The Complete Buyers Guide to Feather Flags
It can be very confusing shopping for Teardrop Flags online, so I decided to write this guide to help you through the process.
Hope you find it useful!
What are Teardrop Flags?
Teardrop flags are freestanding portable flagpole systems, comprising of a flag shaped like a tear, 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:
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: £20-100 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)
It is very easy to get confused by the different shapes and names given to tear shaped flags, but the majority of printers and flag makers call them teardrop flags. If you find them by any other name, it is likely the name was invented by the supplier or their marketing team. This may be to create some marketing interest around encouraging customers to use their description as the search term on Google, for example.
The shape lends itself very well to fashion, techy, outdoor, leisure, fitness and sports related businesses and brands. I believe this is due to it’s modern shape.
It moves away from traditional banner style promotional flags, for example and curves are very much in fashion these days.
Teardrop Flags come in a range of sizes from extra small to extra-long (1.5m to 4m)
It is recommended to speak with the flag maker or printer to explain how the flags will be used. They should be able to advise you on the best size to go for.
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.
Check what base options are available in the price. Sometimes, bases are not included and you have to pay extra.
Assembly | Teardrop 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 will have a tab or bungy style cord which is secured around the attachment on the bottom flagpole section.
Be careful as this will be subject to extreme tension. Take your time and watch flag makers videos or read instructions for best results.
Pole will fit into your preferred choice of base or wall bracket.
Why use Teardrop Flags?
Cost effective visual advertising media
Light and Portable
Natural moving signage that attracts attention
Can brighten up a shopfront, business premises or events stand
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?
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)
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 teardrop flags to get a sense of prices, sizes 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 2.3m – 3m 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.
Teardrop Flag Prices in UK based on a medium to large flag system, including flag, pole and base option (July 2020)
|Printer||Cost ex vat|
|UK Feather Flags||£99.99|
|House of Flags||£120.00|
Source: Google Organic Search July 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.