Trends In Trade Show Graphics

Submitted by:
Susan Coppola
Trade Show Graphics Division Manager

1 – What is new in Trade Show graphics? 

“Up” is the new black. Seriously, those who can are making vertical statements with their booth graphics. At Exhibitor Show 2010 I felt like I was in a exhibit city of skyscrapers. Fabric graphics make this application easy and available to most exhibitors. Also, I saw grand sized seamless backlit fabric walls with LED lighting in the extruded frames. Hanging and lighted fabric seems to be a newer trend in the trade show and event industry.

2 – What new materials are being used and how are they extending the life of a graphic?

Image Craft installed an HPL65500 Latex Ink Printer in February. The Latex Ink technology offers a sharper, faster, cleaner, environmentally friendly way to print on fabrics. We’ve been experimenting with a Flag Cloth (semi-sheer) and a crease and wrinkle resistant fabric and they both look fantastic. The color saturation and edge sharpness rivals dye sublimation. Because these products won’t damage easily they will last through many set ups. The latex inks are water based and odorless, they require no special ventilation and are green when printed to the sustainable and recycle-able materials that are available. The price point for Latex printing to fabrics is less than dye sublimation and the process itself  is green in comparison.

3 – As new processes come on-line, are prices going down or up as quality improves?

Over the past twenty-some years I have been in the trade show graphics industry, I’ve seen processes improve and pricing reduce. The labor intense photo panels of the 1980′s took a technological turn when digital imagers like Durst Lambda introduced a new way to tile and print murals. Inkjet processes, printers, inks, substrates, rips, color management and even a technology educated labor force have increased production capabilities. We can do more, faster and better than ever before.

4 – What are your customers asking for?

I deal mostly with display distributors, all of my clients are concerned with pricing. There’s no need to talk about what the economy has done to marketing, especially trade show marketing. Last Fall we decided to develop products that address the budget issues that have prevailed over the past couple of years. Because of this effort we’ve helped our clients win projects and maintain a quality their client’s expect, for less. Also, with the introduction of Latex Ink printing, we can offer a green solution at a reasonable cost.

5 – Anything else you can think of that might educate or enlighten our readers?

Plan ahead, it’s not always possible, but give yourself and your vendors some breathing room when it comes to ordering and producing graphics. Build in time to see a physical test, it will guarantee you won’t be surprised. Carefully proof read all copy, there’s nothing worse than having a typo on your art in your booth when you’re at a show.

6 – My credentials-

I studied Fine Art and Photography at the State University of NY at Buffalo, and worked my way through college as a Custom Printer in a local Photo Lab and with a work-study job at the university’s photo lab as Lab Manager. I managed Subiacolor Photo Lab for 3 years, and for the last 22 years managed the Trade Show graphics Division at Image Craft. I am a Photographer, Printmaker and Graphic Artist.


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