Colors & Shapes Shape your brand! Visual Identity

Designing roll up displays

Posters, billboards, and roll up displays. Can we say that roll up displays or retractable banner stands are like “moveable” posters or billboards?

Posters, billboards, and roll up banner stands.

A different view.

Can we say that roll up displays or retractable banner displays are like “moveable” posters or billboards?.

We think that the answer to that question might be a quasi “yes”.

Considering that the intended purpose of these three communication elements, in order of appearance, posters, billboards and roll up displays, is to advertise, to communicate a message, the “yes” answer gains strength: roll up displays are like mobile versions of posters/billboards.

Of course, it’s obvious that there are some remarkable differences between them.

The poster, normally intended for the pedestrian, was placed on kiosks first, and today on nice frames installed on sidewalks, bus stop shelters.

As Richard Harris state on the first chapter of his book Graphic Design, a concise history:

“…posters belong to the category of presentation and promotion, where image and word need to be economical, connected in a single meaning, and memorable. In the streets of the expanding cities at the end of the 19th century, posters were an expression of economic, social and cultural life, competing to attract buyers for good and audiences for entertainments. The attention of the passers-by was grabbed by the posters’ colour… Their illustrations, given a precise context by the text, reflected the artistic fashion of the day, and introduced a new aesthetics of simplified, economical images which derived from their means of reproduction.”

(cit. p. 5, Richard Harris, “Graphic Design, a concise history”, Thames & Hudson Inc., reprint 2005)

The billboard, normally installed on the road sides, with its huge dimensions, has its visibility primarily planned for drivers.

Nevertheless, we can also find them as paintings on walls of certain buildings or as huge, framed structures on buildings’ roofs, serving a dual purpose, for pedestrians and drivers alike, but mostly drivers. They command high-density consumer exposure.

Comparing them to posters, their message should be “more economical” than the first ones, because the exposure time of them is ephemeral. The design solution should focus on the showing-off of the product or service, its brand, and a quick CTA (call to action). The message’s design is like a speedy TV commercial with only a few seconds to impact the reader’s eye and memory.

These two types of communications are oriented to reach larger audiences than the roll up displays, but with the same purpose: advertise, inform, expose.

The retractable displays don’t escape the “economical” rule. Despite the different sizes and shapes, the communicator, the designer, has a limited space where his/her creative design is going to be imprinted.

We understand at Siamo Undici, with our display-design experiences from our clients, a classification for designing retractable displays in at least four different categories:

Simple or minimalist

A simple message. Letting the white space be the star of the design, showing off only the basics of a company, a product or service. A quick look at it answers all the questions about it.

The Brand Exhibit

Particular kind of banner where its primary intention is the exhibition of the brand and its identity, it may include some basic information about the main product or service offered- but only a glimpse.

The Informative

The mere intention of communicating the mission of the company, its slogan, what it does, who’s its principal, a testimony to reinforce credibility, and a basic call to action.

Not all banners design should be design as the same.

The Advertiser

I believe that more explanation isn’t necessary in this last category. The design is driven to sell a product, a service with a strong call to action as the end of the “message path”.


Creative Director: Gabo Bergonzo

Design Studio: Siamo Undici

Printing/Collateral: E Impronta

Like this project in Bēhance: Designing Rollup Displays, our view

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