Trade Show TalesBlog

Odds and Ends | Your Exhibit Design Search

October 11th, 2016 COMMENTS


You’ve heard it before, “Exhibit Design Search is a work in progress.” But it’s true. We are always looking for ways to make EDS easier and more comprehensive. New features are frequently added without fanfare. They just appear.

So what’s new?

Photo Galleries

capture1Recently, distributors asked us how they could tap into our Custom, Rental, and Retail photo galleries without redirecting their clients to the Classic website. About 16 months ago, we added those galleries to the main Classic website to highlight the non-system projects flowing through our facility. On any given month, about 40 percent of our business falls into those categories. And it’s growing.

We listened. Now all branded EDS sites have a Photo Libraries button with a drop-down menu. The menu includes not only Past Five Days, but also galleries showing Custom, Rental, and Retail projects. Expect them to evolve as we add (and remove) projects.

Gravitee Modular Wall System

gravitee-cycleYou’ll be hearing LOTS and LOTS about Gravitee in the coming months. However, unlike other Classic systems, we’ve chosen not to create a defined product gallery in EDS. Why? Gravitee is a chameleon. It’s ideal as an island or an inline. It’s perfect for purchase or rental. Use it for an event, a corporate environment, a trade show, or retail space. It’s versatile, practical, and affordable. In short, it works in almost any 3D environment.

For now, the Gravitee kits will be in the Island, Visionary Designs, and SEGUE galleries. You can find them by searching “Gravitee.” Or, by going to the Exhibits menu on the main Classic website and clicking on Gravitee One-Step Modular System.

Interested in adding Gravitee to your rental inventory? Click to download the Starter Kit Special, available only to Classic Exhibits Distributors.

LED Lightboxes

vk-1966-view-3Lightboxes are the boy bands of the exhibit, event, and retail world. Even if you want to hate them… you can’t. They are just too damn cute and adorable. We decided to take a two-prong approach to lightboxes. Our proprietary SuperNova lightboxes can be purchased in any size, nearly any shape, and come in one or two-sided frames. The frames, unlike most on the market, are designed to withstand abuse. We dare you to compare them to the “little sisters of the poor” varieties, not only in their durability but also their light sealing features. They are better and brawnier.

Secondly, lightboxes need to be functional for trade show exhibitors. That means that attaching counters, headers, literature holders, iPad stands, shelves, monitors, etc. should be easy. We’ve designed kits that do more than look pretty. They are also practical. See VK-1966, VK-1963, VK-1961, and VK-1118 for examples.

Rental Furniture Galleries

rental-furnitureThis is important. Last summer, we added Rental Furniture Galleries #1 and #2 in EDS. These galleries are a partnership with CORT, the leader in trade show rental furniture. Rental furniture is no longer the exception in inline and island booths. It’s the rule.

Historically, it’s been challenging to assist your customers with rental furniture. Not anymore. These two retail galleries make it easy to show your clients rental furniture at retail prices. Once your client has selected the furniture, simply call CORT, tell them you’re a Classic Exhibits distributor, and they will provide you with a wholesale quote. They can even direct you to other rental furniture options in their online catalog, all with a special Classic Exhibits wholesale prices. My personal advice… don’t be a duffus! Show rental furniture. Sell rental furniture. With or without your assistance, your clients are going to have rental furniture in their booth.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions about Exhibit Design Search or about anything Classic Exhibits related.

–Mel White


Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or


Kevin Schuhl, the Newest Addition to the Classic Design Department

October 4th, 2016 1 COMMENT

We are excited to welcome Kevin Schuhl to Classic’s Design Department. Kevin brings an eclectic design background to our creative team, which he shares in his bio below.

Kevin Schuhl

schuhlAfter growing up in the chaparral covered hills and valleys of Poway, CA, I attended the University of California at San Diego (UCSD). Four years and one change of major later, I received a BA in Art.

Feeling I needed more practical experience, I began working as a scenic artist at the La Jolla Playhouse.  It was there that I learned much about paint treatments, large scale art projects, and the immense amount of collaboration between different trades required to accomplish those projects successfully. Another quick stint doing similar work for a company focused on corporate events, and I was ready for something new.

I relocated to Chicago in the late nineties, ostensibly for graduate school. While more art school did not work for me, Chicago did. I instead started working with a friend out of our basement studio providing large format printing for photographers and artists. Over the next few years, we garnered larger clients and found we had fallen into a niche designing and fabricating graphics as well as scenic art elements for some nationwide chain restaurants.

When it was clear that a studio of our size would not survive a large economic collapse, I began thinking of ways to continue to merge my love of traditional arts and more modern forms of design and production. I took a job working as a 3D visual designer for an event production company, assisting designers through the modeling and rendering of spaces and decor to be used for large corporate functions, weddings, and festivals alike.

Alas, fifteen years in Chicago becomes cramped, and the wife and I wanted out. We sold the house and moved to Chicago’s older uncle, Milwaukee, WI. There, we learned the ins and outs of ecommerce, creating several online sites for the purpose of selling graphic decor directly to the end- user. While rewarding in its own way, I missed the sense of working with people on larger projects that involved much more than simply what was on the computer screen. I missed the shop.

This led us to Portland this past July, with the caveat that I would be looking to leave the home office in search of other work. Luckily for me, Classic Exhibits had a need for some design help. In my short time here, Classic has been everything that I was hoping to regain in work. Collaboration in a shop with a variety of skilled people. Collaboration with an even larger, unseen audience toward one goal. I look forward to all I will learn across the spectrum that is Classic Exhibits.

