Pageantry Terminology

This page won’t be about ALL pageantry terminology in the pageantry arts (what an exhausting task THAT would be…). Instead we wanted to provide a helpful glossary of terms that are used in the pageantry arts that relate to the graphics we produce here at Winter Guard Tarps.

Floor Tarps

This one is pretty self-explanatory, it’s the giant tarp that winter guard and percussion groups perform on indoors. Typically the tarps are made of a vinyl material, often re-purposed billboard vinyls. Winter Guard Tarps produces floor tarps on 9, 11, 13, and 15 oz. weights. Vinyl typicall is white and then digitally printed during production for custom tarps. The back of the vinyl is typically white or black, the advantage of a black back being that there will be no “bleed” through of anything underneath the tarp as white vinyls are not 100% opaque. Most all vinyls include “scrim” within the material, a weaving of nylon threading that gives the tarp its strength. Typically vinyl is a PVC material, but some lighter materials are actually a polyethylene material. We recommend staying away from these tarps (typically a repurposed billboard) as they are MUCH lighter and not very durable.
in terms of the pageantry industry, this is vinyl used for floor tarps. The vinyl can range in “weight” anywhere from 5 ounces per square yard all the way up to 18 ounces. Vinyl Ounce – this is what is known as the “weight” of the vinyl. It is literally the weight in ounces of a square yard of material. The industry standard is typically a 13 oz. vinyl which for most groups provides the right balance of being heavy enough not to shift under the weight of group performing on the tarp, while at the same time not being so unreasonably heavy that it becomes unwieldy to move. Larger groups may prefer the 15 ounce variety, while smaller groups might be able to get away with lighter weights if they need to. Our $999 tarp is an 11 ounce tarp for example, and we only recommend it for very small groups.
Ink is what the digital process puts down on your tarp when creating a custom printed tarp. It is MUCH lighter than paint, and of course the digital process means there is no limit to the amount of colors that can be produced. Most all printers that can produce floors of this size use UV protective inks, though there are two main kinds: solvent and UV. BOTH are UV protective (meaning that the image will not fade unless outdoors for more than that a year) but the “UV inks” are called that because they are cured under a UV light in the production process which creates a very durable ink. At winter guard tarps all our printers use UV inks.


Resolution references the quality of the art being submitted. Resolution is most often used in general terms such as “high resolution” and “low resolution” which tend to be subjective terms (high resolution for a website will have a different definition than “high resolution” for a billboard or large floor tarp). There is often a correlation in file size to resolution, though not always. For more information we recommend looking at our art specifications.
short for “dots per inch”, this is a common objective measure of art resolution. It is literally the number of dots or pixels in one square inch of the image. Obviously the higher this number, the higher the resolution of the image. For dpi art requirements see our art specifications.
Scale –Art is often built to scale. Most design programs won’t allow you to design an image that is 50’ x 70’, the file size would simply be too enormous to work with. As such most be work in a percentage of the actual size. At WGT for large images like a floor tarp we suggest people to work at 1/12scale, which is the very simple remember scale of “one inch equals one square foot” . . . so your 50’x70’ tarp would be designed at 50”x70”.
Vector graphics files store the lines, shapes and colors that make up an image as mathematical formulae. They are also known as EPS files. Typically these are logos, copy, line art and such. What this means is that the vector art can be changed to nearly any size and still maintain sharp, crisp resolution because rather than making the pixels of the image larger, it is just changing relative relationship of the image and filling additional pixels as needed.
When art is not vector and increased in size the size of each pixel in the image are increased to make an image larger. At some point, the pixels will become so large that they are visible to the naked eye. At this point the image is “pixelized” and is generally considered to be poor quality. Vector art, which never becomes pixelized, is preferred when possible. Some images can never be vector though, such as photographs.


A dye sublimation printer is a computer printer which employs a printing process that uses heat to transfer dye onto materials such as a plastic, card, paper, or fabric in this case it heat transfers to the flag material we use for producing custom pageantry flags.
we consider a standard pageantry flag to be sized 36”x54”
Oversized flag in a “C” shape that is overall sized 44”x88”
oversized flag in the shape of a (wait for it . . .) RAINBOW! Overall size is 44”x47”
dye sublimation printers only print to one side of the material. Bleed through refers to the amount of image that can be seen on the BACK side of the material printed to. 100% bleed through would mean that the front and back images are identical in color and intensity whereas 0% would mean that the back side remains completely unaffected by the print process. At WGT we worked hard to find a flag material that allows 90% plus bleed through. Typically the more intense the color the more bleed through there will be. Bright brilliant colors tend to have nearly 100% bleed through on our materials, whereas as soft pastels may be closer to 90% simply because there is less ink being put down to bleed onto the second size. We find that you have to look pretty hard to notice the difference on any colors we print.


All of our rollable materials (banners, floor drops, flags) are printed direct to substrate. In the past, most rigid materials were printed to self adhesive material and then mounted to the rigid material. With our 8’x10’ wide flatbed press we lay material down on the flatbed and print direct to the material.
Sure this is pretty self-explanatory, it is material that is rigid. We went ahead and listed it though because it uses a different print process and is quite different from flags, banners, or floor tarps. WGT prints directly to a variety of rigid substrates including ½” MDO board, corrugated plastic (coroplast), Foam Board, Gator Board, plexiglass, sintra, and more.
the ability to cut into custom shapes really sets our props apart. After printing directly to a rigid substrate we bring that sheet of material to our digital router. This is similar to a traditional router, but it uses a digital file to very accurately cut your print to shape. Complex curves and even fairly intricate cuts are all possible with machine precision that is pretty amazing. So custom created/shaped props are all easily possible.
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