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Flags vs. Banners: A Comparison

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Flags and Banners

The advertisement for your business begins at its doorstep. Look at any successful shop, and you’ll notice that every one of them has something in common – they use their signage, flags and banners, to make their presence, and their purpose, known.

But like any other form of marketing, you need the right tools in the right place to gain traction. If you are just starting out, or if you're looking to update the look and appeal of your business, it can be a little confusing to know what to put where to get the best overall effect. With so many tools at your disposal, what do you use where?

Close, But No Cigar

While flags and banners certainly bear a superficial resemblance, there is an importance difference between the two. A flag is a material that hangs freely from its edge from a pole. A banner is fixed in place with one or more poles. Similar design, different result.

Likewise, advertising the uses of the two carry several different results with them. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of both can be very useful in deciding which you want to favor when it comes to decorating your shop front.


Traditionally, Western-style flags are rectangular or square in shape. However, there’s really no rule as to what shape a flag can have, as you can see on the website of BuildAFlag's custom printing service. And when you're looking at refining your traditional advertising methods, they come with a few advantages:

They’re affordable. Flags are often very cheap to make and are more easily replaced if lost or damaged.

They’re eye-catching. Being brightly colored and free to ripple as the wind moves them, flags have a distinct advantage in their ability to draw the eye.

They’re space efficient. Literally requiring no more space than a pole requires to be set up, flags are great where space is a precious commodity.

They’re adaptable. For similar reasons, flags can be used in pretty much any kind of environment and business. Whether it’s on a pole in a parking lot, or else hanging just above the store’s window, a flag can be give you that visibility without taking up a noticeable amount of space.

However, there is a cost.

Flags are easily damaged. Precisely because flags are left to flap freely in the wind, before too long, you’ll see wear and tear. A flag left flying for days on end will more quickly need to be touched up or repaired, so caring for them can become an issue.

The actual flag itself has little space. In this regard, flags can’t really hold a lot of information. At most, you’ll be able to fit on a logo, the store’s name and – if you’re lucky – a website. Any more and the flag becomes cluttered and confusing to look at.


Banners are hung between poles, or can be placed along borders of a sufficient size. They’re nearly universally rectangular in shape, but don’t let that stop you from experimenting with other shapes to keep things interesting. You can typically expect the following from your banners:

Sturdy design. As they have more support, a banner can often take more punishment.

Lots of room for information. A banner is most effectively used to advertising specific information to a potential customer, such as special offers, services offered, or events being held.

Cheap. Like flags, banners are also cheap to make. Any good print shop in town will be able to print a banner for a reasonable price, although you’ll find flags still tend to be a bit cheaper.

So what are the disadvantages of banners?

They are somewhat unwieldly. While flags can be placed nearly anywhere, banners often require a lot more room in order to be at their best. This may make them a bit difficult to use if you’re pressed for space and have nowhere to face it properly.

They are less adaptable. While a flag can often remain unchanged for years, banners are usually more specific. If an event advertised by a banner comes and goes, it tends to go into storage until the next time that event occurs.

So Which Is Better?

This ultimately depends on your business and its needs. While a flag is more adaptive and can see use in a wider variety of situations, a banner is essential for giving specific information to consumers that may more effectively result in on-street conversion to a sale. Due to differences in form, flags more often see use displaying the company logo and are used as more consistent fixtures of your curb-appeal. Banners, on the other hand, tend to lend themselves towards seasonal communications or sales and tend to be rotated in and out of services over the course of a sales year. In this way, the two together tend to work rather well, each contributing to the success of your trade.

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