Trade Show TalesBlog

Archive for February, 2014

EXHIBITOR Magazine’s 2014 Awards Night: Word on the Street — Feb. 24 thru Feb. 28

February 28th, 2014 COMMENTS

Kevin Carty, VP Classic Exhibits

Say goodbye to February! Come Monday we will be three days into March already.

What a crazy first two months of the year it has been. And, we’re only two short weeks away from all of us descending on Las Vegas.

I look forward to seeing you there. Classic is winding up the final touches to our booth as well as several vendor exhibits. I have to say, this will be the best group of exhibits we have ever brought to EXHIBITOR. Everything from a modified 20 ft. SEGUE for PRG to a fully custom build for EliteXPO. Both are “must sees” as you walk the floor.

Along with those two, we are once again building much of EXHIBITOR Media’s booth. Wait until you see the magazine cover in large format on the show floor! Gonna be SuperNova big. 🙂

And of course there is the Classic Exhibits 20 x 30. It’s a special design this year. It is a version of a design for which we are a finalist in this year’s EXHIBITOR Magazine 2014 Awards Night Celebration.

Have you reserved your seat yet for the Awards Gala?

An evening honoring excellence in our industry

You’re invited! Join us for an elegant evening of networking and celebration as we honor the best-of-the best in the trade show and event industry.

The first ever EXHIBITOR Magazine’s 2014 Awards Night, honoring trade show excellence, takes place Tuesday evening, March 18 in Mandalay Bay’s Lagoon Ballroom at EXHIBITOR2014. Festivities begin with a 6:30 pm cocktail reception followed by an awards dinner and program at 7:15 pm.

As an attendee to this prestigious event, you’ll be there as we unveil winners of EXHIBITOR magazine’s Exhibit Design, Portable Modular, and Buyer’s Choice Awards programs. Discover who is named this year’s Best of Show and be part of history as we honor the inaugural inductee into EXHIBITOR’s Legends Hall-Of-Fame.

Seating is limited. (We suggest you get your tickets in advance.) Whether you “fly solo” or bring a friend, we promise a fun evening of networking and celebration. Single tickets and group tables can be purchased now at Don’t miss this inaugural night celebrating excellence!

Reserved seats are going pretty quickly. There will be 10 of us there from Classic, Exhibits NW, and Eco-Systems Sustainable. I do hope that you will join us.

If you have time, please cast your vote for the People’s Choice Awards. You can vote once a day. Plus, it’s your opportunity to see all the displays in the mix for an award.

In the meantime, March looks like it’s going to be every bit as busy as January and February. So buckle up and let’s enjoy the ride together.

Thanks again for all your continued support and business. We know you have choices in your partnerships, and we are honored to be partnered with so many of you.

Have a great weekend with your families.



Even For Ladies

February 27th, 2014 1 COMMENT

A product description sign at EuroShop. Honestly, I half expected to see Ron Burgundy standing in the booth pitching the product.

“You know I love the ladies, but when it comes to most lightboxes . . . ”

Reflections on EuroShop 2014

February 23rd, 2014 1 COMMENT

EuroShop 2014

As I write this, I’m 3 hours into a 10 hour flight back to Portland after an 8 day trip to Dusseldorf for EuroShop and meetings with MODUL International. Yes, I’m tired (and sick with a head cold), but that’s a fair trade for the wonderful, educational experience of the past week.

Katina and I shared photos all last week. From those, you can distill many design and material trends. But, not all. And, before I share my thoughts and reactions, a reminder that European trade shows (and any trade show outside North America) have different show guidelines, such as cubic content, no drayage, and minimal labor restrictions.

Now, I don’t pretend to be an expert on European trade show regulations. Sometimes I feel I have a minimal knowledge of North American regulations, particularly when I encounter oddities in our home market (such as hanging signs in San Diego). And, yes, the concepts of drayage and show hall labor baffle our European counterparts, who are surprised at how such vibrant, competitive markets as the USA and Canada can operate under restrictive, draconian, anti-competitive rules that inhibit free trade. When asked, I just shrug my shoulders. There’s no point explaining the irrational in rational terms.

Anyway, allow me to summarize some of the trends which may be relevant to North America. Blog length, not white paper length. Katina will share her perspectives in the next week or two. She’s still recovering from the visual overload that is EuroShop.

