Trade Show TalesBlog

Posts Tagged ‘Exhibit Design’

Eco-systems Sustainable Exhibits — Summer Sales Tips #7

July 11th, 2017 COMMENTS

Smart, Sustainable Exhibit Design

Since 2007, Eco-systems Sustainable (eSmart) has been the leader in contemporary, eco-friendly trade show exhibits by designing modern displays. Make no mistake. The displays are green. They just don’t flaunt their sustainability with a “crunchy stick and twig” exterior.

So why should you or your client consider a sustainable exhibit from Eco-systems? Design. It’s really that simple. Design sells. The eSmart Galleries in Exhibit Design Search are packed with attractive contemporary displays from inlines to islands and counters to kiosks.

If you haven’t contacted them before, give them a call at 866-463-2611. Or visit the Eco website at www.ecosystemsdisplays.com.

To download the unbranded PDF version for Eco-systems, click here. To listen to the bonus audio tip, click here.

Eco-Systems Sustainable Trade Show Exhibits

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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 www.classicexhibits.com.

Trust Me. Your Design Staff Will Thank You!

September 8th, 2016 2 COMMENTS

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STOP! Before you read another word or are tempted to press “delete,” forward this to your design staff. Trust me. They will thank you!

Design Requests

Affordable Island Trade Show ExhibitThere’s rarely a logical flow to how many design requests you receive. One day, you are scrambling to find business. The next day, you are absolutely swamped.

For any Design Department, it can be stressful when the busy season hits because design takes time. But if you are a Classic Distributor, we have a nifty solution that will save you save you time and close sales faster.

All those nice-looking designs on Classic’s website or on your branded EDS website are available to you as 3d files. At no charge.

We have those 3d files at our fingertips, and we are happy, happy, happy to share. Your designers know the time it takes to create a visual presentation. They also know it’s drastically shorter when they have an existing model vs. designing EVERYTHING from SCRATCH.

That’s the beauty of our 3d models (and our business model). You can customize anything and everything. Go ahead and make changes, and then allow us to quote your customized design.

Many Classic Distributors enjoy using our design services. But many have their own design staff. For those distributors, our 3d file-sharing service is a godsend since you can respond to your customer’s requests in real-time.

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.

Katina Rigall, Designer

Here are a few other ways you can work with the Classic Design Department:

  • 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 firsthand ensures the best design quickly.
  • Did you know we design and build custom wood exhibits? Not just extrusion and fabric. We can do it all.

Lastly, I just want to give Mike Swartout a nod, because our portfolio of kit designs would not as organized and comprehensive without his 16 years of design work. Assuming the title of Design Director, which was Mike’s for so long didn’t feel right, so that title has been retired, and I am the Creative Director. Mike is irreplaceable. No question about that.

Please let us know if you have any questions. And contact us if you need any Classic Exhibits 3d files.

Katina Rigall, Creative Director
katina@classicexhibits.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/katina-rigall-050b0417

Seven Questions You’ll Never Ask About Your Trade Show Display

October 13th, 2015 COMMENTS

Questions

Do you believe the expression “There’s no substitute for experience”?

It’s true, but experience without context is worthless. For example, let’s say you live in Topeka, KS. You’ve tried all the pizza shops in Topeka. From your experience, Johnny’s Pizza is the best pizza anywhere. Now I could be wrong, but I suspect there are a few New Yorkers, Bostonians, or Chicagoans who would disagree. But what do they know… they haven’t tried Johnny’s Pizza?

We’ll concede that you know Topeka pizzas. Now, it’s time to buy a trade show display. Unlike lawn mowers, cameras, or smartphones, there’s no Consumer Reports and your experience is limited. So, you do your research on the web, and if you are smart, you consult with a trade show exhibit professional. You ask the right questions about design, assembly, and how much it weighs. You even ask to see the warranty.

However, there are questions you won’t ask. How do I know? Because no exhibit manager has ever asked me these questions… and they should.

