An incredibly important part of your booth set up at a show is your banner/sign. Name recognition will help people find you at future shows, and look you up online when they get home. Banners come in a dizzying array of styles, we’ll help you choose one that fits your needs.
How much to spend?
Your banner will likely be with you for a long time, so don’t be shy about spending a few extra dollars to get the one you really want, instead of the cheapest one. After a season of craft shows you won’t remember the extra $20, but if your banner is too small / cheaply made, you’ll feel it at every show.
Consider how long you’re likely to use your banner. If you have a consistent style/branding, it’ll be worth it to get something on the nicer, more expensive end of things. If you’re still working things out, don’t go all out quite yet. Get something that fits your needs, but wait on ordering that hand quilted custom printed vintage fabric banner until you’re sure you’re going to use it next year.
Horizontal or Vertical?
Decide how you’ll want to orient your banner. Horizontal banners are more common, and can be stretched across a tent or table. Vertical banners are meant to hang down, and generally hang from the back of your tent or a small flagpole.
Horizontal banners are a bit more versitile, but vertical ones give you a little more space for text. If you plan on hanging your banner from a banner pole sticking out of your tent, check with the show organizers first to make sure its OK.
Pennant Banners are quick and inexpensive to make. They can be made to fit any width table or tent without spending a lot on materials, and fold up tiny for easy transport. They’re better suited for businesses with short names, as each letter is placed on its own scrap of fabric.
Don’t like triangles? Your letters can be any shape. Try to resist the urge to go nuts with fabric colors. You want people to be able to read your name, even at a distance, so stay away from busy patterns and use nice thick lettering.
A well made fabric banner can last for years. And if you make it out of a washable material like cotton they’re a snap to clean up after a rainy show. Fabric banners range from inexpensive appliques you can do at home, to professionally quilted and custom printed masterpeices.
Pick a style and construction method that fits your work. For example, if you make something with a modern, clean style, a traditional quilted banner might not convey that well. And if you want a fabric banner but aren’t in the mood for all the cutting/sewing associated with applique, and aren’t much of a painter, you can have your banner printed by a service like Spoonflower (make sure you select upholstry weight fabric). Fantastic Toys has a great banner printed by them.
Vinyl is the most common banner material, and with good reason. It’s water proof, can be printed in millions of colors, and rolls up easily for storage.
Most vinyl banners come grommeted (the holes on the corners), making it easy to hang them. If you know you’re going to be using your banner with a tent, you can skip the grommets and instead attach velcro to the back. Stick the other side of the velcro strips on your tent, and you’ll have an easy to use removable banner.
Keep your vinyl banner design simple, don’t overload it with text. You can order a banner from most local print shops, or online. Some printers, such as Wilson Graphics, cater specifically to the craft show market.
Design and Style
Resist the urge to overload your banner with text and graphics. Too much text becomes hard to read, and busy graphics can detract from what the buyer should be looking at: your booth. In general, avoid putting product photos on your banner, unless you know you’re going to stick with that item for as long as you use your banner.
Consider coordinating your business cards and other materials with your banner. Creating uniform branding can make your booth more memorable, and help sales in the future.
Got more banner tips? Share them in the comments below!