Pop-Up Banners versus Retractable Banners

Posted on 24, March, 2020

Last Modified on 24, March, 2020

Pop-up banners and retractable banners are two extremely popular and effective marketing or branding displays. Both share many similarities and differences in how they work, how they’re built, what they include, and what their best uses are.

Pop-Up Banners:

Pop-up banner displays can be printed and constructed with either vertical or horizontal dimensions. Most sizes, especially the horizontally constructed displays, are much larger than a retractable banner stand.

Pop-up banners consist of a fabric banner which is created by using a dye sublimation printing process. In short, dye sublimation printing heats the ink quickly and the ink colors and printed design becomes woven in with the fabric material rather than being printed “on” the material. The fabric banner is machine washable as well.  

The dye sublimation printing process used when printing on a fabric banner creates extremely vivid colors and images. The detail of each image is great with this kind of banner and printing process because of how the ink becomes a part of the material. Choosing highly visible colors for your artwork will certainly help it pop.  

The hardware of pop-up banner displays is collapsible, but it generally does take two people to set up and take down a pop-up banner display. Attaching the banner to the display is simple enough but the frame is better assembled and disassembled with two people.

The more vertical pop-up banner displays can perform some of the same functions a retractable banner stand would provide, albeit at a likely higher cost. Generally, pop-up banners are great when serving as a backdrop to a trade show or event because most of the dimensions are horizontal and are perfect for a step-and-repeat pattern design that is a great branding element. Step-and-repeat designs are most commonly used as a branding tool for companies at trade shows and special events where there will be a lot of photo opportunities. Another reason why the fabric banner and the dye sublimation printing process is so effective for these types of events is because the colors and logos show up well on camera, with or without flash.

Retractable banners:

Retractable banner stands are essentially the Swiss army knives of marketing tools. There are different widths, heights, styles, along with double sided options, outdoor options and different material options.

Two of the major advantages that retractable banner stands hold over pop-up banners is obviously price as well as portability. It takes one person mere seconds to set them up as well.

While pop-up banners strictly feature a dye sub fabric banner, you do have different material options with a retractable banner stand. Vinyl stay flat is the most common and recommended banner material for a retractable display. However, you can upgrade your signage with materials like Bond Paper Gloss Laminate, Bond Paper Matte Laminate, Polyester Satin and Dye Sub Fabric as well. The vinyl is recommended with retractable banner stands mostly for its durability when using your banner stand time and time again and having to retract it into and from the base.

The difference in cost of materials, like choosing the traditional vinyl material versus opting for the dye sub fabric with your retractable banner stand, in many cases will still be a little more budget friendly as opposed to the pop-up banner displays.

You could choose the dye sub fabric banner for your retractable banner if you want to use it as a branding reinforcement backdrop at an event or trade show. If your budget doesn’t allow for the dye sub fabric banner upgrade for a retractable banner stand and you plan is to use it as a potential photo or media backdrop, the Bond Paper Matte Laminate will likely show up best on most camera’s with or without flash because it won’t have any glare like the vinyl or the Gloss Laminate would.

The vinyl material is also suitable for outdoor use in mild weather as well, meaning you can use a retractable banner as an outdoor advertisement.  Another advantage of retractable banner stands is that there are double sided options available whereas in most cases, pop-up displays do not offer such an option.

If your banner choice hinges largely on your budget, the retractable banner stand also offers a huge benefit in that ordering a replacement banner will also be more cost effective than it would be for a pop-up display banner replacement, depending on size. 

Depending on the space available to you at an event, trade show booth or retail floor, retractable banners tend to take up less room if that space is limited. The vertical design pop-up banner displays would also work as well if your display area is tight.

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