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Posts Tagged ‘Magellan’

What’s in a Name?: Word on the Street — Dec. 10th thru Dec. 14th

December 16th, 2012 COMMENTS
What's in a Name?: Word on the Street -- Dec. 10th thru Dec. 14th

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Over the past couple of years, one of my favorite things is when people outside of the Pacific Northwest tell me how much they love Sacagawea Portable Hybrid Displays.

Not only does it generate a sense of pride in our company, but it also just makes me laugh to be frank. Why you ask? Because you cannot imagine how many different pronunciations I have heard. Everything from Saka-weegee to Sock-kog-oh-wah. LOL!

But the important thing is, we all know what they are referring to. Regardless of the pronunciation! The name sticks in people’s minds, and its different from other lines at Classic like Magellan and Perfect 10. There are distinctions not only in the products, but also in the names! In case you are wondering why we named the line “Sacagawea,” here’s a brief explanation from the FAQ section in Exhibit Design Search. To hear the pronunciation, click here.

“Sacagawea was a Lemi Shoshone woman who accompanied Lewis and Clark on their expedition between 1804 and 1806. She was the only woman.

Sacagawea served as a guide and an interpreter for the expedition, but her greatest value to the mission may have been simply her presence during the arduous journey, which showed their peaceful intent.

The Sacagawea Portable Hybrid System, named in honor or this remarkable woman, is a lightweight, adaptable display system which packs in one or two portable cases. It’s durable, attractive, and makes a big impression at any show or event.”

Recently, Seth Godin went out on a limb and took on “naming” by one of the most famous brands EVER. One that is a favorite of mine, but I totally agree with the message. Here is what he wrote (short and sweet):

Design like Apple, but name like P&G

Apple’s naming approach is inconsistent, it begs for lawsuits (offensive and defensive) and it shouldn’t be the model for your organization. iPhone is a phone, iPad is a pad, iPod is a … (and owning a letter of the alphabet is i-mpossible).

Procter and Gamble, on the other hand, has been doing it beautifully for a hundred years. Crisco, Tide, Pringles, Bounty, Duracell–these are fanciful names that turn the generic product (and the story we believe about it) into something distinct.

If you can invent an entire category, fabulous, that’s an achievement. For the rest of us, resist the temptation to be boring or to be too aggressive. It’s your name and you need to live with it.

As Seth says, if you can invent an entire category, then kudos to you. But in lieu of being able to do that, create names/brands that stick . . . and that are memorable. And don’t forget to back that up with quality manufacturing and service . . . Lest you be the company that makes a great product but the company that no one wants to work with. I suspect we know a few companies like that. 😉

Have a great and restful weekend.

Kevin Carty


2011 “State of the Company” Letter from Kevin Carty

January 11th, 2012 COMMENTS

Kevin Carty, VP of Sales

Happy New Year! Hope you had a great Holiday Season.

Classic Exhibits Inc. and its divisions continued to rebound in 2011, after showing solid increases in 2010. Across the board, volume grew from 22 to 33 percent, depending on the division. Most refreshing, we saw no single trends, meaning our sales came from kits and custom, rentals and extrusions, and trade shows and retail. Nearly every week we were surprised by interesting projects that challenged and stimulated us.

New Systems Released

SEGUE Sunrise Trade Show Display

SEGUE Sunrise Portable Hybrid

Most new kits were based on MODUL TSP extrusions, which use silicone edge graphics. SEGUE Sunrise is a good example. Released in early January 2011, the Sunrise was one of those product releases you dream about. While it wasn’t the first SEG backwall on the market, it was the first to get it right from assembly to packaging. The Sunrise assembles without tools on both the single and double-sided versions and packs in die-cut foam packaging. Much like the Sacagawea and the Perfect 10, the Sunrise addresses a specific price point while not sacrificing design or value.

We introduced several iPad solutions as well. These have done well. If you haven’t seen them, I would encourage you to add them to your arsenal:  the MOD-211 iPad Counter Insert and the MOD-1276 Kiosk.

