Affordable, Eco-friendly Banners and Yard Signs

Banners

  • A Guide to Using Banners and Other Advertising at Conventions: PART 3

    PART 3: Extra Tidbits to get you Started!

    We’ve talked about different styles of booths and now let’s talk about what you can put on your booth or advertise about it. These are just suggestions, so I don’t want to dictate what you put on display.

    “Free” is a word that everyone loves! These don’t have to be extravagant, but something small and versatile such as buttons, stickers, or patches. People will collect these, tell their friends and bring more people to your booth, where the rest of your beautiful art is displayed!

    You can also make postcards or business cards that have your websites, social media links, or other relevant information to showcase your art.

    Collectibles!

    Having collectible items would be beneficial to you as well. Such as art sets, button sets, etc. If you start a tradition of featuring some new item every time you go to a new convention, you’ll have plenty of visitors (including repeat visitors)!

    Label Your Prices

    There’s nothing like awkwardly walking up to your favorite artist and asking how much something is, only to find out it’s beyond what your wallet can handle. Avoid the awkwardness with your fans and make a display instead.

    Try not to use Post-it notes or sticker labels, but rather something more professional looking, like a small sign or a banner. Making a sign leaves more room for interaction with your fans and the fun questions that you can answer. It doesn’t have to be boring either! Spruce it up, decorate it and make it your own!

    Embrace Your Pop Culture

    To get the people’s attention, showing something familiar like pop culture characters could draw people to your booth. For example, when I went to Anime Expo, it was right after the “Avatar: The Legend of Korra” finale and I can’t even begin to tell you how much Korra fanart was in Artist Alley alone. Most of the artists were fans of the show, sure, but they strategically put the Korra fanart before some of their original pieces to draw the hardcore fans to their booth. This is a good strategy, and by no means demeans your artwork at all! It’s all about acknowledging the trends of the day. Not only will people come to see their favorite characters done in your style, but they are more likely to stay and look at your other art in the meantime. It’s the bait that draws them in!

    Advertise Ahead of Time!

    No doubt, most of you who are reading this have a website, a Facebook, DeviantArt, Twitter, Tumblr, Blogspot, etc.! Use them to your advantage, the closer you get to convention day. Talk about your freebies, your collectibles, or any other tidbits you plan on selling at your booth. Use a physical sign, like a banner or a flag, so your fans know what to look for when trying to find you in the Artist Alley!

     

    The End!

    So that’s it! That’s all I got to give. Above everything else: HAVE FUN. These people love you. Even if strangers only stop to look for a little while, the fact is that they stopped to see you. And that will speak volumes about your art.  

     

  • A Guide to Using Banners and Other Advertising at Conventions: PART 2

    Seize Your Space!

    Take advantage of your space! Every artist is allotted the confines of a certain size booth. You get all the table space as well as above (although that may differ depending on the convention). Don’t be a jerk and try to spill over onto your neighbor’s table: keep it classy and stay in your cube. Many artists implement different techniques with what they have.

    The following pictures are pulled from Google, and come from different conventions. Let’s take a look at some booths and examine how they make it work in their own right.

    These lovely ladies have definitely utilized the space that they have!

    • Take a look at their table: every inch is covered with their merchandise, from cards to prints to postcards.
    • Observe the edges of the table: there’s a fold out screen where they hung buttons and keychains for sale, propped up some books and displayed prices. There’s also signs about who they are.
    • Above them is a PVC pipe arrangement where various prints and art examples are hung.

    Now, it’s understandable how some people could be “turned off” by how this looks. BUT let’s consider the advantages of such a loud display:

    • their art style is very clear, from the sheer amount of art on display. If someone happened to be passing through the aisle and something caught their eye on the PVC pipe hangings, boom! New customer.
    • Nothing is hidden: honest display
    • The more that’s on the table, the longer that someone interested will linger and possibly buy something

    Here is the lovely Mike Gray: I don’t know who he is, but I like how his booth is arranged. He has taken a more simplistic approach.

    • Background: He chose to show a simple banner with a cartoon figure of himself and his website.
    • Table: Signs (i.e. “Free Sketch!” etc), free candy??, a contact sheet clipboard, books, sketchpad, even a DVD player in the corner!Sides & Above: Nothing other than a button/magnet board
      • Tables like these typically feature albums with all their art stored inside, rather than hung up like the other booth example.

