Trade Show TalesBlog

Posts Tagged ‘Lightboxes’

A Walk Around Natural Products Expo West

March 15th, 2022 4 COMMENTS
Natural Products West Expo

I joined Classic Exhibits in 2019 after a 10-year hiatus from the trade show industry. One of my first assignments was to walk Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim. I was tasked with reporting on how exhibit design had changed over the previous decade. As it turned out, I discovered that the basic rules of trade show design had remained constant — bright colors, bold lighting, and high contrast never go out of style.

Last week I walked the floor of Natural Products Expo West once again, and I couldn’t be more pleased to report that the place was jam-packed. Lots of exhibitors, lots of attendees, and lots of tasty little snacks to sample as I strolled the floor.

Attention Grabbing Exhibits

The first booth that grabbed my attention was a 10’ backlit booth (Rambler). I couldn’t help but stop and take it in.

Rambler Water at Natural Products Expo West

I LOVED how the backlit orange simply ignited the backwall. And the stacks of product along the sides of the booth showed their clean, crisp packaging while eliminating the need for significant storage cabinets – a serious challenge in a 10’ booth.

Bright colors kept grabbing my eyes demanding that I look their way.

Then I started noticing displays that put graphics against a black background. Anything on black jumps right out at you.

The same can almost be said for graphics with a white background. It’s hard not to look.

Lighting demands attention as well. Check out this booth. It’s hard to tell from the picture but the three lightbulbs shown as part of the “hanging lamps” are actually lightbulbs that have been inserted into the cut fabric. Bright lights, breaking the plane of the fabric. Nicely done.

Red Plate Foods at Natural Products Expo West

This one as well.

Vevan at Natural Products Expo West

BOTOX YOUR BOOTH!

I told myself that I wasn’t going to capture images showing examples of bad graphics at Natural Products Expo West. We all know when we see graphic designs that don’t work. No need to poke hard-working designers.

But wrinkles… wrinkles are not caused by designers. Wrinkles are easily fixable if I&D teams are prepared for them. And there is no excuse NOT to be prepared for them. I’ve done my best to crop out any identifying logos. I saw dozens and dozens and dozens of examples. PLEASE tell your I&D crews to be prepared. BOTOX YOUR BOOTH!

Wrinkled graphics at Natural Products Expo West

And lastly… This might just be the best booth I saw all day – MYNTZ

Myntz Breathmints

Harold Mintz (MYNTZ), Regional Sales Manager

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 closer 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. 

Bigger, Bolder, and Brighter Rental Exhibit Designs

November 19th, 2021 COMMENTS
Trade Show Rental Exhibits

If you had to pick a post-COVID design trend, would you have picked rental exhibits with lightboxes? Probably, but would you have guessed that nearly 80% of our island and inline rental orders have lightboxes?

It Kinda Makes Sense

First, lightboxes aren’t much more expensive than non-backlit solutions. Secondly, our rental inventory is deep in SuperNova and Gravitee frames. These two systems connect seamlessly and assemble without tools. As a result, their competitive prices, design flexibility, and ease-of-use makes them popular choices for designers and exhibitors. 

This week, we feature three new Rental Lightbox Designs — (2) 10 x 20’s and (1) 10 x 30.

  • RE-2123 uses a massive lightbox as a backdrop for three monitor kiosks. Along with two counters with backlighting
  • RE-2124 is a series of connected lightboxes in a step-pattern. “Stepping” is increasingly popular since it adds visual depth and a creative use of space
  • RE-3008 is a 10 x 30. We’re seeing more requests for 30 ft. inlines as an alternative to islands. This design is amazing “as is” or as a starting point for customization.

RE-2123 — Large LED Lightbox

Rental Exhibit | RE-2123 Inline Lightbox
Rental Exhibit | RE-2123 Inline Lightbox

Description: Unique products deserve unique exhibit designs. And the RE-2123 doesn’t disappoint. The large SuperNova lightbox with SEG fabric graphics is the perfect backdrop for the three monitor stands. The left, right, and center lightboxes create an immersive environment that compliments the overall theme without distracting from the core focus — the monitor demo stations.

The 20 ft. inline also includes two stunning backlit reception counters with locking storage. The booth assembles quickly and packs flat in a crate for convenient shipping.  

RE-2124 — Lightbox Step Design

Rental Exhibit | RE-2124 Inline Lightbox
Rental Exhibit | RE-2124 Inline Lightbox

Description: The stepping creates visual depth and interest while allowing an exhibitor to tell a compelling story through a sequenced graphic presentation. The design includes ample room for a casual meeting space (which can be a challenge in an inline) and the charging table with LED accent lights creates a casual yet business-like setting. The RE-1567 reception counter has attractive backlit graphics and locking storage.

