Trade Show TalesBlog

Posts Tagged ‘Trade Shows’

Graphic Designers for Trade Shows and Events

September 16th, 2021 2 COMMENTS
Graphic Designers

Guest Post by Lori Hanken, Total Displays

So you bought or are renting a new trade show exhibit. It is exciting the possibilities in front of you. When you are on the trade show floor you have one chance to capture someone’s attention. The structure is just part of it. The bigger thing?  

Trade Show Graphics!

Let’s talk graphic design. What do you think of when you hear someone is a graphic designer? Do you think about logos? Websites? Flyers? Social Media? Here is what I think (I really should say know, but I don’t want to sound arrogant). 

Graphic Design is TOO broad of a category. Let’s run a little scenario. You have a “marketing firm”. That marketing firm helps you with campaigns, print campaigns, email campaigns, social media campaigns, maybe some logo design and other fun things like that. Then you decide it is time to update your trade show exhibit. Who do you turn to? Your marketing agency?

Alternatively, it seems like many recent marketing graduates or unemployed graphic designer has created a home based business to offer graphic design services to companies. Be very careful hiring these people without vetting them first. I am all about entrepreneurship, but your trade show graphics will have a HUGE impact on your success at a trade show. 

Let me tell you a little secret. DESIGNING FOR TRADE SHOW DISPLAYS IS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THAN ANYTHING ELSE! We have seen trade show graphics that read like a marketing flyer. We have seen backwall graphics that are so busy with lifestyle or action shots and color that your brain goes, ‘WHHHOOOOOAAAA”, just looking at it.

Graphic Design for Trade Show Exhibits

Graphic Design Tips and Advice

You have 2.5 seconds to catch someone’s eye at a trade show or event. Here are some high level things to consider.

  1. People are NOT going to read all your copy. Your trade show exhibit is not a marketing flyer. Yes, I will say this multiple times.
  2. Putting graphics behind a counter or a table? The graphics are lost.
  3. Trying to align images (depending on the system) across structural seams is VERY difficult for fabric graphics.
  4. Putting messaging on the bottom of your display? No one will see them.
  5. Busy, busy, busy graphics with lots of images, color and text will be ignored (unless that is part of your brand).
  6. Images from a website or print media do not generally enlarge well for trade show exhibits.
  7. A jpeg of your logo may not enlarge well.  

We have had numerous interactions with “trade show exhibit graphic designers” over the years. Based on the questions they ask and the designs they create, it’s often pretty clear they do not specialize in trade show graphic design. It is a completely different animal from digital marketing, website, or even print marketing.

Trade  Show Graphic Design

If you are designing new graphics for a trade show exhibit, here are a couple of suggestions.

  • Ask for references from your agency of choice for large format, trade show exhibit design clients.
  • Check their website. A bullet item that says they do trade show booths or graphics, doesn’t mean they excel at trade show graphics.
  • Check their website or ask them for examples of  previous trade show work. 
  • If most of their work is digital marketing, web design and social media marketing? Find another designer. Your bank account will thank you. Your patience will thank you.
  • Make sure you have a library of your marketing assets, logo source files, high resolution images etc. 

Tried and True Suggestions

Here are some simple, tried and true suggestions for trade show graphic design.

  1. Trade show graphics are meant to be viewed from 6 ft. or more away.
  2. Don’t use strange fonts or fancy fonts.
  3. Put important messages or images, like your logo, up high for visibility.
  4. Use white or empty space. Don’t be afraid of white space.
  5. Reference/use PMS colors to be sure to stay true to your brand.
  6. Less is more. Don’t try to put an entire flyer on your trade show graphic.
  7. If this is for a large exhibit, make sure your graphics have a plan and/or coherency, don’t just place random product images on a wall because the wall is there. Have a plan. Be purposeful with your graphics.

If you need help with trade show graphic design? I recommend starting with your trade show exhibit company. A good partner should have resources or recommendations that they know have experience in large format, trade show exhibit design.

Total Displays can help. Contact us a sales@totaldisplays.com or 952-941-4511 to set up a free design consultation call. Click HERE to see more blog posts from Lori Hanken

Tom Beard is Retiring. Say It Isn’t So!

August 25th, 2021 2 COMMENTS

Tom’s Farewell Letter

As many of you have heard, I’m retiring and calling it a career. It’s been a fantastic 27-year run working in the trade show and events industry for some great companies including Eco-Systems Sustainable and Classic Exhibits. I’m leaving with many great memories and with more friendships than I can count. Our industry has some of the hardest working, creative, and caring people I’ve encountered in my 45-year working career, and I feel blessed to have stumbled into this crazy industry! The past 18 months have been difficult for all of us, but it has brought to light the true collaboration and culture of Classic and Classic Distributor Partners. It was pretty amazing to witness!

