Better Banners: When to Choose Vinyl or Fabric for Event Signage | LexJet Blog

Better Banners: When to Choose Vinyl or Fabric for Event Signage

Banner printing is a staple in many print shops, and vinyl was the go-to for years. However, fabric is a top trend lately that customers demand these days. While fabric used for banners has some advantages, vinyl is still the top option in many circumstances. We put together this quick hit list on when to choose which media for the best event banner results:

Printer capabilities. If you have an aqueous printer, vinyl is generally your best bet. Fabric works well on latex or dye-sub printers. However, LexJet does offer LexJet Poly Select Heavy, for example, which works on aqueous or latex printers. It’s a good option when you want the drape of a fabric, but a heavier option that won’t curl like vinyl. It’s also available in Poly Select Light and Poly Select Medium that are multi-tasking products that can be used for backlit signs and trade show displays.

rodeo bannerEnvironment. Asking your customer where the banner will be displayed and what the ambiance is are the two most important questions to help you deliver the best banner for their expectations. At a casual, outdoor sporting event, a vinyl banner with grommets can deliver great results for the money. However, as Nackard Companies found when working on the Chuck Sheppard Memorial Roping event, opting for LexJet Poly Select Heavy was a great outdoor choice because when the signage hit the chain-link fence, it didn’t make as much noise as vinyl would, which could spook the animals in the rodeo.

jeweler posterFor upscale events where attendees may be closer to the graphics, fabric can alsobe a better choice. Eli Weingarten from Precision Graphics in Brooklyn uses LexJet Poly Select Medium for a jeweler’s events for posters that illustrate intricate, up-close details, and are affixed to lightweight drapes.

Cost. Vinyl is a less-expensive option, in most cases, which makes it a top choice for temporary, one-time use event banners. Plus, an option like the popular Heytex 13 oz. TopazFLX Matte comes in at just $0.22 per square foot with a 1000×1000 denier weave that makes it durable outdoor choice for the money that’s solvent- and latex-compatible. By comparison, if the customer wants the elegant look and feel of fabric signage, a product like HP Light Fabric comes in at $0.64 per square foot.

onesparkFinishing. Both vinyl and fabric give you some versatility. Simple outdoor vinyl banners can be finished with grommets for easy hanging. Or, two vinyl banners can be sewn or heat-pressed together to create a double-sided, opaque banner. Fabric can also be sewn for the same effect, and will typically need a hem to prevent fraying. (Watch this video to learn how to make quick, no-sew fabric signage with pole pockets.)

Fabric is also more conformable for various uses, such as wrapping it around a column and securing with Velcro. It’s also a good option for odd shapes or curves, like the facades created for Jacksonville’s One Spark Festival, where photographer Douglas J. Eng used LexJet Poly Select Heavy finished with LexJet Sunset Satin Coating to show off his work on the sides of buildings.

banners 3For sporting events, photographer Carl Caylor chose scrim-reinforced vinyl LexJet TOUGHcoat ThriftyBanner and affixed them to stands using Banner Up adhesive grommet tabs for extra durability that lasted the entire high school football season.

“We had a few games with really nasty weather, and they really held up great,” he says.

You may also be interested in: We put together this quick video to help you choose the right media for all types of special event graphics:

Shellie has more than 20 years of experience in the print publication industry as a content strategist, editor and writer. She has partnered with printing, photography and graphics professionals on a wide variety of publications and printing projects. At LexJet, she writes about customer experiences, industry trends, new products and the latest inkjet printing innovations.


  1. I had heard that vinyl signs were great and I was curious as to where they worked the best. You wrote that vinyl signs and banners are great for outdoor events, as they stand up to weather quite well. Makes sense that a business would want to use vinyl, especially if they want their sign to be seen by potential customers for a long time. Thank you for the great read.

  2. I like how you say that vinyl signs are less expensive, temporary signs. It would make sense that if you have a sale or something that you are trying to advertise you would want to find something cheap and easy. This would allow you more versatility when you decide to design your sign.

  3. Vinyl banners are definitely cheaper compared to fabric banners. Dye sublimation printing is very much capable of making fabric banners with continuous photographic prints that look really great at closeup. This is why they’re more expensive than the vinyl ones. I do agree with the idea to use vinyl outdoors where potential viewers see it at a distance since they’re not as good to look at at close-up, plus vinyl tend to have that plastic-ish glare.

  4. I’m glad that you talked about how it is common for one time use banners to be made out of vinyl because it’s cheaper. I need a banner for an event I’m putting together, and I wasn’t sure how to choose a material. I can see how it would be nice to go with vinyl because I don’t think I’ll ever use the banner again.

  5. Great breakdown, Shellie! I’m always more partial to vinyl banners myself, but there is a good and bad time to use them – and times when the job calls for fabric. Fabric banners are more versatile in many occasions. Good tips!

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