Like most who appear in artist alleys at comic cons and other shows on the regular, I have a vertical banner. It looms behind me, like a towering vinyl shadow, letting passers-by know my name, websites, and fondness for cartoon cats.
Look Good, Feel Good
The banner was one of the best investments I ever made for my artist alley set-up. It not only provides information and identification, but it adds a touch of professionalism. Gone are my old hand-lettered signs on poster board (thankfully). I noticed how many other artists had a banner of some kind, and decided it was time to make the leap. I asked my comic making friends for recommendations and went with esigns.com.
In the Bag (or Not)
While I love my banner, and it’s held up very well over the years, there’s one aspect I always hated: the carrying bag. Yes, I didn’t get the most expensive banner, so it’s accompanying carrying bag is definitely a case of “pay whatcha get for.” Sliding the banner into its carrying bag at the end of every show was a chore. The metal of the banner housing always caught on the bag. After a couple of years of shows, my bag was in tatters.
Then, after my recent appearance at the Artisan Pop Up Market, the zipper for the bag came off. I said, “well, this is silly!” but used more four letter words and yelling.
I needed a better method to carry my banner. After thinking on it, I came up with a hack for carrying my artist alley banner.
Watch: My Artist Alley Banner Hack
If the embed doesn’t work, watch the video on my YouTube channel.
My new solution for carrying my retractable vertical banner? A yoga mat strap. The idea came to me while trying to figure out a better solution, one that didn’t require me to force an oddly shaped metal thing into a bag.
Then: inspiration. I noticed people downtown carrying yoga mats using an adjustable strap and figured that would work! My banner is roughly the same length and shape as a rolled up yoga mat.
I poked around on Amazon, and found a yoga mat strap I was willing to try. As the video above shows, it worked just fine. I need the strap for my banner so I can just throw it over my shoulder while moving the rest of my gear to and from artist alley.
I might roll the banner in an old towel for a bit of extra protection from the elements, but otherwise this solution worked great.