    This is a “comfortable” booth: not too loud, but not quiet either. Some advantages:

    • Approachable, very open: depending on your style, it might behoove you to NOT be cluttered with so many hanging displays and busy table bits.
      • He also leaves room to draw where someone can see, rather than hide behind his sketchbook.
    • Display is clear, more geared to his professional work: he showcases some of his art, but not too much where it overloads the senses
    • The banner is advantageous: shows information that may not otherwise be shown on his other merchandise

    Now, here at Banner4Sale, we can provide you with banners specifically tailored for conventions and trade-shows. We recommend a Trade Show Banner, although those tend to run larger. A retractable banner is more practical for booth use.

  • Keep ‘em Coming Back for MORE: Banking on Collectible Giveaways

    We've talked about banner designs, and we've gone over the famed Scavenger Hunt idea. Today, let's talk about another marketing strategy to draw attention to your business during a convention or a fair.

    One idea to attract people to your booth is to give away promotional items. BUT an even better one that’ll keep them coming back is to have Collectible Giveaways!! Fans will seek you out year after year to get that new item for their collection, and you can use this opportunity to market your new stuff to them.

    The example I’ll draw from is Viz Media: a manga & anime merchandise business based in San Francisco. Every year at the San Diego Comic-Con (and other related conventions), they give away a new variance of a tote bag, such as this one from 2007:

    And here is one from 2006...

    I can’t tell you how many times my cousins and I made bets on what the next year’s bag color would be. It was always our first stop on the exhibit floor.

    Future Changes

    Although in these past few years Viz has changed to a more single-tone bag with cheaper material, the idea is still the same: give the fans something useful, while at the same time making it fun and collectible. This is a surefire way to keep your fans coming back for more and, even better, will bring their friends with them.

    Now, Viz used to give these bags away with purchases at their booth. Even though they don’t sell merchandise anymore (they just do informational stuff), they implemented a new technique this year: the SCAVENGER HUNT! Of which you can read more about here.

  • Scavenger Hunts: Make Them Work for it!

    We're always talking about how a smartly designed banner will attract attention, but there are other ideas out there besides print and ink. In addition to banners and other visual ads, here's another technique to help you attract new customers, as well as keep the repeat ones coming back for more: a scavenger hunt!

    The scavenger hunt is a new idea that recently started appearing at conventions and fairs: fill out a survey, go see some stations, collect stamps, and then you get a prize! I went through Viz Media’s scavenger hunt at the Anime Expo in Los Angeles. It was very easy, and a clever way for them to advertise their new online markets. I got a stamp at each station and voila! Received this year’s tote bag as a prize.

    This model is a smart and effective way to get the fans to interact more with the business. It was quick and painless too, no waiting in long lines to get to a station either. Even though Viz Media is already a well-known entertainment business, this model can still be implemented for other kinds of businesses as well.

    Recently at a county fair, I went to the Chevrolet booth, took a survey and got a free water bottle. Easy, right? Well, this model of survey = prize is pretty common, but for a more classy business like the automobile industry, a scavenger hunt can be used too. Have people go to each model on the floor and collect a stamp or a sticker, and when they collect them all they get a prize.

    Giving your fans and customers something to do at your booth is just as important as what you’re trying to market to them. Take these “stations” as opportunities to give them quick facts about what they’re looking at. Or, even better, play a small game, like ring toss or a matching game! The more that people are having fun, the more likely they’ll tell their friends or spread the word about it. And, hey! We're a banner company: purchase banners from us, designed to indicate each of your stations.

    However, heed my warning: your fans will be expecting a payoff after all that work. No gain or no prize = very unhappy fans.

  • Taking a Page from the World Stage: Graffiti Trends for Your Banner

    Berlin is said to be a “Mecca” for modern graffiti art. It speaks to the rebel in all of us while still maintaining a surreal beauty about them. But even though defacing property is frowned upon, we can learn from these street artists and apply it to advertising techniques for the modern market.

    Let’s Take a Look at........ “Linda’s Ex”!

