I love writing about retractable banner stands. I’ve had years of experience with these stands and over the years I have had both great and not so great experiences. I think it has something to do with the old saying, “You get what you pay for.”
Many of you have your own printing systems, and can print on just about everything. The material you use to print your graphics on will help determine the impact of the graphic—curl-free vinyl banner, smooth blockout vinyl, canvas and various polyester fabrics and films. Each material offers its own benefits and drawbacks. I like working with dye-sub fabric for banner stands. I love fabric because it never scratches and stays cleaner longer. Some of the polyester films are very smooth and stiff looking, and they present very well for clients.
Banner stands with retractable components are a mainstay of the exhibit and display market. (Photo courtesy Catapult)
The way in which a banner stand presents the graphics should be one of the features you consider in a stand. With some stands the graphics roll out from the top of the stand, which is very convenient, but you usually see a large amount of the stand vs. graphic with this type. With other stands, the graphics roll out from the bottom-front of the stand. With these units you see only graphics and no stand.
The hardware with some units consists mostly of small lightweight tubes or poles with a spring-back tension. These present very well, but do not offer the convenience of a retractable stand. On the other hand, the hardware with the retractable is more prominent. Often the difference comes down to durability and overall appearance. Good units flatter the graphic without distracting from it.
Look for units that seem finished and have no metal parts sticking out, or uncapped tube ends. The more finished ones have caps on each end that hide the holes and hardware that makes the unit work. On telescoping units I look at how the upright poles hold up the graphics: is it straight up in the air or at an angle? Some of the double-sided ones hold the graphics at an angle.
Every stand has its own features and benefits. I’m attracted to banner stands that are unusual or unique. I recently saw a cool one with an option allowing you to connect several banner stands together using magnets to make a large complete graphic wall.
I also like the rotating banner stands where you can have multiple messages in one stand that rotate in and out. The fact that the banner is moving around and around is very eye-catching on a busy trade show floor.
I also like the stands had have removable cartridges so the graphics can be quickly be replaced—so easy and fast that even the customer could do it.
I was recently at The NBM Show in Long Beach, and I saw several banner stand manufactures on hand, and they had tons of the units on display, many with unique features.
Orbus was showing a stand with a bamboo base that was very nice. They were also offering a 59"-wide stand—not many units come that wide—and also a cool rolling unit. Catapult did a demo for me of their quick-change stand. He changed out that graphic in less than 60 seconds. Abex showed me a stand that was designed for outdoor use—it had fold-out “wings” giving it better stability against mild wind.
Synic Corp. was offering a show special on a unique scrolling banner stand can change the direction of the scrolling graphic just by touching the banner stand.
A number of banner stand vendors now offer limited and even lifetime warranties with their higher-end units. Yes, if anything was to go wrong with the stand (short of actual abuse), they will fix or replace it. This kind of warranty is not available with low-end units that are made with thinner metal and cheaper hardware. My feeling is that if you want a banner stand that will go up in a lobby and just stay there, then the low-cost units are great. If you need this banner stand to travel around to trade shows and get changed out and re-used on a more regular basis, then you should purchase the better quality ones that come with the warranty. It’s well worth it.
In the end, the choices for stands are almost endless. I recommend checking out some of these companies and make yourself aware of all the choices, and get and keep the catalogs. Then, when your client has a need for a stand, you know and can present all the options.
Many companies offer demo pricing so that you can get one to display at your shop at a reduced price. This allows you to demo the unit directly to your clients. A number of the companies also offer the printing so that you can sell the complete unit and they will drop-ship the completed unit to your client. All these features allow you more time to sell and make money with banner stands.
Good luck, be smart with your money, and I will see you on the show floor.
Banner Stand Resources