Tension displays are a great way to grab attention. They’re effective yet inexpensive, simple to use, and come in a wide range of sizes and strengths. But to ensure your graphic’s punchy message or eye-catching design lasts as long as required by your customer, it needs a quality media and a durable, professional finish.
Vinyl is the traditional print media used for tension displays. With many options available at varying price points, there is always something for every budget. To create a well-performing display with vinyl, consider these points:
Scrim banner vinyl is economical and a good choice for outdoor graphics, but for display banners, you might want to consider using a smooth, blockout material. Often with a grey back, the opacity is important to prevent light from penetrating and affecting the visibility of the graphic. Additionally, choosing a vinyl that has ‘anti-curl’ properties will prevent the graphic from excessive curling at the edges over time.
Typically there is no need to hem vinyl banners used with tension displays; the graphics can simply be trimmed to size. However, where grommets are used, depending on the strength of the vinyl, it can provide necessary reinforcement to prevent tear-out. On displays such as the adjustable step-and-repeat displays, you’ll need to decide whether you will finish with grommets and tie to the frame or use pole pockets and slide over the horizontal poles. We suggest the latter, as pole pockets will provide an aesthetically clean appearance and do not require additional supplies for tying off.
Always be sure to use vinyl that works well with your ink technology. Some vinyls work well universally, others may be more specific; for example the heat used in latex printing technology can cause issues with some polyester-based vinyls.
While vinyl is still more common, fabric is being used increasingly with tension banner displays due to its vibrant color performance, lightweight characteristics, and high-end feel. As we did with above with vinyl, let’s take more of a look:
With their increase in popularity has come a greater range and availability of display textiles. You’ll want to consider the color performance, the weight, and the availability. Another consideration is opacity – will there be natural or interior light that may penetrate from behind the display? Black-back fabrics and other similar options can help prevent this. You may also want to consider flame resistance and confirm whether the fabric you use carries any such certifications.
The primary method of finishing fabric is sewing. Fabrics can be cut but you’ll need to check whether you can cold cut or whether a hot cut method is required. You’ll need to hem, and while there are textile tapes and adhesives available now, sewing is mostly preferred for durability. Fabrics can be grommeted, but again, we prefer pole pockets if you have the choice between the two.
Dye sublimation – whether transfer or direct-to-textile – produces amazing results, but not everyone has the technology available. There are more latex compatible fabrics now which produce excellent results, and, in some cases, textiles with liners are available for eco-solvent printing.