How to make a banner for your business

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

What do a fishing net and a banner have in common?

More than you might expect. 

While a physical banner can’t catch fish, it can catch the attention of the rivers of people who walk past it – giving your business a bigger haul of customers.

You’re here because you recognize the potential of a banner. In fact, a banner can bring the advertising power of a billboard, but at a fraction of the cost 💪💸

Sounds great, doesn’t it?

And what’s even better is that they’re easier to make than you think.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to make a banner. 

Table of contents

What is a banner?

Banner promoting a jazz festival hanging high above a street

A physical banner (not to be confused with the digital banners that you see online) is a large piece of printed material, typically made of vinyl, fabric or polyester mesh, that conveys a message or promotes something. Banners come in different shapes and sizes. But regardless of what they look like, all banners have the primary goal of drawing attention. They’re a versatile and effective means of advertising because they can be placed both indoors and outdoors – wherever your ideal customers may be passing by.

Why use a banner?

Before we dive into the do’s and don’ts of banner design, let’s talk a little bit more about why banners are so important for businesses. Whether or not you should use a banner depends on what you want to achieve and who you want to advertise to. 

Just like picking the perfect spot to catch your ideal fish, if you know that your target audience often passes by a certain location, then a banner is a great way to grab attention and get more customers coming through your door. 

Banners come with a variety of unique benefits, including: 

  1. Visibility: Well-designed banners are nearly impossible to ignore. Placed strategically, they can be seen from a distance, making them excellent for attracting foot traffic to your business or event.
  2. Cost effectiveness: Compared to other forms of advertising, like TV commercials or billboards, banners are relatively inexpensive to produce and can be reused for many occasions.
  3. Customization: You have complete control over the design, message, and placement of your banner. This allows you to tailor your message to your ideal customer and make it your own.
  4. Durability: If you print high-quality banners onto durable materials like vinyl, they can last for years, making them a long-term investment.
  5. Versatility: Banners can be used for a variety of purposes, from announcing a grand opening to promoting a special offer, or welcoming attendees to an event.

Common banner sizes and shapes

Since banners come in a variety of sizes and shapes, it can be tricky to know which is best for your business. 

It’s a good thing you’re reading this post though, because below you’ll find a list of the different types of banners, their common sizes and what they’re perfect for:

Vinyl banners

Half-rolled-up vinyl banner advertising fruit and on a white background

Vinyl banners are especially versatile and durable. They’re suitable for the indoors and are able to withstand the elements outdoors too. They’re weather and fade resistant and can last outside for up to 2 years. 

Common sizes include: 

  • 1′ x 2′ (30 x 61 cm)
  • 1.7′ x 3′ (52 x 91 cm)
  • 2.5′ x 4′ (76 x 122 cm)
  • 2.5′ x 6′ (76 x 183 cm)
  • 2.5′ x 8′ (76 x 244 cm)
  • 2.5′ x 10′ (76 x 305 cm)
  • 2.5′ x 12′ (76 x 366 cm)
  • 4′ x 4′ (122 x 122 cm)
  • 4′ x 6′ (122 x 183 cm)
  • 4′ x 8′ (122 x 244 cm)
  • 4′ x 10′ (122 x 305 cm)
  • 4′ x 12′ (122 x 366 cm)
  • 6′ x 10′ (183 x 305 cm)
  • 6′ x 12′ (183 x 366 cm)
  • 8′ x 10′ (244 x 305 cm)
  • 8′ x 12′ (244 x 366 cm)

Mesh banners

Rectangular mesh banner with text saying “Welcome to our workshop” hung on a frame

Mesh banners are also a great option for the outdoors. They’re made out of a woven polyester mesh that allows wind to pass through and are also water and UV resistant, making them more durable. 

But since mesh banners have small holes woven in, they can come across as a little transparent and might not pop out as much as vinyl banners. 

Common sizes include: 

  • 1.7′ x 3′ (52 x 91 cm)
  • 2.5′ x 4′ (76 x 122 cm)
  • 2.5′ x 6′ (76 x 183 cm)
  • 2.5′ x 8′ (76 x 244 cm)
  • 2.5′ x 10′ (76 x 305 cm)
  • 2.5′ x 12′ (76 x 366 cm)
  • 4′ x 4′ (122 x 122 cm)
  • 4′ x 6′ (122 x 183 cm)
  • 4′ x 8′ (122 x 244 cm)
  • 4′ x 10′ (122 x 305)
  • 4′ x 12′ (122 x 366 cm)
  • 6′ x 10′ (183 x 305 cm)
  • 6′ x 12′ (183 x 366 cm)
  • 8′ x 10′ (244 x 305 cm)
  • 8′ x 12′ (244 x 366 cm)

Pole banners

Pole banners advertising an annual art walk attached to both sides of a street light

These are the kind of banners you see on streetlights around town. They’re great for advertising events and grand openings across a town or city. Made out of high-quality PVC vinyl with double-needle lockstitching, they’re tough and weather resistant. 

