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What Are Tension Fabric Frames, & Why Are They So Popular?

by Nigel Webster
on 13th January 2020

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It’s more important than ever to stand out when it comes to outdoor advertising, and one of the best ways to do this is by using an unusual or unique application. Delighting busy consumers with unusual advertising designs is an effective means of conveying your message, and fabric could be the perfect solution. But what are tension fabric frames? 

Also known as 3D box banners, these are visually exciting, reusable and adaptable print solutions. They’re perfectly suited to all kinds of advertising and branding campaigns; and they’re fast becoming one of the most popular forms of out of home advertising (OOH).

What are tension fabric frames?

Kia fabric cube

Tension fabric frames consist of a printed fabric material which is held in tension within a metal frame, forming a kind of ‘banner’. Aluminium frames are used to lend the 3D banners their shape, creating eye-catching installations that can be hung from ceilings, adhered to walls, or used as floor-standing banners, making them ideal for all kinds of branding and advertising purposes. 

Although many different levels of complexity can be achieved in terms of the overall effect generated by this form of printed OOH, one of the standout features of tension fabric frames themselves is their simplicity. 

Easy to install, printed graphics can be interchanged quickly and easily by swapping one fabric overlay for another; these are reusable as well as lightweight and durable. In terms of their three-dimensionality, tension fabric frames can be configured as cubes — for example, the giant purple present which PressOn produced for Swarovski in collaboration with Limited Space for the 2018 festive season — as well as cuboids, pyramids, and cylinders. 

The flexibility of the frames means that they hold the potential to render alternative shapes of further complexity. Depending on your unique design purposes there is almost no limit to their size or scope; frames can be single or double-sided. 

How do tension fabric frames work?

tension fabric frame in Murphy's offices

Tension fabric frames offer pretty much limitless creativity, and their designs can be as complicated or intricate as you like – but thankfully, the process of actually putting them together is quick and easy…

Assembly: Silicone edging is used to attach the fabrics into the face of each section of the aluminium frame. To ensure the designs remain clear, on each section of tension fabric where there is transparency, blackout backing is applied.

Installation: Once the fabric box banner is constructed, it is securely suspended at height, often from something like a doorway or ceiling – they can also be securely attached to walls, or installed as free-standing banners.

Removal: As quick to take down as they are to set up, tension fabric is easily removed from the frames of each installation. The printed fabric panels can be removed intact and stored for further use, or recycled — rendering tension fabric frames a stellar advertising option for eco-conscious brands.

Why are tension fabric frames such an effective form of advertising?

The range of stylistic and practical benefits that tension fabric frames can offer as a form of branding or advertising is extensive, explaining their growing popularity. Brands of all types are gravitating towards this form of printed OOH for the wide range of advantages it affords, including:

Adaptability: Tension fabric frames can be rendered in almost any 3D shape. This means they can be used to display all kinds of designs, evoking a potentially limitless range of effects to help build your brand and spread your message. Furthermore, the ease with which they can be rehung means that any alterations made to your design — from updating offers to adding new elements — can be implemented rapidly.

Efficiency: In addition to the speed with which fabric box banners can be installed and removed in their entirety, the aluminium tension fabric frames themselves can be rehung with fresh prints. PressOn has installed frames, for instance, in Intu department stores for multiple different promotions, including Kia’s Xceed roadshow campaign.

Sustainability: Most printed OOH is irreparably damaged during removal, but tension fabric panels can be removed intact, stored in perfect condition in or out of their tensile frames and then reapplied. Any tension fabric which is not destined for reuse is fully biodegradable.

Portability: Due to their modular nature, tension fabric frames can be easily packaged and transported anywhere, assembled on-site, and packed up upon removal; ideal installations for most occasions and locations.

Versatility: Due to the advantages discussed above, the contexts in which tension fabric frames can be employed to excellent effect range widely, including trade shows, exhibitions, window displays, showrooms, and workspaces.

What are the top considerations? 

When choosing fabric frames as a branding solution, businesses are recommended to take into consideration the impact they want their installation to have, including factors such as: 

The impact of your chosen design: Tension fabric frames particularly complement “outside-the-box” thinking, making them ideal for brands innovating on cultural norms. Our collaboration with Limited Space to produce striking red box banners for the luxury jewellery brand Vashi, for example, served to illustrate the fresh take on the traditional process of shopping for jewellery that they deliver; a consumer-led experience without all of the fuss of traditional jewellers. 

The nature of your brand’s occupation of public space: Due to their in-air suspension, fabric box banners allow brands to tap into areas of public space that is not traditionally used for advertising. Rather than simply adorning the walls, promotions mounted on tension fabric frames  “pop” into the consumer’s field of vision, making a much-coveted greater impression than some traditional forms of printed OOH. 

The dimensions of your chosen design: Tension fabric frames can be used to produce 3D advertising in so many different shapes that the world really is your oyster.  Experienced printing suppliers can envision and adapt the most maverick designs.

Environmental considerations: In our current climate, it is vital to consider the environmental effects of producing printed OOH. In addition to the reusability of both the aluminium frames and the banners themselves, the choice of material as a printing substrate — in place of vinyl or PVC — has further environmental benefits, making tension fabric frames a popular choice for eco-aware businesses.

Pricing: Due to the inexpensive nature of the materials used — and with so many different sizes and shapes available — printed fabric frames often fall within budget, with the right design.  

How do I order tension fabric frames?

woman ordering advertising

The first step in the direction of tension fabric frames is to speak to a high-quality printing supplier, who can discuss your ideas and budget, discerning the best options for your project. Suppliers such as PressOn will also assist you in considering factors such as the spaces and occasions which your chosen tension fabric frames are envisioned for, refining the design with you in order to ensure the finished products comprehensively suit your purposes.

Get in touch 

Get in touch via our contact page to find out more about how PressOn can help you transform your branding with a set of custom tension fabric frames. Our expert project managers are on hand to provide advice, quotes, and assistance — whenever you need it.

Contact PressOn to discuss a tension fabric framing project. 

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Written by
Nigel Webster Managing Director