Q1. Will the Metal Look the Same After 10 Shows?

Have you ever bought a screwdriver at a discount store only to have the tip twist? So you throw it away and realize that a Kraftsman isn’t a Craftsman. About 60-70% of all trade show exhibits have a skeleton of aluminum extrusion. Sometimes it’s visible, sometimes not. The dirty little secret is that it’s cheaper to use low quality extrusions with thin walls and a sub-par finish. Over time, it distorts, mars, and looks tarnished. Your new booth becomes a used booth before you’ve wrapped-up your current marketing campaign.

Ask about the manufacturer of the extrusion? There are recognized names and then there are Kraftsman. You may not recognize the name but that’s the beauty of Google. If someone tells you, “an extrusion is an extrusion,” walk away.

Q2. What’s the Quality of the Fabric Graphics

The rise of Fast Fashion has revolutionized the apparel industry (think H&M and Forever 21).  There’s a market for disposable fashion. It’s cheap and attractive. But no one expects it to last or have the attention to detail of high-quality apparel.

Fabric for graphics, like clothing, is not all the same. Most inexpensive displays are shrouded with thin, stretchy fabric made with low quality zippers or cheap velcro. And yes, there’s a pecking order to hook and loop as well. The fabric graphic is meant to be disposable… even if it’s not sold that way. You can feel the difference. Trust your hand.

Q3. What’s the Quality of the Fabric Printing

One ever thinks about this but they should. Dye-sublimated printing, the predominant type of printing for fabric graphics, is a high-tech process. And with any technology, the latest and greatest is old news in about 12-18 months. The previous generation of dye-sub printers get sold to second or third-tier printers. If you’ve ever seen the difference between an HD dye-sub graphic and a 4-color one, you know what I mean. Skin tones are more realistic. Black is black not dark grey. There’s no color banding . You get the picture.

Ask when was the printer was manufactured (not re-manufactured or purchased). And even if it’s only been owned by a little old lady in Pasadena and stored in a garage, it’s still an AMC Hornet.

Q4. Is the Packaging Material Reusable?

You just bought a new pair of Beats by Dre headphones. They sound great, but you’ve decide you want them in black and not fushia. Good luck getting it back in the packaging. It was meant for marketing, not for re-marketing. Far too many trade show displays are packed to prevent damage before the first show. But what about damage after the second, third, or thirty-third show?

High-quality reusable packaging costs more than bubble wrap and thin foam. Smart, well-engineered packaging is like finding $20 in your wedding, funeral, and holiday party pants. It’s an unexpected miracle that keeps on giving.

Q5. Are Replacement Parts Available? 

Folks send me photos asking me to identify a part. That’s rarely an issue if it’s from a major display manufacturer. However, it’s usually from a $699 pop-up or tube structure. Let’s be honest. There are no parts. There never were any parts. It wasn’t sold to have replacement parts any more than a $17 toaster.  It’s meant to go into the landfill after a half-a-dozen uses.

Now if that idea appalls you, then ask your supplier if quality replacement parts are available, what is the cost, and how quickly can you get them? Oh… and if they are only available through Smiling Sammy’s Display Store, then that’s a really, really bad omen. He’s gotta a guy who knows a guy. Good luck with that.

Q6. How Do You Handle Wire Management?

There’s no middle ground on this. It looks good or it looks really, really bad. Those electrical and A/V cords have to go somewhere. More often than not, the cord management for most exhibits resembles a hairball. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

You have to share what electrical devices will be in the booth and where they’ll be located with your supplier, and that includes anything you maybe renting. Ask your supplier about their solution for lights, monitor cords, etc. If they stumble — run. It means the solution is likely to resemble white twist ties from plastic garbage bags.

Q7. What are the Designer’s (Exhibit and Graphic) Qualification?

Everyone is creative. To a point — chainsaw sculpture, toilet roll cozies, saw blade paintings. I’m not here to judge. Well, maybe a little. Most of us are out of our element when it comes to exhibit and graphic design. And like wire management, there’s no middle ground. Great exhibit designers have years and years of experience working on a variety of projects (custom, portable, modular) with collaborative input from other exhibit designers. That’s how they get experience, perspective, and context.

