Custom Banners: The Essentials for Printing & Hanging
| Posted on 11/22/19

Custom Banners: The Essentials for Printing & Hanging

When you have something important to say, why not go big? Lightweight, durable and reusable, custom banners are so versatile and give designers the flexibility to attract attention in a big way. So before you hang up mesh or vinyl banners, take a look through the customizing options available at Smartpress.

A hanging banner with Behind the Print in white text and a woman holding a booklet open.

High Versatility, High Impact

We’ve all seen them: promoting products and businesses, at corporate gatherings, at sporting events, announcing special events or dressing up light poles down Main Street. But vinyl backdrops and custom banners have myriad design possibilities that you may not be aware of.

Two people presenting on stage with a custom hanging banner displayed behind them.

Attracting Attention

From Hanging Banners and Retractable Banners to Step and Repeat Banners, Smartpress’ online printing services offer an array of options for promoting and advertising a product or announcing personal events like birthdays, graduations or weddings.


Selecting the right large format vinyl banner for your application starts with defining how you intend it to be installed and displayed. It’s common to think of banners as hanging on a wall, fence, or other vertical surfaces.


But with the right finishing options, vinyl banners can be hung from the ceiling, mounted on poles, or installed on a stand. So look around your space and get creative to find the most attention-grabbing opportunity for your vinyl banner.

Four banner materials stacked on top of each other and tiered at the corner.

From top to bottom: 8 oz. Mesh Vinyl, 13 oz. Smooth Vinyl, 13 oz. Scrim Vinyl, 15 oz. Smooth Vinyl

Material Considerations

Before uploading your banner design for online printing, considering the practicalities of where your custom banners will be used is important to selecting the right material, as not all vinyl is created equal. When it comes to selecting material for your vinyl banner, there are a variety of options to choose from and each offers different benefits.


SCRIM VINYL is probably the most common material for vinyl banners. Among the most economical options, its 13-ounce weight makes it perfect in outdoor applications for short periods of time, especially if it’s not exposed to heavy weather. Suitable for one-sided printing, scrim vinyl has a matte finish but can take on a bit of shine when it’s printed with UV inks.


SMOOTH VINYL has a tighter weave than scrim vinyl, which yields a smoother surface. Smooth vinyl can be printed on both sides, so it’s the material of choice if your sign hangs where it will be seen from different directions. Like scrim vinyl, smooth vinyl also has a matte surface that takes on a shine when it’s printed with UV inks. For indoor applications, we suggest using 13 oz., which is primarily for lightweight indoor use, or 15 oz., which delivers the durability you may need if your sign will see heavy outdoor use.

MESH VINYL is made for windy applications. The mesh material allows air to pass through it, so you don’t have to cut wind slits that wreck your design and weaken the structural integrity of your banner. Because of its mesh structure, it can only be printed on one side, and like the other vinyl options, mesh vinyl has a matte finish to its surface.

The corners of four custom banners tiered on top of each other with grommets in each one.

Finishing Options

Designing vinyl banners doesn’t stop with selecting a material. Finishing options and banner hardware and accessories are equally dependent upon how your vinyl banner will be used and generally means defining how you want to hang your banner.


Sure, you could tie it up with rope, zip-ties or duct tape, but is that the best way to present your design? A little bit of planning and forethought will make your vinyl banner project successful and able to withstand the environment it hangs in.

A custom banner designed with pole pockets.

Smooth Vinyl finished with pole pockets

Two hands holding a custom banner that's loosely rolled with grommets in the corners.





Add pole pockets to your banner as an easy hanging option when installing onto a pole or dowel. Add a pocket on the bottom and insert a wood dowel to keep the banner straight and taught as it’s hung. Pole pockets can also be added to the left or right sides so you can slide the banner onto a stand. The trick with pole pockets is simple: choose a size that’s slightly larger than the pole so you can install it easily.

Grommets are the other option for hanging your banner. These metal rings usually come in black, white, brass, or chrome and can be added to the corners of your banner. If your vinyl banner is larger than 72˝ the grommets should be added every 24 inches to help keep your banner taut and crisp.


For ultimate flexibility, add both grommets and pole pockets. That way, if the placement for your banner changes, it’s still ready to hang. And sometimes a combination — grommets along the top with a pole pocket and dowel for weight at the bottom — are just what’s needed.

A black ball bungee threaded through a grommet in the corner of a banner.

Mesh vinyl finished with grommets and ball bungees

Two hands holding the corner of a custom printed banner with a grommet and Graft Cider in white letters.

Scrim vinyl finished with hemstitching and grommets




If your banner will hang in a windy location, you’ve probably already chosen mesh vinyl as your material. But you should also consider using ball bungee cords to hang your banner — they’ll let it move a bit more freely than rope or zip ties — and will look better, too.


Last, be sure to add hemstitching to increase the longevity of your custom banners. You don’t need hemstitching where you’ve added pole pockets, but it will add durability to the other sides.

A man in a blue jacket holding a beer standing in front a hanging banner printed with Behind the Print.

Perfect Promotion

Large format vinyl banners are an incredibly versatile item, and Smartpress is the online printer that can help you design, customize and print yours. Promoting a sale? There’s a vinyl banner for that. Promote a product, promote a business, promote your event.


Birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, graduations, bar mitzvahs, bat mitzvahs, quinceañeras or any occasion can be cause for a banner. And when you understand the options available, your vinyl banner project will come off without a wrinkle.





Hint: Want more custom banner inspo? Get it here:



The Kovar Brothers Design by Kovar Design & Illustration
AIGA Minnesota‘s Inside Out Design Camp 2018 Design by Cue
Graft Cidery Design by Sarah Kenney
Behind the Print Design by Ferenc Andaházy

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