Design Elements – Trade Show Graphics
Product Quality translates into fit, finish, stability and durability you’ll appreciate in your trade show display. We’re a hands on company, so we’re constantly on the show floor evaluating the product quality and durability. We invite you to read more about the Design Elements that make up the core of our exhibit design library.
Trade Show Graphics
Today most trade show displays are more graphic than structural. Years ago, when large format printing was limited, this wasn’t the case, but now, with innovations in large format printing on fabrics and direct printing on many other materials and mounting, trade show graphics are bigger, better and dominate the trade show floor in a fresh, exciting way.
Printed Fabric Trade Show Graphics
Printed Fabric Graphic Options – There are two main choices you have to make when getting printed fabric graphics made: what fabric you want based on the effect you want, and the printing method based on the material you selected.
Fabrics: Most printable fabrics are made with polyester, or a blend that is primarily polyester. Some fabrics have little or no stretch, a characteristic typical of sheer fabrics. Some have stretch in one direction; these are typically used in pole & pocket printed banners. However, the most common fabrics today have stretch in both directions so that all of its sides can be mounted to or around an aluminum frame. Almost all of these printed fabrics are coated with a thin, clear substance to help prevent the ink from saturating into the fabric it’s best if the ink sits on the surface. Some fabrics are even specifically engineered for back lighting. The HD quality printers can print is amazing in the ability to hold crisp detail on a textured surface like fabric.
Printing Methods: There are two options when it comes to fabric printing, ink jet and heat transfer. Ink jet consists of direct printing onto the fabric; a printer using ink to directly produce the image onto the fabric of your choice. With heat transfer, the image is first printed onto another material, referred to as a ‘carrier,’ and then transferred to the fabric with heat. Both produce great results, however, ink jet printing is winning this metaphoric ‘arms race’ since the quality is very high, the equipment and the process is faster, and it’s ultimately cheaper.
Attaching Printed Fabric Graphics to your Trade Show Display – The most common ways to attach fabric to a frame are Velcro, Silicon bead, or nylon zipper. Velcro loop sewn to the fabric and Velcro mounted to the aluminum is a tried and true method, and in some applications it’s the best and allows for the fastest installation. SEG (silicon edge graphic) is another option that’s perfect for many applications as well. A soft, clear strip of silicon (soft plastic) is sewn to the graphic perimeter, and the aluminum extrusion is designed with a slot to fit the SEG strip. For installation, the SEG strip is pressed into the channel and worked in around all sides of the graphic. When done correctly, this can yield a flat, smooth graphic that is hard to distinguish from its solid counterparts.
Tip: With fabric graphics, it’s best to prepare your art files with an additional 1” buffer space, referred to in the industry as “bleed.” Since ink is cured into the fabrics with heat, some shrinkage can occur. Giving the printer the extra border of bleed allows the graphic to shrink and allows the printer to provide a final product at the proper size.
Tip: All fabrics can wrinkle. To minimize wrinkles, fold all fabrics carefully and store them in a plastic zip lock bag. We use 4 mill bags and, for whatever reason, they help prevent hard wrinkles from setting in. Pack your booth with the fabric on top to avoid pressing hard set wrinkles during transit. It’s a good practice to take your printed fabric to a good dry cleaner for PRESS ONLY. It can cost around $50 per banner, but this is the best way to take out wrinkles from graphics that have been sitting unused for months.
Talk With Us – Talk with any of our rental consultants and request a swatch of printed fabric so you can see first hand the quality possible in fabric printing today.
Rigid Panels Trade Show Graphics
A Less-Expensive Alternative to Fabric Graphics – Printed panels are yet another of your many options for adding large format graphics to your trade show display. The most common material used for printed panels is Sintra. Printed Sintra (a foam-like PVC Board) is very common on the show floor and perfect for one time rentals, as printed Sintra graphics are much less expensive that printed fabric graphics.
Recent Printed Panel Advances and Lower Cost – There have been many advances in recent years in direct to substrate printing, and flatbed printers have rapidly evolved. In the past, printed paper or vinyl was laminated to sheets of rigid Sintra or Plexiglas (acrylic). Today, these materials can be positioned on a moving bed in the printer so that the image can be directly printed onto the material. This saves on cost for materials, labor, and equipment, thus the huge drop in printed panel pricing within the last few years.
Tip: On clear Plexiglas, your image can be printed on the backside so that the image is seen through it. This is a highly luxurious, custom look for a diminutive increase in material costs.
Tip: Printed Sintra or Plexiglas panels can be mounted edge to edge to create one large, seamless wall.
Tip: Today, white ink can be printed first to create a white surface to print colors onto. This is nice when you want the edges or backside of the material to be black or another standard color.
Free Graphic Storage in Las Vegas – If your trade show is in Las Vegas, and you’ve determined that renting is your best option, then freight won’t be a factor in your decision between printed panels or printed fabric. We will print in Las Vegas, and ship the graphics with the booth for free, and store your printed panels until your next show for free.
Flexible Trade Show Graphics
Flexible Graphics?- Flexible graphics are a common element on the trade show floor, and they are used in many portable displays. In fact, the most common portable display is a pop-up display, in which flexible graphics are used to create a full, seamless backwall image. Flexible graphics can also be used to add a sign to a curved wall or counter or to skin a long header frame, and they are often used for banner stands as well.
What are Flexible Graphics made of? Flexible graphics use a thin, rollable material (Lexan or polyester), so the graphic can easily be rolled up for packing and transport with velcro strips applied to the back for mounting. Graphic printing technology has progressed to enable printers to print directly onto this flexible material, eliminating the need to laminate printed paper between layers of durable plastic. This has improved the durability and lowered the cost for flexible graphics. As far as attaching these graphics to your display goes, Velcro is the attachment method of choice with flexible graphics.
Pop-up Display Panels – Often called pop-up banners, pop-up display panels require magnetic strips to be mounted to the sides, and header strips to be mounted to the tops, from which the display will hang. Over time, many companies choose to reprint new pop-up panels. When having a new pop-up panel made, be careful who you choose to do it. Since the dimensions for pop-up panels vary, you want to make sure that the printer you use has experience in making pop-up panels (and printing in general) so that you can be sure that your pop-up banner will hang properly with the image perfectly aligned across all of the pop-up panels.
Tip: Roll pop-up panels with the magnetic strips to the inside of the roll.
Tip: Use adhesive Velcro hook-and-loop to mount a flexible graphic to a laminate wall or counter. Many industry professionals will place the hook portion onto the graphic and the loop portion onto the surface that they’re mounting to, but regardless of which way you choose to do it, the important thing is that you remain consistent in how you apply Velcro to your graphics, in case you need to replace one or rearrange some of them on a surface.
Talk to Us – If you’d like to learn more, or would like to print a new flexible graphic, talk with any one of our rental consultants. Chances are that we know the dimensions of the particular display you currently own.