Imagination Center: Large Format Printing and Trade Show DisplaysSupporting the Design Community since 1986
Imagination Center News

New? Don't miss the next issue.
Sign-up now.

A Trade Show can either be an Incredible Investment or a Hideous Expense.

The outcome of the trade show experience is completely in control of the exhibitor. Here are some good, common sense guidelines that will ensure that you receive an excellent return on investment from the show.

1 - Pick the right show. Determine who your ideal customer is and pick a show that matches that profile. You will get a much larger return on a show that is geared for your ideal client than a generic show that addresses many different industries. For example, if your company’s ideal clients are construction companies, you will get a better return if you pick a show where all of the attendees are in the construction industry, even if it is more expensive and has fewer attendees then a larger B2B show.

2 - Pick the right designer to create the graphics for your show. Typically, a design for a standard 8’ back wall display can cost $ 2,000.00 +. Many exhibitors are tempted to dabble in design and create their own graphics, or try to find ways to reduce the design cost. This is potentially a very costly mistake.

The purpose of the display is to attract your clients and bring them into your booth. Once in your booth, your show staff can work their magic and you can get their information for follow-up. However, if the design does not draw them in, you can have the best product and best staff in the world and still not get a return on your investment. Unless you have qualified designers on staff, find a reputable ad agency to work with. Try to find an agency that specializes in your industry. If you are a non-profit, try to partner with an agency that specializes in non-profits, and so forth. By picking an agency that specializes in your industry, they will be better in tune with your ideal clients, and can use their experience to tailor your message and image for that market.

3 - Pick the right display. There are hundreds of different displays available, and they all look the same on the Internet and act in a similar manner. For example, from an Internet search, an 8’ pop-up may look like it costs $ 1,000 from one vendor and $ 3,000 from another vendor. Even though the displays look very similar, there can be significant differences from model to model. These differences can be the material that the graphics are printed on, the durability of the display, ease of set-up, or other subtle but potentially important differences. We recommend viewing in person the models you are interested in. View the graphics options, ask for a demo on set-up, see what accessories the unit comes with, (i.e. lights, hard cases, etc), and get a good understanding of differences between the various models. The $ 1,000.00 you save by purchasing one model over another may cost you significantly more if the graphics do not look professional, or if the unit is difficult to set-up or must be “MacGyvered” for the show.

4 - Make your display stand out. There are many accessories that can be added or incorporated that will draw prospects and make your booth distinguishable from your competitors. You can incorporate backlighting or a separate rotating display to differentiate yourselves from the other booths. Offer an inviting setting by adding a table and some director chairs so prospects can be comfortable discussing their needs. Incorporate dynamic content or video by including a monitor in your display, and so forth. Your booth does not have to have everything (nor should it), but you want to use the right combination of options and accessories to make your booth not just another exhibit.

5 - The sales process starts when the show ends. Before the show, develop a follow-up plan for the leads gleaned from the show. How are you going to follow-up with the prospects, not just the ones who have an immediate interest, but also the ones who may need your service in the future? Are you going to try to visit all leads within two months? Add new prospects to a corporate newsletter? Call them on a quarterly basis? The leads are worthless without a good, disciplined follow-up procedure.

A trade show is like a man going to a bar to meet women. They are all “potential girlfriends” so he wants to attract the best girls there. That is unlikely to happen if he shows up in old clothes that don’t fit. He likewise in not likely to impress any “prospects” if he goes to the bar to buy a “prospect” a drink and tells the bartender “set her up with the cheapest beer ya got”. The man does not need to dress in a tux and order Chateau Mouton Rothschild Pauillac at $ 14,000.00 a case, but neither does he want to wear rags and order Mad Dog 20/20.

A successful trade show is based on going to the right bar, dressing to impress, and following up by calling and asking for the date. If people put as much thought into courting prospects as social relationships, every business would thrive.

Visit our web site on a regular basis to see when these new services come on line.

Affordable, Lightweight, and Stylish at a Promotional Price!

10' Stretch Fabic Displays These words describe the Stretch Fabric display options available. Stretch Fabric displays are “pop-up” style displays that us a dye-sublimation printed fabric as opposed to conventional show panels. Although they use the same frame style as conventional pop-ups, the Stretch Fabric displays offer many benefits over standard pop-ups.

The Stretch Fabric Pop-ups are incredibly easy and fast to set-up. The fabric graphics ship attached to the frame, so set-up is as easy as expanding the frame and takes less than one minute!

Compared to conventional pop-up back walls that weigh close to 100 lbs for the frame, case, graphics, and hardware, an 8’ stretch fabric back wall weighs only 35 lbs, reducing shipping costs and making local transportation much easier.

In addition to the reduction in shipping costs, the Stretch displays cost less than most mid to high-end pop-up displays. An 8’ Stretch is $ 1,680.00, including lights and soft shipping case.

The Stretch Displays come in a wide variety of sizes from tabletop displays to 20’ back walls, and most sizes offer straight or curved styles.

To help customers with the upcoming trade show season, Imagination Center will be offering 10% off the list price for any stretch floor models purchased through Imagination Center from January 18th - February 14th.

For more information on the Stretch Fabric or other trade show solutions, call the Imagination Center, and we can help find the right solution for you!

Collage 3D Pop-up

Pop-up- displaysCollage Pop-ups are a clever spin on traditional Pop-ups. The Collage uses stretched fabric flags to create exciting 3D displays. Several different sized flags can be used in concert and in varying orientations to create unique displays with impact. Since the display is made using a series of flags, individual flags can be replaced, allowing you to update content without having to replace all of the graphics. The multi-level design not only allows your display to have a depth not achievable with other displays, but also can incorporate shelves for product placement or for literature.

The Collage comes in a wide variety of configurations for tabletop and floor applications. These designs range from rectangular, to square shapes, to nonconventional shapes like triangles and “X” shapes.

For more information on the Collage and other trade show solutions, call Doug at the Imagination Center at 301.695.0086.

If you have information that others may find useful, whether it be information on a new design program, current underutilized tools, or marketing advice, please feel free to write an article and submit it to the Imagination Center Newsletter.

You may submit any articles to