Trade Show TalesBlog

Posts Tagged ‘fabric graphics’

Photos of Recent LED Fabric Lightboxes

October 10th, 2018 COMMENTS

Recent Trade Show Lightbox Trends

We sometimes forget (or simply don’t recognize) how quickly trends change on the trade show floor. LED Fabric Lightboxes have been around for 5-6 years. Crude versions with muddy low-resolution graphics and hinky lights a little longer.

2018 has become “The Unofficial Year of Lightboxes.” Probably 65% of the exhibits we ship have LED lights — in a tower, backwall, counter, accent, or stem light. It’s at the point where it’s almost jarring not to see a lightbox or LED lights on an exhibit. Not all all lightboxes are equal, but I’ll save that debate for another blog post. What is true is that the fabric, the printing, and the LED lights have gotten better, depending the source/supplier, BUT it pays to do your homework.

  • How new are the dye-sublimation printers? The technology is changing rapidly
  • Does the supplier actually dye-sublimate the image or do they print directly to the fabric (cheaper, more fragile, and wrinkles)?
  • Are the lights and transformers UL approved? 
  • What is the quality of the fabric? Think H & M vs. J. Jill as an clothing example. 

Below are some examples of recent SuperNova LED lightboxes, both purchase and rental. Sadly, LED lightboxes don’t photograph well with smartphones or point and shoot cameras. You see “hotspots,” and the colors are never as vibrant as with the naked eye. However, that won’t stop us from sharing. 🙂

-Mel White
mel@classicexhibits.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite

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Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, hybrid, and custom exhibit solutions, including SuperNova LED Lightboxes. 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.

What to Look for in an LED Lightbox Manufacturer

June 6th, 2018 COMMENTS

Rental Exhibits
Stroll through any airport, mall, event, or trade show and you’ll see hundreds of colorful LED lightboxes in every shape and size. Over the past few years, most have switched to Backlit Tension Fabric SEG Graphics. The reasons are obvious. Not only is fabric more durable than direct print graphics, but it’s also cheaper to ship and easier to maintain. And depending on the print process, the colors are vibrant and the details nearly photographic. 

It’s easy to assume that all LED lightboxes and manufacturers are similar, so the only real difference is price. Price matters of course, but there are other factors to consider.

8 Factors to Consider When Purchasing an LED Lightbox 

Hardness and Durability:  All LED Lightboxes start with an SEG aluminum frame. Every manufacturer engineers their frames using aluminum of varying hardness and durability. Less expensive lightboxes use softer aluminum because it’s cheaper. But cheaper aluminum scratches easily and tarnishes quickly. In addition, the wall thickness is often so thin that structural rigidity is compromised. For lightboxes mounted to a wall or assembled or disassembled at multiple trade shows, you will want aluminum with a 6063 specification. 6063 has better structural integrity and scratch resistant. If the supplier can’t answer that question, then you should be wary. 

Availability: Does the manufacturer have the extrusion, LED lights, hardware, and accessories in stock? And are there extrusion options depending on the situation, such as one-sided vs two-sided, freestanding vs. wall mount. What if you need multiple quantities or quick ship options? Can individual parts be purchased if they are lost or damaged? You don’t want a manufacturer who dabbles in lightboxes. 

Customization: Let’s say you need a width or height larger than the kits listed. Is it possible? If so, how complicated or expensive does it get? How about angles or shapes such as a hexagon? It’s easy to do squares and rectangles (for most manufacturers), but odd shapes and sizes are often a head-scratcher for those who only want to fulfill kits. 

Print Quality: Asking the right questions is essential. 1. Dye-sublimation printing is the best. This ensures the colors are infused into fabric, not just printed on the surface. Many suppliers brag about “fabric printing” but it’s not always dye-sublimation, which requires two steps  — printing to a paper material and then heat fusing the image to fabric. 2. Ask about the age of the printer. The dye-sublimation printer shouldn’t be more than two years old. Anything older than that means the print resolution is just OK, not photographic. 3. Just like clothing, the fabric quality can vary, which may not matter if the graphic is a throwaway and the resolution doesn’t matter.    

Sewing and Sizing:  Experienced manufacturers have this down to a science. They’ve done the calculations thousands of times with varying fabrics, and they know how to print, cut, and sew the fabric so it fits perfectly. Not too loose. Not too tight. Nothing is more frustrating than receiving a fabric graphic that doesn’t fit. 

LED Lights:  This could be a college course. Just understand the various color temperatures, lens, UL and ETL certification, module construction, etc. requires some research and patience. Like fabric, there are multiple ways to make LED lights cheaper, if cheaper is the only criteria. Skipping UL/ETL certification is shortcut. Using exposed connections or alligator clips is another. Sadly, it’s nearly impossible to know what you are getting before you get the LED lightbox. However, in this case, the old adage rarely fails, “If it’s too good to be true, then it probably isn’t.” 

