The Essentials of Custom Banners

When you have something important to say, why not go big? Lightweight, durable, and re-usable, large-format vinyl banners are customizable and versatile, giving designers the flexibility to attract attention in a big way. So before you hang it up, take a look through the opportunities and options available to vinyl banner designers.

High Versatility, High Impact

We’ve all seen them: promoting products and businesses, at corporate gatherings, at sporting events, announcing special events, or dressing up light poles down Main Street. But vinyl banners have myriad design possibilities that you may not be aware of.

Attracting Attention

Large format vinyl banners are a great way of promoting and advertising a product, promotion, or even announcing personal events like birthdays, graduations, or weddings.


Selecting the right large-format vinyl banner for your application starts with defining how you intend it to be installed and displayed. It’s common to think of banners as hanging on a wall, fence, or other vertical surfaces. But with the right finishing options, vinyl banners can be hung from the ceiling, mounted on poles, or installed on a stand. So look around your space and get creative to find the most attention-grabbing opportunity for your vinyl banner.

From top to bottom: 8 oz mesh Vinyl, 13 oz Smooth Vinyl, 13oz Scrim Vinyl, 18 oz Smooth Vinyl

Material Considerations

Considering the practicalities of where your vinyl banner will be used is important to selecting the right material, and it’s important to realize that not all vinyl is created equal. When it comes to selecting material for your vinyl banner, there are a variety of options to choose from and each offers different benefits.


SCRIM VINYL is probably the most common material for vinyl banners. Among the most economical options, its 13-ounce weight makes it perfect in outdoor applications for short periods of time, especially if it’s not exposed to heavy weather. Suitable for one-sided printing, scrim vinyl has a matte finish but can take on a bit of shine when it’s printed with UV inks.


SMOOTH VINYL has a tighter weave than scrim vinyl, which yields a smoother surface. Smooth vinyl can be printed on both sides, so it’s the material of choice if your sign hangs where it will be seen from different directions. Like scrim vinyl, smooth vinyl also has a matte surface that takes on a shine when it’s printed with UV inks. For indoor applications, we suggest using 13 ounce, which is primarily for lightweight indoor use, or 18 ounce, which delivers the durability you may need if your sign will see heavy outdoor use.

MESH VINYL is made for windy applications. The mesh material allows air to pass through it, so you don’t have to cut wind slits that wreck your design and weaken the structural integrity of your banner. Because of its mesh structure, it can only be printed on one side, and like the other vinyl options, mesh vinyl has a matte finish to its surface.

Finishing Options

Designing vinyl banners doesn’t stop with selecting a material. Finishing options are equally dependant on how your vinyl banner will be used and generally means defining how your banner will hang. Sure, you could tie it up with rope, zip-ties, or duct tape, but is that the best way to present your design? A little bit of planning and forethought will make your vinyl banner project successful and able to withstand the environment it hangs in.

Smooth Vinyl finished with pole pockets

Smooth vinyl finished with grommets




Add pole pockets to your banner as an easy hanging option when installing onto a pole or dowel. Add a pocket on the bottom and insert a wood dowel to keep the banner straight and taught as it’s hung. Pole pockets can also be added to the left or right sides so you can slide the banner onto a stand. The trick with pole pockets is simple: choose a size that’s slightly larger than the pole so you can install it easily.

Grommets are the other option for hanging your banner. These metal rings usually come in black, white, brass, or chrome and can be added to the corners of your banner. If your vinyl banner is larger than 72˝ the grommets should be added every 24 inches to help keep your banner taut and crisp.


For ultimate flexibility, add both grommets and pole pockets. That way, if the placement for your banner changes, it’s still ready to hang. And sometimes a combination — grommets along the top with a pole pocket and dowel for weight at the bottom — are just what’s needed.

Mesh vinyl finished with grommets and ball bungees

Scrim vinyl finished with hemstitching and grommets




If your banner will hang in a windy location, you’ve probably already chosen mesh vinyl as your material. But you should also consider using ball bungee cords hang your banner — they’ll let it move a bit more freely than rope or zip ties — and will look better, too.


Last, be sure to add hemstitching to increase the longevity of your banner. You don’t need hemstitching where you’ve added pole pockets, but it will add durability to the other sides.

Perfect Promotion

Large-format vinyl banners are an incredibly versatile item. Promoting a sale? There’s a vinyl banner for that. Promote a product, promote a business, promote your event. Birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, graduations, bar mitzvahs, bat mitzvahs, quinceañeras, or any occasion can be cause for a banner. And when you understand the options available, your vinyl banner project will come off without a wrinkle.





The Kovar Brothers Design by Kovar Design & Illustration
AIGA Minnesota‘s Inside Out Design Camp 2018 Design by Cue
Graft Cidery Design By Sarah Kenney
Behind the Print Design by Ferenc Andaházy

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