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Art Licensing by artist Joan Beiriger: I'm happy to share art licensing info but please
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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Art Licensing Resource: Using Vinyl Banners for Booths

There are many ways to display art at licensing shows such as with posters and banners on the walls of a booth. View the Surtex 2010 video above to see a variety of booths and how surface designers, artists and art licensing agents display art.

Placing individual posters on the walls tend to be time intensive so more and more artists and art licensing agents are using banners to shorten the time in booth set-up. Vinyl banners rolled and placed into a shipping tube are light weight and easy to transport to a show. Note: Long paper posters can also be used. The artists that I exhibited with at the 2010 Atlanta Gift show used 2' by 5' posters printed by They were printed on Epson enhanced matte paper and were "dropped-dead gorgeous." The only draw back was that the paper curled even with weighs placed on the bottom edge of the posters.

Banners can be taped to the walls or hanged from the top poles of the booth depending on how the booth is constructed. For instance, at Surtex the booth walls are made of eight foot high hard walls constructed with panel widths of 37-1/2" or 18-1/8" depending on the size of the booth. Many artists recommend using 3M Command Poster Strips* to attach the banners directly to the walls because they are easy to remove and does not leave a sticky residue. Other artists use s-hooks** to hang the banners from the top of the wall. Some trade shows such as the License & Design area at the Atlanta Gift Show uses fabric draped walls so banners should be hanged from the top supporting poles with s-hooks.

* 3M Command poster strips comes in a 48 piece pack that can be purchased in office supply stores and on

** s-hooks can be purchased in garden supply stores and on Metal bendable s-hooks with one side a larger diameter than the other works best so that it can fit over the top of the wall or pole. Hint: Bring two pairs of pliers to the show so that you can adjust the size of the diameter if needed.

Banner Details and Advice
Even if the booth size is advertised as ten feet by ten feet or eight feet by ten feet size, the inside dimensions often vary and could be less than the advertised amount. For instance, 10' by 10' booths at Surtex actually measures 9-1/2' along each wall by calculating the number and dimensions of the panels and panel connecting strips. Thus, if a ten foot wide banner is purchased it will be too wide for the booth. And if the height of the wall is shorter than eight feet and a 8' long banner is purchased it will be too long. It is better to purchase shorter and narrower banners because they will fit various size booths, cost less, are easier to transport, and the art on the banners will not be hidden behind table and chairs.

Vinyl banners come in glossy and matte finish. I recommend using a matte finish banner to reduce the glare from spotlights. However, I have heard that some artists had problems with the paint/ink chipping with matte finish banners. This may be caused by the printing process used by some companies but also if the banners are old, or if they are stored in too hot or too cold temperatures. Before ordering banners for the entire booth, it is advisable to order one banner from a company to make sure the quality of the images and color is acceptable and that the surface does not chip when the banner is rolled.

Note: Make sure that the size of the images on your banners can be easily seen ten to 12 feet away. Some artists and agents recommend that the smallest side of an image be at least 18 inches. My images are at least 12 inches.

Below is a list of some companies that print banners. There are many others listed on the internet but they either did not show their prices or they offered only few banner sizes.

Digital Pre-Press Services

Echod Graphics

FedEx Office (Kinkos)

Got Print

MegaPrint Inc.

Post-Up Stand Inc.

U.S. Press

Below is a price comparison for a 3' wide by 6' long banner from the companies listed above. I think a six foot banner is long enough to display art because persons walking the show usually do not look at the bottom of banners and most of it will be hidden by the table and chairs anyway. Many artists exhibiting at Surtex prefer three foot wide banners because the banners fit well on the 38-1/2" panels in a ten foot wall booth or evenly span the panel connecting strips on an eight foot wall with 18-1/8" panels. However, I like to use a two foot wide banner because I can roll the banners into a shipping tube, stuff the tube in a backpack and have no trouble carrying it onto an airplane. If the banners were wider and thus the shipping tube longer, I would have to try to fit it in my luggage or check it separately when traveling on an airplane.
I welcome any comments. Please write them in the comment section below.


  1. Wow, thank you so much for this post!! I am exhibiting at Surtex this year for the first time and this is really great advice! I am designing my banners now, so I will keep all this in mind:)

    Thanks again!

