The Complete Buyers Guide to Feather Flags

scout group flagsIt can be very confusing shopping for Feather Flags online, so I decided to write this guide to help you through the process.

Hope you find it useful!

What are Feather Flags?

Feather flags are freestanding portable flagpole systems, comprising of a flag, flagpole and base or wall bracket. Most flag makers offer a range of bases and ground spikes, but not all offer wall brackets if you would prefer to have them wall mounted (more about this further down the page)

I have outlined below the most common areas of confusion for quick reference, before getting into the main guide.

Common areas of confusion:

Flag Prices
Prices will vary according to how many you need, materials used and required delivery date.

Small Quantity 1-49 Flags | Most printers exclude vat (UK) or sales taxes (overseas) This is standard practice in the print industry, so factor this into your pricing when you see advertised prices online.

Prices will be higher for small runs (generally between 1-49 flags) simply due to how the flags are made. Flags made on small runs go through a print, press and hand cutting process, before being hand stitched.

Small run flags tend to be higher priced during the spring/summer vs autumn/winter, so if you can buy any flags out of season, you are likely to save at least 10%.

Expect to Pay: £49 – 299 per flag depending on size, specification and supplier.

Large Quantity 50+ Flags

If you want the very lowest prices and you need hundreds or thousands of flags, look for a printer who can set up the job using integrated printers and cutters. This is where you are most likely to get the cheapest prices as there is far less labour to pay for.

Expect to Pay: £10-100 per unit depending on size, specification and quantity.

Be extra cautious when specifying what you need them for. Flag material and colour reproduction might not withstand longer-term usage.

You will very likely need to give the flag maker more time to make and fulfil orders (4-12 weeks)

Shapes

It is very easy to get confused by the different shapes and names. Some printers invent names as well, to try and build up their own marketplace for feather flags.

There are 2 key shapes for feather flags, one being a banner shape with straight edges top and bottom, the other being a banner shaped flag with curved tops and straight, curved or convex bottom edges (as shown below)

(4 pics showing 2 shapes with different finishes on sailflags)

Sizing

Feather Flags come in a range of sizes from extra small to extra-long (1m to 6m)

Always explain to the flag maker what the flags will be used for and then can make sure they are not too big or too small for your needs.

Design

Flags are a great deal bigger than standard format printing, like business cards, brochures and stationery, for example.

Artwork used must therefore be vector based (often referred to as high res)

Some flag makers will help you develop artwork in the correct format and some won’t, which may result in further costs.

Always check with the flag maker what level of support they will offer before committing to a purchase.

Base Options

Check what base options are available in the price. Sometimes, bases are not included and you have to pay extra.

Assembly | Feather flags break down to a very small size, to allow for transport etc. Flag poles supplied break down to small pieces that are very easy to attach together.

Flags are secured by running complete pole section through a sleeve. The bottom of the flag can either be free flowing or include a small loop for securing at the bottom (will depend on size) Pole will fit into your preferred choice of base or wall bracket.

Main Guide

Why use Feather Flags?

Pros:

Cost effective visual advertising media
Light and Portable
Natural moving signage that attracts attention
Can brighten up a shopfront, business premises or events stand

Cons:

Can be easily damaged if not cared for
If used outdoors, need to be brought in each day
Prone to damage when used in extreme wind and rain (over 35mph generally but do check makers own specification)

Sizing the flags

It’s very important to size the flag to both the size of your premises (or stand) and the space available to you. The flag and flagpole is likely to rotate outdoors, so you need to be sure passers by are safe from harm. Special consideration needs to be made to people using pushchairs or mobility scooters. Ask yourself whether there is ample room to pass the flag without causing any safety issues.

Do you need the flags for indoor or outdoor use?

Indoor

If you are only ever going to use portable flags indoors, your flag maker might be able to offer a lighter fabric. A lighter fabric is more likely to move (even slightly) as people walk by. Indoor events with good airflow will also bring the flags to life. Lighter fabrics like pongee feel nicer too and have a silky effect.

Portable flags used indoors should last many years if you store them safely. It’s worthwhile keeping the design very simple, so you don’t have to keep changing copy (resulting in many years of extra use)

Outdoors

As already mentioned – portable flag systems used outdoors are subject to harsh weather conditions, especially here in the UK. Outdoor flags need to be made from hard wearing materials to ensure you get a reasonable length of product life.

A good flag maker will make sure your promotional flags are made to the correct specification and fit for purpose, so it pays you to provide this information when ordering.

If you order online, you will be fine using lighter material for indoor use. Be sure to order the best material you can for outdoor use though.

Doing your Research

As with many purchases, you will want to go online and search for feather flags and sail flags to get a sense of prices, shapes available and delivery options.

Use a word doc or similar to list website addresses and prices, so you don’t get lost in all the options available (or lose a website you want to revisit)

Buying your flags

When you are ready to buy your flags, make sure you have the total cost, including all parts, delivery and vat (or sales taxes)

If you need flags for a special promotion launch or show, be sure to order at least 7 days in advance – this way – you will not be subject to express service charges. There can be mixed messages in the printing industry around making flags in 24 hours and although this can be done under some circumstances, you need to consider how long it will get the design and proofing side done. Getting artwork proofs signed off can be a lengthy process, especially if more than one person is involved in the decision making process.

I went shopping online to compare prices. This was based on a standard print flag between 2.8m – 3.4m high, including pole and base option. Some companies offer a fixed package and some will allow you to choose between a fillable base, cross base, ground spike or wall bracket.

Feather Flag Prices in UK based on a standard 3m flag system, including flag, pole and base option (June 2020)

 

PrinterCost ex vat
Sailflags£75
Budget Banners 4U£75
Vista Print£83.99
Hello Print£90.95
UK Flag Company£91.66
UK Feather Flags£99.99
Northern Flags£106.57
Discount Displays£124.15
House of Flags£128
Printed Feather Flags£135
 

Source: Google Organic Search June 2020

 

Getting to grips with Flag Design

Flags are normally made using large format printers, so the artwork used is very different to business stationery like business cards and letterheads.

Your logos and any images required need to be high resolution, vector based graphics, otherwise they will blur (pixelate) when printed.

If you are asked to provide higher resolution artwork, you can either contact the person originally responsible for providing the artwork or you can ask for assistance from the flag maker. There is likely to be small additional costs if you need logos or illustrations vectorised.

It is always worthwhile getting artwork proofs from the flag maker before they go to print. This will show any issues that might arise before you receive flags.