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  • 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.'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

  • 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



    DS Arabic



    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!

  • Gettin' Crafty: Scrapbook Banner Inspirations

    It's time for banner ideas for the crafty soul!

    Now, it may not be feasible (or recommended) to do an actual banner out of store-bought craft supplies. Especially, if you're planning to use this banner for outdoor events, among the elements and the wear-and-tear...

    BUT! It is possible to design your next banner to appear to be made from paper, stickers, and other crafty goodness. If you plan on using this banner more than once, then you might want to forgo the delicate custom paper, and create a copy to be printed on a sturdy banner that will last years. AND there are some things that can be done in graphic design that can't be done with paper and glue.

    Digital Scrapbooking on the Rise! What This Means for Banners

    Digital scrapbook programs are pretty common now, which is no skin off your back when it comes to designing your own. Not only can you place your photos and decorate to how you want it, but since the pages are digital, they can be transferred, shared, and published however you like.

    If you're having trouble reconfiguring a page for a banner layout, then give us a call! We've got a creative team here that can help take what you've done digitally and translate it to banner.

  • 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!

  • Five Fresh Fonts to use in Banner Design

    ChunkFive by The League of Moveable Type


    Chunk is an ultra-bold slab serif typeface that is reminiscent of old American Western woodcuts, broadsides, and newspaper headlines. Used mainly for display, the fat block lettering is unreserved yet refined for contemporary use. Download it here:

    Lobster by Pablo Impallari


    A script font that mimics a hand drawn lettering style. Download it here:

    Knewave by The League of Moveable Type


    Knewave is bold, painted face, good for big bright messages. Download it here:

    Hellforge by Matt Chase


    A working class slab Inspired by the infernos of the coal mill, Hellforge is a molten-hot headline slab cast with factory-grade craftsmanship by Matt Chase. Download it here:

    Pompadour Numerals by Andy Mangold


    This numeral set is inspired by the 50's hairdo. It's all numbers and symbols, no letters, so use it in to support another bold serif font.Download it here:

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