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.

No Dye-Sub? No Problem. You Can Still Print Great Fabrics

There’s no doubt about it: Printed fabrics are in demand right now. And with the textile market seeing a 75% increase in the soft signage category, print service providers need to offer fabric as an alternative substrate, or their customers may just walk on by.

One major misconception is that printers need dye-sublimation technology to print fabrics correctly. But with the advancements in media options and printer technology, that’s certainly no longer the case. And in some instances, inkjet-printed fabrics are an even better option than dye-sub.

Free Core Adapter for 2-inch Spindles Included with 3-inch Rolls

3-2 core

If you’ve purchased a 3-inch roll of media recently, you may have noticed the plastic end caps in the box. Don’t toss those out. Included in those end caps are easy-to-use core adapters that will allow you to run that 3-inch media on printers with 2-inch spindles.

More media is now sold on 3-inch cores to reduce the curl in the media. These value-added core adapters allow you to use media on a variety of printers, including latex. To use the adapter, just remove it from the end cap and pop it into the roll, as shown below.

Core adapter

The adapters can currently be found in the following LexJet products, which are sold in 3-inch rolls:

We also carry 3-inch spindles for a variety of printers, if you’re ready to make that switch, instead. Call a LexJet print specialist at 800-453-9538 to determine the right solution for you.


Roping up Fabric Banners for Rodeos

Fabric Banners for a Rodeo

Special events are an increasingly important branding opportunity for the Nackard Companies and the beverage brands it represents in the Arizona market. As the beverage distributor’s experience with Dew Downtown, the annual snow-shredding competition through downtown Flagstaff, has illustrated, a successful and growing special event provides brand saturation beyond the point of sale.

This summer is rodeo season in Arizona, and Nackard is branding at four different rodeos. The first one of the summer started just three years ago and Nackard was there as a sponsor and a print provider from the beginning.

The Chuck Sheppard Memorial Roping event at the Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo Grounds brings calf and team ropers together to honor Chuck Sheppard, a famous horseman and roper, and to support various area scholarships.

Fabric Banners by the Nackard CompaniesWith an average of about 30 sponsors per year, Nackard’s job is to provide 3×8 banners to line the fences around the rodeo grounds. Steve Lalio, P.O.P. shop manager for the Nackard Companies, created a template that includes one of Nackard’s brands and one of the sponsoring companies.

The rodeo’s first request was for banners that wouldn’t make a lot of noise when they flapped in the breeze and struck the fencing. It seems the animals get a little spooked when that happens, and the last thing a roper needs is a spooked animal in the ring.

So, Lalio suggested LexJet Poly Select Heavy for the banners, and the solution worked. Though it’s a heavy, durable fabric, it doesn’t make a lot of noise against the fencing if it flaps around, or at least enough noise to get up the hackles of a bull.

“If every sponsor notices what we did with the banners, they’ll want the fabric material because they print well, look nice and are lighter than typical banner material,” says Lalio, who prints the banners on the shop’s Canon iPF8000S. “What’s also nice about the fabric is that we can run them without lamination, so all we do is print, put Banner Ups and grommets in the corner, roll them up and send them out.”

Creating Cohesion with Fabric Banners

Fabric Banners for an Event

Tasteful, decorative and informational: three words that describe a fabric banner project completed by Dale Stokes and Lory Tubbs, graphic designers at the LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, La.

The Health Sciences Center holds various events, welcoming students, faculty, administration and the public into the center through the main atrium. At this most recent event, the coordinator wanted to match the tablecloths at the various information tables and present a cohesive look.

Consulting with his LexJet customer specialist, Joshua Crissman, Stokes used LexJet Poly Select Heavy fabric, printing the banners on a Canon iPF8000S.

“We were trying to put a little color in it, and the only real option was to hang something over the first floor handrail above the ground floor of the atrium. The fabric has a real nice weight about it and hung flat and didn’t blow around too much,” explains Stokes. “Our client was super-satisfied with them, and everyone who came through the event, including faculty members and department heads, complimented the pennants and asked where they were printed.”

Toni Thibeaux of LSU Health Sciences Center created the overall concept, including the layout of the banners, what they would say and the color scheme.

Stokes also printed welcome signs with photos of students on LexJet TOUGHcoat Water-Resistant Polypropylene that were placed in retractable banner stands.

It was a fairly simple project, and Stokes says the fabric-printer combination worked quite well, reproducing the PMS colors from the tablecloths, ensuring a consistent and cohesive visual program for the event.

“When they found out we designed and printed them, they were surprised. They’re used to seeing our medical presentations and scientific posters, but they don’t think of us creating room décor,” adds Stokes.

Beyond the Façade with Fabric Banner Applications for a Cityscape

Window Art with Fabric Banners

Jacksonville, Fla., recently hosted the One Spark Festival, billed as the world’s first “crowdfunded” festival. During the course of the five-day downtown festival, more than 480 creators and artists promoted their projects.

Window Banners printed on LexJet Poly Select Heavy
The windows of the empty buildings on this side of the street feature Douglas J. Eng’s fine art photography series City Reflections, printed on LexJet Poly Select Heavy.

The “crowd” voted for their favorites via smart phone, casting more than 50,000 votes. Jacksonville’s own Douglas J. Eng Photography won 2nd Place Overall and 2nd Place in the Art category for the studio’s renditions of Douglas J. Eng’s fine art photography splashed across downtown buildings.

These fine art photo splashes were installed in boarded-up window alcoves near Eng’s old studio. Eng has since moved to a new studio space, but always wanted to do something with those empty facades and the One Spark Festival provided the perfect opportunity. He wanted to “change the nature of the space.”

Printing LexJet Fabric on an Epson 9900 Inkjet printerTo accomplish this, Eng called Danny Chalmers for some direction on inkjet printing materials to use that would hold up for the festival and beyond and would work well with his Epson Stylus Pro 9900 aqueous inkjet printer.

“Danny has been very helpful. LexJet’s unique in that we have a rep that’s available to help us out when we need it. This project was a departure for me, since I mostly do fine art printing,” says Eng. “I recently received the LexJet Product Reference Guide, and that’s very helpful because I can see all the different things we can do with our printer.”

Eng didn’t want to try an adhesive-backed material on the plywood that covers the windows of the empty buildings because the plywood surfaces are extremely rough and inconsistent.

What Eng did instead was to print on LexJet Poly Select Heavy coated with LexJet Sunset Satin Coating, and then fastened the inkjet-printable fabric to the plywood with screws.

Fabric Printing for a Festival“It was about 2,300 square feet of printing; the biggest job we’ve done. Some of the windows were huge, up to 20′ x 15′, so we had to rent a lift,” says Eng. “The color and imaging looks great on the fabric, even after three weeks of being in the elements. Fortunately, people have left it alone and there’s no graffiti on it.”

The buildings where Eng applied his fine art photography are across the street from each other. One building features a series by Eng called City Reflections and the other is called Building Nature. If you’re in Jacksonville be sure to go to Laura Street and check out Eng’s work while it’s still up.

For a detailed look at this project, go to