Banners vs. Flags

Banners vs. Flags

JUNE 8, 2020| SpeedPro


Graphics, Signage

Banners and flags are some of the most versatile advertising mediums out there. You can put them indoors and out, hang them on flat surfaces and from poles, prop them up on stands, and even see through some of them. Since you can print a wide array of images, the marketing uses are endless.

With so many options and formats, it can sometimes be hard to tell what’s what. Banners and flags accomplish similar goals, but they are subtly different. To ensure you get the right product for your needs, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of banners and flags, along with identifying what situations they work best in.


First, let’s pin down what exactly each of these products is. Custom business banners come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. They can be made of material for indoor and outdoor use, which means they are everywhere — on the sides of buildings, attached to lampposts, on the walls and standing upright, among other places.

You’ll typically see banners made of either cast vinyl or calendar vinyl. Cast vinyl is more flexible, while calendar vinyl is rigid and closer to the canvas in texture. Calendar vinyl is the classic choice. One other possibility is mesh vinyl, which has some transparency to it with the help of perforations. Think of the logo of a sports team spread out across a chain-link fence. You might also see this vinyl on windows or paired with backlit-style lighting.

Displaying Banners

One of the advantages of banners is that you can display them in many ways. Here are some of the most popular options:

  • Hung vinyl: Large hanging banners are the traditional display option. With the help of reinforced grommets, you can weave rope or string through a banner and let it hang from a wall. Examples include draping the outside of a building in a trade show advertisement or putting a logo up above your lobby.
  • Standing banners and pole pocket banners: The standing banner is the closest thing to a flag. A structure made of metal bars holds it upright and taut, so your image is on display for any passersby. You’ll see these stands at trade shows and conferences galore.
  • Boulevard or street banners: If you’ve ever walked down a street to find banners lining the lampposts, you’ve seen street banners in action. These tall, vertical banners can brighten up a street and extend a company’s reach through their property.
  • Step-and-repeat banners: With a step-and-repeat, a large-format banner is stretched out as a backdrop for people to stand in front of and take photos with. You might see these banners printed with a repeating company logo or sponsors for an event.

Uses for Banners

Business vinyl banners are one of the most versatile ways to advertise. You could put them in lobbies, storefronts, outdoor walls, trade show booths, events, and much more.

Business vinyl banners are on of the most versatile ways to advertise

Here are a few ways that businesses use banners:

  • Product advertisements: Mouthwatering shots of meals at a restaurant, fresh produce from a grocery store, or stylish new fashions at a retail outlet can all find a home on large custom banners. They show the product in an attractive light at large scale, sure to capture the eye of anyone walking by.
  • Sale promotion: Got a mid-year blowout going on? Advertise it with big, bold banners in your storefront to draw people in. Banners are easy to store, too, if you want to reuse them later.
  • Trade show graphics: Banners look right at home in trade shows. You can hang them behind your booth or off to the side with the help of a banner stand. Trade shows and events are areas where flags and banners often overlap or complement each other.
  • Event promotion: If you’re promoting an event, find places around town to set up banners. Alternatively, as the event is going on, you can place banners around the buildings, so people know where they are and where to go from there. For instance, displaying the name on the front of a large convention center would tell people what’s happening there, and a hanging banner indoors could point them directly toward the check-in desk in a crowded, open space.
  • Brand recognition: Whatever business you work with, brand recognition is an important part of establishing yourself. You can use banners to display your logo throughout your building or around the area, such as on a corporate campus.
  • Decor: An artful shot of your product or a relevant design can add color, brightness, sophistication or any number of other attributes to your space. Think of it like removable wallpaper or sturdy, unframed photos.
  • Adding character: Many cities and towns use outside vinyl banners to beautify their community. Street banners are excellent for adding some personality to a town center, and a simple sign that says, “Thank you for visiting,” can go a long way in making a city memorable and inviting.


Moving onto flags, you’ll notice a few commonalities between them and banners. They work indoors and out and are often made of similar material. Flags, however, are more dynamic. They’ll wave in the wind if you put them outside and can work with other flags to create an impressive scene. Bright, bold graphics make them excellent for a wide array of advertising goals.

Flags come in a few different shapes and a variety of data-lazy-sizes.

Flags come in a few different shapes and a wide variety of sizes. They can be anywhere from 5 feet to 18 feet tall.

Below are some of the different shapes for flags:

  • Feather: A feather-shaped flag has a pole that bends over the top of the flag and fabric that curves across the bottom, giving a feather-like shape.
  • Straight: Straight flags get the same curve at the top as a feather-shaped flag, but they do not have the bottom curve. They are straight on the bottom instead.
  • Edge: This flag is closest to a banner because it’s a rectangle. A straight bar holds it in place at the top, and unlike other flags, the design stretches all the way across, giving you more graphic real estate. Other flag shapes have a black line on the edge where the sleeve is.
  • Teardrop: In the teardrop shape, the top bar curves all the way over the top, and the flag’s edge cuts diagonally from the end of the pole to the base. It stays tauter than some other designs so they’re likely to stay more still in the wind.

