Trade Show TalesBlog

Posts Tagged ‘Rental Exhibits’

Rapid Rentals and Quick Ship Displays

February 19th, 2024 COMMENTS
Classic Exhibits Rapid Rental Displays

Last year, we launched Rapid Rentals: (7) inline designs available in 8-12 days. Your response to these kits has been nothing short of amazing.

Effective immediately, those same designs (with minor revisions) are available for purchase as Purchase Quick Ship Displays. All seven pack in portable cases and include (4) 10 x 10 kits and (3) 10 x 20 kits.

Build, Packed, & Ready to Ship

These kits are already built and packed, meaning: (1) The submission of your graphics will dictate the final ship date and (2) Any requests for structural, finish, or accessory modifications will automatically make them non-Quick Ship Displays.

To identify the Quick Ship kits, look for the “Speedy Delivery Van” icon in Exhibit Design Search.

Classic Exhibits Quick Ship Displays
Classic Exhibits Quick Ship Exhibits

For 30 years, Classic Exhibits has been designing and building creative custom solutions for our Distributor Partners and their clients. As the largest private-label exhibit manufacturer in North America, we have the unmatched capability, capacity, and creativity to create 3D projects ranging from 10 x 10 inline displays to 60 x 80 double-deck islands. 

Find success on the trade show floor with an exhibit that reflects your marketing message. For more information, see and explore Exhibit Design Search or request a meeting with a Classic Distributor Partner.    

The History and Benefits of Trade Show Fabric Graphics

January 20th, 2023 COMMENTS

fabric graphics

If you’ve attended trade shows for more than 10 years, you’ve seen trade show graphics change dramatically. Not so long ago, laminates and direct print graphics were the default choice. Not now. Large print fabric graphics, either dye-sublimated or direct print on fabric, represent 80-90% of all graphics on the show floor. 

It makes sense. The color vibrancy and clarity have improved significantly. Fabric graphics are lighter, more durable, and frankly easier to install than direct print graphics on Sintra or other foam-based materials. The purchase cost is comparable, but the shipping expense isn’t even close. Fabric graphics are much, much less expensive. 

And then there’s backlighting. Even with the introduction of LED lights, backlit graphics would have been a “no-go” without the concurrent rise in fabric graphics. Backlighting has gone from complicated and unusual, to easy and ubiquitous on the show floor.  It seems booths of every size and shape now include some backlit fabric graphics. Often multiple examples like towers, counters, conference rooms, and overhead hanging signs. 

What are Fabric Graphics?

The types of fabric available for trade shows include heavy knits, mesh, sheers, and everything in between. With fabric graphics, you don’t need to worry about dealing with reflections as there is no glass or plastic over your graphic. Printers typically have a range of fabrics available depending on the application. For example:

  • Stretch fabric. Some frames, especially portable displays and overhead signs, are perfect for stretch fabrics since the final sizing is more forgiving. 
  • Non-backlit fabric. SEG fabric applications, where silicone welting is sewn to the perimeter, typically specify a material with minimal stretch and internal blocking. The blocking prevents lights from behind the display distorting the images. 
  • Backlit fabric. Backlit fabric comes in a variety of weights and stretches. Choosing the right one depends on the size of the frame, the application, and the exhibitor’s budget. 
  • Blocker fabric. This fabric has one job. Serve as a reflector in a lightbox to maximize the brightness of a backlit graphic. 

Attaching Fabric Graphics

While there are exceptions to the following, the vast majority of fabric graphics attached to a display structure use these methods:  

  • Velcro. Velcro is sewn into the perimeter of the graphic (usually the loop). The hook, using adhesive, is attached to the frame.
  • Flat Silicone Gasket. The gasket is sewn into the perimeter of the graphic and fits into a channel on the frame. 
  • Zipper. Most pillowcase graphics and hanging signs wrap around an aluminum tube structure. The two sides attach with a heavy-duty plastic zipper (or zippers). 

5 Fabric Graphic Examples 

Portland Travel

Double-sided backlit fabric graphics on two towers and a bridging header.

fabric graphics

fabric graphics

Classic Exhibits

Large format backlit and non-backlit fabric graphics and a triangle hanging sign with pillowcase fabric graphics. 

branding fabrics

branding fabrics


Solid and printed backlit fabric graphics on an inline exhibit back wall. 

fabric graphic

PA Hardwoods

Non-backlit SEG fabric graphics on two rectangular frames and one peak frame. 

branding fabrics


Non-backlit pillowcase and backlit fabric graphics 

tension fabric

How Fabric Graphics Changed the Trade Show World!