Design Monday Anniversary

In February 2011, we celebrated the 6th Anniversary of Design Monday. Kudos to Mel White, Mike Swartout, and the Classic Design Department for creating a marketing broadcast that transformed Classic and made a difference to our distributors. Other manufacturers shared their designs, but Classic made it a weekly feature. You can imagine the discipline it takes to create three new designs each week, but it’s that discipline that sets Classic apart. It forces us to never be complacent about innovation.

Exhibit Design Search/Website Changes

ClassicMODUL Aluminum Extrusions for Trade Shows

NEW ClassicMODUL Website

If you were watching closely, you saw lots of tweaks to Exhibit Design Search. We upgraded the UI, reorganized the galleries, finessed the Design Descriptions, and added 30 second audio clips. All that in addition to daily photos in P5D, new kits, articles, FAQ’s, and bi-monthly specials.

The ClassicMODUL website changed dramatically, If you haven’t been there recently, we encourage you to take a tour. The extrusion galleries are much easier to navigate. We’ve added a legend showing which depots have which extrusions, and (my favorite), the MODUL 6.0 Index can be viewed via Page Flip software. It’s pretty cool. As a reminder, we encourage you to contact ClassicMODUL when you need aluminum extrusion for designs you are constructing yourself.

Distributor Events

Historically, we have always been eager to participate in Distributor Events, such as open houses and training. There was a lull in those events during the recession, but 2011 saw a resurgence. We partnered with several Distributor Open Houses and Marketing Events. We applaud those distributors who took the time and effort to organize in-house activities. A special shout out to Atlantic Exhibits for their two ExhibiTrends events. Excellent turnout and they both ran like clockwork.

Alternate Markets

Like many display shops, retail and museum jobs have always been part of the mix. But this year we really pushed that envelope. Projects included studio set work for several television networks, a flagship store for Comcast Xfinity, retail fixtures for an athletic apparel company, and my favorite, building a museum onsite at a music festival celebrating the 20th anniversary of the band Pearl Jam.

These projects and many others were learning experiences that opened doors for Classic and our distributor network. We expect the trend to continue in 2012. In fact we started off the New Year with an in store display celebrating the Rose Bowl Victory for the Oregon Ducks. This display was designed to hang in a storefront of the flagship NikeTown store in Portland. Pretty cool.

VK-5077 Trade Show Island

VK-5077 Island Exhibit

Islands are Back and Better than Ever

Islands are back and not just those with meager budgets. Well thought out, design-centric islands with realistic budgets are growing and a clear indicator of the “paced” economic recovery.

Internally at Classic, Exhibits NW and ClassicMODUL

Mel and I have always bragged about the great family atmosphere at Classic. In 2011, as we grew, we added employees to that family. And our employees did their job preparing for Classic’s employment needs in the future. At least five newborns were born.

Exhibits NW added folks to the Classic Rental Division. They have been wonderful additions who fit the culture and work ethic. I know I speak for Jim Shelman when I say how happy and thankful we are for the talents they bring to the company.

We expanded the Customer Service Department, adding two new FT positions to Set-up Instructions. We have consistently gotten high praise for our personalized set-up instructions, and Jeff and Pavel made them even better. Great job guys!

The Classic Production Department has grown as well, as business grew through out the year. They have all proven to be very talented additions who we hope will remain in the Classic Family for many years to come.

Thanks to the Staff

MOD-211 iPad Counter Insert for Trade Shows

MOD-211 iPad Counter Insert

I wanted to say a special thank you to the Classic Exhibits, Exhibits NW, and ClassicMODUL staff. As always you make Classic . . . well, Classic. I appreciate all that you do to keep our customers and their customers happy. This past year, like many before, we celebrated many double-digit anniversaries at Classic. It always chokes me up when we celebrate anniversaries once a month. Usually there are several folks who are celebrating 8, 9, 10, or even 12 years at the company. Thank you for your dedication and your hard work.

On a personal note many of have asked about my travel schedule. I have stopped traveling for the most part with the exception of industry events like EXHIBITOR, EDPA, and The Randy Smith Memorial Golf Classic. Except for a rare trip here and there, I have chosen to stick closer to home. And to be honest I am really enjoying it on a personal and professional level. I like being in the office every day and having more time to run the business with Mel and our management team. And I love being able to come home to my beautiful wife and two five year olds each day.