Uses for Flags

Flags share the versatility of banners in that you can use them in several different ways, such as:

  • Identifying a location: In a sea of similar-looking backdrops, flags can stand out and tell people where you are. You can point out your booth at an event or include a row of branded flags outside your building to make it easier to find. Keep in mind that hard-to-find business locations or entrances can be costing you, customers. According to the Sign Research Foundation, at least 61% of American consumers said that they failed to find a business because its signage was small or unclear.
  • “We’re Open!” signs: In times of construction or nearby closures, it may be a good idea to put up a flag telling people you’re open for business.
  • Sales promotion: Special offers and sales are the perfect content for flags. You can grab viewers’ attention while directing them toward your establishment.
  • Trade shows: Custom marketing flags are popular in trade shows, adding brand imagery to the booth, and grabbing attention. They are lightweight and easy to set up, so many companies like them for their convenience and reusability.
  • Brand recognition: Many businesses put up flags to increase their imagery throughout their location. Putting up logos, images of products, or certain advertising aspects can all work well with flags in place indoors and out.
  • Multi-flag setups: One way to make a big display out of flags is to line up a bunch of them outside. Nothing says, “Over here!” quite like a long row of bright, colorful, waving flags.
  • Finish lines: Marathons and other events frequently use flags on the side of a road to mark the finish line.

How Do Flags and Banners Compare?

 How do flags and banners compare? [list]

Depending on the way they’re used, the two can be quite similar. You can find flags that function as banners and banners that function as flags, but the biggest technical difference is the way they are set up. Flags are supported by a pole that slips through a sleeve in the side, but banners usually use grommets or other supporting features to hang. Street banners and banner stands are the most similar to flags since they get pulled taut, but they usually have places to hold the banner from the top and bottom, leaving the sides open.

Both of them provide:

  • Visibility: With bright, bold colors and eye-catching placement, flags and banners are the perfect way to get attention. Flags use their movement, and banners often use their size to pull viewers in. However you design them, they offer 24/7 exposure to get your brand out there. That visibility is important, especially when you consider that over 40% of people who saw an out-of-home advertisement searched for the brand afterward.
  • Brand imagery: With all that visibility comes an opportunity to increase branding efforts. Whether you just want to put your logo in more places in your store or expand into the streets, flags and banners can get the job done. We also offer color-matching services so you can be sure that your graphics accurately reflect the designs your company worked so hard to develop.
  • Easy assembly: Custom banners and flags are also easy to set up. Flags are especially portable, and you can pop them up in no time. Banners might be a little more time-consuming, especially if you’re putting them up somewhere high where you’ll need a ladder or special tools. Still, if you’re using smaller banners or banner stands, they make for a quick addition to any trade show display.
  • Cost-efficiency: Of course, there are plenty of high-end options for both products that can drive up the cost, such as lamination and extremely large prints, but basic marketing flags and banners are relatively inexpensive. You can use them over and over in many cases, and for permanent usage, they require virtually no upkeep and keep working for you at all hours of the day.
  • Weather-resistance: There are varying degrees of weather-resistant material, and we work with you to find the best one for your intended environment, but overall, both banners and flags hold up well to everyday weather, including sun exposure. In most instances, you can expect several years out of your marketing materials without fading or tearing. We even have inks formulated to hold up to ultraviolet rays if you want extra protection.

Flags are great if you’re looking for height and visibility in crowded areas. Since they stick out of the ground, they’re perfect for outdoor events and look right at home next to a booth. Flags also offer the benefit of dynamic movement, where it gets to flutter in the breeze and catch peoples’ eyes. Imagine driving through town and seeing colorful movement in your peripheral vision. As you look at the movement, you see grand opening flags you wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. Flags pull views through their movement, where banners don’t.

Banners, on the other hand, are awfully versatile. If you’re looking for large-scale coverage, banners are usually easier to work with as they can cover a flat surface in no time. They allow you to cover the side of a building or big walls inside of it. You can use them for decor, identifying important places or plain-and-simple advertising. Banners are a blank canvas for your marketing department to do whatever they want with them. Plus, they offer a wider variety of shapes and sizes, so you can change up your products for a less-homogenous design.

When to Use Both Banners and Flags

You don’t necessarily have to choose. There are many scenarios in which both flags and banners can help you accomplish your marketing goals. General outdoor advertising, brand recognition efforts, and trade show displays are all areas in which doubling up on the materials can help gather more attention. While you might not want to put a stand-up banner next to a straight flag if you’re looking for variety, many designs work well together.

Don’t be afraid to use both — they are different products, after all, and they often complement each other. People appreciate variety of signage within a business district finding it appealing and interesting. Flags and banners often look good side-by-side and offer some variety without losing cohesive design.

SpeedPro Is Your Source for Flags and Banners

If you want custom business banners and marketing flags that stand out and hold up, you need to work with the experts. At SpeedPro, we’ve been creating large-format images for over 20 years. We have an extensive catalog of banner and flag options and a portfolio full of vibrant, durable printed materials.

For professional color matching, durable vinyl, and excellent print quality, look no further than your nearest studio. Reach out to a SpeedPro expert today for more information on flags and banners and to talk about which option will work best for your needs.

SpeedPro is your source for flags and banners, find a studio.

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