  • Concrete. Yes, concrete. Not real concrete but the texture was everywhere. Faux finishes on wood, tension fabric, wall paper, and even flooring. I didn’t notice it at first, but once someone pointed it out I couldn’t not see it.
  • Natural Wood. Again, everywhere, mostly as accent or design elements. Even raw logs as table legs and chairs. You’ll see it repeatedly as you scroll through the four days of photos we posted from Euroshop.
  • Facets. No matter where you turned, odd, non-90 degree angles dominated. Again, some of it was clever design elements, but other times the angles were a distinctive window into the exhibit, either from the aisle or from within the display. Again, the photos illustrate this trend again and again and again.
  • LED. Nearly 100 percent of the lighting solutions were LED. You’d have to be wearing a blindfold not to get the message. Plus, the fixture designs are finally beginning to align with the lights so they don’t look as industrial.
  • iPads and Tablets. Europeans have not embraced tablets and iPads in the booths as readily as we have. They were there but often counter-mounted at the back of the booth. There were some stands (nearly all white). All basic. Our iPad stands (Classic Exhibits) were better designed, both aesthetically and functionally.
  • Raised Floors. This isn’t a new trend. It’s distinctive to European trade shows. Nearly every booth has a raised floor, and there are no carpeted aisles (thank goodness). But, from talking to the flooring vendors and to some of my North American colleagues, raised flooring is on the upswing. It’s gotten much easier to assemble and the finish options are expansive. It still won’t be for everyone, but don’t be surprised if you see more islands with raised floors over the next 2-4 years. Oh yes, padding is unheard of . . . but you get used to that.
  • SEG and Lightboxes. Everywhere. Effective. And commonplace. To some degree, they’ve become essential in the same way that portable literature stands are essential for most exhibitors.

There’s more, but I’m going to leave that for you to discover in the photos. Plus, there were some intriguing ideas which I’ll allow our design and engineering teams to review. No reason to share too much with Classic’s competitors.

I’d like to thank everyone at MODUL International for being gracious hosts, and especially James and Bernd. They took us to dinner at a 13th century castle, went to an Oktoberfest party with us, and gave us a tour of their facility. Whenever we needed a break, we camped out on their double-deck. Also, our thanks to EDPA. Their booth was home base for us to visit with friends and industry colleagues. We would all compare notes, and then Katina and I would head back into the halls to see what others had seen but we had missed.

Katina . . . what can I say. You survived EuroShop and eight days with me. Good luck erasing that memory any time soon. Thanks for guiding me through the designs and for being a terrific sounding board and a dedicated photographer.

Finally, to all the employees at Classic Exhibits Inc., thank you for allowing Katina and me to attend EuroShop. Get ready for the four-hour PowerPoint. Session 1, Day 1, The Beginning. Session 2, 3, and 5 to follow.

Feel free to give me a call if you would like to talk about EuroShop. Or, we can review over a drink at EXHIBITOR in about three weeks.

For the number geeks (from a post-EuroShop press release):  More that 109,000 visitors attended representing 110 countries. 73 percent were executives. There were 2,226 exhibitors from 57 countries. The next EuroShop is March 5-9, 2017.

–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


EuroShop 2014 Update: Day 5 Video and Photos

February 20th, 2014 1 COMMENT

Don’t you just love the last day of a show? The crowds have thinned, and the conversations are more casual and informative. We took a break yesterday and spent the day in Cologne, a thirty minute train ride from Dusseldorf. Today, we were back at EuroShop with more detail photos. Katina went a little camera crazy today in a last ditch effort to capture as much design information as possible.

We hope you enjoyed our EuroShop blogging as much as we enjoyed sharing it with you. Feel free to call us if you have any questions or would like to chat about the trends we saw. See you at EXHIBITOR in three weeks.

–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



EuroShop 2014 Update: Day 3 Video and Photos

February 18th, 2014 1 COMMENT

Even without cell phone service, we heard you say, “Show me more creative, elegant, and bizarre exhibits from Europe.” Well, we are delighted to be your trade show mules of images from EuroShop. We toured the remaining exhibit halls on Day 3, and then had time to revisit some of our favorites and discover many new exhibits (which we still can’t believe we missed the first time).

A sincere thanks to our North American colleagues at EuroShop who have been so gracious about sharing their thoughts on trends and new products. Thank you for being terrific sounding boards. While here, we see SO MUCH that’s it’s easy to miss SO MUCH. We’re taking a break tomorrow for a little sightseeing, then will be back on Thursday for installment #4.


Please share your thoughts about the photos. We’d love to hear from you.

–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