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Fabric – Vinyl Wall Banners and Retractable Roll-up Displays

large format banners

Banners used on walls versus those displayed on stands, narrow-based versus wide-based retractable banner stands, and the materials used to make retractable banners.

Question: What is the difference between the banner used on a wall or one used for a Banner Stand?

All banners that can be used in a stand can also be used as a wall banner, although you may want a larger banner if it’s on a wall. The main types of material that can be used in a banner stand are dye sublimate printed cloth banners and DSG-type banners.

Banner Printing Methods

Banners on Wall Glasses Dye sublimation printed fabric banners are usually a polyester or other synthetic fabric that are printed using either a CMYO print to a transfer paper, then heat and pressure to transfer the image, or by using a direct-to-fabric dye sublimation printing which is more akin to digital inkjet printing, but achieves basically the same result.

DSG printing – direct-to-substrate-graphic – sounds similar to digital inkjet printing (and substantively it is), but refers to using the digital inkjet printer to print on a semi-rigid plastic substrate whose edges resist curling.

Both of these types of printing methods are used for banner stand banners, as both materials are used in banner stands. My personal preference for all interior banners is fabric because they look rich compared to vinyl and plastic.

Fabric Banners for Interior Display

Why? I believe that if a company puts their image on an advertising piece, it reflect who that company is. Currently, due to the weak economy, many companies are “going cheap” in order to save money, and understandably so.

However, if a prospective client looks at your tradeshow display, and it looks like plastic (i.e. cheap), they may wonder, either consciously or subconsciously, whether you are saving money on the manufacture of your products as well. Where else are you cutting corners? Have you cut corners on a critical component of your product or service?

I think it’s a fair question. So you saved some money. But at what cost? The best clients are the ones willing to spend the most money to purchase the best products. Is it worth it to you to lose one or ten or twenty potential clients over the course of a tradeshow event? To save $50 or $100 on your banner? My guess is, probably not, when I put it that way. What is a sale worth to your company? $500? $10K? So you saved a hundred bucks, and lost $500. I don’t know about you, but the math isn’t working for me!

Which One to Use for Wall Banners and Banner Stands

Wall banners can be either vinyl or fabric, but vinyl is not generally used any more with roll up banner stands. It has been replaced by DSG banners. Out-of-doors, there are many reasons that people use vinyl banners, but mainly durability and maintenance and cost-savings. I still think fabric looks better outdoors as well, but it may be hard to tell the difference between a matte vinyl banner and fabric unless you know what your looking for. So my opinion is that out-of-doors, vinyl banners have less potential to harm your image than indoors.

It is true that vinyl banners cost less up front, though. If I used an outdoor banner for my business to announce a new service or new product, I may tack it to the side wall of the building I occupy or to the front, but most of the traffic that will view the banner will be flying by too fast to notice the subtle differences  between fabric and vinyl.

On the flip side, for street pole or light pole banners, it absolutely looks better to use fabric banners. Acrylic banners are often used for these for longer term advertising or promotion, although polyester dye sub printed banners are making some headway.

Question: What is the difference between the narrow base retractable unit and the wide base retractable unit?

Retractable Banner Stands A few inches. And stability. It simply stands to reason that a 72 or 84 inch tall banner that is, say, 36 inches wide, is going to stand up better if the base is broader.

It is always a good idea, when shopping for a retractable banner stand, to take into account the size of the base, especially if there is going to be any air movement, such as an outdoor tradeshow or other venue.

Question: What materials are your retractable banners made of?

See the answer to this question above in depth. The short answer is mostly dye sub cloth banners, and some DSG banners. I advise most clients to go with fabric banners as they look “richer.

Learn more about these retractable banners. You can also leave questions, or anything you want to add with regards to this discussion, on the comment form below.


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Barry K. Brown

Barry Brown has been in the Sign, Banner, Decal and Display Business for over 20 years. It isn't what he thought he'd do with his life, but he says he knows too much now to do anything else!

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