Having said that, I know this leaves a void in visits to you. For that I apologize. We expect to add to our outside team this year, sooner rather than later, to complement the great work that Mel and Reid have been doing. I look forward to updating you on this in the coming months. And certainly look forward to seeing you all in Las Vegas at EXHIBITOR 2012.

Speaking of additions, I want to welcome to the Classic Family a new Designer. Katina Rigall starts on January 16. She is a talented and much needed addition to the Classic Exhibits Design Department. I know I speak for Mike when I say, “We can’t wait for your arrival Katina.” 🙂

I hope you have a very successful 2012 and that we continue to be a part of it. Thanks for all your support and business over the past year. We really, really appreciate it.


–Kevin Carty


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

The ABC’s of Classic’s Hybrid Display Systems

September 18th, 2011 COMMENTS

Perfect 10 Hybrid Display

New distributors and account executives often ask, “What’s the difference between a Sacagawea Hybrid and a Perfect 10 Hybrid? Or a Magellan and a Visionary Design?” Can it be confusing? Absolutely! Classic Exhibits has six distinct hybrid lines:  Sacagawea, Magellan, Perfect 10/20, Visionary Designs, SEGUE, and Euro LT. Or to look at it another way, it’s more than any other systems manufacturer. Learn why there are so many and how they are truly different.


Over the past six years, we have significantly expanded our design offerings. In some cases, these new designs were prompted by internal market research; others were necessitated by outside market forces, such as distributor requests or more recently, The Great Recession. In the beginning, there were two Classic hybrid lines: Visionary Designs and Euro LT Modular.

About four years ago, we developed the Perfect 10/20. We did so to tap into an unmet price point, look, and functionality: namely, a $5000 to $9000 10 ft. custom portable hybrid that assembled without tools. There were no other products that combined custom hybrid design in that price range. It was a no brainer to attack this segment and an easy decision to market it as a distinct product line. It did very, very well, until . . . .

At the start of the recession, customers were looking for displays with lower prices and fewer bells and whistles. We introduced the Magellan Miracle and MOR. These are built entirely from one cost-effective extrusion – the ClassicMODUL Z 45. Magellan Displays look much different than either Visionary Designs or Perfect 10 kits and to bury them within those product lines didn’t make sense. Yes, they are still basically aluminum extrusion and tension fabric, but they were unique. Since then, we have expanded the line with more elaborate designs at higher prices, but the system continues to rely on the Z 45 for its frame.

That brings us to the Sacagawea. Go back two years. The Recession has gotten even worse. We are being asked for an even more cost-effective line – less expensive than the Perfect 10 and the Magellan. So, we went back to the drawing board and used the VK-1001 as our inspiration. The VK-1001 was our first hybrid in 2003. We took that basic idea, a square frame with wings, and re-designed it with smaller extrusions, portable assembly, and about 50 kit variations. Within the first month, sales exploded for Sacagawea and sales have grown every since. It continues to sell well even as our other hybrid lines have seen significant increases as well.

SEGUE VK-1900 Hybrid Display

Finally, there’s the SEGUE Hybrids. In the beginning, the SEGUE designs were added to the Visionary Designs line. There were only a few kits, and it didn’t make sense to create yet another hybrid line. However, over the past year, the SEGUE line has expanded as customers asked for silicone edge graphic solutions. We found ourselves having to guide distributors to the SEG designs within Visionary Designs, which was inefficient and confusing. Distributors were requesting more and more SEG solutions and wanted one SEG gallery with inlines, lightboxes, and hanging wall solutions. So, we removed them from Visionary Designs and gave them their own gallery to make it easier for everyone.

What Makes Them Different?

It’s actually very logical. It’s based on design, price, and function. But let’s make this even easier, let’s focus on price as the driver for Sacagawea, Magellan, Perfect 10, and Visionary Designs. We’ll explain Euro LT and SEGUE a little later.