Common sizes include: 

  • 48″ x 24″ (122 x 61 cm)
  • 48″ x 30″ (122 x 76 cm)
  • 60″ x 30″ (152 x 76 cm)
  • 72″ x 30″ (183 x 76 cm)
  • 72″ x 48″ (183 x 122 cm)
  • 96″ x 30″ (244 x 76 cm)

Retractable banners

Retractable banner in clothing store advertising holiday sale

Common at trade shows and conventions, retractable banners are perfect for indoor events. As their name suggests, they’re quick and easy to set up and put away. Retractable banners are also a handy way to share a QR code that links to your website.

Common sizes include: 

  • 24″ x 62″ (61 x 157 cm)
  • 33″ x 81″ (84 x 206 cm)
  • 47″ x 81″ (119 x 206 cm)

Fabric banners

Fabric banner hanging up above a flower shop advertising floral wedding design

Ideal for the indoors, fabric banners can be used for table displays, restaurants, offices, retail stores and more. They’re made of light, fade-resistant polyester fabric that’s machine washable, crease free and scratch resistant.  

Common sizes include: 

  • 1.7′ x 3′ (52 x 91 cm)
  • 2.5′ x 4′ (76 x 122 cm)
  • 2.5′ x 6′ (76 x 183 cm)
  • 2.5′ x 8′ (76 x 244 cm)
  • 2.5′ x 10′ (76 x 305 cm)
  • 2.5′ x 12′ (76 x 366 cm)
  • 4′ x 4′ (122 x 122 cm)
  • 4′ x 6′ (122 x 183 cm)
  • 4′ x 8′ (122 x 244 cm)
  • 4′ x 10′ (122 x 305 cm)
  • 4′ x 12′ (122 x 366 cm)
  • 6′ x 10′ (183 x 305 cm) 
  • 6′ x 12′ (183 x 366 cm)
  • 8′ x 10′ (244 x 305 cm)
  • 8′ x 12′ (244 x 366 cm)

Pennant banners

Dark-blue pennant banner advertising a sale hanging up on white wall

Reminiscent of medieval banners, pennant banners are a great way to grab attention with a good dose of fun. Use them as decoration for indoor events or for the outdoors – their tough vinyl material means they’re suited to both. 

Common sizes include: 

  • 2′ x 3′ (61 x 91 cm)
  • 2′ x 4′ (61 x 122 cm)
  • 3′ x 4′ (91 x 122 cm)
  • 4′ x 6′ (122 x 183 cm)

Essential information to include in a banner

Before you dive into the banner design process, it’s important to think about what information you need to include in your banner. Keep in mind that a banner’s main purpose is to convey a message quickly and effectively. 

Here are some suggestions that can put you on the right track: 

  • Business name and logo: By including your business’s name and logo, and making it prominent, you’ll be letting passersby know who you are – increasing brand recognition.
  • Headline: Create a clear and concise headline that conveys the purpose of your banner. This can be the trickiest part. Clarity is key here, but if you can also write the headline in a way that grabs attention too, then you’ve got a winning combination.
  • Call to action: After reading your message, the viewer needs to know what to do next. Encourage them to take a specific action, such as “Visit us today” or “Call now.”
  • Contact information: Include your phone number, website, social media channels and physical address. Make it easy for potential customers to connect with you. 

Tip

Try adding a QR code to your banner. You’ll be making it even easier for people to find your website, learn more about you and get in touch.

Remember, less is often more when it comes to what you include in your banner. It’s better to avoid cluttering your banner with a lot of text and graphics. A simple banner will do a better job of grabbing attention and conveying your message quickly.

What to consider when designing a banner for print

There are a few things to keep in mind when designing a banner for print. By following the tips below, you’ll be making the process easy and giving yourself the best chance of creating a banner that stands out:

Location

The first thing to think about is where you’ll place your banner. Is it indoors? Or outdoors? By considering the location, you’ll find out what type of banner and material would be best suited to the environment. 

If you can, it’s a good idea to have a look at the colors present in the location where the banner will hang, as this is often overlooked. 

If the location’s colors are similar to the banner’s colors, then your banner might blend in and struggle to bring the attention you deserve. If you find that to be the case, it might be worth thinking about changing your banner’s colors or switching locations. 

A good rule of thumb is to use banner colors that contrast with the environment and make it stand out. For example, if your banner is going to hang on a white wall, using darker colors will help draw the eyes of passersby. 

Colors

Colors can be a powerful way to capture attention and share a message. 

Try using bold, contrasting colors that align with your brand identity. Consider the psychology of colors too and the message you want to convey with them: red, for example, is associated with excitement, while a cool blue conveys trust.

Graphics

It’s important to use high-resolution images – or better yet, vector images – for your banner. Otherwise, it’ll look pixelated and blurry, making it difficult for people to read it.

