Trade Show TalesBlog

Posts Tagged ‘design’

Updated Design Policies — Effective January 2019

October 24th, 2018 COMMENTS

2016-17 Design Insights by Katina Rigall (Vlog)

January 8th, 2017 COMMENTS

Classic Exhibits Design Blog Post

Katina Rigall, the Creative Director at Classic Exhibits, shares her perspective on 2016 and what to expect from the Design Department in 2017. It was challenging year with the loss of Mike Swartout, our long-time Design Director. Since last spring, Classic has added two experienced (and amazing) designers and a stable of contract designers.

More recently, Q4 2016 was stellar (thank you!), not only in the quantity but also the quality of modular, custom, and retail projects. The size, the budgets, and the variety of design projects made it FUN to be creative. The first full week of Q1 2017 mirrors this trend. Please keep them coming, whether it’s a ground-up island design, retail project, or the re-branding of a kit.


Shopping for a new or rental exhibit? See over 1400 contemporary islands, inlines, banner stands, and trade show accessories at Click on Exhibit Design Search for the largest display selection in North America. To find a Classic Exhibits Distributors, click here.



Mi Design NOT Su Design: Word on the Street — June 22nd thru June 26th

June 26th, 2015 2 COMMENTS
Kevin Carty, VP Classic Exhibits

Kevin Carty, VP Classic Exhibits

Intellectual Property

Protecting your Intellectual Property is nothing new (IP). Companies of all sizes are faced with companies (and governments) stealing their designs and ideas. Some folks view it as a way of doing business — leveraging the work of others for their own professional gain or sales. I once attended a business symposium, and the featured speaker of a Fortune 1000 company blatantly said his company doesn’t invest in R&D. They borrow the work of others. It was shocking to hear.

While some of our biggest challenges come from offshore companies trolling our corporate websites and blog posts to steal our images and ideas, it stings the most when it happens stateside.

Sadly, our industry is not shielded from these unethical practices within our own ranks. As a proud member of the EDPA Board of Directors, I can attest that protecting design IP has been a hot topic for many years. As a group, the EDPA-member companies do a good job for the most part honoring that unwritten rule.

Recently, a Classic distributor was presented with a competitor’s rendering by an end-user and asked to quote the design. The Classic Distributor explained to the end-user that they, along with their manufacturer (Classic in the case), do not partake in the practice of leveraging someone else’s hard work in design. Rather, they would sit down with them, determine their tradeshow marketing needs, and design a version that would meet their needs perfectly.

The client was delighted that the distributor and the manufacturer held that philosophy. Something the end-user was not used to seeing in their own industry.

Closer to Home


Having said that, we all fight these battles each and every day. Domestically and abroad. But it’s the ones closest to home that ave the most sting. An unfortunate example of that happened just this week for us. One of our talented designers put a great deal of work into designing a beautiful linear exhibit for a distributor and their potential customer several months ago. Fast forward to this week, when we saw a LinkedIn update highlighting a beautiful new build. Sadly, it was the very same design but built by some company other than Classic. We don’t know who built it, but we know who sold it, which makes it even more painful since we’ve known them for some time.

Don’t get me wrong. I know there are a lot of “kits” that can look similar from manufacturer to manufacturer. I totally get that. But when it comes to a “ground-up design,” you would hope, as we do, that some integrity would be left in the process.

Even in a stronger economy, when the fruits are fresher than they have been in sometime, there are still those companies more than willing to eat from other people’s plates.

Can anything be done about this on a large scale? Probably not. But I go back to the first example, the one where the Distributor explained to the end-user their ethical stance on the matters of protecting others IP… and still won the business.

How do you protect your designs beyond branding them with your company logos etc.?

It’s an age old question I suppose. But would appreciate your comments and feedback

On a lighter note, this June has been a HOT one! For sales and for weather. We greatly appreciate all the orders, large and small, and the opportunities sent our way. Just a reminder about our Gimme a GiftCard promotion on all inlines. Plus, as I’m sure you saw, we just launched a 100-Day Guarantee on the Sacagawea Hybrid System — An Industry FIRST.

Have a great weekend with your families and a strong work week ahead. July 4th is on the horizon.

