Trade Show TalesBlog

Posts Tagged ‘Classic Exhibits’

Promotional Product Trends with Rama Beerfas from Lev Promotions

May 18th, 2022 COMMENTS

Rama Beerfas of Lev Promotions shares 20 promotional product trends for 2022 in this Fast and Furious Webinar, sponsored by Classic Exhibits.

For more information about promotional products, tchotchkes, or giveaways, contact Rama at or If you are attending EXHIBITORLIVE, schedule an appointment with her at

For an overview of Promotional Products: 0.00 to 6:39. To see specific products, along with benefits and features: 6:40 to the end.

20 Promotional Product Trends in 20 Minutes (or so)

20 Trending Products

  1. Custom Designed Canister of Mini Gourmet Cookies
  2. Apple Paper Appeel Mid Size Notebook
  3. 24 Page 7.25″x8.5″ Note Paper MousePad
  4. Key Tag with ReturnMe Lost & Found Service
  5. Sustainabalm
  6. Smashlight 180
  7. Bag Tag Survival Multi-Tool
  8. QR Code Key Chain Custom Shape
  9. Classic Series Post-it® Custom Printed Flag & Pen
  10. Plantable Seed Card – Vertical or Horizontal
  11. Phone Loops – Petite Loop Cell Phone Strap Holder
  12. Professional 6″ Engineer Pocket Scale Ruler
  13. MicroHalt Toothbrush Cover, Full Color Digital
  14. SoberStick
  15. Post-it® Extreme Notes w/Custom Printing
  16. Cooling Stick
  17. Soothing Stick
  18. Hydra Stick
  19. Retro Lunch Box
  20. Whatever’s the Perfect Promotional Product for You!

My Experience with Tive Tracking Technology

May 12th, 2022 1 COMMENT

Dear Classic Distributor Partners and Friends,


Back in November/December 2021, I was approached by Dave Brown, an old friend and colleague, regarding his new employer — Tive, Inc. Dave wanted some help to introduce Tive’s Real Time Visibility technology to the Live Events and Trade Show Industry.

I listened and the gears started spinning. Tive provides a software platform and tracking device(s) that can be placed in or on any exhibit asset to monitor the individual asset or the entire shipment’s progress in real time. But if I leave it at that, it’s just a cool gadget, but, it’s much much more. Let me explain.

Testing the TIVE Trackers

First, I tested it myself. A Classic Distributor Partner asked me to supervise a 30 x 30 built for their client at ISC WEST in Las Vegas. The client is a security device company, with cameras, doorbells, and keypads for businesses and homes. And much much more. Lots of high-end electronics.

ISW West is the client’s largest event each year. It’s important to them. Supply chain and trucking issues along with the time sensitive requirement of a trade show meant this would be the ideal test for delivery issues, both on the road and in the convention hall.

TIVE Freight Tracking Technology

The shipment was five crates that included the exhibit and the client’s valuable electronics.  Before the crates left our facility in Portland, OR, I placed a Tive Tracker in each crate. Five total. Then I loaded the shipment information into the TIVE Tracking Technology software.

Destination… Las Vegas

My flight to Vegas was in three days. The show would be held at the Venetian Expo Center (i.e., The Sands Expo). After the shipment left our dock, I went home and about three hours later, I opened the Tive software because I was curious. My son was on the couch with me and wanted to see what I was doing. When I opened it, there were the five crates on the map, pinging their location. My son asked me to zoom in a little to see their exact location. At which point he says, “Ha! Ha! Dad, the driver is taking a pee.” Funny BUT he was right! We could tell from our many road trips that he was at a rest stop near Canyonville, Oregon. The rest stop is literally the only thing there. But I digress…

Tive’s Real Time Visibility Technology allows for GEO fencing and tracking light, shock, and temperatures along the way. Plus, the ability to set the levels of sensitivity for each. It then alerts you (for example) if there is a light alert, like the crate was opened, or shock alerts, if the crate fell over or off the truck. Thankfully none of those happened.

You can also set a destination in the software, so it alerts you when the shipment is within a preset distance from the destination. On the day I was set to fly, while waiting to board my flight in the morning, a Tive text alert DINGED! The crates were in the marshalling yard, and I felt relieved knowing I would be hitting the ground running once I landed in Vegas.

