At Focus Banners we are Eco worriers and we have decided to do something about the plastic waste we are helping to create!

“The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.” — Gaylord Nelson (Founder of Earth Day)

What do we mean by signage waste?

Our business is based around supplying signage for events. Events are short term by nature and the signage products used are often environmentally unfriendly. An event may last anything from a few hours to a few months but rarely longer. The materials used to promote, signpost and theme the event can take a massive 500 years to decompose and can do untold damage on its journey. This is single use plastic on an industrial level.

Event waste is becoming a consideration for event organisers although often they focus on the rubbish created by their guests rather than the waste they themselves create.

Nostra Culpa (By our fault)

We have been as much ‘part of the problem’ as anyone else but we have resolved to do something about it and we hope to lead the industry in innovating for a sustainable future, particularly short term ‘soft’ signage. We are not 100% ready to let go of the old products. Economic realities dictate that we need to phase out less environmentally friendly options, or find solutions to them.

What is environmentally unfriendly about event signage?

Let’s look at the two main products used at events:

PVC Banner and Banner Mesh are terrible for the environment.

PVC has revolutionised the signage industry. Things unthinkable 20 years ago are now commonplace and it is mainly thanks to Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC). This is not all bad. Some amazing things have been achieved with plastics. Car and bus wraps, window and floor stickers, billboards, and banners have all been made possible by that compound. The results from a print perspective are phenomenal but it can come at a price.

PVC banner and mesh is generally made by coating polyester scrim with a PVC covering. Both of these products are recyclable, but once combined in this form, they are unable to be separated and hence, unable to be recycled. The simple fact is that if you are using this product for your event, it is going to end up in landfill or burned. There is no other solution or commercial reuse.

We still use pvc mesh but we are actively trying to find a solution, not only for the signage industry, but for all the other businesses which rely on it.

Corflute is hard to recycle

Corflute is a very versatile and fairly tough product made from Polypropylene (PP). In small quantities its capacity for reuse is infinitely greater than its ability to be recycled. Some recyclers in Australia will take industrial quantities of corflute as long as it has no foreign materials like vinyl stickers or eyelets. It is not realistic for most events to have a few pallets of uncontaminated PP in the form of corflute so the vast majority of it goes into landfill.

What green signage options are available?

One of the sustainable signage options we use is polyester. Polyester banners can replace banner mesh. We have a wide range of products that perform the same, or in some cases better than the environmentally questionable vinyl alternative.

From a visual perspective polyester can do nearly everything that pvc can do. Polyester applications are much broader from flags and banners to lightbox displays and pop up gazebos. But the best thing about polyester is that it is 100% recyclable. In its recycled form it is high quality and able to be reused countless times. The energy savings in recycling against the producing the raw product are up to 88%. Little wonder companies like Coca Cola and H&M are making very large commitments to using RPET.

What many people don’t know about polyester is that it is the same chemical compound that makes the plastic bottles that we drink from (Polyethylene Terephthalate or PET). This is a very easy plastic to recycle.

We are still waiting for Australia’s first polyester recycling plant but it is very close.  In the meantime Focus Banners will take back any polyester banners you buy from us to be recycled in the very near future.

Waterproof Cardboard can replace corflute

The wonderfully named Oppboga Outdoor Board is an ideal green replacement for PP corflute signage.  It is 100% recyclable, can be put in council recycling bins, and is even sourced from FSC forests.

Whilst not as strong as corflute it can be used outside for up to 12 weeks and the print quality is just as good. Oppboga board can be cut into standard or custom shapes.

If it has to be corflute then Focus will take any corflute ordered from us. We will remove the eyelets and combine it with our other clients to take to recycling in bulk.

Come and join us in our circular exploits

At Focus Banners we are making a commitment to ourselves, to our clients and to the environment. We believe in recyclable signs although plastic use in signage is virtually unavoidable . We choose the lesser of evils wherever we can in recommending closed loop signage. With polyester we know that we will not be adding to the estimated 95% of all plastics that end up in landfill.  We are stepping away from single use and stepping toward the circular economy. We encourage all our clients to rethink their signage with a view to reducing the amount of waste going into landfill. We love the idea of reusing event branding in creative ways and we recommend replacing single use alternatives with closed loop recyclables.