Lights combined with colorful graphics may be the single-most important key to attracting attention on the trade show floor. The RE-2124 turns the table on traditional lightbox designs by “stepping” (5) 4 ft. x 8 ft. individual lightboxes.

RE-3008 — Meeting Space w/ Lightboxes

Rental Exhibit | RE-3008 Inline Lightbox
Rental Exhibit | RE-3008 Inline Lightbox

Description: Versatile 10 x 30 inlines are increasingly becoming an attractive alternative to an island exhibit. The RE-3008 offers ample space for demos and meetings in a booth that’s built for maximum branding and constructive conversations with attendees.

It includes three large lightboxes with SEG fabric graphics with a double-sided lightbox closest to the aisle. There’s also a semi-private meeting area that includes a charging coffee table with LED accent lights and countertop branding. Bookending the meeting space are two genius bars for additional seating. 

Let us know if there are rental design ideas you want to explore.

What to Look for in an LED Lightbox Manufacturer

January 15th, 2020 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, and the only real difference is price. Price matters of course, but there are other factors to consider.

9 Factors to Consider When Purchasing an LED Lightbox 

#1. 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. 

#2. 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. 

#3. 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. 

#4. 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.    

#5. 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. 

#6. 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.” 

#7. 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. 

#8. 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.  

#9. Assembly:  It’s easy to overlook how the lightbox will be assembled but that would be a HUGE MISTAKE. Some require tools and a bag of loose parts. Others have push-button connectors. Others are “mostly” tool-less, but the hardware is cumbersome and/or unnecessarily complicated. Ask to see the instructions or an assembly video. Even if you aren’t planning to assemble it, could you put it together based on the instructions in a reasonable amount of time? Remember, time is money, especially on the show floor. No one wants surprises at a trade show, and a well-designed lightbox won’t make you sweat, literally or figuratively. Do the research and trust your gut.

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, you “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

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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.

 

NEW Tool-Less SuperNova LED Lightboxes

June 12th, 2019 COMMENTS
SuperNova SEG Tool_less Lightboxes

This is a BIG DEAL!

Allow me to explain. First a little background. When we engineered our single- and double-sided SuperNova lightbox extrusions (CEI-110 and 152), we were committed to having the strongest lightboxes in the industry — thicker walls, harder 6063/6065 T6 aluminum, and strategic internal extrusion support. In addition, the corner and spline connections were rock solid, preventing light leaks and eliminating most vertical or horizontal bracing except on the tallest or widest lightboxes.

Single- and Double-sided SEG Extrusions

Peel back the SEG fabric of our competitor’s LED lightboxes. You’ll see internal framing or bracing to prevent hour-glassing and light leakage. Even on lightboxes smaller than 10 ft. wide. Some as small as 5 ft. wide.

That “rock solid” construction meant as many as four connections at every joint, all requiring tightening or loosening hex screws. While no one complained, we knew there had to be a better option. A tool-less option. Currently, there are several tool-less lightboxes on the market. None ideal. Some compromise strength by using a single-button connection. Others have a separate bulky attachment with large knobs. And still others have complicated fasteners, which while elegant, are expensive to replace.

We would love to tell you we saw the problem and quickly engineered a better solution… but that would be a lie. It took us over a year in R&D. Idea after idea. Failure after failure. Why? We refused to compromise on strength, ease-of-assembly, and affordability.

SuperNova Tool-Free Lightboxes

And Then We Succeed!

Our new Tool-less SuperNova Lightboxes achieves all of those goals. While there may be more “complicated” solutions, there are none stronger or easier. We estimate the new tool-less connectors reduce assembly by 70-80%. Plus, the splines and the corner connectors can stay on the extrusion reducing the possibility of lost parts. Even the translucent knobs are innovative since they eliminate shadows and reflections.

Effective immediately, new SuperNova Lightbox orders will include the tool-less option whenever possible, whether a standalone LB or a LB in a table top, inline, or island design. We expect this to cover 90% of all LB orders. Exceptions include non-90 degree corners, boomerang base plates, and internal extrusion supports on large lightboxes (support only). Even on those, the tool-less options will be incorporated wherever possible.

Please let us know if you have any questions about SuperNova Lightboxes. This is a BIG DEAL, especially for you and your clients. It’s never been easier to assembly an LED lightbox on the trade show, event, or retail floor.

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

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

Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, hybrid, custom, and rental 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.

Who is Classic’s Biggest Competitor?

