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School Spirit - A Desktop Publisher’s Guide to Designing Banners for Academic Sports Teams

written by: KateG•edited by: Daniel P. McGoldrick•updated: 12/31/2009

If you want to make a banner advertising the next game that people really take notice of, these guidelines can help you out.

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    Sports teams love banners. They love to hang them up in the halls days before the game, hang them over the stadium seating during the game, and sometimes they even like to run through them at the beginning of the game. As you know, all those banners don't show up out of thin air. Somebody designs them, and that somebody could be you. Admittedly, you probably don’t want your work showing up in the run-through category, those are usually hand-painted. Professional banners for display inside a school building, or advertising banners for the stadium can be a valuable source of work for a savvy desktop publisher.

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    Figure Out Who Your Client is...

    That one may seem simple. If however, are looking to design the advertising banners, then your client would be not the school, but the business. That can lead to some issues if you’re on the same track. The company wanted here to the colors, fonts and styles as their traditional advertising, or do they want to show their pride by using the school colors? Don’t underestimate the power of alumni marketing. Once you know this we can move on.

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    What’s Your Size?

    Banners over entryways need to be long enough to stretch across the whole entryway. Advertisers who buy banners, or more accurately space in which to put their banner, only get a certain maximum size. Knowing, and designing for this size is half the battle. You don’t want your clients to fall in love with an image at half the size they need. Unless that is, you are willing to do some serious work to bring the resolution up to snuff.

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    Choose Your Font Wisely

    Fonts look great from a dead on angle at a relatively close range will do much for you. When you choose a font for the banner, your first priority needs to be readability at all angles. Sure, the school’s team may be called the Cowboys, but if not distinctly Western thought you picked isn’t readable in a vertical angle you need to think again. The most important thing will probably be space in between individual letters. Tightly grouped letters will make it hard to read. Widely spaced letters will be more readable for people at most angles.

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    Consider Layers

    With banners, you don’t have a lot of space. Once you have taken a moment to appreciate the irony there, we can move on. The idea of layering your text over your image is a good one, provided that your image does not have too much detail. You don’t want any of the individual letters to obscure an important part of the image. Making this work, is largely a judgment call.

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    Now we know how to make an amazing academic banner, why don’t you go ahead and send proposals to that school? You may just have found your next client.