Most outdoor banners need to be constructed tough with a quality scrim core. The scrim is the skeleton of exterior vinyl banner material. No scrim in your outdoor banner can equal a short life for your displays. Almost equally important is the finishing of your outdoor banner. A strong hem/grommet system is a must, and on larger displays you should consider reinforced corners, webbing, D-rings, etc.
When you are looking for a free standing display of your banner, as pictured here, there are a few important issues to deal with, but first, remember your banner will be acting like a sail on ship. The difference is your "ship" will not be moving. Can you ever recall seeing a sailing ship with sails fluttering in the wind while docked or anchored? You just never see it, and for good reason. It would only be a matter of time before the sails were damaged or destroyed.
Banners, much like sails, are not intended to bear strong wind loads. Sailors often relieve wind loads by adjusting or retracting a sail, but it is not so easy with banners. Imagine having to untie or unscrew your banner when the wind picks up. For most this is just not practical. So what to do?
Here are some tips when selecting your next outdoor banner.
1. Hang your banner against a secured and rigid background surface. Buildings, walls, and fences are great options. These background not only give your banner great support, they also help protect your banner from mother nature
2. Tightly secure your banner to the background surface, wall, or fence. The use of screw with washers is usually a terrific option, ropes and bungee cords are not. Rope, bungee cords, and straps rarely can secure a banner to a wall well enough to eliminate mother nature from sneaking behind your investment.
I once had a client tell me that they were not allowed to screw there extra large banner to the retail brick wall. After reiterated recommendations, concerns and warnings, the client went ahead and had installers use ropes to hang. She was back in one week, disappointed and with a damaged beyond repair banner.
When your banner is tied to a wall, wind can still easily cause it to sway, ripple, and flutter against the surface. When that surface is coarse, such as with rough cut wood or brick, the contact acts like using sandpaper. So imaging 24/7 sandpaper rubbing on the hems of your banner. It is not if, it is when will your banner fail. Screwing the banner to the surface would have prevented the calamity.
The average curb-side banner, for lets say a church pancake breakfast, usually does not need to be a whopping 25 feet in length.
Keep in mind your target audiences average reading distance and the speed they will likely be viewing your message. Walking or stationary audiences have a much longer time to read a banner than a viewer traveling at 70mph with plenty of distractions. Slower "traffic" and fewer distractions can allow for a smaller message to just as effective as a larger one, thus reducing your chance of wind damage to your banner.
4. Don't send a boy to do a man's job. In other words, don't be convinced the super awesome internet deal on a lightweight 10oz banner will for sure be the right material for the job. It often may not. Know your material options, there are tons out there. If a sales person is not asking you lots of questions about how you will be using your banner, you may be headed towards disappointment.
There are so many manufactures of banner material out there, plenty of them either poorly made or not designed for extreme heat or cold. At face value they are like a bunch of apples in the grocery store. They all look good, but after you make the investment, and you bit into each, you soon become aware of what the characteristics really are; to soft, to sour, to hard, or to sweat. Wait, can an apple be to sweet?
Like many things in life, you have options. It will pay in the long run to take the time and find out what material is right your your specific needs.
5. But I do not have a background to hang my banner against! Don't panic, there are options. First start with an open mind and get connected with people that are creative thinkers and problem solvers. This will make the whole process easier and productive The part-time sales clerk at the retail counter should not be your only choice.
As long as you remember that free standing exterior banners will always be at risk with mother nature, you will be off to a good start. The image illustrated at the top of this article is one such scenario that a backer was not an option. The client was aware of the risks and prepared to remove the banner if the wind became a threat. What we did was provide them a banner on a specialty mesh material. The material is similar to a perforated jersey, with thousands of tiny holes to let some of the wind through, greatly reducing the wind load and stress on the banner and fasteners.
There are also other options such as sail banners, flags, pole mounts, and much more that can often achieve wonderful results without the need of a standard banner.
Next time you are looking into banners to promote your message, brand, or event, know that you have options. With the right advice, a good design, and proper installation, you will be on the path to a successful advertising campaign.
Big Ideas. Creative Results.