When I landed, there was another DING! The freight was at the Venetian Expo.

Nope… Watch This!

At the exhibit hall all but one of the crates was in the booth space. The I&D Lead said to me, “I will walk over to the freight desk and see if we can find out where it is…or if it’s still in the yard or something.” I said, “Nope… watch this!” I opened my laptop, navigated to my Tive login, and saw that it was on the far side of the hall in a corner behind some other crates. Easy peasy, and the forklift driver was dispatched to fetch it.

Admittedly, Classic does mostly one-way shipments unlike our Distributor Partners who handle turnkey storage, service, and shipping for clients. However, I experienced the backend advantage to Tive as well. Since I was supervising the I&D, I travelled with a rolling toolbox that was placed in one of the crates. After setup, I took it to a UPS store in the hotel and shipped it back to my Office. Well, a week later it dawned on me that my tool case was still not back so I tracked it on UPS. LOST!

“Crap!” I thought. But then I remembered I put all the trackers from the crates in my toolbox. So I opened my Tive login again and wouldn’t ya’ know it they were pinging bright in the UPS warehouse on Swan Island in Portland. I called our UPS rep and convinced him to get someone to go look in the NW corner of the building for a small black hard-shell tool case. They found it and delivered the case the next day.

Contact Dave Brown at TIVE

EXHIBITORLIVE Buyers Choice Award

So why the long infomercial on a non-Classic product? I believe Tive has a strong future in our industry. While Classic may not be their biggest customer with our one-way shipments (rentals aside), our Distributor Partners are perfect candidates for this valuable technology. Think about it. Doesn’t it make sense with all the out and back shipments you handle for your storage clients and their expensive assets? I urge you to connect with Dave Brown ( to explore this sophisticated but relatively inexpensive freight tracking security blanket.

I am confident you will feel the same as me after your trial run.

Be well and have a great week.

— Kevin Carty

Trade Show Design Support: Your Design Staff Will Thank You!

March 28th, 2022 COMMENTS

Trade show design

Trade Show Exhibit Design isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s a specialized craft learned over years of training and projects. Some designers transition into 3D exhibit design after starting as graphic designers. Others begin in industrial design. Still others simply love the trade show industry and are naturally creative. They become successful exhibit designers by working with other industry professionals. 

For others, studying exhibition design starts by attending a college or university. Both  Bemidji State University in Minnesota and the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC offer either undergraduate or graduate degrees in Experience and Exhibition Design.   

Trade Show Design Requests

Trade Show Design requests come to us in a multitude of ways. Sometimes they’re simple napkin sketches. Other times they’re 3D CAD drawings complete with measurements, material specifications, and building recommendations. All are welcome… but the more details and directions a client or distributor provides, the more likely we’re able to hit a bulls-eye on the first pass. 

However, hitting the bulls-eye can be elusive when clients are unfamiliar with trade shows, don’t have well-defined goals, and are unsure of or unwilling to share their budget. The exhibit designer might as well be blindfolded, holding a plastic bat, and trying to crack open a pinata. When a designer has to guess, it almost always means multiple iterations. Iterations equals more time and more times adds to the cost. 

exhibition booth design

15 Important Exhibit Design Questions

Every designer wants happy clients who enjoy the process and are excited about the final product. That requires gathering information before any design starts. And while every project is unique and every designer different, there are questions common to any exhibit design project. The 15 Questions listed below may not be fit to every situation, but they’re an excellent tool to start the process. 

Design Questions 1-5

1.  Does your company have branding guidelines/logo or graphic files/website address?

2.  What size is the exhibit? Do you plan to reconfigure the exhibit for other shows? If so, what sizes?  

3.  What is the budget?  Still undecided about an exact budget? The next best option is a workable budget range. No exhibitor wants to be surprised with a beautiful booth outside their budget or underwhelmed by a booth designed for a lower budget.

4.  Purchase or rent? Or a combination of both? This assists the designer in choosing materials and designing to a specific budget.

5.  What physical properties does the exhibit need to have? For example, workstations, counters, slatwall, semi-private or private conference area, monitors, storage, etc? 

