Trade Show TalesBlog

Posts Tagged ‘SEG’

The World of SEG (As I See It)

September 11th, 2018 2 COMMENTS

Guest Post by Dave Brown, Optima Graphics

When Neanderthals Walked the Earth

My first exposure to Silicone Edge Graphics (SEG) was in 2002. At the time, we (Optima) were using a foam/rubber gasket to finish fabric graphics. The gasket (similar to screen door material) was an aesthetic step forward from Velcro since it helped to remove ripples and waves in a fabric graphic, but it was not a viable long-term solution. In early 2003, Optima was approached by AIT. They were promoting an improved graphic attachment using a stretchy silicone material that could be tucked into a channel or systems groove on an engineered aluminum frame, like Octanorm or MODUL. I vaguely recall that they were selling frames as well, but don’t quote me on that.

During that same time frame, several truss suppliers were offering a “truss clip” option where an 18” section of aluminum channel would snap onto the individual truss rails. A magnet was sewn to the graphic, so it could be secured within the truss clip. There was nothing special about the magnet other than its dimensions were perfect for sewing it to the fabric and then tucking it into the truss clip. Functionally a shim. However, the magnet was impractical for shipping purposes.

With the ever-present desire to cut exhibit program costs, many “early adopter” exhibitors and exhibit houses were looking to fabric graphics as an option. Fabric or dye-sublimated textile graphics had two immediate advantages:  they reduced the overall weight of an exhibit and they could be folded for compact shipping. But the Velcro and truss clip option each had aesthetic and practical flaws.

The Rise of SEG

Entering 2005, Silicone Edge Graphics were moving more mainstream, and our very own Mary Mueller coined the term SEG. Heck, we even tried to trademark it, but the US Patent Office claimed it was too generic (but “three peat” could be trademarked. Hmmmm?). By mainstream, I mean that SEG was being incorporated into display hardware, wall-mounted frame solutions, and custom exhibits.

As time progressed, SEG became a true building material, and fabric now clads the exterior of exhibits in the same way Canyon Blue Formica or Tempo loop did in the early 90’s. Customers want their visual message and presence maximized in their exhibits, and as dye-sublimation has progressed so has the boundaries of SEG. It is not uncommon to see a single 10’ x 20’ SEG fabric graphic whether backlit or non-backlit that’s as stunning and real as a Lambda print. A handful of companies have incorporated machinery that will produce a single graphic that’s 15 ft. in width, and the industry has been the beneficiary of R&D from many different perspectives. For example:

  • Backlighting. At Optima, we have launched three different backlit materials in the last 11 months, and our suppliers keep sending us a steady stream of potential new materials to test.
  • Opacity. Fabric may have been great for packing and hanging, but prior to 2013, there were functionally no opaque options. The blocker game is over because numerous opaque options exist and are ideal for trade show graphics. Eliminating blockers reduces installation time and cost. We can all cheer for that!
  • Stretch / Pliability. Installing SEG is, good bad or indifferent, a bit of an art form. A material that stretches east – west vs. east-west and north-south is a big deal because the added pliability reduces the artistic install talent needed by the end client or hired labor. “I have done this a million times” does not perfectly translate to “You are really good at it.”
  • Wrinkles. Let’s not mince words, Wrinkles suck! I get it. Paying as much as $250 an hour for Sunday OT steaming is unappetizing to any exhibitor.Here’s a snippet from an actual conversation I had this spring, “Sorry I am late. My shirt was a mess from packing, so I had to touch it up with the iron.” Fast forward to, “We arrived at the booth and one of the graphics was all wrinkled, so we had to steam it. Why do we need to do that? We should not have to do this” Logically, you know that a shirt (piece of fabric) needs to be ironed to eliminate wrinkles, but a fabric graphic should be impervious to similar wear and tear. Trust me, the holy grail of dye-sub fabric graphics is a 100% wrinkle-free material. This is and has been a R&D priority for years.
  • Flame Retardant (FR). Optima and many other high-quality providers will not sell an SEG dye-sub fabric graphic that is not FR. However, the FR treatment can increase the wrinkle factor or wrinkle-ability. Selling a NON-FR fabric is just plain stupid. Can you imagine ALL the instances where exhibitors are informed that all their fabric graphics need to be removed because they are unable to supply a FR certificate, and/or the material fails an onsite test? That is the stuff of lawsuits. It’s not worth it. Yet, there are instances where low-cost providers take that risk without informing the customer.