Be well.



Meet Katrina Broten, Our Design Intern: Word on the Street — June 17th thru June 21st

June 23rd, 2013 1 COMMENT
Katrina Broten, Our Summer Designer Intern: Word on the Street — June 17th thru June 21st

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

The Classic Family is very happy to welcome Katrina Broten to our Design Department as a Summer Design Intern. Many of you might remember Katrina from earlier postings. She and I met through the EDPA Mentorship Program with Bemidji State University last fall. During her final year, she collaborated with Mike and Katina from the Classic Exhibits Design Department as she worked on her senior projects. She also made a visit to the Classic facility for several days and attended EXHIBITOR2013 where she met many of you at the Classic Exhibits Distributor Appreciation Suite.

We look forward to spending the summer with her and hope that we can assist her career as an exhibit designer.

Here is a brief introduction she wrote.

Katrina Broten (not to be confused with Katina)

I’m on the right. 😉

Hi. I’m Katrina, a graduate from “Burrmidji” State University (a university in northern Minnesota known for bitter cold weather and lots of snow) with a B.A. in Design Technology with an emphasis in Exhibit Design. My mentor, Kevin Carty and the team at Classic Exhibits, has granted me the privilege of starting my career here as an intern. I’ll be learning the ropes and gaining real world skills of the exhibit industry.

In an ironic/destiny sense, it’s funny how this amazing opportunity presented itself. First of all, I have always had a love for Portland Oregon. My aunt lives here, and I have visited many times. Portland is a beautiful city where I have a strong connection. Knowing this will help explain where the irony of my story.

I was introduced to Kevin through the mentor/mentee program that, as a student, I applied for while attending my final year at Bemidji State University. Well to tell you the truth, I kind of spaced out the deadline for this application, what with homework, projects, and multiple jobs. Eeeek!  BUT, using my quick-witted communication skills, I managed to get squeezed into the system and was lucky a few pairings were left. Shortly thereafter, I was sent an email informing me that Kevin Carty was my mentor.

Katrina Broten

Since I started the program late, I thought, “Oh great! I’m going to get stuck with the opposite of what I’m looking for. This is going to be a mess. Will he even have any advice to share with me or want to share with me? Why did I do this? I’m going to be punished for being late! Cripes, I’m screwed!” I emailed Kevin with the hope that I would not be wasting my or his time. About a week went by and I figured I was right . . . but then to my surprised he emailed me back.

This email gave me some reassurance that I would actually have contact with my “mentor.” I was relieved, but still didn’t know what to expect. A few more days went by, and I was contacted again and after some small talk, Kevin invited me to Portland to visit Classic and tour the company. I was shocked! In January, we planned a time that would work and after a nervous plane ride, I arrived and had the most amazing experience meeting everyone and learning the “Classic Way.”

After the trip to Oregon, I kept in touch with Classic and Kevin. At EXHIBITOR2013, we met again and Classic invited me to their hospitality suite, their booth, and we had some amazing adventures in Las Vegas. Now I am back in Portland with the entire team whom I have come to enjoy! I look forward to this internship. I’m already immersed in Design working with Katina and Mike and understanding their world. Pretty eventful to say the least. Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor or company.

I look forward to working with you, the Classic Distributors, over the next three months.

Katrina Broten



NEW Exhibit Design Search — 3 Minute Tutorial

October 18th, 2012 1 COMMENT

Exhibit Design Search, the world’s largest trade show design database, has been updated. The updates include a streamline home page, simplified search options, and a reformatted Design Detail page. See all the changes and how best to navigate through EDS in this brief tutorial. You’ll be impressed by the changes . . . we promise you.

Mel White from Classic Exhibits guides you through the changes in this 3 minute 44 second video.


For more information about Exhibit Design Search, please contact Mel White, Jen LaBruzza, Reid Sherwood, or Kevin Carty at Classic Exhibits. As always, we welcome your suggestions about EDS and are delighted to conduct “tips and tricks” webinars on how to get the most from EDS with your clients. Just let us know.

–Mel White


Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions and engineered aluminum extrusions (ClassicMODUL). 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.