Choosing Banner Sizes
One of the most important things to keep in mind when choosing a banner is how much room you will have to hang it. This will also be how much room you will have to fill the banner with content.
The more text and images you want on the banner, the smaller each photo or line will have to be in order to make everything fit. The smaller the text is, the closer people will need to be to read it. For example, a line of text that is 3 inches tall will be legible within 100 feet of the banner or so, while a line that is 12 inches tall can be read from as far away as 500 feet.
As people get closer to your banner, quality becomes more important. Banners used at trade shows and conventions can be one example of this. If you hang a 4′x6′ banner along the back of your booth, people will be viewing it from about 6 feet away. If you hang a 2′x6′ banner from a table in front of your booth, people will be within inches of the banner, but by then their attention will be focused on you or the item you have on display in your booth.
Proportions are another size-related issue to keep in when picking your banner size. Anything you design to fill an 8.5″ by 11″ sheet of paper will look stretched out when printed on (for example) a 2′x6′ banner. If you are designing on an 8.5″x11″ sheet of paper in landscape orientation, your banner company can probably manipulate the file to print on these sizes: 2′x3′, 3′x4′, and 4′x5′. Common sense is the key here. If you are ordering a banner that is twice as wide as it is tall, such as a 2′x4′ or 3′x6′, make sure your design is in roughly the same proportions for best results.
Keep in mind that when you design a banner at a small size like 8.5″ x 11″, it is likely that the quality will be low when enlarged and printed directly on a banner. Your banner company will probably have to re-create the layout. We will address resolution (and how to prevent this kind of problem) in another article next month.
Next week’s topic: How to design an effective banner.