By Lisa Guerriero
Flag graphics are hard to ignore, which is exactly why they’re suited to a variety of advertising and promotional applications.
Many offer a combination of stands and flags. Business is booming for digitally printed flag systems used for marketing, branding, and wayfinding. The ability to print a variety of eye-catching shapes and sizes makes advertising flags valuable for retailers and marketers.
“While traditionally manufactured flags will never go out of use as state or country flags, digitally printed flags are fast becoming a favored alternative for promotional or marketing messages,” says Natalie Whited, VP of marketing, Orbus Exhibit & Display Group.
Designs offer different benefits for maximizing the exposure an advertising campaign receives. Two-way readability is a popular option, and some systems are engineered to attract attention from the waving or rotating of the flag.
Highly durable, advertising flags offer a “set and forget” messaging method required by many advertisers. This is supported by easy setup and a high degree of portability, enabling use at multiple locations.
These qualities also make advertising flags well suited to wayfinding and instructional signage. They are especially effective when used for temporary or traveling events.
Print service providers (PSPs) new to textile printing, as well as fabric veterans, can maximize their investment by adding advertising flags to their list of services.
Though advertising flags are in a variety of shapes, teardrop and feather styles are trending. The terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but teardrop refers to mounting systems where the fabric is held taut. The mounting system for feather flags creates a rippling or waving effect.
Stand and Deliver
Businesses utilize flag systems for advertising, including retailers, banks, automotive dealerships, and grocery stores. They are also popular for apartment complexes, restaurants, schools, and special events like festivals and concerts.
“Flags stand out in a crowd—either as directional signage or an indoor/outdoor display to launch a product; promote an event or grand opening; or simply generate foot traffic to your location,” notes Gary Aires, CEO, Above All Advertising, Inc.
Easy installation and portability makes advertising flags well suited for temporary, traveling, or recurring promotions. PSPs provide clients with a ready-to-use product that doesn’t require a professional to change graphics.
Many advertising flags are designed for both indoor and outdoor use. Often, end users post them inside and outside of a venue—including shops, trade shows, and events—to maximize the effect.
Other systems target specific environments. Flags for interiors typically employ a straight pole or banner arm. Outdoor systems are often designed to wave or rotate, while retaining graphic visibility when wind subsides.
Although they are often used as stand-alone graphics, flags may also serve as part of a larger marketing campaign. A classic use is to complement in-store messaging with a flag graphic stationed outside.
“Think of feather flags like freshly baked, warm bread. Great by itself, but also delicious with any meal,” suggest Tim Bookout, VP sales, and Gustavo Correa, VP sales and marketing, North America Display Corporation.
Some vendors also offer flag-style display systems for street poles. Digital printing is increasingly popular for this application, as advertisers look for a range of shapes, sizes, and printing effects. Flag systems for street poles offer easy, cost-effective change outs without requiring additional hardware or use of a bucket truck. As a result, they are popular for short-term advertising near a venue.
“It’s particularly effective for festival and special event venues,” notes Roger Lepley, president, Consort Display Group.
Printing and Finishing
Many advertising flag vendors offer printing services with their products, allowing PSPs to outsource the work. Flags and display systems are also available for a PSP to print in house.
Polyester and polyester blends are the primary fabric choice for advertising flags. It is durable, environmentally friendly, and compatible with many printers and inks. Additionally, polyester provides a key feature for advertising—versatility.
“Polyester materials come in a variety of characteristics—they can be sheer or more opaque, knitted or woven, matte or glossy, wrinkle resistant, or flame retardant, giving customers the choice to have their product look how they want it,” explains Susanne Ruhland, VP, Tex Visions.
The printing method varies depending on the flag brand and product. Many vendors suggest dye-sublimation (dye-sub) because it balances color quality with durability and works well with polyester.
If a PSP purchases the display stand and fabric and plans to handle the printing in house, vendors recommend finishing by sewing rather than welding. This is the method typically used by flag vendors that also print the graphics.
