Introducing Flags!

When I look back on it, it was a bizarre set of coincidences that led me into large format printing and starting Venture Banners (a story for another time!), but when we were setting up the business all those years ago, whilst doing my market research, the one thing that struck me was how difficult it was to get a price on a banner from anyone.

Banners are pretty straightforward, yet I came across various companies, all of whom used a seemingly unfathomable formula to calculate the price. What was more, is that the formula seemed to change almost on a daily basis, making consistency for resellers impossible.

Flags

Some Flags

So that would be our unique selling point: to have a transparent, concise menu pricing system. Not unsurprisingly, it has worked very well—no one likes having to use a Captain Midnight Decoder Ring just to get a price on three metre by one metre banner. And you may have noticed most of the other companies have followed suit. We have used that policy as the corner stone of our business and on all new substrates that we have launched; Self-adhesive Vinyl, Backlit Banners, Digital Canvas and Foamex to name but a few.

The one substrate we didn’t get involved with was flags. Apart from the fact we didn’t have a dye-sublimation printer, the flag market was a complete mystery to me. I heard stories of companies using printers in Poland and others importing them from China. And the prices—good grief! Even Captain Midnight’s Decoder Ring would struggle.

The annoying thing was our customers were asking us, almost on a daily basis, if we produced flags and we don’t like to let people down. People liked the way we operated and wanted to see flags in the product line-up, but if we couldn’t do it properly, then we wouldn’t do it all.

But we’ve been working on it. The brief was simple: a good quality product, a transparent, competitive price, and they must be produced in the UK.

Well, after some considerable time, we’ve done it. Flags are now a part of the line-up at Venture. We are expecting great things, as flags and banners compliment each other perfectly. Our trade customers can benefit from our consistent, competitive price and have another excellent revenue opportunity.

I think we can make Captain Midnight redundant.

Teardrop Flag

Teardrop Flag

Feather Flag

Feather Flag

We are starting with standard flag printing and a few flag products. These flag products include a Teardrop Flag and a Feather/Sail Flag, which come with various base options.

The flags and flag products will be available to trade customers first and provided the whole order processing goes as planned then we will be adding it to our retail site shortly after.

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Wot! No Banner Blog Posts?

You may have noticed that we haven’t placed many posts recently – this is because we are now well and truly in ‘Banner Season’. We have just had our busiest month ever, whilst we are also in the midst of expanding our team.

We also have something new in the pipeline which is due to be launched soon, adding another string to our bow, as it were.

So our apologies if you have missed our inane ramblings of late, but we should be back to our keyboard-happy selves soon, regaling you with banner related musings and information.

With regards to the new bow string… watch this space!

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The Xscape is Back in Stock, Kind of…

XScape Indoor Banner Display System

XScape Indoor Banner Display System

A couple of months ago, the stocks of our Xscape banner display system were depleted. Sadly, we weren’t able to order a new shipment in time, and we weren’t sure when we’d be getting more in, so we decided it was best to mark them as ‘out of stock’ on our website and make them unavailable to order. Two months on, that was clearly the right decision. I expect we’d have had a few disgruntled customers waiting for their banners stands if we hadn’t.

Now though, we’re glad to say that the Xscape is back in stock

…with one small change: the size has been reduced slightly. The width is 50mm less, now at 800mm. The height is 200mm less, now at 1800mm.

We’re still in the process of getting the original Xscape back in stock, and we hope it won’t be much longer before these are available. Once we have them again, it is likely we will revert back to the original size.

Please bear the size difference in mind if you are ordering replacement graphics. Obviously, the smaller stand won’t fit the larger graphics, and vice versa. If you’re after a replacement graphic for the original stand, please order a bespoke banner at 850mm × 2000mm on our standard 440gsm PVC and mention in the order notes that you will be using it with the Xscape.

Why the Xscape?

We’re big fans of ‘spider stands’. Although roller banners are very good at what they do, they’re a bit more of a hassle to get the graphics replaced. Spider stands, like the Xscape, come folded up and can be easily assembled in a matter of seconds. Fitting or replacing the graphic is simply a case of removing a screw cap in each corner, swapping out the old graphic for the new one, then replacing the caps. The whole process can be done in about two minutes. Add to that the fact that the Xscape is also £20 less than our starter roller banner, and you’ve got yourself a winner.

Other Options

If you’re still looking for a larger display, don’t forget about our Greenwich roller banner, and for an even taller display, our Hi-Flyer indoor display.

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Banners and Car Sales

We supply the banners for a few large car dealer groups across the country and having ran a Marketing Dept. for one of those dealer groups I know how valuable banners are to car sales.

Ford Sales Event Banner

Ford Sales Event Banner

Our main marketing medium was definitely newspaper advertising. This provided the mainstay of the car sales business. However, when it came to events, banners were the corner-stone of our marketing. Banners on the front of the dealership had a dual-purpose. Firstly, they went up prior to an event which, as the dealerships were in prominent locations, helped to advertise the event to the passing traffic. Secondly, the banners also helped people know they were in the right place – there was a time that events were advertised but nothing changed in the dealership, this confused people as they were unsure as to whether there was actually an event on. Now, it is standard practice to banner, balloon, bunting and sticker the site – the banner being the main indicator as they are usually rather large and right on the front of the dealership.