Design Questions 6-10

6.  What type of display has the client used in the past? What did they like or not like about the previous booth?

7.  Are there any materials or construction methods you prefer? Many experienced exhibitors have a strong attraction or aversion to specific materials.

8.  Are there any unusual dimensional restrictions? Some trade shows or events have unusual restrictions for the height of the booth or setbacks from the aisle. 

9.  Do you show product(s)? What are the dimensions and specifications? Will they require display cases, counters, shelves, hooks, etc.?

10.  Do you want a  portable, modular, or custom trade show booth? Or some combination. This will guide the use of materials, and casing  options.

Design Questions 11-15

11.  Who will assemble the display: show labor or your own team? 

12.  Do you have any images of design elements you like? Even if these “inspiration images” are not trade show related, they are very helpful. For example, architectural elements, finishes, colors, natural elements, retail environments, etc.

13.  Design due date? Typically, designs are completed within a week. However, every project and every client has their own timeline. 

14.  Show opening date? Creating the design and then building it depends on the time frame. Designers can make material selections which will go a long way toward meeting a three-week vs. a three-month window.

15.  Are there any descriptive words you use to describe your company? What do you want visitors to your booth to “feel” about your company? From “opulent” to “bad-ass,” we have heard some interesting descriptors, and this gives the designer the insight to craft a personalized, experiential space.

vendor booth display ideas

Are You Looking for Vendor Booth Display Ideas? We Can Help!

For any Exhibit Design Department, the busy season can be chaotic and stressful because good design takes time. But if you are a Classic Distributor, we have helpful solutions that will save you time and close your sales faster.

Exhibit Design Search (EDS). With over 1500 designs, Exhibit Design Search is the most comprehensive display site in the world. There are 32 galleries ranging from Islands to Inlines and Counters to Charging Tables. It contains purchase and rental solutions along with green/sustainable designs, hanging signs, tablet stands, hand sanitizer solutions, and so much more. 

EDS is a great place to start gathering ideas about features, capabilities and prices. Since every design can be customized, it offers the added benefit of mixing and matching designs.. Do you like the shelving from one design, the workstation from another, and the backlighting from a third? No problem. We’re happy to assist you with creating the perfect exhibit to meet the client’s trade show objectives. 

Photo Galleries: There are four photo galleries in Exhibit Design Search

These galleries are an outstanding place to see photos of actual design builds. The Past Five Days gallery is linked to kits in Exhibit Design Search making it easy to compare the rendering to the build.  

Exhibition Booth Design Support

At Classic Exhibits, we support Distributor Partners with design requests in several ways. 

  • Use us as your design staff if you don’t have in-house designers.
  • Use us as your overflow design staff when your internal designers are beyond their capacity.
  • Have us on phone calls with your clients. We are happy to be introduced as YOUR designer. Hearing what the client wants first-hand ensures the best design quickly.
  • All those nice-looking designs in Exhibit Design Search are available to you as 3D files. At no charge.

So the next time you need to create a 20×20/10×20/10×10 design in one day, don’t stress. We can easily show you ten different Classic designs with that capability. We’ve done the legwork, and these kits are ready to sell.

trade show graphics

Support with High-Quality Trade Show Graphics

Most Classic Distributor Partners have in-house or contract graphic designers. Here’s how we assist them with printing, file prep, and quality control.  

1. When it comes to choosing the right printers, we’re pretty picky. And we have multiple options. For most tension fabric graphics (SEG or Velcro), we process them in-house using our dye-sublimation printers. We do, however, use other suppliers with a long history of quality and reliability. For direct print graphics, we print both in-house and (mostly) at local printers in the Greater Portland area. 

2. Before your graphics go to the printer, they are pre-flighted by Classic Exhibits. This minimizes any mistakes and allows us to identify issues quickly and return them to you for corrections. 

3. Nothing leaves our facility without being staged and photographed. That means we see and inspect every graphic and ensure that the graphic fits perfectly. Whether it’s a purchase or a rental, EVERYTHING is STAGED. We’re happy (in fact eager) to share the photos with you once they’re available. Keep in mind however, these are staging photos in our shop and not show photos, which means the lighting isn’t ideal and the backgrounds may be messy or cluttered with other projects. 