The Future of SEG

If the key ingredient in SEG is simply the attachment element (various rubbery / reasonably stretchy / reasonably firm 2.3mm x 7mm x 1mm-ish strips), then the sky is the limit. We have already progressed through print clarity (print resolution, density, color gamut via equipment and print technology), textile opacity, textile transmissiveness (backlighting), and ideal size of material.

A Prediction:   LED incorporation into the textiles will progress from experimental to routine and full digital textile is only a few years away. Envision a wall frame with an SEG monitor installed at any size you want. A 10 x 20 inline that conveys your client’s dynamic message, creates and morphs from one environmental engagement to the next, and during breaks on the show floor – you can watch your favorite Family Guy, episode. AND the whole thing fits in a single airline shippable case.

It’s coming sooner than we all think.

Dave Brown
dsbrown@optimagfx.com

Dave Brown is the VP of Sales at Optima Graphics. We all know and love Dave, so a long, detailed bio isn’t really necessary. And, yes, we all have a memorable Dave Brown story.

EXHIBITORLIVE | Thumbs Up & Thumbs Down

March 4th, 2016 COMMENTS

EXHIBITORBlogHeader

We’re back from an early EXHIBITORLIVE 2016 this year. I have a vague recollection back in the days of Bally’s of one around Valentine’s Day but then again, all my EXHIBITOR memories are somewhat fuzzy for reasons that would be best not to explore. While it’s still fresh on my mind, I thought I’d share a few Thumbs Ups and Thumbs Downs.

Thumbs Up

1. Gravitee, our new modular wall system, was the Belle of the Ball. Several Classic Distributors told me that Gravitee was “the next big thing” in exhibit industry. No tools. No loose parts. Seamless SEG graphics. Compatible with MODUL and Euro LT. What amazed me the most was the number of distributors who saw the demo, then came back again and again to see another demo. It’s as if they thought they’d finally catch the Classic magician hide the ball under the cup.

IMG_26212. Katina Rigall, Tim Patterson at Communication One Exhibits, and our Production and Project Management team for winning the 10 x 10 Portable Modular Award. Frankly, I knew in my gut that the So Young booth would win after seeing the other 10 ft. finalists. It wasn’t even close.

3. Congratulations to all the EXHIBITORLIVE PMA Award Winners. Each year, the number of entries increases and the design bar rises

4. Class Act Competitors – Several friendly competitors asked to see Gravitee, our charging stations, tablet stands, and our new backlit extrusions. They were gracious and respectful, never taking photos without permission or peering behind the “curtain” without asking.

5. Glenna Martin, our Graphic Design Manager, for her tireless work getting the booth ready each morning, taking photos during the day, and creating the two entertaining videos (Day 1 and Day 2). And, for her amazing “It didn’t fall far from the tree” graphics.

6. The year Optima decides not to hold a reception is the year I decide not to attend EXHIBITOR. It’s the single best place to talk to industry friends, meet new ones, and let all the pre-EXHIBITOR stress melt away. Thank you Optima!

7. The Entire Classic Team, including those who attended and especially those who stayed behind. While you couldn’t all be there, I promise you that you were there in spirit with every accolade about the exhibit, the products, the quality, and Classic Commitment to Service. We heard again and again – “You are the BEST!” We wish everyone we did business with had the same Shared Success philosophy as Classic.”

8. Classic Distributors. Thank you for spending time with us, asking questions, and sharing your concerns. You are the reason we participate in EXHIBITORLIVE each year.

9. Our Neighbors. Thank you! No crazy presentations. No blaring music. No 20 ft. wall blocking visibility. My apologies to the transportation company across the aisle. I turned off your video loop at 9 am Wednesday while we were recording a video. And frankly, I couldn’t listen to it one more time without suffering a mental breakdown.

10. Finally, the guy in the middle seat on the flight back to Portland, who clearly had work to do, but graciously chatted with woman on the aisle ALL THE BACK to PORTLAND. If not you, then it would have been me. Thank you.

Thumbs Down

1. The Portable Modular Awards – Not the awards themselves, but the companies that didn’t attend, particularly the finalists. This is your award program, something we have wanted for years. I encourage you to submit next year, attend the PMA ceremony, and support the portable modular segment of our industry. Please.

2. Classless Competitors – We saw, but we didn’t say anything when you snuck into our booth to take photos and fondle Gravitee. You know who you are. Shame. All you had to do was ask. We would have gladly given you a demo.