Having traveled extensively over the years, I’ve seen the United States through the lens of airports, hotels, convention centers, and businesses, and it’s time to hit the road and see what the country looks like outside of these areas. You never know… I might stop by and regale you with stories about a giant ball of twine or other amazing sights in the US.

Your friendship and support over the years made my decision to retire very difficult, but I will stay involved with the Midwest EDPA Chapter and hopefully attend future EXHIBITORLIVE shows so I look forward to connecting down the road. I’ll say good-bye for now and leave you in the capable hands of Jen, Harold, and Mel.

Feel free to contact me at tombeard345@gmail.com.

— Tom Beard

What Does “Sustainable” Mean When Designing a Green Trade Show Exhibit?

July 15th, 2021 COMMENTS
Green Trade Show Display

If you are reading this article, then you’re already an excellent candidate for a sustainable trade show or exhibition exhibit. You may be personally committed to green materials, or your company may have an eco-friendly mission. Either way, it’s a positive choice. In this post, we’ll explore what sustainable means when it comes to designing, building, and shipping a “green display.”

Trade shows have historically not been eco-friendly. Whether it’s the “build and burn” philosophy in some parts of the world where exhibits are abandoned after one use or the tremendous waste created before, during, and after a show. Fortunately, about 15 years ago, show organizers, general contractors, and builders took a (somewhat) more enlightened approach, and there’s hope that trade shows will be even more eco-friendly post-pandemic.

You Can Make a Difference

As an exhibitor, you can make a difference, and that difference doesn’t have to cost more or compromise your design or marketing goals. Green materials such as Eco-board, ReCo, and FSC wood products are smart choices that are comparable to non-sustainable materials. However, none of that matters if you can’t get the design and the features you need in your exhibit. Thankfully, since 2007, Classic Exhibits has been designing modern Eco-Systems Displays for their clients ranging from islands to inlines and counters to charging tables. There are really no limitations.

So What Makes an Eco-Systems Exhibit Green?

Every Eco-Systems Exhibit starts with sustainable materials. These include:

  • Aluminum Extrusions: 70% recycled content and aluminum is endlessly recyclable.
  • Forest Stewardship Council Wood Products: Certified grown and harvested sustainably.
  • Laminates:  Greenguard Certified.
  • Adhesives:  Water-based, low or VOC free (Volatile Organic Compounds).
  • Eco-Board: Biodegradable polystyrene.
  • ReCo Board:  100% recycled plastics.
  • Eco-Glass: 100% post-industrial recycled acrylic or plexi-glass. 
  • Fabric Graphics: 100% post-consumer material including dye-sub SEG backlit graphics.
  • LED Lights: Lightboxes, accent lights, stem lights, and downlighting.
  • Shipping Cases made from recycled plastics and 100% recyclable when no longer needed. All wood crates are made using FSC Wood.
  • Reusable Packing Materials Made from Recycled Foam

In addition, Eco-Systems exhibits are manufactured in Portland, OR at a sustainably managed facility.

Eco-Systems Sustainable Exhibits from Classic Exhibits

OK, But Will It Look Green?

Do you mean funky, crunchy, or recycled looking? It can but most exhibitors want a sustainable exhibit with a contemporary look and feel. In other words, no one knows it’s “green” unless you tell them. That applies to 10 ft, 20 ft., islands, and accessories. Here are some examples from the 300+ kits in the Classic Exhibits galleries.

Islands

  • ECO-4022:  This modular design, with 10 ft. and 20 ft. inline options, has bright LED Lightboxes, reception counters with locking storage, and even a spacious interior conference room
  • ECO-4055: An elegant island with product shelving and showcases, this design comes with curved headers and a monitor option.
  • ECO-4094:  This open design with seating and a reception counter is cost-effective with as a purchase or a rental.

Inlines

  • ECO-1071: Modular and customizable, the ECON-1071 makes it easy to demonstrate products or services on the show floor with casual seating, counters, and rotating tablet displays.
  • ECO-2060: Big, bold graphics make this an enticing exhibit. There’s even a full-size closet for product samples, coats, purses, and briefcases.
  • ECO-2113: The perfect balance between backlit graphics and extensive shelving. The curved display counters put your products front and center on the aisle.

How Much Customization is Available?