Classic Exhibits and Trade Show Design

Classic Exhibits has been designing and building solutions since 1993. We’ve been honored as an Exhibitor Magazine Find-It Top 40 Exhibit Producers and an Event Marketer Fab 50 Exhibit Builders multiple times. Along with numerous Portable Modular Awards. 

With over 200 Distributor Partners throughout North America, there’s a Classic representative close by. Contact us today whether you need a durable hand sanitizer stand built to last, a rental display guaranteed to attract trade show attendees, or a custom 30 x 40 exhibit with all the bells and whistles. We’re not just different. We’re better.

Your Guide to Exhibit Furniture Rentals

March 24th, 2022 COMMENTS

Rental Furniture at Trade Shows

It’s 2022 and trade shows and exhibitions in North America have returned much stronger than many predicted. As a result, exhibitors, display builders, labor providers, and show organizers are busy, sometimes crazy busy. One segment that’s seen a surge in growth is exhibit rentals, both exhibits and furniture. Exhibit Furniture Rentals in particular have transitioned from a “maybe” to a “must have” for both inline and island booths. 

Trade Show Furniture Rentals

Why Should You Care About Exhibit Furniture Rentals?

Gone are the days of battered and basic furniture rental designs. Today’s designs are attractive, contemporary, and comfortable, and they are available in a variety of styles and colors. Rental furniture providers are committed to delivering quality products that are fashionable and pristine. Plus, their selection has improved, along with deeper inventories at most major convention and trade show venues. 

Exhibit designers and exhibitors have also gotten more comfortable with adding furniture to booths. The right furniture can make a huge difference in the overall design, transforming a “nice and functional” island into an upscale destination for show attendees. Just 5-10 years ago, exhibit designers were reluctant to add conference tables, upholstered sofas, even ottomans and accessories to a booth. However, there’s been a push to offer attendees a place to relax, chat, and conduct business within the booth and designers have responded. 

And it’s not just furniture. Trade show rental options include charging hubs, pillows, lamps, rugs, sanitizer stands, and even safety dividers.  

Trade Show Furniture Rental Trends 

The next time you attend a trade show or event, you’ll undoubtedly notice three trends:  large fabric graphics, lightboxes, and furniture. These are trends not exclusive to island displays. Inline displays, both 10 ft. and 20 ft., are embracing these trends with rental furniture being the most surprising. Not long ago, a café or bar table with chairs in an inline space was uncommon. Not anymore. Inline exhibitors have embraced seating in their booth with many including comfortable chairs and sofas to create a casual meeting area. 

Assuming rental furniture makes sense for your exhibit design, then what are the next steps? When possible, work with your exhibit designer. They have access to the designs from multiple furniture rental companies. They are also familiar with your booth design, graphics, and trade show marketing strategy. They can also assist you with ordering and scheduling the furniture to arrive in your space. 

Trade Show Furniture Rental Sources

Some exhibitors may consider ordering their rental furniture from the General Show Contractor via the show book or the GSC’s website. And that’s a good option. However, GSC’s typically have a more limited selection than would be available from your exhibit house. Then there’s the cost. There’s a common misconception that ordering from the GSC will be less expensive. It’s not. In fact, it’s often more expensive. Furniture Rentals are a convenient and cozy profit center for them. Expert Tip:  Start with your exhibit house and compare prices and service

Of course, you can always buy furniture and ship it with your crates or cases. Can you save money by buying the furniture? Perhaps if you spread the cost over 3-4 shows. However, you’ll need to include the cost of shipping, materials handling, and labor (if it needs to be assembled) and damage. For most exhibitors, it’s not worth the hassle or the meager savings. 

Exhibit Furniture Rentals

Popular & Affordable Rental Show Furniture 

Easy is good. Easy and affordable is even better. Classic Exhibits has two comprehensive galleries of trade show rental furniture (Rental Furniture #1 and #2). The galleries are organized by the categories shown below and include prices. No guesswork. No navigating through a complicated and confusing website. 

Review your options in each gallery. Then click to add them to a “My Gallery.” The My Gallery has a tool where you can email your selections to your exhibit house representative or send them to colleagues to review. 

