Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Con Stuff: Build A Sign Standing Banner Review

Not too long ago, I wrote a basic primer on the different types of banners a convention artist might need.  At the time of writing, I'd had vertical banners in the past, but didn't currently have one, and I posted the design I'd JUST sent to Build A Sign as an example. 

Originally I just wanted the banner itself, as I have a banner display already (albeit missing some parts after someone perma-borrowed them after Otakon years ago), but Build A Sign didn't offer me an option to buy the banner alone.  Instead, I was offered the banner and it's stand for around $70, which was half of what I had originally paid Vista Prints for my older banner.  I went ahead and splurged, and I'm glad I did!

My first surprise came as soon as I opened the long cardboard box my banner arrived in.  I wasn't expecting a banner case!

The Carrying Case

And this case is pretty nice!  Lots of different straps offer a variety of hauling solutions (by hand, across the back), and there's even an ID pocket at the front. 

The case unzips at the top, revealing a fleece sleeve that provides additional protection to your banner while you travel.  Good job, Build A Sign, I'm impressed!

After getting an eyeful of the case, I was even more eager to see what my banner and stand looked like, not even thinking that if this were the type of stand where you have to attach the banner separately, it would have come with another box.

The Banner Unassembled

The banner stand is attractive and lightweight aluminum, fairly compact.  There are no fiddly little pieces to keep track of, lose, or have perma-borrowed.
 Assembling the Banner

The stand has two swivelling pieces of metal that serve as feet for the stand.  When not needed, they swivel flush against the body of the stand.

All the Pieces

Inside a narrow compartment along the body of the stand is some aluminum piping.  When removed, I noticed that this piping has elastic inside- it forms the spine of the banner stand.

Once you put the aluminum piping in the hole along the back of the stand's body, you can simply pull up the retracted banner!  There's a reason the banner wasn't sold separately- this stand is a retractable banner stand.

Banner stands through Vistaprint start at $45.00 in addition to the cost of your banner ($45.00), which would make your total cost $90.00, discluding shipping.

How It Looks

Outside, in the wind, the banner isn't sturdy at all, as the banner is basically a sail.  This could be remedied for outdoor events simply by placing two bricks on each foot.  In indoor situations where wind isn't a factor, careless fellow attendees behind the table may cause it to topple.
The Verdict
For what I paid, I'm really impressed with what Build a Sign has sent.  I've used BAS for all of my current convention banners, and while their print quality leaves a little to be desired, their prices are great, they frequently have sales, there's usually deals for BAS on RetailMeNot, and in this instance, they've blown me away with the quality of the banner stand and the carrying case.  Build A Sign's estimated delivery time is usually spot on, which is important if you're relying on them to get you your banner on time.