Affordable, Eco-friendly Banners and Yard Signs

Banner Design Tips

  • A Lesson from Comic-Con

    Today marks the beginning of Comic-Con once again! Sounds the trumpets please!

    San Diego is my hometown and it always makes me giddy when Comic-Con week rolls around. It’s as though the whole city gets dressed up in all it’s nerdy best to visit the chapel that is the Convention Center. The effects of all the new visitors can be felt as far north as Carlsbad, and it never gets old.

    But it’s not just the attendees that are putting on their best costumes...the vendors have rolled up their sleeves and gotten down to business in booth design. In fact, some designs become so iconic at the con, that they are described by the booth then the actual brand name. For example, "Hey I'll meet you by Adventure Time!", "Meet me at The Walking Dead!" Sadly, I can’t put pictures up just yet, but I will as soon as I get back!

    But let’s talk about what’s been revealed so far:

    AMC - The Walking Dead

    AMC has once again returned with The Walking Dead themed booth (definitely going to check it out!). Judging from the pictures already online, this new booth design is incredibly interactive with the fans! Its a recreation of the prison, where the protagonists were last hiding out at the end of Season 3. There’s a guard tower, the room of Walker heads floating in tanks, and some zombie actors to take pictures with! No word yet on if they’ll stay for the whole weekend, but here’s to hoping. What I love most about this is how they recreate a set that fans have come to recognize immediately. It’s a smart move, going outside the standard square booth with some plastic zombies like last year. The more you can connect with you audience directly, the more they’ll return that back to you.

    Cartoon Network - Adventure Time

    Cartoon Network’s hottest show has to be Adventure Time. And much like in previous years, it’s back with a vengeance, taking over the booth. The entrance is the entire Ice King’s head! You walk through his mouth to get to the good stuff. Again, it connects with their direct audience, albeit without the zombies.

    Mega-Booths!

    One last fan favorite at Comic-Con are, of course, the “mega-booths!”. These ones, including AMC’s and Cartoon Network’s booths, are designed to be seen above and beyond your field of vision. You can spot that sign, that tower, that screen above them from anywhere in the Exhibit Hall. These giants include the Nickelodeon booth, Fox, Lego, Lucasfilm, and the list goes on.

    Stay tuned next week! I’ll be posting my pictures and walking you through what sets all the booth designs apart, as well as some trade show do’s and don’t’s. And take a look at our Trade Show Banners to get an idea of what's in store.

  • Mark the Calendar for May 27th

    In the month of May, we’ve got a few celebrations to hark about. Mother’s Day, some graduations...but sometimes we forget about the important one that comes at the end: Memorial Day.

    Memorial Day was formed after the Civil War to honor the fallen soldiers. Since then, it’s evolved to encompass all the wars that Americans have fought and died in. It’s a day of remembrance, and to give thanks to the veterans and servicemen still out there today.

     

    So, if you’ve got a special veteran in your life, be they living or deceased, honor their memory and service with a banner.

    When my friend’s brother came home from his last tour in Afghanistan, I helped make hand-made posters with glitter glue and paint. But those eventually fade or get trashed. I felt guilty, wanting to provide something that could be remembered and not easily tossed out. A custom banner would have been the perfect solution. It’s something the family can keep around the house, or perhaps to hang outside on their fence, so the neighborhood knows that their soldier is home now.

     

    Even if you don’t have a loved one who is serving, you can help by creating a banner to welcome home the troops or support locals around your neighborhood who have served.

    Want to do more for the veterans? Fundraisers are always welcomed, and banners can provide the advertisement you need to attract donors, especially in public places such as parks, churches, or community centers. You can also make a banner for the fundraiser, providing care packages to be sent overseas (like the Girl Scouts!).

     
  • Upgrade Your Industry with Trade Show Banners!

    Expos, trade shows, conventions, and conferences....what do they have in common? Businesses and trading ventures! These gatherings are the hub for the up-and-coming and everything new, so spruce up your appearance and connect with the conventioneers with a trade show banner.

    Portability is Key

    Trade show banners can vary between your standard hanging banner, such that can be seen on our Custom Banner page, or a specialized type of banner known as a retractable banner

    Retractable Trade Show Banners

    Retractables are exactly as that sound: easy to assemble, quick to dismantle, and trouble-less travel. Each retractable banner is created with the same attention and design as any normal hanging banner would have, so there’s no need to change a ready design.

    These handy go-to banners comes with a carrying case, a stand and support clamps to keep your banner steady and professional wherever you go. With retractable banners you are guaranteed an easy and portable self-advertisement, the same investment that you can gain with a regular banner without all the hassle of assembly.