When not working, my time is split between music, learning software, painting, furniture making, cooking, playing pinball with my wife, and walking with our dog.

Kevin Schuhl

Your Invitation to Shared Knowledge University | Fall 2016

September 28th, 2016 COMMENTS

Get ready. Classic’s Shared Knowledge University is just around the corner, November 14-15. Distributors who have attended SKU, many multiple times, know it’s an immersive two days into all things Classic Exhibits: products, processes, and people.

Add in presentations by CORT, Optima, and Eco-Systems Sustainable and frankly, it’s overwhelming (in a good way). Then we mix in great meals, social events, and mixers with other distributors. This is your invitation to attend. See the graphic below for details and contact Reid Sherwood or Jen LaBruzza to reserve your spot.

On behalf of the entire Classic Exhibits Family, we hope to see you there!

Shared Knowledge University Fall 2016 | Classic Exhibits

Contemporary, Affordable Charging Stations for Tradeshows and Events

September 21st, 2016 COMMENTS

Event and Trade Show Charging Stations

Is Your Exhibit an Oreo, a Fig Newton, or a Nilla Wafer?

September 12th, 2016 COMMENTS

Trade Show Displays as Cookies

Sugar and More Sugar

As someone who grew up in the 60s and 70s, I consumed a lot of sugar. I mean A LOT. Kool-Aid, Popsicles, Shasta pop, ice cream, breakfast cereal, and every Hostess snack from Twinkies to Ding Dongs (perhaps the best product name ever!). Sugar and salt balanced endless dinners of casseroles and salads with mayonnaise. It was a great childhood.

The sugar feeding frenzy wouldn’t have been complete without packaged cookies. My mother called the shots when it came to cookies, which meant she bought store or off-brand cookies most of the time. But occasionally, she would splurge for the name brand. And, like every kid, I loved Oreos best.

Trade Show ExhibitsMy parents would gladly eat sugar wafers or ginger snaps. Not us kids. We fought for Oreos. Would settle for Fig Newtons. And cried and pouted if given a Nilla Wafer (unless drenched in banana pudding).

This experience gave me a solid foundation for judging things. As an adult I can rate just about everything on a cookie scale. For brevity, I’ll limit it to Oreos, Fig Newtons, and Nilla Wafers, but be assured that the “science” behind my methodology includes Frosted Animal Cookies, Pepperidge Farms (as a collective group), Girl Scout Thin Mints, and Chips Ahoy. And, while I love peanut butter cookies, no prepackaged cookies can ever compare to homemade ones. That’s just a fact.

Now, when it comes to trade show exhibits, specifically 10 and 20 ft. inline displays, categorizing them has never been an issue. There are pop-ups, hybrids, modular laminate, custom, and basic tube and pillowcase graphic displays. But those labels are just labels, and not practical, oh-so satisfying cookie evaluations.

Nilla Wafers.

Trade Show Exhibits as Nilla WafersIf you notice these inlines, it’s usually for all wrong reasons — fuzzy graphics, broken hardware, or a general “vanilla” appearance. In addition, they’re bland in design and accessories. No monitor, shelves, pedestals, storage. No tablet stand, computer, or lightbox. It’s a tradeshow display in the same way a Nilla Vanilla is a cookie. Basic, unassuming, aesthetically similar to every other opening price point display. It got you there, but no one’s going to assume you’re a Fortune 1000 company.

Fig Newtons.

You either love Fig Newtons or you don’t. There’s no in-between. The equivalent inline has the same characteristics. Attendees are drawn to it because it takes design risks. There may be curves, headers, accessories, and a creative counter with storage. The graphics are layered with a mix of fabric and direct prints. Fig Newton displays often come in a variety of “visual flavors,” each with slightly different creative variation. You’ll never mistake a Fig Newton display for a Nilla Wafer one. And while you may not always like everything about it, attendees notice it on the show floor. Which is what exhibitors want.


Trade Show Exhibits as OreosOreos are the cookie equivalent of royalty. The traditional Oreo is the king, then there are Oreo queens, dukes, counts, princesses, and barons. They rule in a 20th century sort of way. No real power. Just a commanding presence that demands respect. You’ve seen these 10 and 20 ft. inlines on the show floor. The booth is beautiful. The graphics are spectacular. The design, the aesthetics, and the function are seamless.

You approach it, mesmerized by its allure. You find yourself lingering. Need water. It’s there. A freshly baked cookie? They have a tray of chocolate chip. The product video is captivating. The lead retrieval questions never seem threatening or intrusive. You understand what they do, and yet, you still want to know more. It’s not that the exhibit is expensive. It’s that the design is flawless, and the booth staff is attentive, knowledgeable, and professional. It’s that perfect display “cookie” which always satisfies and can be tailored to your trade show tastes.

You have a choice in inline displays. Just as you do with cookies. But unlike cookies, when it comes to a trade show display, you are not choosing what you want but what others want. How do you want to attract attendees? How do you want to be perceived? And lest you think it’s all about price, it’s not. Well-designed inline displays come in all price points. And well-trained booth staffers are priceless.

If that seems intimidating or overwhelming, then never fear. Find an exhibit house with an established history of success and grab securely on their coattails. They understand trade show displays. And possibly cookies.

–Mel White


Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or