Dye-sublimation fabric graphics took the trade show world by storm about 15 years ago. Before that, the only real way to print on fabric was silk screen. Dye sublimation printing changed everything. It offered a higher quality, lower cost graphic, which could be attached to aluminum extrusions with silicone strips or velcro. Suddenly, aluminum extrusion systems, which had been largely hidden or ugly duckling rentals became exhibit swans. Big, bold, and colorful exhibits with tension fabric graphics became the norm from 10′ x 10′ portable displays, like Symphony or Sacagawea, to 20′ x 20′ islands, like Gravitee. It was the classic chicken and egg scenario. Dye-sublimation fabrics made exhibits lighter and lighter exhibits allowed larger, more modular displays.

The Dye-Sublimation Process

Dye sublimation, also known as dye-sub, is an interesting process. In the first step, the graphic is printed on paper as a mirror image. If you’ve ever witnessed this process, you know the paper image is subdued and the colors muted. That’s OK. The magic happens in the next step. The printed paper is then run through the sublimation press.

The sublimation press transfers the paper graphic, via rollers, to the transfer fabric. The paper along with the fabric passes at a very slow speed and a very hot temperature. As they pass close to one another, the “solid” ink instantly skips from a liquid into a gas and literally impregnates or dyes the fabric. The vivid color jumps to life and the print replicates the original digital design.

Advantages of Fabric Graphics

The dye-sub process has several additional advantages as well. Dye-sub graphics can be folded without “breaking” the ink (similar to what happens when you fold a piece of paper printed on your desktop printer). The fabric is lightweight and durable and folds into a compact shape for secure shipping. 

— Durability —

The major advantage of a dye-sub graphic is overall durability. In the past, many custom exhibits and even some portable displays used backlit plex graphics or thin roll-able graphics. Those had to be handled with “white glove” care because they could get easily scratched, broken, or dinged. A dye-sub graphic is much smaller to pack and can’t be broken. At the end of the day, the only way to damage a fabric graphic is to burn it, bleach it, or cut it. Dye-sub is also washable in the gentle cycle of most washing machines or it can be spot cleaned with a carpet cleaner. 

— Lighting —

One of the least talked about advantages may be the most important. Traditional photography or inkjet prints, which are laminated or mounted to plex, usually have some form of front lighting, such as halogen lights. That lighting looks good with one noticeable exception. The lights create a glare (even on textured laminates) or hotspots. And it never fails that the hotspot is always in the most critical part of your message, photo, or logo! Unlike traditional first or second-surface graphics, fabric graphics absorb reflective light, which turns a serious negative into a positive.

— Cost —

The last of the big benefits of fabric is cost. Money matters. Trade show and event budgets are getting squeezed or are under scrutiny. In most cases, fabric graphics are about half the price of a Lambda or inkjet print of the same size. With the new super wide dye-sub printers, you can print up to 120 inches without a seam and up to 72 inches with a “Better than Life” quality.

Rental Exhibits and Fabric Graphics 

Today’s rental exhibits are as custom as a Rolls Royce. Many have towers up to 20 feet tall in custom configurations that are less expensive to install all the time.  No longer is it necessary to ship huge panels and plex graphics when you can use lightweight aluminum and fabric. Most rentals have become indistinguishable from new exhibits. Even smaller 10′ x 10′ and 10′ x 20′ hybrid exhibit rentals are now available in shapes and features unimaginable just two years ago. Fabric graphics made all that possible.

3 Rental Designs with Fabric Graphics

RE-9167 | Island Peninsula Rental. (1) 12 ft. H x 9 ft. W storage tower with fabric graphics and a 12 ft. archway and graphic header. (4) double-sided SuperNova lightboxes with SEG fabric graphics. 

rental fabric graphics

RE-2094 | Gravitee Inline Lightbox. (3) Gravitee lightboxes with SEG fabric graphics and (4) non-backlit fabric graphics.  

fabric graphic example

RE-1592 | Lightbox Counter. Double-sided lightbox counter with backlit SEG fabric graphics.

branding fabrics

Fabric Graphics with Classic Exhibits

Looking at the big picture (no pun intended), dye-sub fabric printing hasn’t changed the world like the Internet or antibiotics or opposable thumbs. But for us who allow trade show exhibits to rule our lives, it is pretty darn important. 

Understanding how fabric graphics are printed, attached to the display, and packed is indispensable in today’s trade show environment. Nearly every display from tabletops to islands includes fabric graphics. The trade show professionals at Classic Exhibits guide clients through the design and printing process every day. 

