When you reserve a Diag board space from SORC, it is your organization's responsibility to submit materials for SORC to put in that space.  

You can either purchase Diag boards from a professional sign company or make them yourself. Diag boards must be printed or hand-drawn on vinyl or other weather-proof material; paper and lamination are not acceptable.  See below for further information. The size of the plywood onto which SORC student drivers staple the ads is 42" wide, 66" tall.  

We cannot accept materials that are wider or taller, because the material will "stick out" past the end of the plywood on the sides and bottom.  These flaps, when exposed to the wind, often pull the staples out, and the canvas may eventually fall down (partially or completely). Flapping edges also look sloppy.

Design tip: Successful advertisements are those that are colorful, eye-catching, and concise. Most people are on the go, and they do not have the time (or attention span) to read a lengthy advertisement. Stick to the basics: Who, What, When, and Where.

Professional Printing

There are several professional printing companies in and around Ann Arbor that can make very good quality, professional looking signs for placement on our plywood Diag boards.  Recommended materials are:

  • 13-ounce scrimmed banner vinyl - maxes out at 12-18 months of constant outdoor exposure, best for multiple uses.
  • 10-ounce scrimmed banner vinyl or any waterproof, non-paper, unscrimmed material* for ads that are not scheduled to move around from one location to another (they don't stand up very well to staple rips, which happen when we have to move them).
  • Tara cloth (similar to painting canvas) - holds up for about 1 semester, depending on how frequently it moves from location to location.

Recommended printers

Past SORC customers have shared success stories with us these manufacturers.  Bear in mind that there are many options. The University of Michigan option is listed first; others are in alphabetical order.


University of Michigan Sign Shop

  • Website (opens in new window)
  • 734-763-5234
  • They deliver boards to SORC for you
  • They only accept Shortcode for payment

Dollar Bill Copying

Fast Signs  

  • 3510 Washtenaw, Ann Arbor (3 miles from campus)
  • 734-677-1500
  • Delivery terms unknown


  • Various locations across Ann Arbor
  • Delivery terms unknown
  • *Important note about Fed-Ex:  a client informed us in June 2016 that the only outdoor material offered by FedEx is a product they call "outdoor banner material."  This material is not scrimmed; it has a smooth finish and looks really sharp, but if your Diag board is scheduled to be moved around from one location to another, it will tear.  If your reservation is only for one week, or if you have the same location for several weeks in a row (no movements/relocations), this material is fine.  But if you have a long-term reservation that includes at least one movement/relocation, you are urged to choose a different printer.  SORC cannot be accountable for materials that tear when we take them down.  We are happy to show swatches of scrimmed and unscrimmed material for comparision.


Making a Diag Board Yourself

For those organizations on a tight budget, SORC offers blank banner vinyl, onto which you can trace and paint (or marker) your own design.  You can do this for about 1/4 the cost of a professionally printed Diag board.

  • A blank, white Diag board from SORC costs $21.00.  Markers are available for $1.50-$4.00 (varying sizes).
  • We also offer "used" Diag boards, which are gently used (only up for a few weeks, few staple holes) for $5.00.  You can print on the back side of these.
  • It takes at least 2 hours for design, creation, preparation, and drying time (overnight if you opt for paint instead of marker). Recruit help, and do not procrastinate. 

Materials You Will Need

An 8.5 x 11" sheet of paper with 1.25" side margins and .5" top margins is a good scale for a Diag board. Be sure to allow sufficient margins when you make your Diag board canvas:

  • Dimensions of canvas: 42" x 66" 
  • Actual viewing space: 42" x 66"

Diag board canvas is available at SORC for $3.50 per foot ($21 for a new canvas pre-cut to Diag board size). Free samples of material are available if you would like to purchase the material elsewhere.

You may not use tape, staples, contact paper, laminates, or any other adhesive materials. You must use marker or paint directly on the canvas. Use permanent markers or acrylic latex paint; markers are available at The SORC. Paint is available at local craft stores.  Vinyl lettered canvases made by a professional sign company are also acceptable.

Hint: Use markers if your canvas is going to stay up for one month or less. With prolonged exposure to the sun, markers will fade. Use paint if your board will be up for more than a month. Painting takes up to 8 times as long.

You may not use oil-based paint or spray paint. A latex brand called Liquitex has a good color selection and dilutes very well. Campus bookstores and major craft stores have a wide selection of colors, but it is important that you choose "opaque" colors rather than "transparent" or "translucent" so that the paint will completely cover the surface. Otherwise, several coats will be necessary and brush marks will show. Craft paint (less than $1.00 at Michael's, for example) is generally acceptable but doesn't cover the white canvas as well as a higher quality artist paint like Liquitex.

The simpler the design, the better. Complex designs with great detail can be difficult to trace and paint. Furthermore, passers-by generally only take the time to absorb the basics of your banner.  Too many words - it might be ignored.

1.  Purchase the blank materials

  • New Diag board canvas $21.00
  • Used Diag board canvas $5.00
  • Sharpie markers (black only) $1.50
  • Medium permanent markers $2.00
  • Jumbo permanent markers $4.50

As of the closure of the Michigan Union, there is no designated "messy space" to paint Diag boards or banners.  You will have to do this outdoors or in your private residence.  Painting/markering Diag boards is not permitted in the Michigan League.