    Other Trade Show Banner Accessories

    If a retractable banner doesn't fit your bill, then take a peek at our standard banners. No matter where your conference or trade show is located, your banner will be guaranteed to last outdoors and in. Each banner comes with grommets for hanging or pole pockets for standing up.  If your event is outdoors, we recommend wind slits to endure those breezy days.

    Creativity Slumps

    Can't Photoshop if your life depended on it? Call us up, and we’ll help you out!  Let our creative team take a look at your design and help you determine what size would best fit your design. Trade Show Banners are a fantastic investment for your business, especially when you’re frequently on the road convention-hopping.

  • Here, There Be Dragon Banners

    Dragons are pretty cool. Like....really cool. And it sort of feels like the year of the dragon, right? We've got dragons in "Game of Thrones", dragons in our video games, dragons in the upcoming "Hobbit" films. Man, if you've ever read Naomi Novik's "Temeraire" series, she's got dragons in the Napoleonic wars. Regardless of whether or not you're a fantasy fan, you respect the dragon.

     

    So, let's talk about why this beast is so cool. Not only that, but how you can design a dragon to fit your marketing needs or new viral campaign.

    Now, to my knowledge, I can't recall a single sports team, professional or otherwise, that has a dragon as their mascot. The only time I have seen it was in "Ender's Game", and that was Ender's army logo, and it was fictional. Oh well.

    History of the Dragon

    mermaidsrock.net

    Amazingly enough, dragons have been present in almost every ancient culture on the planet. They may not have looked the same, but the perceptions were similar across the continents: serpentine bodies, a special ability (such as fire or poison), hatched from eggs, and having feathers or scales. Some theorists believe that ancient peoples may have been inspired by dinosaurs that were still roaming around before disappearing during the Ice Age.

    Dragons were depicted as being the top of the food and spiritual chain, an ultimate force  of nature, religion, or the universe. Heroes wanted to slay them. Some cultures worshipped them. Nobody truly knows where the first dragon came about, only that they first appeared on record in Ancient Greece.

     Shaping the Fantasy

    You've got a little history and some tidbits on what they look like. Fantastic, but that doesn't help you narrow down the options.  Ever since the dragon first appeared on the page, artists throughout history have run with the idea and produced all kinds of dragons. There is no right answer to what a dragon looks like. Which leaves a lot of room for exploration within your campaign.

    So, you want to use a dragon in your next advertisement, but want to see some examples first? No problem. Check out this compilation on Top Design Mag HERE that shows amazing dragon illustrations and a couple of product placements thrown in as well. Perhaps it'll give you some ideas for your dragon's custom design.

    Connotations of the Dragon

    draconika.com

    While you're working with a designer, or perhaps designing a dragon yourself, you should keep in mind what cultural connotations stem from the dragon. In other words, it's generally not recommended to use a dragon as a mascot for a floral shop, or vice versa. I mean, they breathe fire: fire and flowers...eh, not a good mix.

    First of all, the thing that a dragon symbolized was sheer power. People regard it with the same respect as a natural disaster. They are, for the most part, large creatures with angry and/or wise dispositions. It doesn't matter where you look in film, literature, or other media, or how cute the dragon is - characters will always regard them with a hint of fear.

    The second thing is special abilities. It wasn't until I read the "Temeraire" series, by Naomi Novik, that I even considered the possibility of other dragons that could do stuff other than breathe fire. Or even have no powers at all! Here's just a short list of things that are also possible: water spitter, venom, acid, roar (amazing soundwaves that can fell a forest!). Or again, nothing at all!

    The last thing is temperament, and this actually varies. Some people think of all dragons as evil, hoarding thieves that will eat you. Others consider them as wise elders, who live long, and have the experience to pass on. In this case, the choice is up to you. If you want to include a backstory with your dragon, consider their temperament. That's the fun part.

  • Top Ten St. Patrick's Day Fonts

    Remember that list of St. Patrick's Day party planning? Well, for events of that size, you're going to invariably use some form of advertising, whether it be a banner with us, a poster, or a flyer. We also love free stuff, yes? Well, today, I've got a list of awesome fonts that are free, kind of cheesy, but adorable and would fit right in with the St. Patrick's Day theme. They easily convey that Irish attitude that you want in a font design!

    Want to know where to find them? Unfortunately, I can't post the download links here, but it's as simple as Googling the font names. The words written in the font are also the name of the font. I'm even thinking of using some of these for my baked potato party...

