Banners are one the most striking and effective ways to get your message out there. However, in order to make the most of banners, there are some facts and design principles you should keep in mind. Keep reading to learn everything about these supergraphics and discover how to design the perfect banner.
What Are Banners?
Banners are signs that hang from a fixed structure such as a wall or street pole. While most people associate banners with outdoor use, they are also effective in interiors and it’s not uncommon to see them displayed in convention centers or exhibition halls. Vinyl is the material most commonly used to manufacture banners.
This is one of the most storied forms of visual communication. In fact, the word “banner” entered the English language around the year 1200, way before concepts like “advertising” or “graphic design” were even invented. When you choose banners to promote your business, you have history on your side!
How Many Types of Banners Are There?
At their most basic, banners are graphics attached to a pole or a staff. However, there are many variations to choose from:
- Street pole banners: They are displayed on street poles and are one of the best options in outdoor advertising.
- Traditional banners: They hang suspended from a ceiling or wall. If you intend to use a large banner size, this is a good choice.
- Flag banners: These banners hang from a flagpole (either self-standing or attached to a wall).
- Elevator banners: Usually self-adhesive, they are placed on elevators for promotional purposes.
- Trellis banners: In this case, the banner is attached to or mounted on a trellis, which is an open framework structure.
- Backdrop banners: Also known as “step and repeat banners”, they are used as a backdrop for photoshoots or events.
- Self-adhesive banners: Instead of hanging from a fixed structure, they are printed on self-adhesive material and can be placed on any flat, smooth surface.
- Entrance/Welcome banners: As their name suggests, these large banner signs are located near the entrance of a venue to welcome attendees.
- Barricade banners: These banners are displayed on the crowd-control barriers that are often used at public events such as concerts, festivals, or parades.
With banners where both sides are visible, you can choose to print just one side of the banner (single-sided) or both sides (double-sided).
How to Design the Perfect Banner
Now that we have covered some basic concepts, we can move on to the tips to design the perfect banner.
- Consider the structure of the banner: Some banners include elements such as grommets that may interfere with your graphic. Keep them in mind and design around them.
- Consider the location: Are you placing your banner indoors or outdoors? Will the sign be located near the public, or far away from them? All these factors should influence your design decisions.
- Limit the text: Banners are meant to make a swift impact, so keep the text to a minimum and work on the copy to eliminate any unnecessary words.
- Choose a readable font: Again, you want to make it as easy as possible for your audience to grasp your message. Unadorned letters (also called fonts or typefaces) are the best choice for your banner.
- Use good contrast: Do you want to know the secret to make your banner super easy to read? Use a strong contrast. This means that the background color of your banner should be light while the main visual elements, including images and text, should be of a darker color, or vice versa. The most basic form of contrast is black over white, but there are many other combinations you can choose to suit your brand.
- Include all the necessary information: Realizing that you omitted an important piece of information after your banner is printed can be very frustrating. Here’s a checklist you can use to nip in the bud this and other text issues:
- Make sure all the relevant contact information is there (physical address, telephone/fax/cell phone number, website, social media handles, etc.)
- Ask a third party other than yourself and your designer to read the text.
- Proofread all text. (reading the text backward can help you spot typos more easily.)
- Don’t forget your logo: A banner is a branding statement, so don’t forget to include your logo. It doesn’t have to be the most important design element but it must appear somewhere.
These are basic principles that apply in most situations. However, the only rule in design is that no rule is set in stone. Bending the norms every now and then can be a good idea. For example, going for a curly font may be acceptable if it fits the character of your product or service.
Use these tips as a springboard, and then work with an expert graphic designer to adapt them to your brand.
Choosing the Right Size for Your Banner
The size of your banner will vary according to the space you have available and your communication goals. A small banner is about 1’X2’, while a large banner size includes measures ranging from 2’x8’ to 5’X30’ and beyond.
A relatively small banner is appropriate for areas with limited space. But in all other situations, large banner signs are an option you should always consider: they are dramatic, attention-grabbing, and give your brand a nice visibility boost.
Learn More About Large Format Printing:
- What is large format printing?
- What are the large format printing trends to watch in 2021?
- CR&A makes the headlines with “masterful” large format printing project
A good rule of thumb is that the more content you want to include, the larger your banner should be. In short, lots of information require large banner signs.
Few people have the patience to read a crowded graphic, and you want your message to reach as wide an audience as possible. Additionally, careless design projects an unprofessional image that you definitely don’t want your clients to associate with your brand.
Fitting a lot of images and text on a small banner is both a bad design decision and a terrible business strategy. That’s why it’s so important to choose a banner size that allows you to create a space/content ratio that feels visually comfortable and inviting.
Where to Use Banners?
You can use banners wherever your potential or current clients gather, be it a festival that takes place outdoors, a museum, or an airport. Some situations where banners can be particularly effective include:
- Sports Events/Venues
- Music Events/Festivals
- Construction Projects
- Retail Areas
- Trade Shows
- Red carpet events
Vinyl Banner Ideas
- Location, location, location: Think of your banners as a medium that gives you all the advertising power of a billboard at a much lower price. Maximize this potential by strategically placing your banners where they can be seen by as many people as possible. Some effective choices include:
- Near entrances
- Facing busy streets or intersections
- Near high-traffic areas like escalators, lobbies, or car parks
- Take advantage of printing technology: Thanks to the latest advances in digital technology, it’s possible to achieve photographic quality in large banner printing. If your products or services have visual potential (for example makeup, cars, or real estate), don’t miss the chance to display them in full color and rich detail on your banner.
- Use banners as wayfinding signage: Large banner signs are so eye-catching that they are ideal to provide directions to the public in outdoor events.
- Advertise seasonal promotions: Banners are a great fit for seasonal advertising because they are highly portable and can be stored and reused when needed (see the next section for more information on how to store your banners).
Taking Care of Your Banners
Banners are pretty robust and retain their vivid colors even under demanding conditions. However, you can perform some basic maintenance to extend even more the useful life of your signs.
Begin by removing superficial dust with a soft cloth. Then dip another soft cloth in a mild soap/water solution and gently scrub the surface of the banner. Finally, use a dry cloth to remove any excess moisture or soap. It’s important to note that you should avoid using abrasive products or cloths, as they may damage the graphics.
If you need to store your banner to reuse it later, place it in a cool, dry area. When you prepare your banner for storage, roll it instead of folding it (preferably around a rigid cardboard tube), and make sure not to place any objects on top of it. This way you’ll avoid creases and your banner will look like new when you need to display it again.
Should you notice a wrinkle or a crease on your banner after storing it, unroll the affected area on a flat, dry surface and place a heavy object on top of it to “iron out” the irregularities.
About CR&A Custom
We are a Los Angeles-based large format printing company always on the edge of innovation. We work with clients all over the United States and abroad, providing them with high-quality visual products that set them apart and take their business to new heights.
Contact us today (by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), telephone (213-749-4440), Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn) for a free quote or to learn more about our full range of products and services: large banner printing, flags, wall graphics, floor graphics, experiential marketing, and more!