“The Earth will not continue to offer its harvest, except with faithful stewardship. We cannot say we love the land and then take steps to destroy it for use by future generations.”— John Paul II

We would love to hear from you whether you have suggestions on how we can make signage more environmentally friendly. If you would like more information on what we do and our polyester stewardship program please contact us here.

Whether you are running a conference or a huge music festival signage is an essential part of running a successful event. The guest’s impressions of your event are formed visually. An event with two few signs runs the risk of seeming disorganised. Basic informational and wayfinding signs are need to inform and assist guests to get to where they want to be.

Beyond the basics events create opportunities for sponsors to promote their brand and align themselves with your audience. Branding creates touch points and touch points create customers.

Even further beyond sponsor’s signs, successful events create a bespoke look that enhances their guests experience. Visual aesthetics are paramount in reinforcing the event brand itself.

With this in mind we take a look at the two cheapest signage options available: mesh banners and corflute.

PLAN YOUR EVENT’S SIGNAGE

The key to a fantastically signed event is planning. From the minute a venue is selected, plans for signage need to be considered. 

The first thing to consider is letting your guests know the basics: toilets, exits, food and drink stations, event program, this way to xxxx, social distancing rules (in this age of Covid), menus, registration and sign in details, and anything else that is fundamental to visitors being able to navigate the venue.

Consider where visitors will enter from, where they will congregate or passages moving them from one place to another. Take a virtual walk through and consider all the places and situations that require signage.

Next consider the branding opportunities for your event. How can you make an impressive entrance? Can you use signs to funnel people toward somewhere you want them to go? Are event perimeter fences good opportunities for sponsors messages or event branding? Can you use the floor or the air for effective branding? Can you use branded furniture or props?

WHERE TO INSTALL EVENT SIGNAGE

Next think of where you will be able to hang signs. Will you be able to take advantage of natural or man made structures. Will you need to provide the structure for the sign to sit in/on. How will that structure be affected by wind if outdoors? Could that structure be hazardous? Are there areas you need to hide with signs?

The type of sign you need may be determined by what it will be attached to. 

WAYFINDING SIGNAGE FOR EVENTS

Directional signs tend to be small and rigid. The best materials for event wayfinding signs are corflute or outdoor board (even if your event is indoors). Corflute is ideal for short term signage, in fact it should last a year so if your event is recurring then consider making timeless signs that can be stored until the next event. Corflute is not easy to recycle so consider using outdoor paper board if you are keen on reducing the environmental footprint of your event.

There are different ways of installing small corflute signs including double sided tape, glue, eyelets, velcro, hanging, or screwing them to whatever surface they need to be installed on. There are also sign holders from A frames to acrylic frames to keep your sign upright and visible. Keep in mind that event visitors are not gentle with your signage so the method you choose needs to last the course of the event. Signage is useless if it can’t be seen.

EVENT SPONSOR SIGNS

Sponsors get involved with events for many reasons but all of them are beneficial for their brand. Sponsors want to be involved with events because they can align themselves with the event brand and the visitors it attracts. Community events tend to be sponsored by stakeholders in that community, sporting events sponsored by sporting brands or companies that are attracted to the exposure the sport brings them.

Event sponsorship signage comes in many formats and the signage rights themselves are often sold as packages.  

EVENT BANNERS

Banners for events are by far the cheapest and most popular way to advertise an upcoming event and to brand the event itself. Banners are exceptional value for money and can be used for many types of applications.

Banners are made from different materials each having its own purpose or benefit over the others. The primary types for banners for events are:

VINYL EVENT BANNERS

Banners made out of vinyl are opaque so they display messages in the best light. Vinyl is very durable so ideal for outdoor events but because the wind can’t pass through it, it is best used when there is a solid structure behind it.