     

     

    "Lisbjerg"

     

  • Easter Banners

    Ah, Easter. Yet another chocolate holiday, the bane of every dieter.

    But it's still a fun and family-friendly holiday, full of games, and feasting, and general mayhem. Easter is also a time that many people throw parties. You've got Easter Egg Hunts in the community, Easter dinners, etc. So, why not have use a banner to showcase your upcoming Easter festivities?

     

    Origins of Easter

    For Catholics & Christians, and other denominations, Easter is the celebration of Jesus rising from the grave, three days after his crucifixion. It's also considered a "moveable feast", meaning it doesn't fall on the same day every year. Which is why this year it's on March 31st.

    But what does the Easter Bunny have to do with a Catholic holiday?

    Nothing, actually. The rabbit is a symbol of new life and fertility in many cultures around the world. In 1680, a German author wrote the first story about a hare laying eggs and hiding them in gardens. When the legend was brought to the United States by German immigrants, children started making nests for the eggs, which gradually turned into colorful baskets. While colored eggs are still apart of the holiday, the little gifts have also changed to chocolate and other sugar treats.

    Easter Banner Ideas

    Alright, now that we've got the history out of the way, let's take a look at some possibilities for Easter banners.

    Can't Take a Yolk

    Eggs are symbolic of Easter, that's a given. If you have an Egg Hunt in mind for your community, or just your own gaggle of kids, than create a banner with plenty of egg design. Perhaps, you can also hold an egg-decorating contest at your local farmer's market, or an egg toss challenge for couples. Or you can do what the White House does and use the lawn for an Egg Roll.

    The Easter Bunny

    The quintessential symbol of Easter. If he's not everywhere on your banner, it may not fly in your community. What's great about an animal mascot for a holiday, is that you can design him however you like: make him cute, make him punk, make him anyway you want to. Need inspiration? Check out that latest Dreamworks film "Rise of the Guardians" and take a look at the Easter Bunny. He's pretty awesome.

    Alright, well that's all for now! Check back throughout March as I explore more symbols you can put into your banner designs, from St. Patrick's Day to Easter. :)

  • 3Doodler Brings New Design

    Hey everybody! We're going to take a break from Academy Awards news today, to bring you something truly amazing and cutting-edge. It's called the 3Doodler!

    What is it, you ask?

    This pen is pretty much a cross between a pen and hot-glue gun. It enables to draw, or "doodle" something on a page and pick it up straight off the paper. What's even better, though, is that it lets you draw UP.

    In other words, true 3D models, straight from the pen.

    Still not convinced? Check out the video below from their Kickstarter:

    Crazy, right?

    It may not be the most pretty device out there, but it's still an amazing step forward in design and modeling.

    Using 3Doodler for Banners

    So, what does this have to do with banners? Well, it more has to do with design in general. Imagine that you're a brand new design business, and you're trying to think of ways to interact with the public. Well, one case could be to use the 3Doodler. Allow fans and designers under your umbrella to doodle for you. Have them think of crazy new products, logos, or type lettering.

    You can create a banner that has a blueprint on it, and have customers play with the 3Doodler by tracing the blueprint. Fun for everyone!

    The makers of 3Doodler teamed up with a group of Etsy designers that specialized in wire art, and told them to basically play around with the device. They came up with the following designs:

    If you're liking what you're seeing, take a moment to visit their kickstarter page HERE.

  • Movie Poster Inspiration - Academy Awards

    Yesterday was that love, heart day, y'know...BUT today, let's talk about something else that comes around this time of the year: the Award Shows!

    To me, film is the most engaging reflection of humanity today. Sure, we've still got faults (and some trashy films that truly need to go), but for the most part, we as a species have produced some of the greatest moments in time. It's why we buy movies and watch them over and over and over...

    You get the idea. Once a year, though, there are award shows that honor the best filmmaking of that year. These were the films that we knew would be instant hits: not just based on the actors involved, or the hype on the net, but also because of their poster designs. After all, these were the images we saw on billboards on our daily commute, in our shopping malls, on street signs and buses. There's no escaping where a film can be advertised, but gosh darn it, they do a good job at enticing us to look. In fact, businesses all over have adopted the style of "dramatic marketing", putting their products or services in interesting situations to keep us from changing the channel. Two words, my friend: Super Bowl.

    The Grammy's and the Globes have passed, but the biggest night of all is the Academy Awards, on Feb. 24th. There's lots of awards to go around, but as we lead up to the event, we'll work our way down the categories. Today, we'll start with the movie poster designs of those films nominated for the Big Kahuna: BEST PICTURE.

