Trade Show TalesBlog

Archive for January, 2024

Exploring Your Modular Trade Show Booth Options

January 22nd, 2024 COMMENTS
Modular Trade Show Booth

The trade show exhibit industry loves the word “modular.” And specifically, the phrase “modular trade show booth (or exhibit).” It’s a flexible term (pun intended), which can describe a $3000 portable inline display or a $300,000 custom island exhibit. Both are technically modular since they can be built using modular components or designed to reconfigure to another size or shape. 

In other words, modular, as a feature and/or a benefit, depends on the context. Understanding the context is important when shopping for an exhibit and knowing what questions to ask the display provider – whether you’re shopping on a display website or meeting face-to-face with a local exhibit house. 

Modular Trade Show Booth Options: An Overview

While modular exhibit designs have always been popular, more exhibitors are requesting modularity as one of their purchase requirements because of tight marketing budgets and rising trade show costs. They need solutions that offer more “bang for the buck.” This typically comes down to two things:  1. The ability to expand or contract a display depending on the show and 2. The ability to pack and assemble a display quickly and efficiently using a catalog of interchangeable and replaceable components.   

Ask yourself, how much modularity do you really want? If all you really want is a 20 ft. inline display that configures down to a 10 ft. display . . . that’s easy. There are lots of choices from basic to boffo. However, if your goal is to transform a 20 x 30 island into a  20 x 20 island, a 10 x 20 inline, a 10 x 10 inline, and a tabletop display, then it gets considerably more complicated.

There are multiple ways to achieve that goal. The end result, however, may resemble a hippo-elephant-donkey-cat. And, if you’ve ever spent any time breaking down an exhibit at the end of a show, you know that the best-laid plans of organizing all those parts and pieces for the next “smaller” show is often sacrificed to make your 7:15 p.m. flight.

modular trade show examples

Understanding the Modular Definition in the Context of Trade Shows

Let’s consider modular from a different perspective — portable modular vs custom modular. In case you didn’t know, a portable trade show display can ship via UPS or FedEx. A portable modular display typically has more features than just a portable exhibit, such as modular counters, monitors, shelves, workstations, backlighting, etc. In other words, it’s more than just one big graphic.

A custom modular gets a little trickier depending if the emphasis is on “custom” or “modular.” Modular exhibit builders are often taking modular components and putting them on steroids. The parts may be bigger, fancier, and generally packed in small wood crates or roto-molded tubs. Each component tends to be lightweight to save on shipping but there may be lots of components. Custom builders are taking large custom components and either breaking them into smaller components or rearranging them to work in multiple pre-configured displays. Generally, there are more shipping crates, but the assembly time may be reduced. It will cost more to ship it, but you may save time on installation and dismantling.

The Advantages of Choosing a Modular Booth

Modular trade show displays are a popular choice for exhibitors whether they’re newbies to trade shows or exhibition veterans. Here are some of the advantages and benefits:

1. Versatility and Flexibility:

Mix and match components:  Modular trade show booths are often constructed using interchangeable components, like panels, shelves, and counters. These components can be reconfigured to create customized layouts depending on the show. This flexibility offers exhibitors the ability to tailor their brand and budget to specific trade shows. 

For example, one show may necessitate lounges and meeting spaces to interact with attendees while another show may prioritize interactive gaming or product demos. Modular design allows exhibitors to shift their marketing depending on their audience. 

2. Cost-Effectiveness:

Long-term investment:  Modular displays are generally more affordable over the long term since the designs are not configuration or size-specific.  The reusability of the components means greater cost savings in the long run. 

Reduced shipping and storage costs: The lightweight and compact packaging of modular components makes them cheaper to ship and store compared to bulky booths.

3. Ease of Use:

Simple assembly and disassembly: Modular displays are designed for quick and easy setup and takedown, often without requiring professional help. This saves you time and money on installation and dismantling at trade shows. 

Freight: The lightweight components make them easy to transport, reducing shipping costs and hassle.

4. Sustainability:

Reusable components: You can reuse the same modular components for multiple events, minimizing waste and environmental impact.

Durable materials:  Modular displays are typically made from high-quality, durable materials that can withstand repeated use and transportation.

5. Contemporary  Designs:

Modern and sleek aesthetics: Modular displays offer a clean and contemporary look that can make your booth stand out from the crowd.