    In 2003, an artist named Roland Brueckner started a graffiti campaign under the alias of “Linda’s Ex”. He started with a picture of a sad boy, wondering where his ex-girlfriend, Linda, was. It soon evolved into more elaborate images, like Linda’s Ex in a bar saying that he’ll wait for her at a certain place and time. Pedestrians began to take notice, and some even began believing that this man’s plight was real. Other street artists began creating homages to Linda’s Ex or referencing “Linda” in their own work. A year later, Brueckner revealed himself to the public and that it was a hoax.

    Although Roland Brueckner’s trend started as a hoax, it developed into something viral before the word “viral” was even in our daily vocabulary. How did he do this? By interacting with the public and reacting to their responses. When people became curious about Linda’s Ex, he put up another picture, then another and another! Until suddenly, it was being talked about on radio talk shows and then everybody started looking for these pieces.

    From Brueckner to Banners

    Viral marketing campaigns have more recently been attributed to videos on YouTube, but they have been with images for years. When you’re planning your next promotion or event for your business, consider a dabble with viral marketing. You could begin with a hint on a banner: an unfinished sentence or image, a riddle, etc. Don’t explain what it’s for, just let your customers puzzle it out. As it progresses or as the event draws closer, extend the riddle, reveal just a little bit more, until voila! The public learns about what they’ve really been waiting for.

    Another technique is to tell a story with your viral campaign. Use a banner to show a clever image and website link. Have your customers go to a website and reveal the purpose of your campaign there, or little by little. Not only will it increase your website traffic, but also get people curious about your business.

    Regardless, grab the virals by the reigns and implement these techniques! Revive your slow business with a catchy viral campaign, be it something silly or clever.

    For an article on German graffiti and the influence of other artists like “Linda’s Ex”, check out Smashing Magazine.

  • Breaking Out of the Box: A New Approach to Banners

    It gets pretty boring when all you see is the same ad over and over again, doesn’t it? But imagine, how it must feel for the designer in question and ask yourself this: am I truly being creative, or does this project look eerily similar to that sign I just saw on the freeway?

    Fear not, for we are all plagued with the occasional creativity slump! But at Smashing Magazine, Mark Cossey offers some advice on how to keep your right brain stretched and toned and ready to go. He calls it “cross-training” for designers.

    Flee the Confines of your Cubicle!

    Looking Outside for Banner Inspiration

    First of all, look around you. Chances are, you are in an office at home or at work, surrounded by four walls and a water cooler (or your Keurig coffee maker, don’t deny it!).

    Cossey suggests that you go outside. No, seriously, throw on some sneakers and take a camera or a notepad. Drawing inspiration from the world in motion is just as important as the experiences that your brain draws on to shape your perceptions.

    The trend, it seems nowadays, is drifting back either towards the organic or the futuristic: natural shapes versus streamlined shapes. Both of these are plenty in evidence outside your door. Take a walk and photograph the shapes you see, be it the clouds or the trolley, that wonky tree you always drive by on your morning commute. Something you see will stir the imagination in you.

    Stimulate Your Brain

    As a designer, whether for a banner or a website, you are creating a visual for the eye. If what you see is the same day after day, it will begin to reflect in your work. The importance of “cross-training” is to stimulate the visuals with new images, and sometimes it’s images that you can’t get in your home or on the internet.

    For the full article, as well as some fantastic and helpful tips, check it out on Smashing Magazine.

  • Jumpin' Back in Time: Black & White Vintage Banners

    Everyone loves a little bit of nostalgia now and then, and what better way to embrace that then through old-fashioned black and white photography.  It creates a sort of longing and admiration for the past, while embracing the future of our imaging technology.

    So....you've got an event coming up. A 50's Sock-Hop, re-opening a diner, a themed dinner (perhaps with a side of some noir murder mystery?) and you want to welcome your guests and customers by ushering them back in time to the era where color knew no bounds. Why not do it with a vintage black and white image for your banner?

    Waiting in Grand Central Station by James Maher

    Vivid Vintage Banner Images

    Alright, that got a little too nostalgic, but you see the appeal, yes? Black and White images for banners appeal to the occasional longing in all of us for the glamor of the past. If you've got a vintage theme for your business or upcoming event, you can take old photos of your family and friends, and with a little Photoshop magic, you can transform them into black and white photos of old.

