Banner Printing

Banners are a versatile means of promoting your product or service. Horizontal or vertical, long or short, fat or thin, they can be used indoors and outdoors as a means of providing new product/service information or simply to maintain brand awareness.

Before commissioning your banner, decide how you wish it to be displayed. Options include:

  • X-frame. Attached to each corner. Less expensive, lightweight and easy to transport.
  • Retractable stand. Banner rolls into base after use. Hard-wearing, protects banner.
  • Pop-up stand. Portable, though more cumbersome than a standard X-frame. Higher cost but covers an impressive area and creates a strong image.
  • Hung. The most common form of display. Make sure you have suitable ropes and easy access to where they are fastened — banners hung outside sag over time and need adjusting.
  • Outdoor banner frame. Portable, though not without some effort. Secures banner against worst of weather.
  • Pole. Gives a flag-like appearance. Eye-catching and unusual. Easy to erect and place.

How to design a banner for printing

The following tips will help you design the perfect banner for your advertising campaign. If you need help to produce the most appropriate design, you can always talk to the staff at Purely Digital, who have years of experience in producing banners for a range of purposes.

1. Location

Before you decide on the colour of your banner, think about its intended location. If you know the colour of the background on to which it will be hung, choose contrasting colours to help your message stand out.

Remember, if your banner is to be placed somewhere high and freestanding, make sure the colours stand out against the blue (or grey) of the sky.

2. Resolution and viewing distance

If your banner is to be viewed from a distance there is no point giving your design a high resolution of, for example, 300dpi. This will just take up a lot of unnecessary space on your hard drive or data stick, and make little difference to how it will be viewed. However, a 300dpi resolution is necessary if the banner is to be viewed up close, especially if it features some intricate graphics.

One rule of thumb is to reduce the dpi by a third for every 2m that the banner will be viewed, with a minimum resolution of around 75dpi.

3. Choosing the right colours

Once you have an idea where your banner will be placed you can start to think about what colours to use.

Where possible, make them bold. Choose colours that contrast on the poster, and avoid ones than meld together into a bland mix of tones and hues.

It is especially important to allow the text to stand out and be easily read.

If you have some brand colours, think about fitting them in. It is not always necessary to make the entire banner match your brand, as long as it features somewhere. However, be careful not to overload your design with too many colours. This can make it appear ‘too busy’ and deter the viewer.

4. Make your text easy to read

For most banners, many people will be viewing the design from:

  • a distance
  • a moving vehicle

This means the text must be large and easily readable. Choose a font that is easy for the eye to take in. Serif fonts (which feature extra little lines — serifs — at the end of each stroke, making the letters appear ornate) can seem ‘busier’ than sans-serif fonts (without the serifs).

It is less likely that someone will be willing or able to read your banner if it is text heavy. Think about what you want to say and say it in as few words as possible.

Simplify anything that is convoluted or rambling, unless your aim is to purposefully baffle.

5. Include a call-to-action

Don’t leave the viewers of your sign wondering what they should do next — help them with a little prompt.

If you can take orders over the phone, include a number. If you have a strong online presence, leave a web address. Even if you simply want them to come to a physical building, sometimes it’s worth letting the public know your opening times, especially if you have a special offer that is only for a limited time.

6. Include strong graphics

Sometimes pictures paint a thousand words. This can be useful for a banner that people may pass at speed. A good graphic will grab the attention of the public.

If your banner is likely to be viewed from a relatively close distance, you might want to impress with some high-resolution artwork.

7. Prioritise your message

It may be that you have a few things going on in your banner. If this is the case, the best thing to do is prioritise the information. You can do this by making certain elements: brighter, alternative colours, a different font or simply placed lower down the space.

In most cases, people’s eyes are first attracted to the top and left of a space. Place your important information in these areas, reducing the importance as you move down and across. This way you create a visual hierarchy that helps to lead the eye through the crucial information. It also means that if your viewer breaks off halfway through, they have at least seen the important information.

8. Use your brand to full effect

A banner is a perfect opportunity to both strengthen your brand and utilise it to your advantage. Use brand colours to promote your organisation and let the public know you are here. If your brand is already well known, it can be used to attract attention. If not, it may help to reinforce your brand among the public.

By properly planning your design, you can achieve maximum effect with your banner. Remember, this will be advertising your organisation to the public so ensure you make the desired impression.

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions around banner printing.

Banner printing FAQs

Can vinyl banners be recycled?

