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5 Steps to Banner Design Success

With the advent of digital printing, what you can do with vinyl banners has greatly expanded. No longer are you locked into text only phrases like “For Sale” or “Grand Opening.” Now, anything you can imagine, you can put on a banner.

Just what makes a good banner? There are five key elements that go into the overall design of a banner.

1. Material
2. Size
3. Fonts
4. Contrast
5. Graphics

Part 1 — Material

Banner material falls into one of three (3) general categories; lightweight, standard and heavyweight. Lightweight banners are generally 10 ounces and are great for indoors and short-term outdoor use. These are great for birthday parties, office celebrations and the like. This banner will not be outdoor durable over any length of time.

Standard weight banners are generally around 13 ounces and are perfect for outdoors. They also work really well indoors if you want to reuse them from season to season. For example, if you have an annual spring sale, this weight of banner can be used for many years and will look as good for your 5th annual sale as it did during the first one.

Heavyweight banner is 17 ounce and above. This is really only needed for extreme outdoor conditions and is generally not need for any other purpose. Be wary of a banner printer pushing this weight on you for a normal banner application.

Part 2 — Size

Bigger is not always better in the world of banners. The size of your banner must be appropriate for the viewing distance and the place it will be installed. We have all seen very tiny banners on the side of a large building that is totally unreadable unless you are standing right next to it. The reverse can be just as bad. Imagine having a 4’x8′ banner installed on a 8’x10′ wall. A banner should stand out from its surroundings and not be used as wallpaper.

A general rule of thumb is that you need 1″ of letter height for each 10′ of viewing distance. So if your banner will be viewed from 50′ away and you want 3 lines of text, you need 15″ just for the lettering not to mention “white space” separating the lines. I use a general rule that you should have the same amount of separation as you have print. In this example, that means a minimum of 30″ for a basic banner.

Part 3 — Fonts

The fonts that you use are critically important. Your font should be readable yet consistent with your brand image. The absolute worst thing you can do is to use a script font and use all capital letters. This is unreadable at any distance. If you want to employ all caps, be sure to use a sans serif font that is clean and readable. Other than that, feel free to be as creative as you want with fonts. There are some amazing ones out there that can greatly enhance your designs.

Part 4 — Contrast

There are two type of color contrast that we need to look at. The first is font contrast and the second is the contrast between the colors used on the banner and the color of the location the banner will be installed.

black on yellow white on black yellow on black black on white blue on white white on blue blue on yellow

These are really good color combination’s to use for your fonts/background colors. You want your words to pop off the page and draw the attention of the reader. Using the right combination’s of colors can do just that. 2m wide roller banner

The second, and often overlooked, area of concern is the contrast between the background color of your banner and that of the surface you will be mounting it. What is the point of having a banner that is “brick red” and then mount it against a red brick wall? The banner will completely disappear on the wall. The same goes for a “white” banner on a white wall. Again, no pop. The same contrasts that work for letters work for backgrounds as well.

Part 5 — Graphics

This is where full color banner printing comes into play and that is the implementation of graphics. Gone are the days of only using text on a banner and here are the days of near photo quality graphics. There are so many resources for full color photos and web 2.0 type clipart that any banner printing company can design you a visually stunning banner. Just remember, if you want to include your own pictures, be sure that they are of sufficient pixels for the size you are printing.


It really is simple for a professional banner printing firm to design you a great looking product. Now that you know what to look for, you can more clearly articulate exactly what you want in a banner.


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