An entire neighborhood that puts out identical American flags every Memorial Day, Flag Day, and Fourth of July.
A downtown with coordinated OPEN flags at every shop, cafÃ©, and restaurant.
Why do these scenes speak to us?
A show of unity.
A liberal splash of color.
A way to elevate the eyes.
An enticement to draw you along the streetscape.
An easily refreshed, seasonal appeal.
An extension of your brand.
A visual interpretation of community pride.
All in a neat little package.
Or a banner.
You would be hard-pressed to find a singular design element that can bring so much to your downtown so easily.
Banners and flags are t-shirts for your downtown. They proclaim a message and show “team” pride. They are colorful and bold. Simply said, flags and banners pack a punch.
No wonder so many communities have embraced them.
But whether you are a long time flag and banner supporter or someone a bit more resistant to their appeal, here are a few things to consider.
In order to reap the maximum benefits of a flag or banner installation, your look must be consistent. Please note, this is not to say everything must be the same. But consistent? Yes! In your message and your look – think color, size, location, mounting height, and even shape. Throughout your downtown and across your districts.
Like any wardrobe, keep an eye on the need to refresh. Not only will styles come and go, but the effects of wind, rain, and a variety of other elements will take their toll, wearing out even the most timeless design.
Say something ”¦ but not too much
Your message should be short. Remember, people will be walking or even driving by.
Likewise, images work best if they are stunning and large. Repetitive color can be more impactful than banners that are too busy. (see our previous post here: https://www.derckandedson.com/repetition/)
How low can you go?
Placement of banners and flags should be studied before any installation takes place. Consider who your prime viewers will be ”“ pedestrians or those driving into your community. If pedestrians, ensure prime visibility combined with the least opportunity for physical conflicts (as in, don’t hang flags and banners where people will walk into them ”“ you laugh, but I’ve seen it happen!).
Be inspired and inspiring
Of course, your flags and banners may be just that ”“ flags and banners. But they can stand for so much more. Consider this:
I am your belief in yourself, your dream of what a people may become. I am the clutch of an idea and the reasoned purpose of resolution. I am no more than you believe me to be, and I am all that you believe I can be. I am whatever you make me, nothing more.
I swing before your eyes as a bright gleam of color, a symbol of yourself, the pictured suggestion of that big thing which makes this nation. My stars and my stripes are your dream and your labors. They are bright with cheer, brilliant with courage, firm with faith, because you have made them so out of your heart, for you are the makers of the flag, and it is well that you glory in the making.
– Franklin Knight Lane, U.S. secretary of the interior, in 1914