No army ever rode into battle waving an iPad on a stick. True, digital marketing has its place, but in the real world you need to raise the bar; you need to raise a banner.
It's easy to forget the true meaning of a banner, but it's everything a good brand is all about. It unites people under its colours, it informs onlookers of your message, or it can fly proudly over everything you do.
Not all banners are free to flutter in the breeze (some are supplied with eyelets so they can be tied to a fence or attached to a wall) but, in principle, they still serve that same purpose of inspiring passers-by, not to mention achieving the simple task of letting people know you are there.
The versatility of banners is plainly obvious, from serving as temporary (or even permanent) shop signs when you move into new premises, to promoting your latest sale or special offer, to attracting attention when you hold marketing events on the high street or at corporate conventions.
If you can design it on paper, you can put it on a banner; and if you can put it on a banner, there's a place for displaying it – whether indoors or outdoors, freestanding or affixed to a fence, wall or lamp post.
All size considerations are easily accommodated, with typical banners ranging from less than a metre in width and around two metres high, to building wraps made in high grade Banner Mesh to withstand the elements over an extended period of time.
The latter are one of the most modern types of banner, and one of the most versatile. In any city centre you're likely to see them used to disguise scaffolding with an image of the building front, or to create advertising space on a truly epic scale in the heart of the business district.
Not all banners are created equal, as the scale of some building wraps can show – however it's not only size that matters.
When designing your banner, remember that you are working with a print medium, not online, and your images will probably need to be in CMYK format for printing with cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks – that is unless your printer advises you otherwise.
Images should be the best quality possible, particularly if you are designing a very large banner, as a low-resolution digital image stretched to several metres wide and high will simply not do your favourite image justice.
The general rule of thumb is to put the most important information at eye level on free-standing banners, or those that will be placed close to the ground. Remember that people will instinctively read from top to bottom, and generally from left to right too.
Make sure your text is clearly legible. Make it big, bright and bold, and test how well it can be seen from a distance, especially if the banner is above ground level.
Bright colours can help to enhance contrast while also making your banner more attention-grabbing, so make good use of the colour palette in your design, without going overboard.
And finally, keep in mind where the banner will be seen. If it's adjacent to a road or a railway line, you will only have a few seconds at most to get your message across, so keep it simple.
In contrast, if your banner is to be positioned in a waiting area or a car park where people are likely to spend a little more time, consider more of a mix of big bold headline at the top with smaller sized wording further down – then you won’t miss the opportunity of communicating your complete message to those who have the opportunity to read it all.
Author, Marcus Cummins, is a Director of Oriel Studios Digital Limited