In addition to flag hemming, some systems require finishing. The main graphic is attached to a sewn pole pocket, which allows the flag to be attached to the hardware.
“Both single- and double-sided flags need to be sewn to create the pole pocket during the finishing process,” says Whited.
Here we detail available flag systems. While some advertising flags are sold as stand-alone mounting systems, many vendors provide the fabric as well.
Above All Advertising offers flag systems for dye-sub printing, each with a carbon composite pole system and polyester blend fabrics. It usually handles the printing for these systems. Its offerings include the Flex Banner Evo Banner, priced at $75 net per piece. It stands 15 feet tall with a 138×25.5-inch banner. Its shape is similar to a teardrop but with a straighter line on the pole side and less curve at the top. Mounting options include ball bearing platforms or ground stakes.
Custom Contour Cut Flags feature a non-symmetrical shape designed to spotlight a product or brand.
Buyers can custom order a shape—the loose side of the flag is cut to resemble a beverage can or a logo. “It offers continuous visibility of your company. The top stays firm while the bottom blows in the wind,” says Aires. The system is available in an 8.5-foot height with a 72×55-inch banner, or 13-foot height with a 120×55-inch banner. It is priced at $169.99 net per piece for the smaller version or $189.99 net per piece for the 13-foot model.
The Bullet Flag from Above All Advertising, named for its shape, offers a large printing surface. The system stands 12 or 15 feet high, with corresponding banner space of either 128×39.5 or 168×61 inches. Designed to generate product awareness and visibility, it rotates 360 degrees in the wind and returns to its original position. Installation options include a tailgate stand, wall mount, platform, or stake. Pricing is $209.99 for the 12-foot model and $299.99 for the 15-foot version.
Consort features multiple flag systems in a variety of shapes and sizes. Its Dori Pole Pennant System tethers the flag on one side for a loose, rippling effect. The pole, made of pultruded Fiberglass, features a proprietary swiveling yoke at the top that spins in the wind to deter tangling. The flags are available in solid colors or a two-color version. SolarMax nylon enables custom imprints using thermal heat set materials in up to three colors while the polyester allows the entire pennant to be any design. The company recommends sewing for this system. The fiberglass poles range from 13.5 to 21 feet high when telescoped. The poles are available for $75 to $99 and stock pennants are priced at $35 to $79 depending on length. Consort also offers custom printing services.
The company’s FlagTrax is a modernized version of the traditional light pole mounted advertising flag. “This system targets entities and organizations that currently use the standard vertical format street banners,” explains Lepley. Unlike the street pole flags sometimes used by retailers, museums, and municipalities, FlagTrax doesn’t require a bucket truck after installation—change outs can be completed from the ground. The company sews FlagTrax Slider Tape onto the pole side and top of the flag, allowing the print to “slide” up the track and into position. Multiple printing methods can be used, but Consort recommends single-weight, bleed-through dye-sub for optimal performance. The system holds flags between 48×22 and 144×36 inches. The hardware costs between $195 and $325 while the flags are between $90 and $250.
Creative Banner Displays offers teardrop sail sign banners in 8, 11.5, and 15 feet. The flag poles are constructed of a strong flexible carbon composite material. These three sizes are available as a “quick ship” option, meaning the company will conduct one-sided printing in 24 or 48 hours, depending on the pricing structure chosen by the end user. For less rushed turnaround, Creative Banner also offers teardrop sail signs at six feet, double- or single-sided print in addition to razor sail signs at seven feet, single- or double-sided print.
Expand International’s Expand PromoFlag is available in either its Teardrop or SharkFin shapes in multiple heights. They can be printed single or double sided. Ground bases are available in x-base, square plate, or ground stake. For extra durability, customers can pair a plate or base with a doughnut sandbag.
North America Display offers feather flags and street pole flags. It uses all-polyester flag fabric that is lightweight and semi-transparent. Its double-sided flags feature an added liner to block light and improve two-way readability of the message.
