Trade Show TalesBlog

Archive for December, 2013

100 Things to Watch in 2014 (by JWT Intelligence)

December 31st, 2013 COMMENTS

Snail Slime Beauty Cream

Annual Forecast of Trends

It’s that time of year when JWT Intelligence releases their forecast of trends that will shape or significantly impact consumer behavior in 2014. According to JWT:

“Many of our Things to Watch are technology-centric, including the advent of beacons, Internet safety nets, robots for kids and even techno-paranoia. The list also includes new foods and beverages to watch (savory yogurt, soju), new markets opening up (related to marijuana, privacy and Google Glass), new behaviors (contemplative computing, digital grieving) and ideas with the potential to ladder up to bigger trends.”

Here is a sampling:

  • Algae
  • Arrested “Real Life” Development (social skills for the digital immersed)
  • Edible Packaging
  • Feed-Good Fashion
  • Jumia (the Amazon of Africa)
  • Photoshop for All
  • Snail Slime (natural beauty product)
  • Ugly Produce

To view the full slideshow, click on the navigation buttons.


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


Why Our Brains Love Curves

December 28th, 2013 3 COMMENTS

Katina Rigall, Designer

In my last blog post, “Exhibit Designs that Sell,” I offered some tips on how to achieve a nearly 100% success rate. This time, I want to delve into a design element that connects to a deep-rooted preference in many people — graceful, mesmerizing curves!

There are two reasons why your client may be drawn to curves. The first is biological. A recent scientific study tested how the brain responds to curved vs. linear designs. In the study, the part of the brain linked to emotion was more stimulated when participants were expressing a greater affinity for the curved designs they were viewing.

It appears many people have a positive emotional pull to curved spaces. In the insightful article Why Our Brains Love Curvy Architecture, Eric Jaffe explains why curved designs tug at our hearts. Curvature appears to affect our feelings and signal safety or a lack of threat.

When it comes to exhibit design, the second reason clients may be drawn to a booth with curves is the elevated status that is associated with it. Curves are more difficult to manufacture. They require more labor because the materials, whether metal, wood, or plastic, must be modified from straight to curves. Because of this, curved booths have historically been designed for clients who can afford curves and other custom features.

Our Design Department continues to receive custom design requests for curvy booths (and thankfully budgets that allow for them). But more notable is the huge increase in requests to re-brand our existing kits from Exhibit Design Search, such as VK-1320, TF-5202, and VK-5095. From 10×10’s to large islands, curved structures are selling because there is a recognition that branding on these structures offers bold and eye-catching surfaces for creative graphics. These designs attract attention and, as you know, attention is everything on the trade show floor.

The Classic Rental Department recently added many new curved island and inline designs. I spoke with Jim Shelman, GM of the Rental Dept., who is thrilled about these new rental options. As we all know, curves have typically not been an option in the past. To preserve small budgets, straight lines were predominant. According to Jim, clients are excited about getting a curved rental booth because these booths are both upscale and affordable.

One of my resolutions for the Classic Design Department in 2014 is to continue producing designs that will “Wow!” your clients . . . and sell like hot cakes. Watch for creative new designs in Design Monday. I see twists and turns and lots of curves in our future!

When your client’s budget allows for curved elements, do they prefer a curvilinear booth or a linear design aesthetic? Let me know in the comments section below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Katina Rigall

Happy Holidays from Your Classic Exhibits Family: Word on the Street — December 16th thru December 20th

December 21st, 2013 3 COMMENTS

A Classic Holiday Season

Is the tree up? Are the packages wrapped? Are you ready for the mayhem?

It’s the best time of the year in my humble opinion. Christmas and New Years are just around the corner. Literally! And just when you think you’re done with all your holiday shopping and you have everything prepared for the big day, you always find that you have one more thing to do or get.

Well, this year, for the first time I can remember, I am actually all done with all my holiday shopping. And it’s a great feeling . . . and this year it’s a good thing too. Because at work we are busy, busy, busy. So there is little free time.

Work-wise we always await this time of year to see what’s in store for us. It’s always feast or famine during the final two weeks. Companies either spend their remaining budgets or go quiet for a couple weeks. This year, people are spending their end-of-year budgets. So while we are hectic, we appreciate all your orders. Thanks Santa!

