Trade Show TalesBlog

Archive for April, 2009

The Tradeshow Exhibit Rental Business is Booming

April 29th, 2009 COMMENTS
Trade Show Rentals from Classic

Trade Show Rentals from Classic Distributors

The exhibit rental business is booming. That shouldn’t surprise anyone. Exhibitors, both large and small, are looking for cost-effective ways to maintain their exhibit marketing on tight budgets. Renting a display makes sense for a variety of reasons, including cost, flexibility, storage and handling. If you are weighing the choice between buying or renting, see 8 Reasons to Rent Your Exhibit (below) or the full article on

Too often, exhibitors view renting as a marketing or design compromise. Larger rental displays, especially those from show management, are often battered, dated, and UGLY. They scream, “Hi, I couldn’t afford a new display so I rented this #!@% display from the show.” Renting 10′ x 10′ exhibits hasn’t been much better. The choices have been a pop up display, a different pop up display, or a fabric folding panel system. These are all utilitarian choices, and with the right graphics can be very effective, but they are never going to win you a “Best of Show” award.

Thankfully, rental designs have come a long, long way, especially if you are considering renting from a Classic Exhibits distributor. Take a moment and review the inline and island rental options in the Classic Gallery. You’ll notice some standard designs, such as pop ups, panel displays, and truss systems, but the vast majority fall under the heading of hybrid designs. Hybrid designs, such as Visionary Designs, are precisely what their name implies — hybrids. They rely on the strengths of multiple systems and combine them into a unique solution. This makes the final designs custom looking, but with much greater flexibility than a custom exhibit. Hybrids are impressive and unmistakable, not only for their soaring aluminum extrusion structure but also for their large format graphics.

The following are examples from the Rental Gallery:


When It Comes to Graphic Design, I’m an Idiot

April 23rd, 2009 3 COMMENTS
Classic Exhibits and Graphic Design

Classic Exhibits and Graphic Design

When it comes to graphic design, I am an idiot. I’m not embarrassed to admit it, although I probably should be since I manage the marketing for Classic Exhibits and ClassicMODUL, and assist in the marketing for Exhibits Northwest. Yet, there’s rarely a day that I don’t make graphic design decisions about our websites, sales literature, email marketing broadcasts, and trade show displays. Does my lack of graphic design expertise show? I certainly hope not. Frankly, I think we do a pretty good job.

Like most marketing managers, or any manager who understands his or her limitations, I rely on talented people, such as graphic designers. Not only do they understand the tools, such as Photoshop, Illustrator, or Quark, but they spend their days immersed in graphic design issues.  They understand the nuances and the trends. They remind me that this color text on that background is unreadable and that I’ve created visual clutter and confusion in my effort to say and show too much.  If I ask them to add a “star burst” with a price, they guide me to a more contemporary solution that doesn’t reek of 1980’s clip art.

Fortunately, I’ve learn some valuable lessons over the years regarding graphic design, which I’ll share. These aren’t font, color, or layout tips. Remember, I’m an idiot. These are tips for anyone working with graphic designers, tips that hopefully will save you time, money, and slow the aging process.


Connectors and Relationships

April 20th, 2009 2 COMMENTS
The Tipping Point and Connectors

The Tipping Point and Connectors

Have you ever noticed that one person at a party, a business function, or a public gathering that seems to know everyone? There is a reason for that . . . they do know everyone and everyone knows them.

The most common term I hear in reference to that is “connector.” You can find them in about every situation in life. Connectors are not just loud mouth people that like to hear themselves talk. That is not what I am referring to at all. Rather, they have a unique and very genuine knack for listening to and remembering things about the people they come across in life. And they do so genuinely. It’s something I admire greatly. Whether in business or in private settings, Connectors understand the importance of relationship building.

Let’s face it, when you have a business associate or friend come up to you and ask about your 12 year old son and your wife Sally. . . .when, it fact, you have 2 year old twins and your wife’s name is Lindsey, it sort of diminishes the sincerity of whatever it is they are trying to say.

But, when you come across someone who asks you how your son’s (Billy or Johnny) baseball team is doing this season, and if they made the payoffs again this year, it leaves you thinking “wow, this guy or gal really cared enough to listen and remember what I was saying the last time we spoke or saw one another.” At that moment, a “connection” is made that often can be stronger than anything ever acheived in a sales presentation.

Relationships, we would all agree, are an important driving force in our personal lives and most certainly in our professional lives. Malcom Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point, focuses on the meaning of being a Connector and clearly separates Connectors from Sales People. Connectors are “people specialists.” So Are you a Connector?

  1. Do you know a lot of people?
  2. Do you like people?
  3. Do you tend to remember people’s names?
  4. Do you enjoy going to parties and meeting new people?
  5. Do you collect acquaintances?

If you answered Yes to 4 or more, chances are you are a Connector.

As a Connector, you focus on connecting others with each other, as well as creating groups where people feel at home. Connectors are some of the best relationship builders I know personally and professionally.

Do you know any good Connectors? What makes he or she a good Connector? Share your experiences.

–Kevin Carty

ClassicMODUL Opens an East Coast Extrusion Facility

April 19th, 2009 COMMENTS
ClassicMODUL Aluminum Extrusions and Accessories

ClassicMODUL Aluminum Extrusions and Accessories

ClassicMODUL, a designer and manufacturer of aluminum extrusions and accessories, announces the opening of an East Coast facility. The Cheshire, CT manufacturing and warehouse facility will stock select aluminum extrusion profiles for exhibit houses, retail designers, and museum display builders. Aluminum profiles and accessories currently unavailable in Cheshire, CT will continue to ship from Portland, OR.  With the exception of metal bending, the East Coast facility can handle the manufacturing requests for these aluminum extrusions.

According to Kevin Carty, VP of Sales, “We are excited by this opportunity to better meet the needs of our clients on the East and West Coasts and anywhere in between. Now with locations in the NW and the NE, ClassicMODUL offers much greater shipping flexibility than any other aluminum extrusion supplier. Choosing the right aluminum profiles was important, and we want to thank our distributors for their feedback over the past nine months. We feel confident that we have chosen the right location and group of extrusions. However, this is just the start. We will continue to add profiles to the Cheshire facility based on our distributor’s feedback and demand.”

The ClassicMODUL product line includes over 200 aluminum extrusions and hundreds of accessories for the trade show, exhibition, and retail environments. MODUL products are available through Classic Exhibits and ClassicMODUL, Inc. Design expertise is also available. ClassicMODUL is a division of Classic Exhibits, a designer and manufacturer of portable, modular, hybrid, and custom displays.

For questions about availability or to place orders, contact Tom Jones at or 866.864.8686. For more information about ClassicMODUL, go to

Perfect 20 Video By a Classic Distributor

April 16th, 2009 1 COMMENT

Tracy Lindsay, a Classic Exhibits distributor, created the following video highlighting the Perfect 20 Portable Hybrid Display. In the video, she walks you through the P20 exhibit her client purchased in February and discusses the benefits and features of the system. It’s very well done. I didn’t see any pedestals or counters, so without pulling the order, I’d bet it’s the Anna Bella (VK-1800). The Anna Bella is a 10′ x 20′ display that can be re-configured into two 10′ x 10′ displays by adding another vertical.

The video is posted in her blog, Display Diva, as well as on YouTube. If you choose to view it on her blog, it’s the second one down under the heading of “The Perfect 10 (and Perfect 20) Portable Hybrid Trade Show Display.” Or, better yet, just click on the video below.