Vinyl (PVC) banners can be reused for different campaigns. This involves sending your banner to a company that specialises in preparing your old banner ready for a new image. Conversely, there are also artisans out there who will turn the material into objects far removed from banners, such as bags and jackets. However, because of the type of polymer used to make vinyl banners, the material cannot be melted down and recycled in that way.

Many banners are affixed using special grommets and ropes. This entire mechanism can be reused on later banners.

What resolution do I need for banner printing?

This will depend on how it will be used. Because this type of large format printing material is not designed to be observed up close, it is not necessary to produce the image to a high resolution such as 300dpi. It is recommended that your image has a minimum resolution of around 75dpi.

What size banner should i go for?

This all depends on what you need the banner to do. As explained above, there are a few things you need to consider – where the banner will be placed, how far away people will be when they read it, and so on.

At Purely Digital, we use a method called large format printing that allows us to create banners of the following sizes:

Flexible signs (e.g. paper, vinyl, fabric etc.)

  • Length – as long as needed
  • Width – up to 2.2m

Rigid signs (e.g. wood, metal etc. up to 48mm thick)

  • Length – 2.5m
  • Width – 1.25m

Because we can print banners in sections that join together, we can make banners of any practical length. If you need a banner that is larger than the dimensions above, we can arrange for one of our many suppliers to help. Contact us for more information.

What material is available for printing banners?

Today’s printing technology is such that banners can be printed on a wide range of materials. All have their advantages, and what material you choose depends on the purpose of the banner.


The most common material used in banner printing is vinyl (PVC), as it is both weatherproof and durable. However, there are different types of PVC to consider, including:

  • Mesh PVC – this lightweight PVC is perforated, allowing the wind to pass through its holes rather than tear the material
  • Foamex – with a foam-like feel, this is sturdy yet flexible and has a smooth finish

Acrylic is otherwise known as Perspex or plexiglass. It is hard but very clear (at 93% transparency, it is clearer than thick glass) and easily shaped. Used in places like offices, showrooms and hotels, it is most suitable for permanent or semi-permanent banners.

Dibond consists of sheets of plastic sandwiched between aluminium. Light yet rigid, it is often used for large banners, displays and signs due to the clarity of the printing on its surface.


Made of materials such as polyester or satin, fabric banners have a number of advantages:

  • Waterproof and weatherproof and will not fade in the sun
  • Long-lasting – their stretchiness makes them very difficult to tear
  • Lightweight
  • Flame-retardant (if they catch fire, they will burn at a slow rate)
  • Can be wiped clean and washed
  • Made so as not to reflect light (e.g. from camera flashes)
  • Can be folded for convenient transport and storage – but creases or folds can easily be ironed out

Canvas can also be used, and offers a more natural look compared to the glossy finish of a vinyl banner, for example. However, it is quite absorbent and so the printing won’t be as vivid as on other fabrics.

Fabric banners are designed to be hung or fixed to surfaces such as walls or fences. They have metal grommets (hanging holes) through which ties or cords can be threaded, and their edges are reinforced with special waterproof tape, making them a great option for outdoor use.


These banners tend to be made of aluminium, with a baked enamel finish. Intended more for outdoor use, they are designed to withstand the weather without rusting. They can be mounted on posts, glued or bolted to walls or fixed to fencing with wires.


Durable and ‘authentic-looking’, these banners can be made from natural wood or manufactured wood materials such as plywood or MDF. Lettering can be painted or carved as well as printed. Wooden banners do require some upkeep, and need to be sealed before use so they don’t warp.

Are your banners waterproof/weatherproof?

The British weather can be tough on an outdoor banner. Whichever material you choose for your banner, we will make sure it is able to withstand even the harshest storms.

All the materials we use are waterproof, and we use solvent inks that won’t run when the banner gets wet. We strengthen fabric banners with special waterproof tape and metal grommets that won’t rust.

Vinyl banners are durable enough to resist strong winds, while mesh PVC banners have small holes that the wind can blow through without tearing the material. Fabric (polyester and satin) banners have the flexibility to stretch in the wind and still keep their shape.

And good weather shouldn’t be a worry either, as none of our banners will fade in the sun.

What are your banners used for?

Our banners serve many purposes, whether they are displayed at exhibitions or trade shows, used in hotel lobbies or outside schools or promoting products in shops or retail buildings.

What delivery options do you offer?

Delivery depends on the size of your banner and the material used to make it, so we’d discuss this with you.

To find out more about the large format printing on offer at Purely Digital, click here.


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