These marketing methods helped to increase the success of the events that we held and made us one of the most valuable dealer groups in the country.

Mecedes-Benz Banner

Mecedes-Benz Banner

We were a large county-wide dealership group, who eventually became part of an even larger UK-wide group so our marketing was helped with the sheer quantity of marketing materials and bulk-buy discounts. But, it is the smaller/independent dealerships that can benefit from banners as much as the large dealer groups. Banners are a very cost-effective means of marketing and are also re-useable for repeat events – provided they are looked after.

Basically, banners are a must for any car dealership, more so when hosting an event. When the cost is a lot less than the profit in one car and can be used for multiple events, they act more as an investment than an expense… and with a banner from Venture Banners you can’t go far wrong.

 

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Banners for Family Events… cont.

In an update to my previous post on Banners for Family Events, I thought a list of events that you could use banners for would be a good idea as means of inspiration. So here goes:

  • Any Birthday – I would say the more people attending the better. I also found that the kids really enjoyed having big photos of themselves on their birthday
  • Anniversarys – again better for bigger parties/get-togethers
  • Christenings
  • Communions - not entirely sure what this involves, but I attended a Post-Communion BBQ at the weekend and just thought, ‘a banner would look good here’
  • Welcome Home
  • Weddings - embarrassing photos of the bride and groom, anyone?
  • Retirement
  • Sorry You’re Leaving
  • Congratulations - covers a multitude of events

These are just ideas for events you could use a banner for. If also you would like any inspiration on banner design we do have a banner template section on the Venture Banners website, which you are free to look at – remember we can personal photos to these templates and produce them at any size/dimensions (as long as it is a banner and not wanted on an A4 piece of paper).

You’re welcome to get in touch and let us know of any other events you have used a banner for, and any photos would be great.

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Banners For Family Events

Happy Birthday Banner

A Happy Birthday Banner

When it comes to family events, many people will go out and buy those cheap thin plastic banners you can get from High Street card shops. These are great and do a job of providing a generic message to everyone who visits – brilliant!

But, what if you wanted a more bespoke banner? One which had photos of the relevant person? Where on earth would you go for something like that???… err, hello!

Two Happy Birthday Banners

Two Happy Birthday Banners

We have been producing an increasing amount of banners for family events, predominantly birthdays, but a few anniversary and some ‘welcome home’ banners for troops returning home from duty. I think the popularity has been down to the fact that they are designed and personalised for the individual which implies more thought and can be kept after the event.

It doesn’t hurt to put on some embarrassing photos either, just to add a bit of light-hearted fun to the occassion.

Because of the 440gsm PVC material the banners are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use so that weather does not have to be an issue – they will be just as comfortable in the scorching sun as they will be in the pouring rain.

The material and print is also durable so that it can be used year after year, so long as they are looked after and stored correctly – see my previous article on storing your banner.

Happy Birthday Mummy

Happy Birthday Mummy

For those romantics out there we have also printed a rather large banner with “Kate Will You Marry Me?”* and then he flew over it whilst on a helicopter ride with his potential bride-to-be – as far as I’m aware, she said ‘yes’… poor bloke… I mean lucky fellow! Sorry dear!

For those of you interested in having a banner for a family event then this should help; place an order through the website and enter the following code into the voucher box:

Voucher Code: XQHZS9

This will give you a free artwork service for the designing of your banner. Please note that this code can only be used for banners that will be used for family event and will not be accepted for any other artwork requests, sorry – however, keep your eyes peeled as there may be something in the pipeline shortly.

*The names may have been changed to protect the innocent

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Bank Holiday Banners

Due to the massive increase in demand for banners over the past couple of weeks, combined with four Bank Holidays, we have been a little swamped with requests for urgent banners.

Unfortunately, we have been unable to turn banners around in such a short period, for which we apologise. However, we are still on for our three to four day turnaround, it just so happens that with the double Bank Holiday two weeks on the trot, it means our turnaround is effectively five to six working days.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a Bank Holiday as much as the next guy, but from a business point-of-view, they do tend to scupper things somewhat and a double one even more so. Place another one the following weekend and we have some, now very grey-haired people in production, working very hard to get your banners out on time.

After the May Bank Holiday (2nd May) we should be back to normal service… until the next one.

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Buying From China? No Thanks!

Buying printed banners from China has been seen as a viable cost-effective method of banner production by many banner printing companies for a while now. But this is not without its drawbacks.

We have been approached by an increasing number if companies, that are having increasing problems when dealing with printing companies based in China.

Time Is On My Side, Yes It Is

Ordering from China has never been good for short lead-times. Anything under a month could be tricky because of the distance it has to travel. To keep costs down the banner have to be bundled together with hundreds of others and placed on a container and shipped. Some are sent via cargo plane but costs increase and quantity can be limited.

However, if you have the luxury of a two month lead-time and you have sent your banner to China to be printed, what do you do if, after 6 weeks they call you and say they are not going to make your deadline? Well this is one of the main problems that some customers have appraoched us with. They have been let down by the supplier and the to job has become increasingly urgent, what can we do?