We use vinyl at festivals for stage skirts. Vinyl can be printed on both sides so it is ideal for hanging banners at tradeshows. If it can be attached to structure it is also used for outdoor media walls.

EVENT MESH BANNERS

Vinyl mesh is a popular choice for event signs. It is one of the cheapest print stocks available and performs very well in outdoor conditions. The perforations in the mesh allow the wind to pass through it. PVC mesh banners are very durable.

Banner mesh is frequently found on perimeter fencing or around special areas within outdoor venues.

POLYESTER EVENT BANNERS

We like polyester for it ease of transport. It is lightweight and can be folded up to a fraction of the size of other banners. Polyester comes in different types but it is the best for road show or recurring events. It is also recyclable.

Polyester banners are used for crowd control barrier covers or speaker stack covers.

WHERE TO USE BANNERS FOR AN EVENT

How to advertise an upcoming event with banners:

Fence banners

Street pole banners

Hanging banners in shopping malls

Billboards (which are made with PVC banner)

Banners are often used in events for:

Stage skirts and dressing banners

Speaker tower banners

Perimeter fences banners

Temporary fence banners which create a separation between spaces

Hanging banners in exhibitions and trade shows

Crowd control barrier banners

CHEAP EVENT SIGNS USE BANNERS OR CORFLUTE

Event signage takes all types of forms but in terms of value for money it is hard to go past banners or corrugated plastic signs.

Custom printed deck chairs are an elegant promotional and branding item used at events and venues across Australia. Made from a wooden frame and polyester canvas sling, they are a very simple design. They can be packed down flat making them ideal for tight storage conditions. The same feature allows deck chairs to be transported easily between venues in the case of roadshows.

Customised deck chairs are sometimes used at trade shows and product activations or launches. Outdoor cinemas and sporting events also use deck chairs for branding purposes.  As the name suggests, they were originally intended to be used as chairs on the deck of luxury sea liners so there is a touch of class and nostalgia associated with them. Outdoor hospitality venues use deck chairs for seating, particularly in lounge-style areas. Their reclined design makes them unsuitable for dining applications (which is why we also sell custom director’s chairs).

About deck chair frames

Deck chair frames are the most important and most expensive element to a deck chair. They can take weights of over 100 kg. It is very important to choose a quality deck chair made from hardwood. Buying a cheaper pine version may be tempting but it only takes one guest to have an accident to destroy all that brand equity you have been trying to build.

Frames made from hardwoods such as teak, eucalyptus or ironwood are rated to take weights of around 100-120kg. Look also for frames which allow the seat, or sling to be quickly and easily changed. This makes replacing the slings simple for either a different promotion or because of damage.

About custom printed slings

There are two ways of printing a deck chair chair sling:

  1. Digital print which uses dye sublimation to impart inks into a printable material. This type of print is generally short term. Dye sublimated graphics last for up to two years before they fade significantly but if they are exposed to strong UV for extended periods then they can begin to fade within a month. 

The benefit of digital print is that it is cheaper and you can have a different print front and back as two separate layers are generally sewn together. Best used for short term promotion. Digital print provides photo quality image reproduction.

  1. Screen printing on solution dyed acrylic is a much longer life solution. Outdoor marine fabrics such as Sunbrella are designed for life in the sun. They are quality fabrics but they are not cheap. Sunbrella have a wide range of styles suitable for outdoor furniture. Screen printing on these fabrics can give venues a life span of up to 5 years on their slings. 

Screen printing has its limitations though and is generally best for one or two colour simple designs like logos.

Cheap branded deck chairs

Cheap is not an adjective that is easily applied to deck chairs. The frames need to be sturdy, the fabrics also need to take a fair amount of weight and they can specialised to allow printing. 

The best option for branded deck chairs for promotional purposes is to hire the frame. Chillzone in Sydney and Melbourne hire chairs. They will even fit your customised deck chair sling for you and remove it for a small fee.

Match a hired deck chair with a digitally printed sling and the costs of your event will be significantly less.