Customization options:  Many modular systems offer a variety of graphic panels, lighting options, and accessories to personalize your display and reflect your brand identity.

Overall, modular trade show displays offer a versatile, cost-effective, and easy-to-use solution for businesses of all sizes to make a big impact at trade shows and events.

Innovative Designs in Modular Displays

Below are examples of innovative modular trade show booths. But this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to modular design. Browse through Exhibit Design Search, a comprehensive database of over 1500 exhibit designs. But don’t stop there. Most displays can be modular if the exhibit designer understands your requirements. 

Portable Modular | SYK-1002 and SYK-2002 

modular booth

These Symphony Portable Display fraternal twins offer multiple benefits. Not only can exhibitors easily switch between 10 ft. and 20 ft. inlines, but they also allow two slightly different 10 ft. designs. In addition, the Symphony’s modular components means they can add accessories like literature trays, iPad enclosures, and counters as their marketing needs evolve. Plus, it packs in flat-pack cases for convenient shipping. 

Hybrid Modular | VK-1362, VK-2400, and VK-5124

modular displays

Like Portable Modulars, Hybrid Modulars are often portable, but not always. This design series, with 10 ft., 20 ft., and island configurations, offers roto-molded cases for the inline versions but the option of a wood crate for the island. The assembly is similar to the Symphony mentioned before, meaning largely tool-free, so installation is easy. The overhead sign for the 20 x 20 island elevates the overall design will ensuring visibility throughout the show hall. 

Sustainable Modular | ECO-1118, ECO-2118, and ECO-4118

modular trade show booths

Modern eco-friendly exhibits are popular as exhibitors blend their trade show marketing with their corporate sustainable initiatives. These contemporary ecoSmart designs make it simple to shift from an upscale inline to a beautiful 20 x 20 island. The features multiple product shelves, large graphic options, and an open, welcoming architecture. There are even iPad enclosures for client engagement. The 10 ft. starts with 

Custom Modular | VK-1367, VK-4046, and VK-5195

Modular definition

When it comes to customization and modularity, these three designs are like peanut butter and jelly. Perfect apart and together. The 10 ft. starts with a large lightbox and shelving. Then the 20 ft. expands on it with the addition of a locking closet and reception bar with locking storage. Finally, the island takes it to the next level with more shelving, more storage, and three casual meeting spaces.  

BTW – Custom Modular doesn’t happen by accident. Exhibit designers are experts at creating inline and island versions when those requirements are shared during the pre-design intake meetings. Exhibits, unlike a loaf of bread, are typically not sliceable after the fact. 

Modular Office Pods: A New Trend in Trade Shows

Modular Office Pods are a recent development for trade shows, events, sales meetings, or vendor conferences. The advent of modular wall systems, like the Gravitee One-Step, makes creating temporary private or semi-private meeting rooms much easier. These meeting pods incorporate large format graphics, locking doors, and accessories like monitor mounts, counters, literature trays, and shelving. 

Features Include:

  • Aluminum Extrusion Modular Wall Panels
  • No Tools. No Loose Parts Assembly
  • Double-sided Graphic Options (interior/exterior)
  • SEG Fabric or Direct Print Graphics
  • Flat and Curved Panels
  • Full-size Locking Door
  • Available for Purchase or Rental
  • Accessorize with Shelves, Charging Tables, Counters, iPad Kiosks, and Storage Pedestals

modular accessories for trade shows

Maximizing Your Trade Show Impact with Modular Trade Show Booths

Modular is more than a recent buzzword. It’s a fresh take on exhibit design. Classic Exhibits has hundreds of modular designs for purchase or to rent. And each can be customized to fit an exhibitor’s unique marketing goals. Just ask. 

For over 30 years, Classic Exhibits has been a reliable source of expertise for new and seasoned trade show marketers. The Classic Exhibits Distributor Network includes over 200 North American exhibit houses and display professionals. Find success on the trade show floor with an exhibit that reflects your marketing message. For more information, see and explore Exhibit Design Search or request a meeting with a Classic Distributor Partner.

A Guide to Silicone Edge Graphics for Trade Shows

January 10th, 2024 COMMENTS
silicone edge graphics

If you’ve participated in a trade show recently, you’re very familiar with fabric graphics like silicone edge fabric graphics (SEG). However, not long ago, most trade show graphics were printed on a plastic, vinyl, or corrugated paper substrate. These had to ship flat in a box or rolled in a tube to protect them… and damage was common, even with careful packaging and installation. 