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 close by to assist with any rental project. Contact us today whether you need an inline rental display, a double-deck island exhibit, or a contemporary kiosk rental. At Classic, we’re not just different. We’re better.

Your Classic Exhibits Shared Success Newsletter | July 2022

July 11th, 2022 COMMENTS
July Classic Exhibits Shared Success Newsletter.

Take a breath
Enjoy the summer
Fall is coming
We’ve got your back
Send us your overflow

Deep Breaths by Jen LaBruzza

Jen LaBruzza and Classic Exhibits

A gentle poetic reminder that although it’s feeling Easy Like Sunday Morning right now, the Manic Mondays of Fall will be upon us before we can say, “20 x 40 island.”

And in case you missed our EXHIBITORLIVE memo, Classic Exhibits is North America’s Largest Private-Label Exhibit Builder. That means you don’t have to say, “No.” Just tap into our custom, modular, portable, and rental capabilities when your production schedule is maxed out.

So, as we pause and catch our breath, remember the Early Bird gets the BEST spot in the production schedule. It’s time to contact those Lazy Daisy clients and get those creative juices flowing. Reach out to our Sales Team, Designers, or Project Managers for assistance and let’s start filling up our dance cards.

Rental Winter Turns into Rental Fall by Jim Shelman

Classic Rental Solutions Update

Sales: Q1 and Q2 Rental orders broke all previous sales numbers for Classic Rental Solutions. Early numbers show more of the same for the second half of the year.

To support our growth, we’ve added office and production staff. Josh Christensen joined CRS as a detailer, and he also manages our rental inventory. Kristofer Viaes and Victoria Writer are Project Coordinators. All three have already proven to be invaluable.

As you know, CRS’s inventory is both large and expansive, but our most popular components continue to be SuperNova Lightboxes and Gravitee Modular Walls.

Gravitee Modular Walls have become our rental backbone. Backwalls, towers, conference rooms, storage rooms, kiosks, and counters using Gravitee and SuperNova are being utilized in every possible configuration. It’s hard to imagine how we ever managed without the versatility of these options, along with ClassicMODUL, to create any design imaginable.

Trends:  We’re seeing an increase in extended rentals for multiple shows, along with repeat orders with replacement graphics and minor design tweaks. Repeat rentals with no changes (except cleaning graphics) are more common. Yes, graphics can be cleaned and look like new again.

People's Choice Award at EXHIBITORLIVE
Exhibitor Magazine People’s Choice Award

Award: Classic won Exhibitor Magazine’s People’s Choice Award for the Technolutions Slate Rental 20’ x 60’ Design with our Distributor Partner Jill Kinduell, Owner of Total Graphic Source.

We look forward to working with many of you on your upcoming rental projects, and we sincerely thank you for your business!

Fast and Furious Webinar Recordings

Fast and Furious Webinar Series by Classic Exhibits

Over the past two months, we’ve hosted five Fast and Furious webinars. And more are coming! Expect a webinar on Interactive Games for trade shows (see the new gallery in EDS) and an Exhibit Design Search tutorial, titled “EDS and Coffee are for Closers!” 😉 If you missed any of the Fast and Furious webinars, we uploaded the recordings to YouTube.

  1. The Future of Marketing with Lisa Apolinski
  2. 20 Promotional Product Trends in 20 Minutes with Rama Beerfas
  3. 50 Essential Trade Show Tips for a Newbie or Wannabe with Tim Patterson
  4. Step-by-Step Flooring Trends with James Zackarias
  5. 20 Proven Trade Show Sales Tips in 20 Minutes with Harold Mintz


Women in Exhibitions Breakfast at Exhibitorlive.

Finally, if you missed EXHIBITORLIVE or if you attended and want to see if made the final cut, see the two videos below. Kudos to our own Glenna Martin for documenting the show and creating both videos.

The 4th Annual Women In Exhibitions Breakfast was a huge success! Over 100 women gathered on June 22 in the Connection Zone at EXHIBITORLIVE. All who attended enjoyed a delicious breakfast and shared their personal experiences during a special presentation.

MaryCay Durrant

Guest speaker MaryCay Durrant provided insight into how women are uniquely positioned to take on leadership roles in ways that fulfill our desires for meaning, connection, health, and prosperity. Women In Exhibitions is proud to provide quality content and networking opportunities for the women in our industry, and this event was no exception.