June 15th, 2017 4 COMMENTS

Who is Classic's Biggest Competitor?

Recently, I’ve been on the road, visiting Classic Distributors in the Midwest and South. We chat about industry trends, new products, and challenges in their market. Occasionally, they will ask me about competitors. That’s a topic that always makes me uncomfortable.

Now, why should talking about competitors be uncomfortable? Handled professionally, it can be instructive for both of us, and I am just as guilty of asking a distributor, “What are you hearing in the industry?”

Nevertheless, “Who is Your Biggest Competitor?” always makes me squirm. You would expect me to list a handful of systems manufacturers or internet resellers, but while they are competitors, they are not our biggest competitor. So, who is?

Our Biggest Competitor

You. You are our biggest competitor. Now don’t take that the wrong way. You are also our customers, colleagues, and friends. We like you. We respect you. Our business depends on you. We are honored to have you as part of the Classic Exhibits Family. And, yet, you are also our biggest competitor — day in and day out. That shouldn’t surprise you. If it does, it shouldn’t.

Every single day you listen to clients about their projects. Then you make a decision about who designs, manages, and builds that project. You? Another builder? Classic Exhibits? Let’s explore some examples together.

CustomBlogpostHeader

Custom Exhibits

Do you design and build it, assuming you have in-house custom capability? What’s the budget? What are the client’s expectations? Will it interfere with other projects or customers currently in the pipeline?

  • Will it keep my shop busy and/or happy?
  • Is the client’s budget realistic for our shop rate?
  • Can I make margin?
  • Is it within our skill-set or would it make more sense for someone else to build it?
  • Should I send it to Classic Exhibits for a quote?

Assuming you don’t have in-house capability, do you find a contract builder?

  • Do I have the in-house talent to project manage it?
  • Should I find someone local?
  • Do I trust that shop and do they have experience?
  • What if the client expects me to store the exhibit and prep it for each show?
  • Should I send it to Classic Exhibits for a quote?

Hybrid Exhibits

Aluminum extrusion systems seem, at first glance, an easier decision. What’s so challenging about designing and building a display from modular aluminum components. After all, it only requires:

  • Designing a hybrid solution using standard and customized engineered aluminum components
  • Ordering those components from an aluminum supplier at the correct size(s), angles, and finishes
  • Supplementing them with accessories from other manufacturers such as counters, lighting, graphics, and casing
  • Creating detailed setup instructions and numbered components
  • Creating re-usable packaging that protects the components
  • Completing all above within a 10-15 day time frame
  • Ensuring margins are acceptable, including time and materials and lost opportunities

chargingblogheader

Specialized Displays

Specialized displays include lightboxes, charging stations, retail fixtures, corporate environments, or anything outside your normal trade show or event world.

  • What is the client’s expectation of quality?
  • Is the budget realistic?
  • Is the time frame realistic?
  • Should you design, project management, and build it?
  • Do you have the capability to handle the project?
  • If not, what company has the inventory, technology, and capability to produce it?
  • Should it be handled locally or online?
  • Can you make margin, complete the order on time, and continue to pursue other opportunities?

blogheaderRentals

Rental Displays

The growth of rentals, especially customized rentals, has created a dilemma for many Classic Distributors. Building a rental inventory takes financial capital, warehouse space, and a steady order turn to be successful. And yet, rentals can be very profitable assuming there’s sufficient turn on your inventory and minimal damage.

  • Do you pull from your inventory, add to your inventory, send it to Classic, or send it somewhere else?
  • Do you have the physical space to warehouse a rental inventory?
  • How deep should that inventory be?
  • Are your designs limited by your in-house inventory?
  • What if the client requires multiple quantities of counters, monitor stands, or kiosks?
  • Do you have the time/talent to create detailed setup instructions for each project?
  • Does geography or the show location determine whether to use your rental inventory or rely on a supplier like Classic?
  • Are you accounting for the labor to design, build, pack, receive, and clean the rental? What about damage?

You get my point. If there was a way to measure lost opportunities for Classic, I suspect that we lose more business when you choose to build or rent something in-house than when the order is sent to another manufacturer. At Classic Exhibits, our job is to excel in design, customer service, production, packaging, instructions, and even marketing so you choose the easiest and most profitable path for your company. We have to win your approval, day after day. And that’s our goal since we don’t sell direct.

So, to you our competitor and our customer, while we don’t win them all, we win far more than we lose when we have the opportunity. All we ask is that we get the opportunity.

–Mel White
mel@classicexhibits.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite
https://twitter.com/melmwhite
https://www.facebook.com/Classic-Exhibits-Inc-113601405319757