Banners, posters, plasterboards, totems: what is their purpose? What are the differences between them? How are they made? With which materials?
In advertising, people always speak of banners, posters, plasterboards, totems, etc. They are widely used communication tools, but the meaning of their “names” isn’t always understood.
BANNERS are very large objects, mostly with a landscape format (several meters in length and more than one meter in height), made with soft materials of various types: PVC, the most used; cotton, the most traditional and expensive; polyester, still not very known but with best printing results; TNT, the most affordable, and several others that are seldom used.
For double-sided printings, you have to use a double-sided material with a black background. The most widely used material is PVC but the less known polyester is also an option. Banners are placed on walls, banisters, columns or frames, or suspended above streets or squares. A banner’s “finish” is based on how it will be used. A border with rings is used when the idea is to hang the banner with an elastic, therefore the border should be reinforced. One would need a pocket when using bracket(s) for support; the pocket would be created on one or more sides.
POSTERS are similar to banners, but smaller in size, a maximum 1×5 meters. Normally they are viewed at a closer distance than banners. For this reason, the printing techniques and the materials are much more important. Usually, high resolution printing is recommended. Among the different techniques, sublimation is almost always preferred because it has an almost photographic quality, even on difficult materials such as fabrics. The same “finish” is recommended for banners and posters.
PLASTERBOARDS are printed on rigid material and can vary in size. They can be made of many materials, from forex, the most commonly used, to corrugated plastic, which is the most affordable but slightly cheap in appearance. Dibond (a layering of aluminum-plastic-aluminum, the most resistant), Plexiglas, which is certainly the most “glamorous,” and other less common materials are also used. Plasterboards can be self-supporting (equipped with a supporting beam) or made for hanging, either directly to a wall or with rings and hooks. Digital printing can be direct (printed directly onto the material) or applied (printed to an adhesive vinyl sheet and applied to the material). It can be lucid or matte, opaque or transparent.
TOTEMS are self supporting three-dimensional structures that usually have more sides available for communication. They can be aluminum structures covered by panels or stretched sheets over support structures, often made of iron beams. Sizes can vary, from small ones for indoor use to enormous ones for outdoor spaces. They can be lit from the inside or from the outside, and can hold a video or interactive monitor. Sometimes they are confused with banner supports that are more often made of aluminum and are more standard in size (approximately 70-100cm in length and 200cm in height).
For the layman it can at times be difficult to distinguish between the various instruments and terms because the differences are not always clear. However, it is important to have at least a general understanding in order to avoid miscommunication or misinterpretation of the desired final result.