The same is true with graphic designers but with a twist. They must have experience designing graphics for trade show displays. That’s the key. It doesn’t matter if they are Rock Stars with web design or print advertisements. You don’t want an occasional trade show designer to be the lead designer. If you have an in-house designer familiar with your brand, then make the design process collaborative. Graphic design for trade show displays is a craft. Trade show designers have learned what works and what doesn’t to attract attendees on the show floor.

These questions may make your trade show exhibit supplier uncomfortable. Good. That’s how you’ll know if you chose the right one.

–Mel White
mel@classicexhibits.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite
https://twitter.com/melmwhite

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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 www.classicexhibits.com.


 

We Have the Design Cure. And It’s Free!

May 8th, 2015 1 COMMENT

DesignSketch

Someone once said that design is easy. All you have to do is stare at the screen until drops of blood form on your forehead. Truer words have never been spoken.

As a designer, how often are you asked to reinvent the wheel while the clock is ticking? What if that pressure had to do with redesigning a kit from Classic’s award-winning Exhibit Design Search? More and more designers are saying, “That damn thing has already been drawn. Wish I could get the model file. Guess I’ll reinvent the wheel again.”

OK, that’s not exactly what the designer says, as she sweats blood from her forehead, but you can guess the R-rated version.

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Download Kits Models from Our ftp Site

Breathe Easier

Classic Exhibits has the cure. We will give you, yes give you, free of charge, our model files. However, there is a catch. There’s always a catch. The models are free. If you don’t see the model you need on our ftp site then simply call or email us and ask for the appropriate model file in the file format you want. That’s the catch.

Did I mention we give away hours and hours of our design time to you absolutely free and only ask for orders in return? I ask you, how many things in this business are actually free? Do you recall the time you took that roll of duct tape (thinking it was free) from the show floor and months later received a bill from Freeman for $125,345,000.00 + drayage. Geez, they’ve got cameras everywhere now don’t they?

Classic has offered this “freebie” for years and many distributors utilize it all the time. These are the same distributors who recognize there is a marked increase in the number of orders that close when their designer is in direct contact with their client. Classic Exhibits, always looking to make you more profitable, recognized long ago that not every distributor has room, either physically or fiscally, for staff designers. Our solution (which is also free) is to be your designer.

How Does This Work?

Quite simply actually. In a call with your client, Classic designers can be introduced as your staff, offsite, freelance designer, etc. Why do we offer this freebie? Katina Rigall, a Classic Designer, probably said it best in a past blog:

designWant a 100% Success Rate? Before working at Classic, I was the lead designer at a custom exhibit house, and I had the opportunity to work directly with end-users on Every. Single. Project. It was truly gratifying to create designs that hit every request, the verbal and the non-verbal.  You can hear the excitement in a client’s voice when the design strikes a chord with them — it makes them invested, it makes them attached, it makes them want it, it makes them BUY it.

I, too, have worked direct with the client either as a distributor’s designer or as a manufacturer’s designer. Hell, one time the client was with me at my side in front of my computer for five days. Every one of those deals closed. To be sure not all projects will go as smoothly as grass through a goose or even close for that matter, but you can sure see that the odds improved dramatically. Folks, that translates into money in the bank. Doesn’t get any easier than that.

No Cost Services

So those are two of Classic Exhibits Design Department’s “no cost” services that translate directly into black ink for you. To be sure I haven’t covered all the technical know-how, but we’ve kept the process as simple as we can… just ask and you will receive. You can always email Designs@classicexhibits.com, and we will respond like greased lightning.

Classic realizes a designer can’t always avoid forehead hemorrhaging especially with client comments like, “I don’t know exactly, but I’ll know it when I see it.”  But, if you make your model request a tear-jerker you just might get one of us to feel sorry for you and send you a piece of medical gauze to wrap around your head.