3. Has anyone ever finished a meal in the Mandalay Bay/Luxor complex and said, “Well, that was worth the price?” That’s not saying the food isn’t good, and often excellent, but the restaurants make drayage fees seem reasonable by comparison. You know you’re in an alternate universe when a fast food meal exceeds $15.

4. Finally, to the dude who felt compelled to have three LOUD phone conversations at Gate 5 while waiting to board the plane back to Portland. Did I really need to know the details about the person you plan to fire on Monday or all the ways your teenage daughter is out-of-control? Perhaps not.

May the exhibition gods grace you with strong sales. 😉

–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.


 

 

Custom Inline Exhibit with LED RGB Lights (Very Cool!)

February 20th, 2016 COMMENTS
Kevin Carty, VP Classic Exhibits

Kevin Carty, VP Classic Exhibits

Do you want to see something AMAZING?

As we head into EXHIBITOR, I wanted to share a video of a recent custom build. It’s (2) 10 x 10’s that convert into a 10 x 20.

Before you say, “Big deal Kevin… an inline exhibit… we have seen them all.” I challenge that idea. NO YOU HAVE NOT! This particular build is special. For starters, the end-user was the driver behind the design elements required for this booth. They are a high-tech, high-end fiber optics company with an amazing product. They wanted a booth that exuded that same high-tech, high-end look and feel that customers expect from their brand.

I won’t go into great text detail since the video covers it, but I will say this. KUDOS to our manufacturing, project management, and detailing teams for their flawless execution on this project. And thanks to the distributor for bringing us this wonderful project.

Enjoy the video and your week ahead.

See you all in Vegas in just a few short days. Please come by our booth to see Gravitee. In my 21 years of attending EXHIBITOR, I’ve never been more excited to show you a new product line.

–Kevin
http://twitter.com/kevin_carty
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kevin-carty/3/800/32a


 

SEG Installation Video from Optima

October 20th, 2014 1 COMMENT

Side-by-Side Comparison

Kudos to our friends at Optima for their recent videos.  They’ve upped the ante on how to script and produce a professional educational video. Here’s a terrific one to share with your customer if they’ve purchased a silicone edge graphic display. Force them to watch it. It will save you a 9 a.m. call from the show floor that the SEG graphic(s) doesn’t fit. It does.

For more videos by Optima, go to https://www.youtube.com/user/OptimaGraphics.

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

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

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’re More Than You Think We Are: Word on the Street — Nov. 5th thru Nov. 9th

November 18th, 2012 COMMENTS
We're More Than You Think We Are: Word on the Street -- Nov. 5th thru Nov. 9th

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Unique Projects

For the past two years, Classic Exhibits has pursued “alternative” markets such as retail, environments, events, etc. with our distributors. Our CNC production capability, skilled workforce, and ClassicMODUL aluminum inventory make these natural fits. This week, I want to share pictures and a video that show some of those projects. It’s our hope, quite selfishly, that your view of Classic will broaden.

Those distributors who have visited us or have attended Shared Knowledge University have a deeper appreciation for our design and production capabilities. We don’t talk about it much . . . but we love the non-trade show projects you send our direction.

Last fall, we worked with a Classic distributor on the East Coast on a studio set for a CBS affiliate. Oddly enough, the show, “My Window w/ Kristi Miller,” broadcasts in Central Oregon. They filmed while we built the space. Here is a cool time-lapse video of that installation

Below is a photo gallery of some recent trade show and non-trade show projects. You’ll see cool pictures from an installation for a sporting goods chain store. We produced the framework for the large format SEG fabric graphics for this permanent installation. It turned out fantastic!

There’s a dynamic island we did with Durham Displays for her client Perfect Equipment. Great blend of custom wood fabricated elements, double deck, and large format custom Aero structure on the  perimeter.

In addition, you’ll see several other projects for a well-know athletic shoe and apparel company.

EDPA Access 2012

As a reminder, EDPA ACCESS is around the corner. For those who are attending this event in Palm Springs, CA, you know that one of the best parts of the event is the “Not-So-Silent Auction.” Please take a few minutes to review the list of auction items currently available.

http://access.edpa.com/silent-auction/

Not to brag, but Classic Exhibits may have the most exciting item on the auction block!?!? Stay tuned . . . and more importantly, bring your checkbook as I am sure our auction item will end up raising BIG BUCKS for this incredible foundation. A little hint — it involves Palms, Parcheesi, and Patron Tequila. 🙂

Have a great weekend and Thanksgiving week ahead.

Classic Exhibits will be closed on Friday.

Kevin Carty
http://twitter.com/kevin_carty
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kevin-carty/3/800/32a