Hybrid Display prices are based on six basic factors:

  1. Size of the extrusion (larger extrusions cost more)
  2. Whether the extrusion is straight or curved (curves cost more)
  3. Size and number of graphics
  4. Type and number of accessories
  5. What options are included in the base price
  6. Assembly (knob, locking hex key, or slide clip)

Let’s start from the least expensive to the most expensive lines. Note that as the complexity of the system and size of the graphics increases, so does the price.

Sacagawea VK-1222 Portable Hybrid

Sacagawea Portable Hybrids:

  • Smaller extrusions, such as the S 40
  • Mostly straight metal
  • Typically one tension fabric graphic
  • Common accessories
  • Three laminates, nine sintra/acrylic, silver aluminum
  • Quick assist knobs and locking hex key assembly
  • Example:  VK-1231

Magellan Portable Hybrids:

  • One primary extrusion, the Z 45
  • Curved and straight metal
  • One or two larger tension fabric graphics
  • Common or unique accessories
  • Three laminates, nine Sintra/acrylic, silver aluminum
  • Quick assist knobs and locking hex key assembly
  • Example:  VK-1065

Perfect 10/20 Portable Hybrids:

  • Multiple smaller extrusions
  • Mostly curved metal
  • Two larger tension fabric graphics
  • Extensive accessories
  • Three laminates, nine Sintra/acrylic, seven powder coat colors
  • All knob assembly
  • Example:  VK-1506

Visionary Designs VK-2044 Hybrid

Visionary Designs Hybrids:

  • Full line of extrusions and designs
  • Curved and straight extrusions
  • Unlimited graphic options
  • Unlimited accessories
  • Wide assortment of laminates, Sintra/acrylics, powder coat colors
  • Locking hex key assembly
  • Example:  VK-2044

SEGUE and Euro LT Hybrids, unlike those listed above, are categorized by function rather than by price. For example, our least expensive hybrid kit is the SEGUE Sunrise (starting at $2833). One of our higher priced 10 ft. kits is the SEGUE VK-1901 (at $12,458).

SEGUE Hybrids:

  • Relies on Silicone Edge Graphics (SEG) and ClassicMODUL TSP Extrusions
  • Curved or straight extrusions
  • Graphic options depend on kit or design
  • Accessories depend on kit or design
  • Wide assortment of laminates, Sintra/acrylics, powder coat colors
  • Quick assist knobs and locking hex key assembly
  • Example:  VK-1900

Euro LT LTK-5014 Custom Modular Hybrid

Euro LT Custom Modular Hybrids:

  • Based on Euro LT laminate panel system
  • Extrusion complements the laminate panels
  • Graphic options depend on kit or design
  • Accessories depend on kit or design
  • Wide assortment of laminates, fabrics, Sintra/acrylics, powder coat colors
  • Euro LT clips and locking hex key assembly
  • Example:  LTK-5014

If this still doesn’t make much sense, then give me a call. I’ll be happy to walk you through the basics in a 15 minute GoToMeeting session.

–Mel White


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.

Islands and Summer Just Go Together: Word on the Street — June 13th thru June 17th

June 18th, 2011 COMMENTS
Islands and Summer

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Five Weeks of New Island Designs

It is officially summer next week . . .  although in the Pacific Northwest you would be hard pressed to know that. Until a week ago, we’ve rarely approached highs of 70 all spring. But today, as I write this, it’s 75 degrees with no clouds in the sky. About time!

As the title of the blog suggests, summer is when we dream of a tropical island vacation.  While I can’t offer you that, I can announce the release of a five new Island Designs. Beginning this week and over the next five weeks in Design Monday, we’ll showcase five fresh and exciting Island kits.

Admittedly, our focus has been on inline designs over the past two years. We reacted to the market. Our responsibility was to create kits for a recessionary economy that appealed to more modest budgets. We think we did a pretty darn good job — Magellan, Sacagawea, and SEGUE Sunrise to name a few. But we didn’t completely ignore islands. Our rental islands have been strong, and our rental division has done a spectacular job designing affordable, yet customizable kits. But from the purchase side, we have been designed to specific distributor projects rather than to creating island kits. With the economy improving, we have spent the past six months designing five unique “kits.” We hope these kits will appeal to your clients for their late summer and fall shows.