Today, fabric graphics dominate as the primary graphic medium for trade shows. Largely for three reasons:  (1) They’re lightweight, (2) Relatively indestructible, and (3) Are available in large formats up to 10 to 16 ft. wide. In this article, let’s explore how and why Silicone edge graphics dominate trade shows and events. 

SEG graphics

Understanding Silicone Edge Graphics: An Overview

Let’s start with the basics. SEG is a high-resolution dye-sublimated fabric graphic finished with a thin silicone strip (or welt/gasket). The silicone strip is sewn directly to the edge of the graphic, and the strip is then inserted into a frame with a recessed groove. 

The size of the graphic must be precise so the fabric is taut when installed in the frame. The result is a large format graphic that mimics the old-fashioned hard panel graphics commonly found on custom displays and interior spaces.

Dye sublimation is a versatile process for printing vibrant, long-lasting designs on fabrics, especially synthetic ones like polyester.

1. Design and Printing: It starts with a design, like a photo, pattern, or text, which is digitally printed onto special transfer paper using sublimation inks. These inks are unique because they can transition directly from a solid to a gas state, skipping the liquid phase.

2. Heat and Pressure: The printed transfer paper is placed on top of the fabric (usually polyester or a poly blend) and then fed into a heat press or calender. This applies intense heat and pressure, around 200°C (400°F) for 30-60 seconds.

3. Gaseous Transformation: Under this heat and pressure, the sublimation ink on the transfer paper transforms into a gas. This gas permeates the fabric’s fibers, creating a permanent bond. The ink dyes the fabric from within, rather than just sitting on top of it.

4. Cooling and Setting: As the heat press cools, the fabric’s fibers contract, trapping the gaseous ink permanently within. This results in a vibrant, high-resolution print that’s resistant to fading, cracking, and peeling.

Unique Features of SEG Fabrics

Overall, dye sublimation is a powerful and versatile technique for adding vibrant, permanent designs to fabrics. Its combination of high quality, durability, and softness makes custom silicone edge graphics a popular choice for inline and island trade show exhibits and retail graphics. 

  • Superior Fabric. The high-quality fabrics come in a variety of weaves, twills, and thicknesses for most backlit and non-backlit applications
  • Versatile. Silicone edge graphics can be used on engineered aluminum extrusion profiles which are both lightweight and durable. 
  • Quality. The fabric undergoes a painstaking pre-inspection before the images are printed.
  • Dye-Sublimation. Dye-sublimation graphics are vibrant and lightweight.
  • Less Frame. SEG fabric graphics are the perfect choice when more graphics and less frame is desired.
  • No Sew Line. Unlike bead or pole pocket finished graphics, the sew line is hidden within the extrusion providing a more finished look
  • Eco-friendly Options. Fabric vendors are introducing more green options using recycled fabrics, which have the same benefits as traditional non-sustainable fabrics. 

SEG graphics

The Benefits and Applications of SEG Graphics in Trade Shows

Modern and Visually Appealing: SEG graphics offer a sleek and frameless appearance, creating a more modern and high-end look compared to traditional signage. The fabric itself is smooth and wrinkle-resistant, further enhancing the visual appeal. 

Easy to Install and Change: The silicone edges easily slide into the grooves of the aluminum frame, making installation a breeze. The lightweight fabric can be rolled or folded for storage and transportation, and graphics swapped out quickly and without special tools. 

Versatility and Customization: SEG fabric graphics are ideal for a wide variety of applications, from wall murals and window displays to trade show booths and event backdrops. They can be custom-printed in any size, shape, or color, and can even be backlit for added impact. 

Other Benefits Include: 

  • Storage and Shipping. Fabric is lighter than many other graphics and when folded neatly, take up much less space.
  • Care. Fabric graphics can be washed and steamed and are as durable and long-lasting as traditional graphics.
  • Lightweight. Larger graphics weigh less, perfect for draping or creating space definition. 
  • Cost. More image bang for the buck! 
  • Green. In addition to transportation and storage benefits, there is a growing list of fabric options created from recycled materials! 
  • No Glare. Fabric is the perfect choice for media walls or any backdrop that is being photographed or filmed. 
  • Versatility. SEG fabric can be applied to most displays or event structures. 
  • Less Visible Frame. The silicone edge means you see more of the graphic and less of the frame.
  • Curves. Some aluminu extrusions can be curved. Ask about design options. 

