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Ultimate Design Guide to Signs and Banners

Written By: Leslie Taylor | Article Date: March 05, 2021

There’s no doubt that signs and banners printing is of the best ways to announce your message and get the word out about your business. But with all the options, sizes, and materials available, how do you know what would work best for you?

Courtney Miller
Courtney Miller, Resident Graphics & Web Designer
Our printing and design experts here at NextDayFlyers have compiled this quick yet thorough guide on how to get started on printing the perfect signs to suit your requirements, which include choosing the right type based on your requirements and creating a design and message that stands out. Our resident graphics and web designer, Courtney Miller, who has been in the printing industry for 12 years, shares some of her best banners and sign design practices you can use as a guide for getting started.

Q: What's the golden rule banner beginners should remember when creating their signs?
A: My number one rule would be keeping the text as minimal as possible. Your banner message should be short and to the point. You don’t want to keep adding more and more information, only what is absolutely needed. Compelling graphics and a short but sweet message are the keys to a successful banner.

Q: For non-designers, what important factors should be considered before starting on the banner design?
A: You should always keep in mind the banner location and how far away it will be from the people who need to read your message. This helps you choose the size you need. If the banner will be far away, you’ll need a larger banner, with bigger graphics and text. The design will need to be minimal so it’s easy to see and read from a distance. If the banner is closer, you can get away with smaller dimensions and font sizes, and slightly more detailed graphics.

Another important factor is picking what type of banner to order. If it will be hanging in a windy location with no solid backing, go with mesh banners. In an area with bright lighting or direct sun? Choose a matte banner to avoid glare. Hanging a banner inside and want your graphics to pop? Go with the classic glossy banner.

Q: What are the most common banner design mistakes you've seen people make?
A: Too much info. People try to squeeze in so much unnecessary information on banners. This causes the design to become too busy and distracts from your main message. Keep it short and sweet.

Using small logos or images then blow them up on a large banner. This will result in a very blurry print product. You will want to make sure that you have vector or high-resolution images that can be sized-up for your banner without losing quality.

Using colors that do not have enough contrast. For example, you want to avoid using a yellow font on a white background. Your message should not blend into the background or be hard to read. Don’t use light colors on top of light colors, or dark on dark. Make sure your message has contrast.

Q: What easy-to-use tools and design applications would you recommend for beginners?
A: NextDayFlyers has a large assortment of free templates and an easy-to-use online design tool available to our customers. These are the best options I would recommend for someone that is a beginner and has no prior knowledge of design programs.

Choose the Right Sign and Banner for Your Business

To give you an idea of the right sign to order, here are some examples of different promotions and the best type of banner or sign to use.

Promotion Type of Sign Materials
In-store décor and ads Posters are a great way to announce new product launches and deals as customers browse inside the store. You can stick posters on the walls or mount them on an easel. These can be printed on both indoor and outdoor-friendly materials. Posters are available in paper, thick cardstock, and even waterproof PVC board.
Outfitting your store or office Windows and Wall Decals help you make use of valuable promotional space. They are easy to install and will entice potential buyers to enter. Decals are made of removable and reusable adhesive fabric or window clings. They’re a cost-effective way to add a changeable wall or window décor without the hassle and permanence of paint.
Local neighborhood property Yard Signs can quickly spread the word around the neighborhood. They’re sturdy and come with optional h-wire stands you can use for quick setups. Printed on water-resistant double corrugated plastic material, yard signs are lightweight but can last for years even in the outdoors.
General outdoor events and promotions Banners are the most popular choice for general outdoor advertisements. Hang them in front of your store, property fence, and any solid structure. One of the most popular printed promotions, banners come in a variety of durable vinyl and mesh materials. They can be used for both indoor and outdoor applications and can withstand any type of weather.
Indoor promotions and events with other brands Retractable banners are known for their portability, so you can easily set up in all types of locations and get your business noticed in crowded settings. These on-the-go banners are made of vinyl and come in an aluminum stand and carrying bag. It is commonly used for indoor events but can also be used outdoors if it is stored after use.
Pop up retails Pop up displays are used as vibrant backdrops so you can stand out at any event. They can make any booth or temporary set up draw the attention of potential customers. Tension fabric used for these displays is stretchable, so you easily slide it with the reinforced frame for easy setup. The whole assembly is stored in a soft canvas bag for easy transport.
Photoshoots and events Step and repeat banners repeatedly print a logo several times as the background. Event guests are reminded of your brand as they pose for a photo and well after the event is done. Depending on your preferred application, step and repeat banners come in a wide range of vinyl materials to suit your need.
Windy locations and open spaces Mesh banners allow you to advertise outdoors even in windy areas. Their resistance makes them suitable for hanging on chain link fences, high-rise buildings, and construction sites. Made of lightweight outdoor vinyl, mesh banners have tiny holes that allow air to pass through them. This makes them tear-resistant and suitable for all types of weather.
Parking lots, properties, and real estate Aluminum signs are perfect for permanent signage because of their durability and professional finish. This sign works in any type of climate and can last up to 7 years in the outdoors. It offers the best protection from any type of weather, including UV rays.
Streets and sidewalks Pole Banners are a great way to promote large events, museum exhibits, concerts, and store promotions. Since they are hung up high, pedestrians and motorists will easily see your information. Depending on your preferred application, pole banners come in various tear-resistant vinyl materials, including block out vinyl. These banners also have a matte finish, so your message stays readable even under direct light.
Interchangeable promotions, sidewalks A-Frame signs are convenient and a popular choice for restaurants, retail shops, and small businesses that need to switch messages regularly. Like yard signs, these are printed on lightweight corrugated plastic board suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. Most A-frame signs can either be framed in white plastic or metal.

Design Tips

Now that you have determined what kind of sign you need for your business, here’s a summary of banner printing tips that can help you get started on your design.

  • Keep your message short and sweet. It’s important to only include the key details for your customers to act. Create a compelling headline and online with the right amount of supporting details. Too much information can be overwhelming and often gets your sign overlooked.

  • Signs and Banners

  • Use contrasting colors. This should also take your sign location and surroundings into consideration. For example, a dark wall or space would make a lighter-colored sign with black text stand out.

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  • Choose the right fonts. Clean and legible typefaces are the best option like sans serif. You can use up to two kinds of fonts, but make sure they are from the same type family. Use a bigger, more dominant font to highlight your main message.

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  • Use large images and CMYK color space. High-resolution images help you achieve the best results. For your banners to come out clear and accurate, always use images with a minimum of 300 (dots per inch) dpi. When submitting artwork to be printed, we highly recommend that you send your design already in CMYK mode. This will ensure the colors you intend come through when your design prints.

Signs and Banners

With all these design and printing tips, you can create attention-grabbing banners and signs that effectively deliver your message and drive more business. If you need help with your design, we also offer Design Services with skilled designers available to create the perfect graphics for you! For all your banners and signs and other outdoor prints and promotions, go to NextDayFlyers.