The basic plan of attack was simple. First, we listened to you and to what your clients wanted. Namely, islands that not only could stand alone on their design merits, but could also be reconfigured into other island and inline configurations.

Trade Show Island Design from Classic Exhibits

VK-5075 Island Design

Second, we designed these kits to take advantage of large format fabric and SEG graphics, TSP profiles from ClassicMODUL (where possible), and creative accent lighting options. We also recognized that truly custom elements, such as fully assembled counters and workstations, add design heft to islands without adding significant weight.

Finally, while the designs are custom-looking from an aesthetic standpoint, they are designed for “repeatability” and “expandability.” Those two factors allow us to price them more competitively, since we believe these kits (or variations of these designs) will be purchased again and again, much like Sacagawea or Perfect 10 kits. This week, we’re presenting the VK-5075,  branded for Barnes and Noble. By using similar towers and counter units, this unit can easily be rearranged with minimal effort and money to create alternate footprints for the second, third, and fourth shows.

So enjoy! Please let us know what you think. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome.

Be well and have a great weekend. And for all the fathers out there, relax and enjoy time with your family.

–Kevin Carty

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: Word on the Street — May 2nd thru May 6th

May 6th, 2011 COMMENTS
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

This week, I was on the road visiting new and potential distributors for Classic and ClassicMODUL. Meeting with these folks reminded me of the power of photos in our business. Frankly, I take photos for granted since we take multiple shots of every display we build. I assume other manufacturers do the same thing. It makes sense. Photos document the order and serve as a convenient point of reference if there are questions once the exhibit arrives or several years later when the client wants to modify the design or reorder parts.

Photos are such a day-to-day occurrence for us that I’m always a little surprised by a distributor’s reaction during a presentation. During the meeting, we invariably head to Classic’s website, or if they have Exhibit Design Search, to their website. We review the product lines and/or changes and at some point, we click on the photos button either on the home page or on a Design Detail page. That’s when the magic happens.

Potential distributors are always stunned that there are photos of kits; in fact, that there are multiple photos of actual orders. Then, once we dive a little deeper, they are delighted “slash” shocked that there are literally thousands of photos dating back to September 2006 . . . and that they can search, filter, and sort these photos. The next shock comes when they realize that these photos are not hidden behind a password protected site and that the photos can be emailed from their address using the “Email Image” tool.

Some of you may know the history of Past Five Days (P5D), our photo database, but for those who don’t I’ll share it.

P5D History

Past Five Days Photos

Past Five Days Photos

On 09/23/06, we started an experiment when we launched Past Five Days (P5D). We decided to publish photos of exhibits, components, and accessories on Classic Exhibits. Mostly, we used the photos taken in our QC Setup Area, but occasionally we used photos from the Rental Setup area. We couldn’t publish every exhibit, which would be unrealistic, but we did want to show representative designs in as close to real time as possible. At the time, it seemed risky for two reasons.

  1. We would be showing exhibits, not as perfect renderings or as show photos, polished to perfection just minutes before the trade show opens, but as exhibits often without the final graphics and the client’s product accessories and collateral.
  2. We would be sharing new designs and innovations with anyone who happened to click on Past Five Days. Including our competitors. However, we quickly realized that the benefit of sharing far out weighed the risk of espionage.

Five years later, P5D seems obvious. Distributors and clients get to see photos in addition to renderings, even if those photos are of displays still in production. Renderings are the lifeblood of the exhibit design process. They allow us to illustrate concepts relatively quickly, in both the purchase and design phase.  But renderings are renderings. Photos are photos. We need to see both in order to make intelligent decisions about which display to purchase and which exhibit manufacturer to purchase from.

Many of you visit P5D at least once a week to review new projects. For those who don’t, we encourage you to take a peek once in a while. You’ll be surprised at the variety of orders flowing through our shop. Yes, there are the standards, such as Sacagawea, Magellan, and Perfect 10 kits, but you’ll also see islands, custom workstations and counters, unique Aero Hanging Sign orders, and recently, Eco-systems Sustainable projects. Plus, if you enjoy graphic design, you’ll see how others present their message . . . both successfully and occasionally, not so successfully.

Hope you all have a restful weekend.

Be well.

–Kevin Carty