If you’re creating your own banner on design software, remember to use the CMYK color model – otherwise the colors will look different on the printed banner.

Typeface

The purpose of a banner is to convey a message quickly and effectively. High-resolution images and graphics help with this, but so does legible typography. 

Sans serif typefaces (such as Helvetica) are great to use because they’re easier to read. A fancy font, as fun as they are to use, can detract from the clarity of your message – sabotaging your advertisement.

You can draw eyes to the most important bits of information on your banner by using contrasting typefaces. Try using one typeface for the headline and a different one for the rest of the banner’s text. 

Grommets

Sourced via Wikipedia

When it comes to banner design, it’s essential to account for grommets.

Sadly, a grommet isn’t the Aardman animated silent companion to Wallace.  

Grommets are rings used to reinforce your banner’s holes, so your lovely banner doesn’t tear.

Corner of green mesh banner and its grommet

When making your banner, make sure to account for the fact that your design will get cut off when it reaches the grommets and the seams. To ensure that doesn’t happen, design your banner with a 1″ (2.5 cm) buffer around it. 

The great news, as you’ll soon see, is that VistaPrint’s banner templates already come with a safe area, so you don’t have to worry when designing.

How to make a banner in 5 steps

Now that you know what to consider when designing a banner, let’s break down the actual steps to create one:


1) Define your purpose, audience and location

Before you start designing it’s important to have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve with your banner, who your target audience is and where the banner will be seen. 

This will guide your design and material choices.

2) Choose your banner type and material

Once you’ve defined your purpose, audience and location, you’ll find it easier to choose the right shape, size and material for your banner. 

Choose a shape and a size that help you grab the attention of your target audience and share your message. And select a material that’s suited to the environment where your banner will be displayed.

3) Design your banner

There are a few ways you can design your banner:

Option 1: Design from scratch with VistaCreate

If you want to design your banner from scratch, you can hop onto VistaCreate to do so quickly and easily.

VistaCreate homepage

On the homepage, under the “For You” tab, you’ll see a custom size option. Click on it and enter the dimensions you want for your banner.

VistaCreate homepage featuring custom size window

Then click on “Create Design” to get to work.

VistaCreate design workspace web page

In VistaCreate’s design workspace, you have access to a library of photos and graphic elements. If you don’t have a designer’s eye, don’t worry – you have ready-made matching color palettes and font combinations that you can use right away. 

If you have your own brand colors, you can create your own brand kit to quickly make a design align with your branding. 

Once you create your banner design, you can export it as a JPG or PNG. Then upload it to VistaPrint by searching for the type of banner you want in the search bar, going to its product page and clicking “Upload design.”

VistaPrint vinyl banners product page

Option 2: Use a VistaPrint banner template

If designing from scratch doesn’t tickle your fancy, you can also choose a banner template on VistaPrint that matches the size and type of banner you’re after. 

To do so, instead of uploading your design through the banner’s product page, click on “Browse designs.” You’ll see that there are thousands of templates to choose from. 

VistaPrint browse vinyl banner templates web page

You can filter the templates by industry, occasion, styles, size, orientation and more – so it’s easy to find a template that matches what you need. 

Once you’ve found your perfect template, click on it and hit “Edit my design.”

VistaPrint edit my design window featuring sample fall sale vinyl banner

You’ll then be brought to the VistaPrint Studio where you can edit the template. 

Add your own text, upload images like your brand logo or easily put in a QR code to link to your website.

All the banner templates on VistaPrint have a bleed area for the seams and grommets, so you don’t have to worry about your design getting cut off when editing. 

VistaPrint design web page

Option 3: Team up with a VistaPrint designer

If you want to save yourself some time and have a banner made from scratch, you can work with a VistaPrint designer to take care of all the hard work for you. 

Simply fill out a short brief, grab a coffee and put your feet up – you’ll have your design in no time. 

VistaPrint designer brief web page

4) Check the design proof

Whether you’ve created your design on VistaCreate and uploaded it to VistaPrint, or you’ve edited a VistaPrint template directly, once you’re finished it’s a good idea to take a look at the design proof. 

The design proof gives you a sneak peek of what your design will look like once printed. You can download and print a design proof to spot any errors and make sure everything’s looking good. 

To get a design proof, click on the “Preview” button and then on “Download PDF proof.” 

VistaPrint preview window

5) Print your banner

Once you’re happy with the banner, click on “Next” where you’ll be taken to the design review page. This gives you the chance to review your design one last time before printing (saving you a few headaches). 

Tick the box “I’ve reviewed and approve my design” when you’re ready, and then click “Continue.”

VistaPrint design review web page

Your banner will be added to your cart and then printed. You’ll soon have your creation arriving at your door, ready to hook in your ideal customers. 

Reel in some more business

And there you have it: You now know how to make a banner that will grab attention and reel in some more business 🎣

Don’t let potential customers swim on by – start creating your banner now.