Rental Furniture Gallery #1

  • Accent Chairs: Comfortable, casual chairs perfect when paired together and with and end or seating table. See the Malibu or Lena designs as examples.    
  • Soft Seating: Larger upholstered chairs, sofas, and sectionals with matching pieces. See the Emerald Velvet line as an example. Some include charging options. 

trade show furniture

  • Seating Tables: Cocktail, end, and side tables like the Geo Cocktail Table with a wood top and black metal base.  
  • Ottomans: Colors galore in these fashionable round, rectangle, and curved ottomans.
  • Accessories: A nice selection of safety dividers, rugs. pillows, lamps, stanchions, and lecterns.

Rental Furniture Gallery #2

  • Cafe Tables: round cafe tables come in both fixed (typically 30” high) and adjustable heights in a variety of colors and finishes. See model CECA-022 with countertop colors in gunmetal, green, orange, yellow, and black. 
  • Bar Tables: Similar to Cafe Tables but with a  height of 40-42”.  CEBT-036 is one of 18 designs 
  • Group Seating: Mostly plastic cafe table seating in a range of colors and styles. The Malba (20″ L x 20″ D x 32″ H) is a green or gray stacking chair.

event furnishings

  • Conference Tables: Primarily oversized rectangle tables with round options as well. Some come with power ports like the CECT-033. 
  • Conference Chairs: Mostly height-adjustable rolling executive or mid-back chairs with arms like the Cupertino Mid-Back
  • Office Furniture: Desks, shelving, bookcases, and whiteboards. 
  • Bars: Curved bars with or without accent lights. See the CEBR-002 Midtown Bar
  • Barstools: Stools for Bar Tables. 13 designs including the CEBS-019 in red, black, and white vinyl tops

Important Considerations About Event Furnishings

Design obviously matters but so does function and budget. Your event furnishings have a role to play in your overall strategy. Given the cost of booth space, you want every sq. foot to contribute to your goals and ROI

Conference Room or Meeting Space. Most meetings in a booth don’t happen by accident. They are scheduled before or during the show. There’s no reason for a conference room unless you already have a plan for a full schedule of meetings with clients. 

Casual Seating Areas. Guests in your booth will love these… so will the booth staff. If your product/service doesn’t require lengthy interactions with attendees and you anticipate a busy show, a casual seating area can be a distraction and create congestion. No one can resist a soft comfy chair, including your team. If they appear too relaxed, attendees will walk by and not engage your staff. 

Say Something.. If you are unhappy with your rental furniture choice or the furniture arrived dirty or damaged, contact the rental furniture provider immediately. They want you to rent again at future shows and will generally do whatever they can to make you happy. Sometimes that means replacing a damaged piece the second day of the show or even removing furniture you thought would be necessary (but actually added clutter to the booth).

Cleanliness. While you don’t own the furniture or furnishings, you are still being judged by it. It arrived clean but it won’t stay that way. Wipe down the countertops each day and brush off the crumbs. Attendees don’t want to sit down at your bistro table only to discover wet coffee stains and sticky raspberry filling.  

event furnishings

Exhibit Furniture Rentals with Classic Exhibits

Classic Exhibits has been designing and building solutions since 1993. We’ve been honored as an Exhibitor Magazine Find-It Top 40 Exhibit Producers and an Event Marketer Fab 50 Exhibit Builders multiple times. Along with numerous Portable Modular Awards. 

With over 200 Distributor Partners throughout North America, there’s a Classic representative close by. Contact us today whether you need a durable hand sanitizer stand built to last, a rental display guaranteed to attract trade show attendees, or a custom 30 x 40 exhibit with all the bells and whistles. We’re not just different. We’re better.


January 2022 | Shared Knowledge Newsletter

January 24th, 2022 COMMENTS
Classic Exhibits Shared Knowledge Newsletter
Shared Knowledge Newsletter from Classic Exhibits

2022 EXHIBITOR Portable Modular Awards

Portable Modular Awards

Do you have a Classic-built design you would like to submit the for a Portable Modular Award? If so, let us know. We’ll review it, assist with the submission, and even pay the entry fee. Contact Katina Rigall Zipay for details. She’s the Classic Zen-master on structuring your submission for “finalist” consideration by the judges.

Entries must have debuted between 02/11/19 – 02/11/22

Since 2014, Classic Exhibits has been an enthusiastic supporter of the PMA (and one of several companies that advocated for the award in the first place). We’ve been fortunate to have finalists and category winners every year.