    So, check out the list below and make sure to stay tuned for more posters of films being nominated this year. Perhaps, you'll even find some inspiration for your own design as you peruse.

    1) Argo

    2) Les Miserables

    3) Django Unchained

    4) Lincoln

    5) Zero Dark Thirty

    6) Amour

     

    7) Life of Pi

    8)  Beasts of the Southern Wild

    9) Silver Linings Playbook

  • Sports Banners Galore

    Hello everybody!

    February 3rd was a big day in America. It was East Coast vs. West Coast in a battle of the biggest and baddest football players around! Super Bowl XLVII!

    And the winners are...

    The Baltimore Ravens!

    Good for them. Those guys haven't been to a SuperBowl in a long, long while and it was their time. But now that you're hung over from beer, burgers, and booing, let's take a deep breath and take a look around.

    You've probably seen more ads for the Super Bowl than you realize, especially if you were in Baltimore, San Francisco, or New Orleans this past weekend. What's more is most of them were either from your television or from hanging banners all over town.

    When it comes to advertising for sports events, you can't go wrong with a banner. Whether it's for a local team, Minor League, Intramural, or tiny tot soccer, check out some tips below on how to make your next sporting event banner spectacular.

    1) Team Logo

    No-brainer, am I right? It all starts with the team name: something cool, something catchy, something that your mom didn't make up when you were 10. Then it's on to the mascot: and it's all about the intimidation.

    To help you with what NOT to do, try to avoid these embarrassing team mascots:

    The Fighting Artichokes - Scottsdale Community College

    Evergreen Tree - Stanford University

    Banana Slug - UC Santa Cruz

    Buckeye Nuts - Ohio State University

    Fighting Pickles - North Carolina School of the Arts

    Anteater - UC Irvine

    Take it from me...don't take it from them.

    2) Banners to Beat the Weather

    You've got your design and you're ready to go, but here comes the choice: what type of banner do you need? Well, if you're playing a sport, chances are you will be outdoors or in some very large venue.

    We recommend our specialized outdoor banners for situations where the sun is going to be beating down your back at the height of the day. It'll be beating down on your banner as well, and nothing looks more silly to the enemy than a faded banner made from felt and Elmer's glue.

    3) Colors of the Rainbow

    When I was in middle school, I played on a soccer team with the colors Royal Blue and Hot Pink. We were called the Torpedoes. Why? Because there was nothing else that could possibly match the colors and make us sound intimidating!

    AH! MY EYES!!

    Take my story as a lesson for you: if you can pick your own colors, please for the sake of your corneas, do not pick hot pink and blue.

    Here are some color combos that will save your eyesight:

    Red & Green (Christmas colors, c'mon!)

    Orange & Blue

    Black & White

    Black & Any color...

    Purple & Blue

    Yellow/Gold & Blue

    Green & Blue

  • Happy Heart Day Banners

     

    A.K.A Valentine's Day, a.k.a. Singles Awareness Day...

    Awww, low blow, I know.

    No matter how you look at it, the result is the same: Valentine's Day is in 2 weeks! Yikes!

    If you're throwing a big Valentine's Day bash, or just want a special banner for that special someone (maybe you're planning to pop that special question too, eh?) then check back with us each day as I bring you daily tips and tricks to make your Valentine's Day memorable.

    Today's lesson is...

    1) Flowers

    Floriography - have you heard of it? Not many people have, but it's also known as the "language of flowers", or how certain flowers have a certain meaning. Roses are nice, but they're a little cliche. If you really want to impress your valentine, hand them a hand-selected bouquet with the meanings of all the flowers you picked.

    But be warned! Avoid YELLOW FLOWERS. Yellow tends to stand for a dying love, unfaithfulness, and disdain. Not exactly Valentine's Day sentiments.

    Here's a handy list to get you started:

    Roses

    red = true love

    white = wistfulness, purity

    light pink = desire & passion

    Carnations

    red = deep love

    purple = whimsical

    white = sweet, faithful

    Tulip

    red = undying love

    purple = forever love

    Violet

    blue = faithfulness

    white = modesty

    Cherry Blossom

    Feminine beauty

    Peach Blossom

    Long-life, bridal hope

    Dahlia

    Elegance, dignity

    Baby's Breath

    Innocence

    Lavender

    Devotion, trust

    Lilac

    purple = First love

    white = innocence

    Lily

    Scarlet = aspirations, dreams

    Orchid

    Refined beauty

    Geranium

    Gentility

    Azalea

    Patience

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