Its single- and double-sided feather flags are available in five shapes and four sizes, encompassing 40 product combinations. Priced between $99 and $464, they range in size from 7.2 to 17.1 feet. The price includes a tapered fiberglass rod, fabric carry bag, and ground stake with rotating feature. “The strength and durability of our fiberglass poles differentiate us from the competition,” note Bookout and Correa.
The company hems the fabric on the outside of the flag. The pole pocket is made with a bias-cut binding. A grommet at the bottom provides additional security to tie the flag to the bottom of the pole.
Orbus’ selection of flag systems includes the Zoom and Wind Dancer models, as well as single- and double-sided street pole flags. It also offers printing services for its advertising flags. It uses dye-sub printing on robust, lightweight fabric to ensure outdoor durability.
The Zoom line features three shapes—teardrop, feather, or straight—and each is available in three-, four-, or five-meter sizes. They are designed to make it simple for an advertiser to attract attention. The single- or double-sided graphics rotate in the wind to avoid tearing or fraying, and kits are available with an indoor weighted base or outdoor ground stake for variety. Several accessories are available with the poles to tailor mounting to different environments, including a weighted outdoor base, auger base for use on beaches, or a drive-over base for sporting events or concerts. MSRP is $200 to $330 for the three-meter model, $300 to $550 for the four-meter version, and $400 to $750 for the five-meter. MSRP includes the cost of graphics printed by Orbus.
Wind Dancer is a line of single- or double-sided flag systems that offer robust construction, durability, and wind resistance for outdoor use. They are ideal for drawing attention to a storefront, concert, or festival. Available in three sizes from six to 12 feet high, the system features a hollow base that can be filled with water or sand as a weighing agent. Designed for easy assembly and a sleek look, the MSRP is between $300 and $980 depending on the size.
Tex Visions offers a wide selection of advertising flags and banners, with print dimensions from 12×12 to 236×98 inches. The company provides single-reverse and double-sided layouts as well as portrait and landscape orientation. Prices start at $42.68. Most of its products utilize a flame retardant polyester fabric, while specialty fabrics are also available, including the company’s Varioflag product, which features a mesh appearance but is polyester. It includes self-sealing edges that allow flags to be finished with cut sides to promote longevity. Finishing can be customized, but the traditional approach is hemmed sides with header tape and grommets.
The Bowflag line is one of Tex Visions’ top products. It is available in a variety of sizes and shapes, including teardrop, arrow, bullet/surfboard, shield, kite, concave, straight, angled, and convex. Printed on durable knitted polyester, the Bowflag systems enable easy change outs of shapes and sizes. The pole sleeves are printable to extend messaging space and create a smooth appearance. Highly customizable, the systems are used indoors and outdoors, and don’t require wind for full visibility of the graphic. Most Bowflags utilize a fitted pole system, but the company also offers some specialty mounting options for on-the-go advertising. These include a backpack mounting system, ideal for mobile display at a special event, and clip-on car flags that can withstand driving speeds.
Other Tex Visions options include T-Pole, a flagpole for events that uses a banner arm to fully display the graphic. Featuring adjustable height, four customizable models offer durable knitted polyester. Single-reverse and double-sided flags are available for the easily assembled system. Sizes range from 8.9 to 19.6 feet, and prices start at $146.93. A smaller Portable Flagpole is also available, starting at $78.11. There are several models between eight and 15 feet, with or without banner arms. The company also offers customizable street banners in heights from three to ten feet, with prices starting at $52.92. The mounting system features aviation-grade fiberglass hardware and the flag fabric is durable knitted polyester. They are easy to install and no additional hardware is required for switching prints.
Long May They Wave
Advertising flags are an effective way to promote. The customer’s messaging literally stands out from the background. Whether stationary or mobile, inside or outside, digitally printed fabric is eye catching and memorable. Combining durability and portability, advertisers maximize their budgets with a product that can be reused and repositioned.
Oct2015, Digital Output