Accessories: Most LED lightboxes are a one-trick pony. The are lightboxes.  That’s it. But what if you want to add shelves, an iPad, a literature holder, wings or headers? What if you want to connect it to other lightboxes or create a full inline or island display. That requires and exhibit builder who has engineered the extrusion to be multi-functional, stocks lightbox accessories, and has the in-house talent to customize. 

Assembly and Packaging: It’s easy to assume that your display will ship in high-quality cases and packaging. Sadly, that’s rarely true. Most manufacturers use disposable one-way shipping materials. Your lightbox arrives undamaged. Now you have to ship it to the next show or to another location, but there’s nothing to protect it or keep it organized. Insist on reusable shipping materials, which precludes cardboard, shrink wrap, and thin foam. All three will be destroyed after one use. See examples. While you may have to pay a little more, it’s an investment that keeps giving show after show, assembly after assembly.  

It’s important to remember that the pretty image you see on a website is just a rendering. What you receive is not. Ask the right questions and purchase your lightbox from a vendor you trust. Remember, your “may” be able to return the hardware, but the graphics, it’s yours whether you like it or not. Finally, keep in mind that you are buying a design, a marketing structure that represents your brand. It’s more than just an aluminum frame with graphics. 

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

**********************************************

Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, hybrid, and custom exhibit solutions, including SuperNova LED Lightboxes. 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.

 

FAQ — Banner Stands

September 9th, 2010 COMMENTS

Pronto Banner Stand

Pronto Banner Stand

Banner stands are everywhere:  retail stores, trade shows, conventions, churches, lobbies, and sporting events. I’m starting to think some folks even have them in their homes (“Bathroom — Third Door on the Left” or “Please Remove Your Shoes in the Family Room”).  Still a little confused about your banner stand options? Me too! Here’s a quick FAQ about banner stands from Exhibit Design Search.

1. I searched “banner stands” on the Internet and found some really inexpensive ones and some really expensive ones. I also noticed many different features and options. How do I choose?

The old adages are true – “You get what you pay for” and “If it’s too good to be true, well, then it probably is.”

If you plan to use a stand once and throw it away, then consider a “hot deal.” But if you need something more permanent, then your decision should be based on graphic quality, style, activity, travel considerations, environmental impact, graphic changes, and durability. If you are looking for a high-quality product with a lifetime warranty and graphic quality, then select the banner stands in our gallery.

The stand you choose will represent your brand. It should look good with straight and vibrant graphics and an attractive, stable, and undamaged base.

2. Why are fabric graphics, instead of vinyl graphics, suggested for most mid-grade and premium banner stands?

Why spend good money on a banner stand and then put a low-end graphic on it? Vinyl graphics are fine for some uses, especially long-term outdoor situations (such as an outdoor pole-mounted application), but they are usually not the highest quality. Even if the printing is top-notch, a vinyl banner has a tendency to curl. In contrast, a fabric banner will hold its shape even under tension.

Fabric banners also look better with warm colors, textures, and no glare. Several choices, including recycled fabric, make it the most versatile option anddepending on the banner stand, photo graphic using the Lambda process may be the best option. Lambda offers photographic continuous tones.

3. Can I ship a Little Giant case?

Yes and no. No, the case cannot be shipped strictly speaking; however, if you retain the original cardboard carton, it can be used to ship the case. The Little Giant is a great rolling portable case that can be checked for air travel but it is not a standard shipping case.

4. Which one of the banner stands can I use on a table?

Depending on height limits, any banner stand could be placed on a table. For most trade shows and recruiting events full height banners are inappropriate.

The Pronto retractable banner stand includes a three-segmented bungee attached mast. When the banner is attached to the mast at one-segment or two-segment height, this stand makes a perfect companion to your table throw. Combine two or three units for full backwall. The available graphic templates help your designer layout the graphic to the proper heights.

5. What kind of light can I use on a banner stand?

All our banner stands accept a light. These can be found in the product accessories section or give us a call.

6. My last banner stand graphic had a lot of glare. Is this normal?

(See the question #2 regarding fabric banners)

Not if you use fabric banners. Fabric banners are much better at eliminating glare, showing warm colors, and revealing textures especially in well lit environments.

7. What is the warranty on banner stands?

All banner stands have a lifetime warranty on all hardware products. The policy applies to original purchaser. No product registration is required. We will replace or repair all hardware supplied to our customers purchased after 7/7/09. However, we reserve the right to inspect hardware and exclude warranty claims that have resulted from vandalism, theft, negligence, fire, natural disasters, modifications, or losses in shipment that may be covered by your insurance and/or freight carrier. The lifetime hardware warranty does not apply to graphics or to electrical components.

All shipping costs are the responsibility of the customer.

Next FAQ posting, Eco-Smart Displays.