  2. Very Good Info Joan
    Especially for a very complicated and detailed subject. I myself used Shutterfly to print 30 x 20 matte prints then cut them in half for 15 x 20 and sized my work any way I wanted. I then laminated them for durability and left a big enough border to have holes drilled in order to use binder rings to connect them into columns...Hung them using S hooks with the top rings. Small enough to pack in a larger suitcase and just the right weight to check if maybe half of an 8x10 booth. Not sure if bigger because of the weight of the laminate.

  3. Wow, Joan! Another very informative post. I was just talking about banners for Surtex with a friend who will be there this year. Aside from all that you posted here, we were trying to figure out what the best strategy is for choosing what artwork to put on the banners. My first thought was to put the best stuff up to draw them in but then we thought maybe it is better to use stuff that is great but not the best so that when they are in the booth looking, you have something left to WOW them with. Also there is a little fear that it would be easy for people to take pictures & plagiarize the art on the banners.

    Thanks Rachel for your comment. Sounds like a good system you have.

  4. I got vinyl banners for the Atlanta Gift Show this year from They were less expensive than others I looked into and they were good quality.

  5. THANK YOU for posting this. What great info. I've been kinda stressing over how to print for the show and this helps put my mind at ease, sort of.
    I will be exhibiting for the first time and so excited about. I think it's so wonderful how everyone is so supportive of each other. It feels great to be a part of this industry. A dream come true. Hope to meet you all at the show. Wish me luck :)

  6. This is an excellent post! For a number of years I mounted images on foamcore and took those big sheets to the licensing show. They were heavy, cumbersome, and never quite stuck to the walls correctly, even with Velcro. And they tended to warp in humidity.

    My worst experience with foamcore was when for some reason the weight of the boards overcame the stickiness of the Velcro, which wasn't sticking very well at all. The worst moment was when I was meeting with a very important licensee and behind the person's shoulder I could see, almost in slow motion, one of my boards ever-so-slowly separating from and eventually toppling off the wall onto the floor. Awful.

    Later that afternoon I went around to every art booth at the show and finally found the same solution that Joan recommends here - printed vinyl banners. I located a local printer in New Hampshire who could lay out the artwork and then print them off in the space of a week or so, and they worked perfectly, just as Joan describes. I haven't gone back to anything that requires sticking stuff on the walls of the booth and have no plans to ever switch from printed banners.

    My banners have round grommets in each corner, and I use the S-hooks provided for free at Javits in NYC (generally found at Freeman's service desk). As a result, my set-up is done in less than half an hour, and that's without rushing it.

    I re-use the banners from year to year if an artist hasn't created sufficient knock 'em dead artwork over the previous year, and print new ones for bright and compelling new art and/or artists. Now that I'm no longer within driving distance from New York, I FedEx the rolled-up banners in a tube from here to my hotel, and bring along an already-filled-out FedEx waybill that I can stick on the tube at the end of the show. Then I walk it down to the FedEx counter at the show, drop it off, and it's done.

    I've also taken to shipping my binders that way as well, and believe me, it's a relief to have it all work out so easily.

  7. I haven't tried those recommended but I got 2 banners from Vistaprint and was really pleased with the quality - they have a waterproof option too (UK helps I can tell you)

    The design options meant I was able to create my own design, the quality of my work was superb, plenty of type/font options (with a little creativity too) and the thickness of the banner was suitable for grommets or safety pins, which I covered with ribbon (a fairie show, I could get away with it!)

    Being based in the UK, price-wise, even with shipping and tax, it was still my best option.

    Thanks again Joan for a useful guide.

  8. Thank you SO much for sharing this info! This will be my first time exhibiting at Surtex and I've been stressing about printing banners- this post was extremely helpful and gives me plenty of options!

  9. Joan, really helpful post. I clicked through from Genevieve's link on her blog (thanks Genevieve). I am also exhibiting for first time and appreciate the variety of creative options for booth design -- too many ways to count, but banners seem to be the best solution on the back end. When you are at the show, the last thing you want is to spend four or more hours setting up your booth. That is very unpleasant- so to have this option if you can find good printer, is priceless for peace of mind.

  10. Great Post! I like your advice with regards to vinyl banner. Thanks Joan, more power to your blog!

  11. I know this post is almost six years old, but it is interesting to see how high the pricing was as well as the concerns with peeling and chipping. In a relatively short time vinyl banners have seen a considerable decrease in pricing. This combined with High resolution digital printing, vinyl banners are now an extremely cost effective way for promotion.