Design & Price: 3-by-10-ft. printed banner

By signcraft

Posted on Friday, January 6th, 2023

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In every issue, SignCraft gave a few sign makers an imaginary project. We ask them to do a sketch of the sign they might have produced, and to quote a price for the job. Most of the details are left to the designer’s imagination. The object is to see how different sign makers approach the same project. Here’s the scenario these sign makers were given:

A well-established café is about to re-open in a new location across town. It’s big news throughout the small community, but Wild Bill wants to be sure everyone knows that the grand opening festivities are underway. He also insists that his world-famous Tater Tot Casserole be mentioned on the banner. You explain that a digitally-printed banner will do the job and can be completed quickly. Make a sketch of the design you might have designed for the customer and quote a price.

This appeared in the January/February 2010 issue of SignCraft. While the prices have been adjusted for inflation, they may not accurately reflect current pricing for such signage.


Bob Parsons

Parsons Art & Sign, Anchorage, Alaska

“Temporary” is often associated with banners and, as a result, we sign makers often don’t sell them as advertising. But everything has the potential to make a lasting impression, so why not knock their socks off with this “temporary” banner and have them thinking what a cool guy old Wild Bill must be?

The time to design it, if Bill leaves me alone, is 2 hours. That’s $200. Banner costs have come down recently, but I keep my cost at $12.50 per sq. ft. plus shipping. So together, that totals roughly $575. If old Bill likes the way his name looks, he can buy that for $500.

The breakdown on this is about an hour to knock out the script in pencil, ink it, scan it, autotrace it and manipulate the rest of the copy. I do this all the time and have gotten reasonably quick at it. This is my favorite type of work, and I’d love to be able to do it all day.

Design time: $200

Banner production costs: $375

Total: $575

Logo fee (optional): $500


CreativeInk Design

Stratford, Ontario, Canada

We produce these types of banners on a daily basis here at CreativeInk Design, so I’ve had the opportunity to price and produce this type of job on many occasions. We use a pretty simple formula:

Sales and design time: $150

Banner material at $11 per sq. ft.: $330

Total: $480

We would use Ready2Print pre-grommeted printable banner material, which is compatible with our 54-in. Roland VersaCamm printer. When the banner comes off the printer, all we have to do is trim the ends, and it’s ready to hand to the customer.


Kevin Wright

Wright Signs, Adrian, Michigan

I would first ask the customer to come to my shop to look at samples of signs and banners we have done for others. My shop is my showplace and, after seeing what we can do, it usually turns into more work from the new client. I’ll give them a ballpark price depending on what is involved and then ask for a 50% deposit.

I’ll ask how the banner is going to be used, whether it will hang flat on a wall or in the lawn between posts. If it will be a wall application, I’d just use grommets in each corner and a couple across the top. If it will be mounted between posts, I’d use Power Tabs from across the top and bottom and a Power Tab in each corner, as it will give the banner more strength.

I only use 15-oz. Optima Scrim banner material, and my digital printer is the 64-in. HP9000. Before the digital printer, I based all my pricing on an hourly rate of $115 per hour. Now, though, knowing what my banner and ink prices are per sq. ft., I use a square-foot calculation.

Sketch A: With a white background and more straightforward copy, I would charge $11 per sq. ft.

Total: $330

Sketch B: With printing the background with two or more colors and a bit more time on the design, I would charge $13.50 per sq. ft.

Total: $405