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Roller banners: The ultimate guide

Table of Contents

What are roller banners?

Roller banners are a popular large format lightweight display stand. The base is commonly made from aluminium whereas the graphic area is usually printed on to a vinyl or polypropylene substrate.

Most commonly used as a marketing display tool, roller banners are referred to by many similar but different names, including: roll up banners, pull up banners, penguin stands and pop up displays. Printed on large format machines such as Roland or HP printers, roller banners are printed at 300dpi and so the print quality is defined as high resolution.

Many suppliers of roller banners provide a carry case to ensure that the stand and graphic are protected in transit. A premium carry case would provide a certain level of padding where budget roller banners are supplied with a case that has no padding at all. Very cheap roller banners may be supplied with no carry case, however if this is the case we would suggest you invest in a box or alternative method to transport the banner in as frequent knocks or bumps may damage the roller banner beyond repair.

Key benefits of roller banners

The top 5 benefits of using a roller banner for your marketing are:

  1. Massive Impact – At 2 metres tall and just short of a metre wide, roller banners command a visual presence in any room. Perfect for backdrops to staging or for use in promotional photos, they are extremely versatile in their use.
  2. Cost Effective – Roller Banners shouldn’t be costly and prices start from under £100 at many printers all across Northern Ireland. The value from roller banners comes from keeping them generic in their design so that they can be used right across all facets of the business. One banner can have so many uses. Photo Prop, Staging Background, Welcome Banner in Reception and Event or Exhibition Graphic.
  3. Easy to Use – From unpacking to assembling a standard roller banner and be set up in less than 30 seconds (and we have the video to prove it). Take down is equally fast and can be managed by a single user. Roll up banners generally weigh less than 3kgs and so transportation away from your business is not generally an issue.
  4. Durability – Pop up banners are built to last. Not only is the aluminium base extremely sturdy, but the polypropylene graphic and fade resistant inks ensure that your banner is built to last. A premium roller banner should also come with a carry case, preferably padded so that even when being stored, your stand is protected.
  5. Easy Storage – Using our premium roller banners as an example, each banner is less than a metre in width. The heigh and depth of the banner is less than 15cm each and so by it’s very design, when the graphic is stored within the base, it is super compact. For extra convenience the pole supplied can be split into three elements and neatly stored in the back of the aluminium base before putting into the carrier case. This way all elements are contained in the one package at all times.

How to put up a roller banner

Assembling a roller banner takes only a few minutes – the steps to assemble a roller banner are:

  1. Take the Roller Banner from the padded carrier case
  2. With the unit on the ground, open the feet so that they are perpendicular from the base and allow the unit to “stand” steadily
  3. Take the pole elements from the back of the unit and assemble it to make one large pole.
  4. Feed the bottom of the pole through the receiving hole on the back of the roller banner. Ensure the pole reaches the black nubbin at the bottom of the unit and clicks into place.
  5. Firmly grabbing the clip rail on the graphic and with weight on the foot, lift the graphic and fit the plastic element to the top of the roller banner pole.

The graphic will now be free standing. If you find that the graphic is leaning forward the pole may not be inserted properly. The only other issue that sometimes presents itself with roller banners is that they fall over. If this happens, please check that the feet are opened as this is the main reason for this issue.

When taking your roller banner down after use please ensure you firmly hold the graphic at the top. The spring loaded system does exert some force and so will need holding to slowly manoeuvre the graphic back into the roller banner base.

What size is a roll up banner?

Printers work to many different roller banner bases. The most common roller banner sizes are:

  • 800mm wide x 2000mm tall
  • 850mm wide x 2000mm tall – the size we use at Kaizen Print
  • 1200mm wide x 2000mm tall

Other than this, double sided roller banners are quite popular also. The most common double sided roller banner size is 850mm wide x 2000mm tall.

Below is our roll up banner template (850mm wide x 2000mm tall) that uses best practice techniques in adding the right amount of bleed and margin to your design. This is available as an indesign file and you can download this here.

Designing the perfect pop up banner

Tips on designing a roller banner

Designing a roller banner shouldn’t be difficult and following our simple tips below you should be in the perfect position to get the most from your banner. Even if you are not a graphic designer, sketching out the design will enable your graphic designer the ability to work quickly and this will save you some time and money.

Design Tip 1 – Follow the 3 second rule
“The key elements should be visible and understood in 3 seconds or less”

If you can’t read and understand the information on your roll up banner in less than 3 seconds, you have too much information on it.

Design Tip 2 – Identify your core campaign
Are you launching a new product or just want a roller banner that provides generic awareness of your brand? Before you begin designing you banner, have a clear objective of what you want to achieve and how you hope to do so. This will result in a much better overall finished product. When planning the design of your roller banner, remember less is more definitely more. Logo, core message, contact details and relevant imagery are the key to a great roller banner design.

