How Do Fabric Exhibits Save Money

Saving money or working with a reduced budget is one of the most important topics the trade show community is asking me to talk about. So this week I wanted to explore the use of adding fabrics to your exhibit program.

Everyone has heard about fabrics lately. They are lightweight, compact, and come in all different sizes. Let me give you some basic information about fabric graphics and their exhibit structures.

Most fabrics now are produced through a dye-sublimation graphic process. The easiest analogy that I can give you is a printed necktie. This process, also known as “dye-sub” has exploded on the exhibit scene in the last 5 to 10 years.

The fabric world has taken hold for many reasons.

  1.        Their square foot cost is no more expensive then then traditional graphic methods.
  2.        Fabrics greatly reduce shipping and drayage costs.
  3.        They can be produced seamlessly in very large formats.
  4.        They can last a long time and hold their color.
  5.        They are not susceptible to tradition damage and scratching.
  6.        They are easy to store.
  7.        They are washable.

Let me just give you an example: Exhibit Edge ships 8’x 8’ or 10′ x 10′ fabric graphics in just FedEx boxes and they store them in baggies and plastic bins in their graphic’s warehouse inventory system.

Hey look, This Exhibitor Lounge backdrop you see behind me – it is a fabric exhibit.

You don’t see the whole backdrop but this backdrop is 8’ tall and over 12′ wide and it fits in a shoulder bag that weighs about 25 lbs. WOW! – The definition of portable exhibits has completely changed with the growth of fabrics in our industry.

There are things you need to consider when thinking about using a fabric exhibit structure or component.

First is the type of fabric attachment. Fabrics attach to exhibits in a variety of ways. They can be velcroed on. They can have grommets and pole pockets. They can have zippers. They can also have a silicone edge sewn directly onto the fabric material.

The last type is commonly referred to as a SEG or S, E, G fabric which stands for Silicone Edge Graphic.

The biggest difference between these fabric attachment methods is that some require extra steaming of the fabrics to get the wrinkles out and some don’t. This is mostly determined by the amount of tension used to attach the fabric to the structure.

Make sure that you ask about the need for steaming out wrinkles when deciding to go with one product or method over another.

The next item to consider is if you change your message a lot you may want to avoid fabrics and stick to more traditional methods. Bottom line, if you purchase a backdrop like the Exhibitor Lounge backdrop behind me and you need to change part of your message you have to reprint the entire fabric.

Lastly, very few companies can produce dye-sub fabric graphics in-house so the turn around time can be longer for display houses to outsource fabrics over traditional graphic methods.

Well, that’s a start on fabrics. So if you want to save money, don’t shy away from adding fabrics to your exhibit program.

I always recommend that you visit a full service display house, one with a showroom like the one here at Exhibit Edge, to get a firsthand look at the different types of fabric structures and see how they can help your bottom line.

As always, please respond with your questions or comments. The Exhibitor Lounge is always open to a mix of ideas from the trade show community.

Make sure that you let others know to go to or to sign up for the Exhibitor Lounge. We will see you next week. Until then, I am your host Michael Gray telling you to RELAX in the Exhibitor Lounge.