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Imagine driving to work or walking to school when suddenly a banner advertising Ishmael catches your eye! It's not just your imagination, these banners actually exist! This page helps YOU make banners to display at your home, school, events, and along the road. It also offers a place to share your banner with others, as well as view the work of other groups. If you see an Ishmael banner hanging in your neighborhood, please let us post it on our website by sending us a picture.

How to Make

Banners are cheap, easy and fun to make. They can be made from bedsheets, shower curtains or paper, depending on the durability that you want and where you wish to hang them. The banner can include both pictures, as well as a message. Before you begin making the banners, you may want to brainstorm what message you want to have on it. This will save you time so that when banner-making day comes, you can focus on actually making them and not have to figure out what you want to write.

If you are making the banner indoors, you will want to have some rags, a cleaning bucket and a drop cloth or plastic covering for the floor. Some of the mess can be avoided if you have a place outside where you can work, but with these materials it can be perfectly safe to make a banner indoors.

There are three main ways to add your message and pictures to the banner:
  1. Paint Brushes- This approach requires more time and skill, but the homemade look is worth it if it is going to be used again and again or in an important place where looks count. Make sure to buy water-based paint (versus oil-based). Ease of cleaning is the main advantage, although it is also better for the environment (cleaning doesn't require harsh substances).

  2. Spray Paint/Stencils- This method looks more professional and works best with fewer/larger words. It is also beneficial when mass producing banners. Remember to buy stencils of at least two sizes (for the heading and message).

  3. Markers- This method works best with small banners and small words. Just make sure to only use permanent markers, or else they will run and ruin your banner during the first rain.
If you're living large and have the money to spend, you can have a professional printing/graphic store make your banner. At a minimum, bring your graphics on a disk. You may also want to bring the finished layout of the entire banner.

Where to Hang

  • Colleges- Most colleges have banner spaces for student organizations' use. These spaces are scheduled through the office of student activities (or whatever serves that purpose at your college). Locate the person who schedules banners. Give them the name of your organization or find a social or environmental organization's permision to use their name. Also, before you make the banner, check on the size requirements.

  • Home- Hang on porches, between windows, between trees on wires, or free standing in your front yard!

  • Events- Concerts, speeches, conferences, and sporting events are perfect high profile locations. The trick is getting permission, which is easiest to obtain at events related to Ishmael (which is nearly any cause).

  • Roadside- Hang on old semi trailors, barns, or fences, but get permission first. We do not condone unauthorized use of banners. Also, keep the sayings short and sweet, you only have three second to portray the message!

What to Say

Obviously, what you choose to write on your banner is key and will make the difference between whether it catches someone's attention or not, as well as whether it will get them curious about Ishmael or not. As marketers know well, the right word or color can grab a reader's eye, while a slightly different message can leave them completely uninterested. To make sure your banner grabs attention, the Friends of Ishmael Society offers some promotional tips to get you thinking about what type of message will really work.

It may help to add your group's website, or the Ishmael Community website ( to your banner. This will give potential readers a place to go if they want more information, but aren't willing to buy the book yet. It also will mean that people who see the sign and have already read the book know how to reach you and other Ishmael readers to get involved.

Some examples of messages that could be used are shown below.


Class a $/semester (customize to your college)
Class b $/semester
Average college debt - $18,000
Job Market – Busted

Finding out why you feel cheated: PRICELESS

Read ISHMAEL by Daniel Quinn

Average Law Degree $
Average Medical Degree $
Average Business Degree $

Finding out why we are pushed into empty careers we despise: PRICELESS

Read ISHMAEL by Daniel Quinn

  • Adolescent suicide has tripled since the 1950’s
  • Antidepressant sales up 800% since 1990
  • College debt has doubled since 1991
  • ¼ of your parents are divorced, tripled since 1972

Read ISHMAEL by Daniel Quinn

  •   Did Ted Turner award $500,000?
  •   Won largest book award ever?
  •   Changed $Multi-billion corporations?
  •    Inspired Pearl Jam’s Yield album?
  •    Inspired the motion picture Instinct?
  •    Is used in 1000’s of schools, over 200 subjects?
READ ISHMAEL by Daniel Quinn

Creating A Culture In Which Our Children Aren't Dying To Escape

Our Anti-Drug!

Read ISHMAEL by Daniel Quinn

Can you think of other sayings? Post them here for everyone to use.

Picture of Existing Banners

HOPE FOR THE WORLD banner , made by the Western Washington University Ishmael Club

WHAT BOOK banner , made by the Detroit Ishmael Leavers

ITS NOT WORKING banner , made by the Detroit Ishmael Leavers

E-mail us if you want to borrow either of the Detroit group's banners. Mention where you intend to hang it and how long you need it.

Sharing Banners

One of the nice things about banners is that they never have to go to waste. Once you have used your banners, other local Ishmael groups can get in touch and borrow them to use at their events. Meanwhile, if you would like to try a different banner, you can borrow one from them. This is a great way to promote sharing between the groups.

Post pictures of your banner here and let other Ishmael readers see what you've created! Please send your contact info, as well, so that other readers can contact you if they'd like to borrow one of your banners.

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