All we can do is provide our normal service and get the banners out in time for their event, we don’t like to let people down and if it’s not possible we’ll let you know beforehand.

That’s Not What I Wanted!

On at least one occassion, we have been told that what they received was not what they ordered. If this happens you are left with no time to fix the problem (unless you’ve had the foresight to get them sent early). Again, we are here to help with the production of your banners.

Language And Consumer Confidence

One of the more obvious problems is the language barrier. I know that English may be well spoken over there, I’m pretty sure that Chinese isn’t well spoken over here, other than by the resident Chinese contingent, obviously. With this in mind and the fact that they are thousands of miles away, I for one would not feel confident in my purchase… but then I might be slightly biased.

The Best Of British

Whilst I am sure that there are benefits and times when getting your banners printed in China is your preferred method, at Venture Banners we print all of our banners right here in the UK. Although we do have a 3/4 day turnaround time (due to the sheer amount of orders we put through on a daily basis) we are human enough to help out wherever we can. We will always aim to look after our existing customers but new customers should not be afraid to ask for help, we will always try to help if we can.

Please note that this article is in relation to printed banners and not the banner material itself, lest there be any confusion.

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20% Discount On Banners for April

20% Discount

Well, we are offering an amazing deal throughout April. We are giving everyone who has either ordered previously… or read this blog… or has seen this on Facebook or Twitter… or has had this sent to them by friends or family… *deep breath*… a 20% discount – although the image at the top may have given it away.

That’s 20% off all our banners (remember these are whatever size you want them – simply use our price calculator for a price), banner products and banner accessories.

Discount Code On The Basket Page

Discount Code On The Basket Page

This offer is in the form of a discount code. The code is:

PQ87MH

Venture Banners Checkout

Venture Banners Checkout

If you want to take advantage of this offer, simply enter the code into the discount code box on the basket page of the website. You will of course need to add your banners and products to the basket first.

Once entered, click ‘Proceed to Checkout’ and you will be able to see the 20% discount applied to your basket.

The discount is applied to the Basket Total.

“But I already have a 10% discount  for submitting feedback on my purchase?” Well, in this case I would keep your 10% discount code as the chances are that it will expire beyond the April deadline of this 20% offer. You will then be able to use it after – smiley face!

Now for the backside-covering bits:

  • You can only use this voucher code on orders placed through the http://www.venturebanners.co.uk website.
  • This discount offer cannot be used in conjuction with any other offer or discount.
  • You CAN send this to anyone you wish for them to use as well.
  • This offer will expire at the end of April 2011.

If you would like to post this onto Facebook, you can use the Facebook ‘share’ link at the top of this post and then everyone can enjoy 20% off banners and banner products – another smiley face, but one with a big smile, and possibly squinty eyes ^^!

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PVC Banners or Vinyl Banners, Which Is Correct?

There are many terms used to describe banners, such as PVC banners or vinyl banners, even plastic banners. But which is correct? Technically they all are, and it is down to an individual as to how they wish to describe it.

The Technical Jargon

PVC is the abbreviation of Polyvinyl Chloride which is a vinyl polymer. PVC is also the third most widely produced plastics because of its multitude of applications and low cost (thanks Wikipedia).

Well this explains the use of PVC, vinyl and plastic used in reference to banners, so technically they are all correct. The bad side to this is that it makes it difficult for us to help people find cheaper banners from Venture Banners. Whilst we are a business we still believe that people should not be paying over-the-odds for banners, but until there is a standard term for banners we will struggle to get to everyone.

We have always gone down the line of vinyl PVC banners and the information on our website is geared towards this. Although this does seem that the word vinyl is a bit redundant, but if it is not spelt out, we may not be found under that term.

440gsm Banner Material

440gsm Banner Material

The Actual Banner Material

Although we have established that the terms PVC, vinyl and plastic are technically correct, this only really tells half the story. The banner itself is not made of a solid PVC – this would just be un-workable. The banner material has is polyester base with a PVC coating. The Polyester gives it the flexibility while the PVC gives it the surface needed to print on. Both materials combined increase the tensile strength of the other.

This combination is found in pretty much every banner out there – I use the term banner and not flag as this a distinction for another article.

What Are The Numbers For?

On many banner materials you may find something like 440gsm PVC banner, but what does this actually mean? Well, the 440gsm part refers to the weight:

440gsm = 440 grammes per square metre

Grammes per square metre (GSM) is the standard way in which the quality of a material is measured. We currently print on 440gsm, 500gsm and 740gsm solid banner materials, we also print on a 340gsm mesh. Below is a brief run-down of these materials:

440gsm banner material is the standard material used for 90% of the banners printed today. This is suitable for a multitude of purposes and the most simple solution to a banner requirement.

500gsm banner material is a little thicker and if you are looking to keep you banner for multiple uses, would be a good choice.

740gsm banner material has been developed specifically for double-sided use, although it can actually be used single-sided as well.

Want Some Further Reading?

If you are really into your PVC *ahem* and would like to know more visit the Wikipedia page on PVC for a brief history and chemistry lesson, should you be that way inclined.

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