Banner-making is a form of graphic design, which revolves around the use of both text and images to create an effective, attractive message. If you're not familiar with graphic design principles, or don't think you've got a "good eye" for things like that, not to worry -- the basics are easy to grasp. Another great idea is to work on a banner with other members of your church -- two (or three or four) heads are better than one!
It may be helpful for you to start with a brainstorming session or a simple sketch of your banner. What would you like it to say? What sort of image are you thinking about using? Internet clipart resources such as FaithClipart.com can be a great resource for finding the perfect inspirational icon. After you've got a general idea, you can start to work on layout, perhaps with a half- or quarter-sized model, which is where design elements come into play. Think about the following when laying out your church banner:
Simplicity: The best banners are often simple and not too busy, with plenty of "blank space" (the area around your images and text). You should be able to take your banner and it's message in at a glance when viewing it from a distance. Be sure that your text is bold, bright, and large enough to read from far away.
Emotion in Color: Colors are a great way to convey emotions visually -- what emotion do you want to express? If it's joy or love, think about warm, bright colors like pinks, oranges, and reds. If it's sadness or repentance, think about cool, subdued colors like grays, purples, and blues. Think about using different shades of the same color for a nice "layered" effect.
Consistency: Does your text match the image? Do your colors match the text, image, and emotion? Does the text font match the message of the words? A good banner "hangs together" - it should be easy to explain any aspect of the design in light of the overall message.
Composition: Does the banner have a good "flow"? Pay attention to what you (and others!) look at first when you see the design, and where your eye goes from there. Does the banner seem balanced? If, for example, all the text and images were at the top, with nothing at the bottom, that might make a banner unbalanced.
Are the different design elements "tied together" through color, sizing, or a repeating motif or theme? Triangles are important for composition -- can you see triangles by connecting the different design elements in your banner with imaginary lines?
Working with Church Banner Companies
There are lots of companies ready and willing to help you with creating the perfect church banner. Some simply sell supplies, such as banner patterns, precut letters, back bars and support poles, and banner trim. Others only need an idea from you to begin the process of creating an entire banner based upon your suggestions.
In either case, do your best to choose a reputable firm. Find out how long the company has been in business - five years or more is often the mark of a successful organization. If the business has a website, does it have a professional appearance?
For companies who create the banner for you, find out about their process. Will they require a sketch from you to get started? How many options for critique and revision will you have before deciding on a final product. What sort of costs can you expect for the creation and the shipping?
If you decide not to work with a company, the best part of banner-making comes into play -- the satisfaction of working with your hands to make something beautiful! If you and others in your congregation are expert sewers and crafters, making your own banner can be a delightful and rewarding experience. Below, we'll explore the best banner-making materials and special tips designed to save you time and effort.
Church Banner Materials
Church banners can be made from just about anything, but some of the most popular materials include vinyl and cotton broadcloth. Weatherproof vinyl is great for outdoor events, and for those who choose to create their designs with computers and have them printed professionally. Cotton broadcloth is a excellent choice for the primary material for indoor banners, as its easy to work with and durable. Additionally, you might consider decorative materials such as:
- Rope braids
- Fabric paints
- Plastic gemstones
Church Banner Making Tips
Finally, keep these helpful tips in mind when making your beautiful church banner.
Scissors: Buy a good pair designed specifically for cutting fabric. Try not to use them on paper, as this will dull the edges. Sharp shears will make your creation process much easier, and will result in a more polished final product.
Straight Letters: It's easy to make sure your letters are straight! Just use a dressmaker's tape, measuring straight down from the top to where you line of letters will start and end. Then, take your tape and pin it horizontally across those two points. Place your letters, remove your tape, and voila! Straight letters every time!
Time Savers: Fabric glue is a great time saver for trim, rope, and braids. Be sure to test your glue on a piece of scrap fabric first. Iron-on letters can also save you a good deal of time and work. When attaching gemstones, use glitter fabric paint for a quick fix. Allow some to show around the edges for a bit of extra shine.
Painting: It's generally best not to paint directly on the banner -- what happens if there's a spill, or if you just don't like the way your painting comes out? Instead, paint on a separate piece of fabric, then, when you're satisfied with result, sew that piece to the banner's backing.
Banner Storage: Folding is bad for banners! Instead, hang them in an out of the way place in a cloth cover, or roll them and store them in a cardboard tube in a cool, dry spot.
Banners add a festive note to any church or special occasion. Whether you're working with a banner-making company or making your own banner by hand with our special tips, remember that your effort is a labor of glorious love. Allow your creative to blossom in the service of your congregation!