Inside Info:  This guilt tactic won’t work on other exhibit designers as we can’t hear through the layers of gauze wrapped around our heads.

Mike Swartout
Design Director
mike@classicexhibits.com

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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 www.classicexhibits.com.


 

“I’ll Know It When I See It” | Every Designer’s Nightmare

December 18th, 2014 7 COMMENTS

nightmare

For the Classic Design Team, nothing is more fun than delivering a design that meets all the client’s needs:  functionally, aesthetically, and fiscally. Collectively, we have 24 years of industry experience designing trade show exhibits. We know most clients are not immersed in exhibit design, so the process can be challenging. But it doesn’t have to be. We are here to help!

Occasionally, we get an ambiguous request that requires us to practice Mind Reading. Which is understandable. We all come from different levels of experience, and learning how to pre-qualify takes practice. Thankfully, we are pretty good at addressing these requests before they become frustrating for everyone. But . . . that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few “Design Red Flags.”  Here are some we’ve identified over the years.

Design Red Flags

I Need This by Tomorrow (#1)

Good design takes time. Great design takes even more time. Think back to college. Did cramming for that psychology test result in an A? Probably not. There’s a process. Not to mention there are other design deadlines already in the queue. It’s not that we can’t do it if our schedules allow. And we want to, but we want to do it right.

high_fiveMy Client Wants Five Completely Different Options (#2)

Clients like to see options, and this can be achieved by showing them portfolio images, discussing their objectives, and defining a budget. In the end, the client is only going to buy one booth, one that matches their marketing goals and budget. One spectacular design is better than five OK designs, if it is on point and includes revisions. Choose a designer who can delve into the project and deliver exactly what the client needs.

If I Like It I’ll Find the Money to Buy It, So Design with an Unlimited Budget! (#3)

No client has a truly unlimited budget. They might have lots of resources, but there will be a limit. Our advice, throw out an exhibit budget number and gauge their reaction: $50,000 for a 10×10? Either they’ll nod and say “Go for it!,” or they’ll take a big gulp and reveal their actual budget — $8K, $15K, $25K. Perfect, now the designer can give the client the best 10×10 they’ve ever seen within their budget.

I’ll Know It When I See It — aka IKIWISI (#4)

Design is not a poker game where revealing your hand is a disadvantage. Most clients have an idea of what they want, or at least what they want to achieve. At a minimum, they know their product/service and how it should be presented. Every designer loves the opportunity to be creative, but a guessing game is the exact opposite of creative. Whether you are paying for design or not, there is a cost. The cost can be as simple as frustration, revisions, and unmet expectations.

The Client Wants a Rental, But I’d Like to Show Them a Purchase Option (#5)

re-9017-1We understand the motivation. A purchase is more expensive than a rental. But it’s not a very good sales strategy. It’s another way of saying, “I don’t really know what my client wants so I’ll give them multiple options.” See Red Flag #2 above. Designers like to design, but what often gets forgotten is that designers want their designs to sell. We want our work to mean something, to come to fruition. When our designs sell, it validates our talent and our efforts.

So what’s the exact opposite? Clear communication and specific goals. At Classic Exhibits, we want you to succeed. We know you don’t live in exhibit design every day, so the process can frustrating. We also know that your best path is to work with industry professionals and to tap into Exhibit Design Search for ideas. Exhibit Design Search is a terrific place to see ideas and price points.

Over the years, we’ve learned there are three keys to a winning design and a happy customer.

  1. Understand Your Trade Show Goals and Have a Budget in Mind.
  2. Work with a Trade Show Professional Who Can Guide You.
  3. Whenever Possible, Communicate Directly with the Designer.

Best of all, no nightmares . . . for you or for your very favorite designer. Have questions about exhibit design, give us a call or send us an email.

Mike Swartout, Katina Rigall, and Trina Broten
The Classic Exhibits Design Department

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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 www.classicexhibits.com.