphics Output is taking the direct approach to see how long our decals actually last. If you have questions about shelf-life or durability of decals, contact us today by giving us a call at (260) 748-0577 or emailing sales@gographicsoutput.com.

This is the third post in a multi-part series. Check out our first post here and our two-year update here. We plan to continue to take monthly photos documenting the board and the effects of the elements and post additional occasional updates. Stay tuned for our results!