Design Tip 3 – Use high resolution imagery
Investing in high quality photography or stock imagery will make the difference in how your pop up banner looks. Make sure your imagery is at least 300dpi and the colours have been converted to CMYK as opposed to RGB.

Design Tip 4 – Key Information
Remember roller banners are meant to be sign posts and not your entire proposal. They should be concise and present the right information so that your potential customers can contact you if they choose.

Setting your roll up banner up perfectly for print

How much bleed do I add to roller banner designs?

Like all other printing, roller banners require 3mm bleed on all sides. However as these are finished with one side of the graphic being attached to a base, we would also require 100mm bleed at the bottom of the print. This ensures there is no unsightly white border at the base of the graphic. In InDesign set your artboard at 2100mm tall and add a bottom margin line of 100mm. Keep your bleed at 3mm all round.

Margins on roller banners

It’s best practice to keep all critical text more than 50mm from the edge of your roller banner design. We also recommend that the bottom margin is greater than 100mm, as any text at this low level is unlikely to be readable. Remember roller banners are to be viewed from afar and so keep you message big, bold and very clear to read.

CMYK Vs RGB on roller banners

When printing roller banners all printers will be be using the CMYK colour spectrum and so any of your RGB imagery will be converted to CMYK in print. When converting RGB to CMYK a common issue that presents itself is that the graphics darken in print. With this knowledge you should first convert all your RGB images to CMYK and check you are happy with the levels. You may need to lighten the design to your liking.

Resolution of roller banners

As roller banners are generally to be viewed from afar we’re a little more relaxed on resolution than say how we would be on flyer printing. With a viewing distance of 1+ metres as opposed to 30cm, you can usually get away with a lower quality image.

In an ideal world please present your roller banner for printing with 300 dpi images, however if some of these were 200dpi or above, you would generally get away with the print quality. Anything less than this will be pixelated and while we have many clients who accept the quality it is our practice to inform our clients before printing to ensure they make their own informed decision on print quality.

Examples of great roller banner designs


Types of Roller Banner

  1. Extra wide Roller Banners – defined as any roller banner over an 850mm width. Most extra wide roller banners are 1200mm wide.
  2. Double Sided Roller Banner – a banner with two graphics that can be used independently or together to create a stunning visual impact from 2 directions. Each banner can have different graphics and so used for different purposes.
  3. Single Sided Roller Banner – the most common of all roller banners, this is a cost effective exhibition stand that provides stunning visual impact up close and from afar.

Where to buy pull up banners

Pull Up Banners are most commonly available from printers within your city, however with the advent of e-commerce stores they are widely available online for delivery to your office or home within only a few days. If you have little or no experience with ordering printed goods online we recommend you visit your local printer and ask to be shown a sample of the print and how the mechanism works. By doing so you’ll get a great understanding of the banner and how it can be put up and down. Any good printer will also provide the service of checking your artwork before printing. If you bring your artwork on a USB or disk, this would be the perfect time for their artwork or production team to check this on your behalf.

When looking for printers who supply this type of product, search for large format printers or signage and display companies. These type of printers are better suited to this type of product than say litho printers who print a much different offering. Ask which type of printer they will be printing your banner on and what type of ink they intend to use. We recommend HP or Roland printers and eco-solvent, latex or UV inks as these are generally waterproof and resistant to fading in sunlight. If your printer suggests using DYE inks this would be a big no no, as without lamination to stop the ink drying out, the artwork will fade immeasurably in a short period of time.

Common uses of roller banners

Roll up banners are commonly used in schools, offices, showrooms and at events and exhibitions all across the country. We’ve placed roller banners in banks, shopping centres and within job centres and credit unions. Due to their slimline shape and small footprint, roll up banners are perfect for almost any location. At promotional events we regularly see roll up banners being used as media walls or photo backdrops. Using 1-3 roller banners side by side provides a sizeable background image against which to take photos.

Limitations of roll up banners

Sometimes online you’ll see roll up banners touted for outdoor use. While the individual elements of a roller banner are suitable for use outdoors, when made into a roll up banner, the combination of base and large graphic will act as a huge sail and so the banner would be susceptible to high winds and may blow away. This in our opinion would rule out the use of outdoor roller banners and leave this firmly for indoor purposes only.

Alternatives to Roller Banners

For value and purpose, it’s hard to think of an alternative to using roller banners in your business. For more long term or static displays, foamex printing is a great option and serves a variety of uses. For larger exhibition displays, we recommend media walls. Usually 2.25m x 2.25m fabric media walls offer a larger backdrop in front of which to present your business. This is at a much different price point however.

We hope you have found our ultimate guide to roller banners useful and we’re always open to ways to improve this guide, so if you have any suggestions, please do get in touch. If you need roller banner design or roll up banner print, we’d love to look after this for you also.