This was all possible due to our generous sponsors:

  • Diamond – EXHIBITOR Media Group, Classic Exhibits Inc.
  • Platinum – Hill & Partners
  • Gold – Brumark, Centerpoint Marketing, CORT Events, Design Factory Las Vegas, Hamilton, Impact XM, NuVista, Pinnacle, Taylor
  • Silver – Access TCA, ASTOUND, beMatrix, ProGlobalEvents, Condit, Czarnowski, Deckel & Moneypenny, ExhibitForce, Genesis Exhibits, MSM, Steelhead, Xzibits, EDPA Las Vegas Chapter

Contemporary Rental Designs $Under Sheets

May 20th, 2021 COMMENTS

The sheets below show some, but not all, of the rental kits available from Classic Rental Solutions under various price points. All kits can be modified to fulfill the specific marketing requirements of an exhibitor.

For more information about Classic Rental Solutions or Rental Exhibit Designs, including Islands, Inlines, and Accessories, visit or

Rentals Under $8K

Trade Show Rental Exhibits under $8000

Rentals Under $12K

Trade Show Rental Exhibits under $12,000

Rentals Under $18K

Trade Show Rental Exhibits under $18,000

Rentals Under $28K

Trade Show Rental Exhibits under $28,000

Rentals Under $33K

Trade Show Rental Exhibits under $33,000

Rentals Under $40K

Trade Show Rental Exhibits under $44,000

The Rent vs. Buy Debate for Trade Show Exhibits

April 20th, 2021 COMMENTS
Rent vs. Buy a Trade Show Exhibit

If price was the only criteria for a trade show exhibit, then most exhibitors with a full show schedule would probably buy their display. Or would they?

Let’s explore this topic with three examples showing both rental and purchase prices from Classic Exhibits and Classic Rental Solutions.

Trade Show Rental Exhibit

Example #1

The RE-1081 (rental) and VK-1356 (purchase) are identical backlit displays with a charging station, locking storage, and an iPad swivel mount.

  • Rental: $6316 (booth) + $2693 (graphics) = $9009
  • Purchase: $14,997 (booth and graphics)
  • Difference: $5988

By the second rental, the exhibitor would have exceeded the purchase price. However, what if the exhibitor decided to remove the charging station and replace it with a reception counter at the second show? Or some other modification. Rental exhibitors often make those changes because the price remains roughly the same (in most situations). The purchase exhibitor now has an additional component, along with extra or modified packaging. And they may decide not to use the charging table again, which means they’ll need to dispose of it.

All too often, an exhibitor who purchases a display will not make a change, even if the change would benefit their trade show marketing, because they feel locked into their original decision. A rental exhibitor has far fewer qualms about making changes, including even an entirely different design.

Trade Show Rental Display

Example #2

The RE-1082 (rental) and GK-1011 (purchase) are non-backlit displays with a workstation and locking storage.

  • Rental: $5816 (booth) + $2297 (graphics) = $8113
  • Purchase: $14,900 (booth and graphics)
  • Difference: $6787

In this design, the first and second rentals are less expensive than the original purchase price. By the third rental, the rental would be $4845 more. However, many exhibitors don’t factor in the monthly storage, assuming your exhibit provider stores it for you. Plus any “turnkey services” like inspection, packing, and staging charges. With a rental, those are included in the price.

Many exhibitors would rather not commit to a long-term investment or reoccurring maintenance fees on a permanent asset. And disposal charges at some point in the future. For them, a rental while more expensive over several years, may be less expensive right now and offer greater marketing flexibility.

Rental Displays for Trade Shows

Example #3

The RE-1079 (rental) and VK-1977 (purchase) are backlit displays with a large monitor mount option.

  • Rental: $2483 (booth) + $1525 (graphics) = $4008
  • Purchase: $7600 (booth and graphics)
  • Difference: $3593

At this price, most exhibitors would purchase this design if it’s intended for multiple shows. However, this design is often an element in a larger island display with double-sided graphics. Other times, exhibitors with conflicting shows or those “testing” trade show marketing need an exhibit but don’t want to commit to a purchase. In those cases, a rental makes far more sense, even for small displays.

All too often, newer exhibitors will purchase a cheap, somewhat disposable display only to discover that it doesn’t reflect their branding or audience. An upscale rental allows them to showcase their products and/or services at a price comparable to a budget purchase.

When deciding whether to rent or buy a trade show exhibit, consider all your options, both short and long-term. There are benefits to both and in some situations, a combination makes the most sense. Talk to your exhibit professional to review your options.