I hope you have lots of amazing plans in the coming days with your families and friends. I know we do. Time with family and friends, church, and functions at the twins school. Great, great fun.

From all of us at Classic Exhibits, Exhibits NW, Classic Rentals, and ClassicMODUL, we wish you a fantastic upcoming week with your families. One that is safe and filled with joy and merriment.

And as far as the business stuff goes — keep it coming. No one wants a lump of coal to ruin the Holiday Cheer.

Be well and Merry Christmas.


p.s. I am currently working on my Annual State of the Company Letter. Hope to have it completed in the next couple of weeks.


Eco-Systems Sustainable Exhibits Annual Letter

December 13th, 2013 1 COMMENT

This week, we’re sharing the Eco-Systems Sustainable Exhibits Annual Letter from Eric Albery, the VP of Marketing and Business Development. As many of you know, we have a manufacturing partnership with Eco-Systems. For those unfamiliar with Eco-Systems, we encourage you to visit eSmart Galleries in Exhibit Design Search or spend time on their website (

Eric Albery, Eco-Systems Sustainable Exhibits

Annual Letter and Review

As 2013 comes to a close, it marks the seven year anniversary of Eco-Systems Sustainable Exhibits. Yes, seven years. We’ve come a long way as many of you know. After yet another amazing year, I want to share with you what we saw in 2013 and what to expect in 2014.

This year, I have been on the road visiting distributors more frequently, a trend that will continue in 2014. Those visits have been very beneficial – not only in conveying the goals and capabilities of Eco-Systems, but also in understanding your challenges and what you expect from a manufacturer. The overwhelming consensus is that design sells! That message is loud and clear. Our Design Department continues to be the centerpiece of Eco-Systems, as Lisa and Lauren continue to push the boundaries of exhibit design. Not a week goes by that I don’t hear positive comments about our designs, our designers, and our responsiveness to your client’s requests. Thank You!

One example is the “Kit to Custom” campaign, which showcases customized kits. You’ve told us time and time again that speed, accuracy, and free design services are invaluable in the sales process. We hear you. While other manufacturers make the customization process cumbersome and expensive, we don’t. We live for those opportunities.

I can’t say enough about our four year manufacturing partnership with Classic Exhibits. It allows us to be flexible on design, whether modular or custom, meet seemingly impossible lead times, and offer competitive pricing. Our “kit” offerings continue to grow, and many existing kits are being re-engineered to incorporate newer, lighter, and more innovative materials. All of these advancements and innovations ensure your client receives a better exhibiting experience at a lower price.

In 2014, Eco-Systems will continue to be the leader in sustainable exhibit technology and will continue to innovate state of the art materials and manufacturing processes. We hear from distributors that “sustainable” is no longer a want but an expectation, if the design and pricing is comparable. We have solved this issue and are now able to offer the most sustainable and innovative exhibit options on the market at the same price (or sometimes lower) than traditional displays. While some customers may not be asking for sustainable solutions, they are delighted when presented with designs that fit their exhibit marketing goals and are sustainable.

What Else Can You Expect from Eco-Systems in 2014?

  • A “New and Improved” Website.
  • EXHIBITOR2014. We’ll see you there!
  • Additional Green Graphic Options.
  • More Island and Rental Solutions.
  • And So Much More.

Last year was especially monumental for Eco-Systems as we increased sales, expanded design capabilities, and welcomed a host of new distributors. Our loyal and talented distribution network continues to be the lifeblood of Eco-Systems, and we appreciate your business and support. I speak for everyone here at Eco-Systems when I say “Thank You”. We look forward to working with you in 2014 and welcome your feedback and advice.


Eric Albery, VP of Marketing & Business Development | 616.726.6269 | 866.463.2611


Revenge of the Blog | Best Practices Webinar (now on YouTube)

December 12th, 2013 COMMENTS

Experts say blogging is probably the most important tool in your social media toolbox. More important than Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or LinkedIn.

Join Tim Patterson from TradeShowGuyBlog and Mel White from Trade Show Tales for a free interactive “How To” blogging webinar, sponsored by Classic Exhibits and Optima Graphics. The video below is the recorded version of the webinar. Feel free to skip my 90 second introduction. 😉


Contact Mel White if you have any questions.

–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