Saving money, or working with a reduced budget, is one of the most important topics the trade show community has asked me to talk about. So this week, I wanted to explore the use of adding fabric trade show displays to your trade show program.
Everyone has heard about fabric trade show displays and exhibits 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:
- Their square foot cost is no more expensive than the traditional graphic methods.
- Fabrics greatly reduce shipping and drayage costs.
- They can be produced seamlessly in very large formats.
- They can last a long time and hold their color.
- They are not susceptible to traditional damage and scratching.
- They are easy to store.
- They are washable.
Let me just give you an example: Exhibit Edge ships 8’x 8’ and 10′ x 10′ fabric graphics in just FedEx boxes and we store them in baggies and plastic bins in our graphics warehouse inventory system. The definition of portable exhibits has completely changed with the growth of fabrics in our industry.
There are several 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; and they can also have a silicone edge sewn directly onto the fabric material. The last type is commonly referred to as SEG 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, as you’d need to reprint the entire fabric.
Lastly, very few companies can produce dye-sub fabric graphics in-house, so the turnaround time can be longer for display houses to outsource fabrics over traditional graphic methods.
Well, that’s just a quick primer on fabrics. 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.