Farmers Market Banners 101

There is no doubt about it – just the basic fact of being a vendor at the farmers market will generate sales.  However, there is also lots of competition at the market, where many vendors may offer the same or similar types of produce.  Ideally, you want customers to remember exactly who they purchased from, to be able to tell their friends and family about you, and even become a customer outside of the market if that is an option you offer.

One of the most basic, economical and popular ways to display your name at an outdoor farmers market is a banner.  They are large, and they can withstand various weather conditions such as wind and rain.  In many cases, your banner will be one of your largest costs when it comes to your farmers market display.  Consider these factors to ensure your banner makes a great impression with your customers and is as cost effective as possible.

Check market guidelines and ask for advice.

Many markets have specific guidelines regarding signage.  Be sure to check with your market manager regarding these, and also ask their opinion on what works best.  Your market manager and fellow vendors can also be good referral sources when finding a sign company and/or graphic designer to help create your banner.

Plan ahead. 

Depending on their schedule a printer can print a banner in as little as 2 days with supplied artwork.  No supplied artwork?  “Artwork can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months or more, depending on how quickly people get back to us and provide approvals,” says Chuck Culp, President of Double Q Printing in London, Ontario.

Make sure it looks great. 
  • Look for other examples of what you like.
  • Take a few moments to sketch out your ideas for the banner and show these to your printer and/or graphic designer.  Ie. No more than 15 minutes.
  • Make sure your business name, or ideally your logo, are the first thing people will see.
  • Avoid covering every square inch with graphics and words.

Keep in mind that deciding what your banner will look like and printing it are two different stages.  Some sign companies can provide great graphic design assistance, in other cases you may want to hire an independent graphic designer.  Whoever helps you with the look of your banner, be sure to look at examples of their work and always ask for quotes before getting started.

Designing your own sign?  Check with your printer first. 

“Before you go doing a whole lot of artwork, talk to your printer first,” says Chuck.  He adds, “everybody makes stuff 8 ½” x 11” which won’t work.  We need artwork supplied as a vector file.”  (No idea what a vector file is?  This is why talking to your sign company first is a good idea.)

Keep it short and sweet when it comes to wording.

Only add important information such as your location and website address.  If you are active on Facebook or Twitter consider adding those images to the side, in a size that is noticeable but not overwhelming.

Consider your environment – be sure to stand out.

Farmers markets are naturally full of colour and activity.  Keeping your banner simple will help ensure it gets noticed.  Don’t be tempted to add lots of patterns or photos.  Stick to colours that are part of your branding, but be aware that certain colours such as blues, purples and greens are more likely to blend into their surroundings so use these strategically in the design if necessary.  Communicate what your environment is like to whoever is helping design and print your banner.

Think about installation.

Where will your banner go?  How will you hang it?  Is it in a position where staff will not bump into it?  Are there areas of the banner that might be covered by part of the tent infrastructure?  For example, if the top 6” will be covered – ensure you don’t have graphics in this area.

How will you transport and store your banner?

You’ve invested time and money – have a plan to keep it looking good, and lasting for a reasonable amount of time.  Did it come with a carry bag and/or protective cardboard roll?  Make sure staff know how and where you want the banner stored.

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