Bembo's Zoo is one of our favourite fun uses of type. Watch the fun unfold here: http://www.bemboszoo.com/
Banner stands have caught on like wildfire, and for good reason. They allow you to fill a small space with a large dynamic display in minutes. There are two basic types--retractable and flex frame--but the term ‘banner stand’ is widely used to describe any form of free standing hardware that holds a large graphic.
Banner stands can vary wildly in terms of quality and price. Standards simply don’t exist to guide you in your purchase, making it difficult to know what to choose or whether you are getting good value. At gawck, we have done an enormous amount of research and testing on the materials and methods used to make banner stands--more than on any other product we have offered! We’d like to share the three key factors we’ve found to help you get a great banner stand at a great price.
Three key factors
A great banner stand starts with the material used for the banner itself. For instance, you can’t just use the same material in a banner stand that you would use for a large outdoor hanging banner. In a banner stand, the force put on the material in order to make it stand up also causes the material to want to curl at the edges and sag in areas where the tension isn’t uniform. You need a material that will withstand the tension and therefore lay flat and still stand upright.
You also want to have a material that blocks light from showing through the banner. If light shows through, your graphic will look faded, your text will be difficult to read and the rear support pole will cast a shadow onto the graphic.
You need a material that contains gawck block™ or other light blocking layer. If you haven’t seen the material used by a particular vendor, ask them to send you a printed sample.
In terms of print quality, a banner stand is rather unique. Generally large printed items like signs and overhead banners are viewed from a far, while banner stands are usually viewed at a relatively close distance. This means that your printer needs to ensure that text and images stay particularly sharp and that colour be accurately reproduced.
Another key point is to ensure that your printer is using latex or other water based inks, as opposed to a solvent based ink. Solvent inks are strictly for outdoor use and release volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Using an outdoor solvent based ink on a banner stand graphic results in a strong smell being present each time you use it. Again, if you haven’t seen the material used by a particular vendor, ask them to send you a printed sample.
Banner stand hardware
There are two types of hardware used in banner stands: retractable and flex frame. Either can be used for portable or stationary displays, but each has distinct benefits.
A retractable banner stand, the one most people think of when they hear the term banner stand, has a graphic that extends and retracts from an enclosed base. This makes it ideal when you will be using it intermittently as a portable display because the retractable is the quickest to set up and the base protects the graphic while in transport or storage.
A flex frame stand has its own distinct advantage. Unlike a retractable frame banner, which needs to be sent back to the printer to have the graphic changed, a flex frame allow you to easily swap out the banner yourself. This gives you the ability to change your message more frequently, have multiple banners on hand to insert into a frame at different times, or quickly order a new banner and have it delivered the next day.
Whether you want a retractable or flex frame stand, here’s a big tip: you don’t need to spend a fortune on the hardware to get a great banner stand. After testing dozens of stands from different manufacturers, we found that quality and usability varied greatly, and didn’t relate directly to the cost. We also heard from our customers who told us that they found that they didn’t use the ‘bells and whistles’ present in the pricey stands, things like adjustable poles and expensive cartridges.
A final note on banner stand hardware. We feel that the visible parts of a banner stand, the poles and base, should be there to complement your message, rather than distract from it. Based on the stands that our customers choose the most, they seem to agree. We recommend stands that are minimalistic in design and have softer finishes, rather than ones with shiny chrome ends or elaborate designs that distract your audience.
Banner stands? We do that!
No matter where you choose to purchase your banner stands, keep the three key factors in mind, and you’ll be well on your way. Of course we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that at gawck, we create banner stands that address the three key factors above and more, and can also make you new banners for any existing stands you already have. We make great banner stands at great prices, so please have a look at the banner stand section on our website and contact us at anytime for additional information.
© Erick Vandergeest, gawck group inc.
gawck talk blog
We post informative, inspiring and fun bits of information on large format products, marketing and design a couple times a week. This includes our very popular Funny Sign Friday™.