To review the PMA categories, click on this link.

Build a Better Trade Show Image, Revised Edition

Want to see your client’s project featured in an upcoming book?

Marlys Arnold is working on an updated version of her book, Build a Better Trade Show Image, and is looking for creative new examples to include.

She wants case studies of exhibits that:

  • Use creative themes (sports, food, outdoor, whimsical, etc.) to convey the message
  • Feature unique elements in the overall floorplan
  • Engage attendees with interactive elements or activities (hands-on demos, gamification, tech, etc.)

If you have client projects you’d like to share, contact her on LinkedIn or send a note via her website.

For any case studies chosen, both you and your client will receive an autographed copy of the updated edition.

Display Supply and Lighting Logo

Display Supply and Lighting EDS Gallery

If you haven’t visited the EDS Lighting Gallery lately, we encourage you to take a peek. DS&L has added lots of new LED products and accessories.

LED Products in Exhibit Design Search

Event Marketer Fab 50 & Experiential Marketing Summit 2022

Experiential Marketing Summit 2022

Each year we make the Event Marketer Fab 50 list we’re a little surprised. Not because we don’t think we deserve it. We do. But as a “white label designer and builder,” we’re not always on the industry’s radar. We’re appreciative that Event Marketer recognizes us. We’re also happy for all the other honorees, but we’re especially delighted for the 29 Classic Distributors who also make the list. Congratulations!

If you are planning to attend the Experiential Marketing Summit on April 27-29 in Las Vegas, be sure to stop by and visit us. This will be our first time at this show so any tips, tricks, or techniques for a successful EMS show will be greatly appreciated.

Event Marketer and the Fab 50 Awards

Parsons Counters and Genius Bars

Parsons Counters

Parsons Counters and Genius Bars appear to be all the rage. As a result, we’ve added designs to Exhibit Design Search, in the purchase and rental galleries. The MOD-1705, 1706, and 1707 Parsons Counters all have storage, wireless charging, and either backlit or vinyl graphic options. The MOD-1714 has a backlit graphic. The MOD-1709 and MOD-1708 are more basic (less expensive) options for someone who doesn’t need backlighting or charging.

The Genius Bars (available as rentals) are the same general shape as Parsons Counters but are wider and lack storage. Depending on the kit, they’re available in black or white laminate and with USB charging ports. See RE-1583, RE-1579, and RE-1578.

To see all the designs, including exhibits with these counters/bars, search “parsons” or “genius” in EDS.

Wunderman Thompson Annual Trends Report for 2022

The Future 100: Trends and Change to Watch in 2022

Every year, we look forward to downloading the Wunderman Thompson report on annual trends. It’s their snapshot of the year ahead. It charts 100 Emerging Trends across 10 sectors, spanning culture, tech, beauty and more. It’s free and easy to download HERE. The report is not your typical PDF teaser with minimal content. You’ll need to carve out a few hours (or days) to browse the 223 pages.

From the foreword written by Emma Chiu, Global Director:

This year ushers in a resolute positivity that encourages playfulness and creativity—so much so that Pantone created a completely new color to define 2022 (see unbounded optimism, p13). Brands and marketers are eager to provide joy in people’s lives by creating euphoric ads (p85) as they too ride the optimist wave.

The Worldwide Leader in Trivia Entertainment

EDPA Texas Chapter

Who is the Official Sponsor of the EDPA Texas Chapter Trivia Contest?

  • George Strait
  • Matthew McConaughey
  • Carol Burnett
  • Classic Exhibits

If you guessed Classic Exhibits, you would be correct. Classic is proud to be the OFFICIAL SPONSOR of the monthly EDPA Texas Chapter Trivia Contest. And now that the leadership torch has been passed from Matthew Little to Noelle Webster, we’re praying the number of questions about the Texas Tech Red Raiders declines significantly.

If you are interested in participating in the monthly trivia fun, contact You don’t have to be from, live in, or plan to visit Texas to participate.


Exhibitorlive and Classic Exhibits

Of course we’ll be there. But that’s not the exciting news. We’re planning something exciting for Classic Distributors who attend EXHIBITORLIVE.

Details to come in April. Keep it on the down low… we’ve already said too much.