    Use your newly transfigured images as a focus image for your next family reunion or business banner advertisement. You'll get a room full of smiles when people see what you've accomplished with their photographs.

    If you want to see more black and white photography that will give you chills, then check out this article on Noupe.com.

  • Stereotypical Types: To Use or Not to Use For Banners

    Your mother told you this when you were a kid: “If you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.” Truer words have never been spoken by many a mother.

    But we’re not here to talk about words per se, but type. In particular, font type that is created to mimic another language or culture. “Stereotypical types”, as it were. You see them all the time: on ads for specialty shops, ethnic restaurants, etc. so it's not unusual. It also doesn't involve fonts inspired by old eras, such as Gothic fonts, but the "ethnic" fonts  mimic other written languages, such as Chinese, Japanese, Hebrew, or Greek and transform them into a mock English. But in a culture that's striving to conquer racism, it's a curious thing that these fonts still exist.

    Considering Types for Banners

    If you're contemplating using an "ethnic font", such as from the examples below, for your next banner or sign, it may be beneficial to take a step back and think about your demographics first:

    1. Am I posting this in a neighborhood where a community might be offended?
    2. Does my chosen font type truly express the value and quality of my establishment?
    3. Is my font choice relevant to my product?

    By simply asking yourself these three questions, you can easily avoid a scandal. It's understood that choosing a type is a tricky decision, but it's recommended that you avoid these "stereotypical types" and either create your own or choose one that better expresses your business, theme, or appeals to the kind of customers that you want.

    The following fonts can be found on dafont.com.

    Shanghai

    TenchoJap

    DS Arabic

    Kremlin

    Jerusalem

    In the end, it's fun to choose a font, of course, but just be aware of where you're posting your banner and what you are advertising in order to avoid any drama with a community of potential customers.

     

  • A Look at Clarity: Vector Images for Banners

    If you're just starting out and learning the ropes of graphic design, you've probably only heard the word "vector" uttered in passing. For those who don't know, a vectored image is  much smoother to look at and can be adjusted to any size without changing the clarity of the images. The opposite is the pixel effect: making your image look blocky when blown up to a larger size.

    To create a vector image, the subject is broken into general shapes and pieced back together. Some graphic artists have taken this tool and transformed photographs and artwork into something smooth and stream-lined, and very nice to look at.

    Vectorizing Your Next Custom Banner

    After that short lecture, it goes without saying that an image that you want on your next banner is recommended to be vectorized. This will help when the time comes and you decide that, maybe, you want that bigger banner instead. The clarity of your image will remain the same, down to the last detail.

    Of course, if you're having trouble with this, we've got an awesome creative team who's here to help. If you've got your image ready to go, then simply upload it with your order and we'll get that printed for you.  Vector images are a great fail-safe for the unexpected moment that you decide you need to make changes, or want to print another banner in a bigger size or different material.

    Want to see some amazing vector art? Check out this compilation article from Noupe!

  • Splatter Power! Cool Patterns for Custom Banners

    We touched on using water-color effects for banners before, but let's go back to the land of the liquids with SPLATTER! And I don't mean in connection with that cool show on Showtime...

    Image By TimeShifterX

    Splatter Banners

    Now, none of us are the next Jackson Pollock, but let's think about why his paintings are now setting a trend.

    Water is an incredibly versatile element, which goes without saying. And sometimes, that unexpected element can create the most abstract but thought-provoking designs. So, if you're considering a new banner design that will emphasize a fun, creative atmosphere, then try a hand at some splatter designs.

    Here's a couple of examples.

    This one uses vibrant neon colors. Such colors could be used to advertise for something exciting like a club opening, summer seasonal stock, or a concert.

    These splatters are smaller and circular as well as being more diverse in color, which gives it a playful feel. This could be geared more towards children audiences, fairs & festivals, or other family-friendly events.

    Due to the dark background, you can feel a sort of forbidden noir about this piece, mostly from the use of contrasting colors and scales of vibrancy. The different levels of splatter, from sprays to glops, also convey certain emotions.

    Want to see some more awesome splatter examples? Swing by SpeckyBoy and read their compilation article here!

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