Monday, March 31, 2008

Part Three of Display Product Guide – Banners…not to be confused with Banner Stands!

Banners and Banner stands (aka Pull Up Stands) are often mixed up and the terms are sometimes used interchangeably - although these items might seem similar enough to mix up, they are used in very different ways so it is important to know exactly what you want when ordering or pricing these items. In this installment of the Display Product Guide I will concentrate on the features and variations of Banners, (please refer to previous posting for info about banner stands).

Banners – aka Vinyl Banners, Mesh Banners, Building Wraps, Banner Signs

Banners are traditionally made of vinyl or PVC and used outside, for short-term use. Vinyl is a durable material, so its perfect for external use and it can take a battering from wind and rain (once it is tied securely). Vinyl is also a flexible material meaning it can be tied tightly to a fence, frame etc. for a smooth finish, and it can be rolled up for storage and transport - a solid sign of a similar size would be bulky and unwieldy. Banners of this type are also relatively cheap, hence their popularity for short-term use to advertise seasonal promotions, once-off events, temporary sponsorship etc. Vinyl Banners are also easy to erect - unless there is height involved - all that is usually needed is a few cable ties or bungee cords and a sturdy fence or railing. What's more, digitally printed vinyl banners offer high print quality and sharpness, with no limit on the amount of colours etc. So, no need to compromise on quality or design when commissioning a banner as a short-term or low cost signage option.

Another material which is often used for banners is mesh - this is particularly popular for extra-large banners called 'Building Wraps'. Building wraps are used to cover part or all of a building or wall - they literally turn the building into a huge billboard, and mesh is used so that light is not obscured from entering the building. I am a huge fan of building wraps as I think their impact is so huge and they are a great value item for the amount of attention they demand - click here to read more...

A 3rd fabric which is sometimes used for banners is Canvas - chosen for aesthetic reasons, it cannot be used outside and the print quality is not as sharp as it would be on a finer material. This is part of the attraction really, and people often want this grainy effect for posters or decoration pieces rather than for imparting information.

Nylon is also sometimes used for Banner Prints, again it is an option for indoor use only and is
not as opaque as vinyl so the effect can be washier. Like Canvas, this is popular for indoor decoration such as in Museum and Shopping Centre Displays. Indoor Banners are often used with pockets sewn top and bottom and wooden rods, called 'Dowels' slotted into the pockets for hanging. Remember dowels will have a slight effect the cost and portability of the banner. Canvas and Nylon are really the only option suitable if you are thinking of getting a banner printed to use indoor as a stage or event backdrop, as vinyl will bounce light back and look awful in photos.

So, Banners are often tied to a fence or railing, hung from the side of a building, or suspended from a wall or ceiling using dowels, but how else can banners be used? Frameworks, both portable and static, are popular for supporting banners at various locations like sporting events and outside shops and garages. Vinyl banners can also be used to make attractive and striking windbreakers for the exterior of cafes, bars and restaurants. "Curtain Sider" Trucks and Static trailers can also utilise vinyl banners as advertisements, and pitchside advertisements are sometimes created from vinyl banner as an alternative to more costly solid signs.

Things to look out for when buying a

**Check how the image or text will be applied to the banner Digital print will give a great finish suitable for photographic images. If text only is required, cut vinyl might be sufficient Make sure the method suits your design.

**Check how the banner will be finished - banners should have hems sewn or welded in to protect the edges and should have metal eyelets to enable effective hanging. If dowels are being used a pocket should be sewn or welded top and bottom.

**Make sure you have somewhere suitable to suspend or support your banner - if not consider getting a frame and make sure it is sturdy enough for outdoor use if you will be using it outdoors, and that the frame itself breaks down if you will need to move or store it when not in use.

**Be meticulous about tying your banner - there is nothing worse than a loose banner flapping about in the breeze. Your message will not be easily legible or visible on a crinkled banner, and whats worse - it may come free and you lose the banner all together or cause an injury to a passer by. A taut banner gives a very professional image.

**For a building wrap, make sure you have a professional survey the building as some buildings may become hazardous when a building wrap is applied, especially if there are areas where the wind may catch behind the banner.

Important Terms relating to Banners:

Hems - Sames as on clothes, the edge of the material should be folded and fixed by either heat welding or sewing, to protect the edge and give a smooth finish

Eyelets - Holes are made around the edge of the banner so it can be hung with rope etc. The wholes should be reinforced with metal eyelets, preferably brass

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