In short, we’ll build whatever you want. The online galleries are idea generators where you can see what’s possible and mix and match designs to fulfill your specific marketing needs. For example, we have clients in the natural foods industry. Most want a bright and colorful exhibit with extensive shelving and storage, plus convenient counters for sampling. They also need a reconfigurable sustainable exhibit since their shows vary from local tastings when a 10 ft. booth is ideal to an industry show in Las Vegas, Anaheim, or Boston where only an island will do to handle the crowds, meetings, and press conferences.

When it comes to a eco-friendly display, there’s no reason to limit your vision. The materials are comparable in price to non-green materials and have the same construction flexibility.

Eco Friendly Trade Show Exhibit

Is There an Ultimate Sustainable Option?

There is. Custom Rental Exhibits are quickly becoming the greenest of green choices for exhibitors who want to make a difference. Many rental exhibits are built with the same materials previously mentioned, come in a variety of sizes and designs, and can be customized for any exhibitor — even from show to show. Rentals give exhibitors the ultimate flexibility to change their messaging without the hassle of ownership.

An eco-friendly rental from Classic Exhibits looks identical to a purchased exhibit. Just imagine your beautiful island display with large LED lightboxes, big overhead signs, conference and meeting rooms, and workstations at a price 40% less than a comparable purchased display.

Because rentals are used again and again, as long as the components are functional and attractive, they are more sustainable for the exhibitor and the builder. Plus, at Classic Exhibits, when components can no longer be used, we recycle them – the wood, aluminum, and plastic. That may not always happen when an exhibitor decides to dispose of their purchased display.

To view all of the rental designs, click on Rentals or Exhibit Design Search. Or start a conversation with an Classic Exhibits professional about designing a one-of-a-kind custom rental display.

–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 Symphony Portable Displays. 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.

To Boldly Go… Trade Shows in the 24th Century

June 30th, 2021 2 COMMENTS

Guest Post by Marlys Arnold

I Admit It – I’m a Big Star Trek fan.

No, not to the point where I dress up as a Klingon and stroll the aisles of Comic-Con – although I did thoroughly enjoy roaming around with them back when the Star Trek Experience was a Vegas attraction. But I digress…

One of the things I love most about Star Trek is the way it shows us the potential of how much life can change for the better in the next 200 or so years. I mean, traveling at warp speed, scanning devices that heal wounds.

So it got me to thinking: How might trade shows advance in the next two centuries… or will they?

If you look back at the past 200 years, trade shows haven’t evolved all that much. At the core, they’re still long aisles of exhibits with company representatives attempting to draw crowds into their booths.

But the Potential is There for So Much More!

What if trade shows could be truly experiential? Could exhibits one day become mini-Holodeck environments with 3D simulations? I’d sign up for that! Just imagine being able to transport attendees to any place or time (real or imaginary) within the confines of your booth space.

And what about using replicators to create any object attendees request – is that so far removed from the 3D printers we have today? Exhibitors could use them in a booth to generate a physical representation of most any kind of item.

Perhaps one day we can even have teams of androids or holograms to help staff our booths. (That could be a good thing or a bad thing!)

But on a more serious note, I truly hope that the trade shows of the 2300s look wildly different, yet remarkably similar to today’s. I want them to be innovative and out-of-this-world, yet still be focused on creating relationships between buyers and sellers, between people and products.

While the purpose of a trade show exhibit will continue to be on sharing innovation and solutions, I hope the execution of that purpose looks much more Star Trek-ish.

Are Trade Shows a Final Frontier?

I hope so. Because if we fail to innovate and evolve, trade shows will not survive. And as we’ve all learned this past year, that would be a very bad way for the story to end.

Marlys Arnold

Author Bio: With experience as both an exhibitor and show organizer, Marlys Arnold has a unique perspective on trade show exhibiting. She consults with and trains both exhibitors and show managers from across the country and is the author of Exhibit Design That Works and Build a Better Trade Show Image, host of the Trade Show Insights blog/podcast, creator of the ExhibitorEd Success System, and founder of the Exhibit Marketers Café and Exhibit Marketers Academy online learning community. She can be contacted via her website, www.exhibitmarketerscafe.com.

Ready to Work Statement from EDPA and EACA

June 29th, 2021 COMMENTS

EDPA and EACA have issued a joint statement about the readiness of their collective members to get back to work as our industry re-opens. See statement below.

“Both organizations are grateful that we have reached the time when the industry is opening, and we can plan for the return of events. Yet, as we move forward, some questions are being raised.

One question is about the strength of the industry’s workforce. We have heard show organizers question whether companies that design, build and install displays at trade shows may not have adequate labor resources. EACA and EDPA can answer that question right now as our collective member companies are ready to get back to work. The exhibitor community is looking forward to working with us again as their preferred suppliers.”

EDPA and EACA Ready to Work Statement