Why Customers Love SEG Graphics:  

  • Tight as a drum, vivid, flat fabric graphics replace hard panel graphics in custom displays.
  • Highest quality look.
  • Neatly finished corners. 
  • More visible graphics, less frame. 
  • Attached pull tabs ensure easy removal from the frame. 
  • Quick install and even faster breakdown. 
  • Improved storage, drayage, and shipping costs with fabric graphics
Silicone edge graphics frame

Choosing the Right SEG Fabric for Your Display

Like any fabric, there are materials meant for specific applications, like indoor or outdoor usage, qualities like durability, vibrancy, and lightweight properties, and, of course, overall quality. In some ways, SEG fabric is like clothing. There are fabrics meant to last for years and other fabrics meant to be tossed after a season. 

When reviewing your options, take the time to ask your vendor to explain which fabric they’re using and the benefits, features, and warranty of that choice(s). There are two main types of SEG fabrics: knitted polyester and backlit polyester. Backlit polyester tends to be more expensive, durable, and wrinkle-resistant. 

Other Considerations:

  1. Backlit vs. Non-Backlit Fabric 
  2. Stretch vs. Non-Stretch Fabric
  3. Size. The typical maximum size of an SEG graphic (without a seam) is 118 inches wide. However, there are a few dye-sublimation printers that can print up to 188 inches. 
  4. Build-in Blocker vs. Separate Blocker
  5. Folded vs. Rolled 

Silicone Edge Graphics Frame: The Foundation of SEG

Silicone Edge Graphics require a frame with a channel to hold the sewn silicone welting that surrounds the fabric. Although the channel can be cut into wood or molded into plastic, the most common SEG frames are aluminum. Aluminum extrusions offer the benefits of light weight, durability, structure, and versatility. Depending on the vendor, there are SEG aluminum frames as wide as 8 inches and as narrow as ½ inch.  

Engineered SEG aluminum can be cut, bent, and constructed into squares, rectangles, and even curves. The extrusion can also be powder-coated or anodized in hundreds of colors to match the most demanding design requirements. 

Finally, aluminum frames have the extra benefit of endless recyclability. Aluminum frames recycled one week may be melted, formed into billets, and extruded into new extrusions a week later.  

Maintenance and Care of SEG Displays

Most SEG fabric graphics should be folded and stored in a plastic bag. You may spot clean by wiping with a damp cloth. If it is necessary to wash the graphic and it is small enough, use a commercial-size front-loading washing machine. Wash on the gentle cycle, with cool water. Dry cleaning is NOT recommended. 

To limit getting the graphic dirty during installation, keep the set-up area clean by using a drop cloth and wash your hands prior to set-up. You may want to consider purchasing inexpensive white cotton gloves. Wearing gloves while handling the graphic will minimize the transfer of dirt and oils to your graphic

Custom Silicone Edge Graphics from Classic Exhibits! 

With SEG Fabric Graphics, you can dream BIG with your next trade show exhibit. Whether backlit or non-backlit, fabric graphics allow you to tell your story in ways unimaginable a few years ago. 

For over 30 years, Classic Exhibits has been a reliable source of expertise for new and seasoned trade show marketers. The Classic Exhibits Distributor Network includes over 200 North American exhibit houses and display professionals. Find success on the trade show floor with an exhibit that reflects your marketing message. For more information, see and explore Exhibit Design Search or request a meeting with a Classic Distributor Partner.

2024 Design Fee Schedules

January 9th, 2024 COMMENTS
Updated Design Fees from Classic Exhibits

We’ve updated the Design Fee Schedules. While there are increases, they’re all modest. Over the years, you’ve told us that exhibitors recognize that exhibit design has value and they’re willing to pay for it if it’s reasonable and fair. We agree and the changes reflect that.

As before, all 3D Max files of existing designs are available at no charge. Inline and Island Kit Rebrands with no structural changes will be $100 and $150. To download the updated Purchase and Rental Schedules, click HERE. The Schedules are also available in the footer of the Classic website.

Contact and with any questions.

Purchase Design Fee Schedule

Purchase Design Fees

Rental Design Fee Schedule

Rental Design Fees