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Exhibit Design is a Journey to Your Destination

by Gwen Parsons 8. November 2012 23:26

Social & Scientific Systems, Inc. (SSS), a longtime client of Nomadic Display Capitol, was asked to develop a 5,000-square-foot space for the Latino Caribbean Diaspora Collaborative (LCDC) in the Global Village of the 2012 International AIDS Conference, which was held in July in Washington, DC. We interviewed Beverly Valdez, Creative Director at SSS, about this remarkable space and the inspiration behind the design.

Gwen: Beverly, what were the goals and requirements for this massive exhibit?

Beverly: The LCDC members wanted to showcase the diverse HIV/AIDS community programs from five geographic regions—the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, South America, and the United States. They wanted to establish a communal environment for attendees that would offer networking opportunities and cultivate regional cooperation. Panel discussions, speaker presentations, and special performances would take place in the space. The exhibit also would need to support videos and interactive displays.

Gwen: How were you able to blend the diverse stakeholders and activities into a unified setting?

Beverly: The LCDC proposed the theme Bridges Between Neighbors, because it suggested connection, interaction, harmony, unity, and solidarity. Then, early in the planning process, SSS surveyed members of the LCDC to solicit their vision. The design team conceived a visually stimulating space to encourage participation and interaction among diverse groups.

The design concept called for the overall space to be viewed as a community with a central plaza, reminiscent of a town center, surrounded by exhibits that functioned as “neighborhoods” for the regions, which were connected by bridges. The plaza would serve as the epicenter of the installation for sharing educational, social, cultural, and scientific events. The uncluttered atmosphere would be welcoming to visitors, offering informal seating areas such as park benches and colorful groupings of tables and chairs to foster networking.

Then, we worked with Nomadic’s design team to finalize the layout and individual exhibits for the regions to display information about their HIV/AIDS programs.

Gwen: The graphics for the exhibit are so exciting—the imagery, the vivid color palette. Tell us about the design process used by you and your team.

Beverly: The design team created a core graphic concept that would tie the neighborhoods together, yet allow individuality for each of the five geographic regions.

The arc of a bridge, symbolizing connectivity, was blended with images drawn from each region’s natural environment, architecture, people, symbols, icons, costumes, festivals, food, and textiles.

Next, we drew up a vibrant color palette representative of the rich cultures and flavors of the LCDC. Each region was assigned a dominant color scheme.

  • Hot pink embodied the bright spirit of Mexico.
  • Yellow-orange reflected the warmth and traditions characteristic of Central America.
  • Green echoed the environment of South America.
  • Turquoise blues evoked the islands of the Caribbean.
  • Red symbolized the passions and energy of U.S. Hispanic communities.

Gwen: The International AIDS Conference drew 24,000 attendees from more than 180 countries, and more than 8,000 participants visited the LCDC’s exhibit. Congratulations!


10 Tips for Producing Great Trade Show Graphics

by Kat Shea 10. October 2012 01:06

Your graphics are what potential clients will notice first about your exhibit, but last week we talked about how graphics often come last in the decision-making process for the display. Rushing any of the steps required in production increases the potential for error which, in turn, adds to the time it takes to deliver the final product. This is not only stressful for you, but can eat up your budget with unanticipated charges.  So we asked a veteran of the graphics world, Lori Kledaras, to share her top 10 tips for avoiding the most common graphics pitfalls.

10. Establish a schedule with your printer so they meet your required delivery date without costly budget overruns. Ask your printer how much time they need to produce your graphics so you can have your artwork designed and submitted to them with ample time.

9. Limit the amount of text in your display graphics to key messages that visitors are able to read quickly and easily. Brief is always better.

8. Use Illustrator or Photoshop for generating artwork for large format printing. Publishing software such as Quark or InDesign is not recommended. InDesign and Quark graphics have to be converted to Post Script format in order to be prepped for large format output. This conversion often breaks images apart, which will show in the final print.

7. Use Photoshop for creating cool design effects like shadows, gradient tones, and glows to make your trade show graphics really pop. Photoshop offers many more options for effects and provides a higher quality output with a much smoother appearance than effects created in Illustrator.

6. Large format graphics are always printed larger than their finished size and then trimmed to fit your display. Ask your graphics printer for the amount of margin or bleed they require so it can be added to the perimeter of your graphics during the design phase.

5. Remember to include a generous margin around text areas. Text placed too close to edges is at risk of being cropped off during the trimming stage.

4. To output colors that best meet your graphic vision, provide PMS colors to the printer to match your specifications.

3. Provide your artwork as layered files, not flattened, so your printer has the ability to make minor corrections quickly.

2. While there are thousands of fonts in the world, every graphic computer does not have all of them. So provide your artwork files with outlined text or send along all of the fonts used in your graphic to ensure proper reproduction.

1. You need to ensure that your exhibit graphics match or complement one another across different media, such as photo paper, vinyl, fabrics, and acrylic. Always include test prints of your graphics for proofing purposes in your production schedule. Electronic proofs can be misleading because computers vary in their calibration and images lit by your monitor can appear brighter than the way they will actually print.


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Trade Show Tips | Booth Design

Are Your Graphics Working for You?

by Kat Shea 4. October 2012 02:09

When it comes to creating a trade show display that has maximum impact, good graphic design is essential. You only have a matter of seconds to grab someone's attention as they walk past your display, so your graphics need to communicate who you are and what you do within the shortest time possible.

Many times the role of display graphics is underestimated. Trade show graphics are your primary communication tool so they need to reflect your company or product's sense of style, appeal to your audience and be easy to read. Design for display graphics is very different from brochure, packaging or website graphics. Your designer needs to balance additional factors into exhibit graphic design including viewing distances, lighting, surface shapes and sizes, text, fonts, colors, imagery, and messaging hierarchy.

What makes this even more difficult is that exhibit graphics often come last in the decision-making process about the display, which means there may be tight time constraints, and of course everyone involved with the display design may have differing opinions. What we've found through working with thousands of exhibitors is that it helps to have a framework for working through the design process. While each graphic has its own role in your messaging hierarchy, your graphics should also complement each other, and work together well as a unified whole.

In general, your highest, largest areas are reserved for company identification. These graphics tend to be visually bold and easy to see from a distance. Once visitors are at your display, there are graphics designed to direct them to the various areas within your floor plan – live presentation areas, product demonstration areas, and so forth. Finally, there are up-close graphics meant for individual consumption. These might include product benefit descriptions, service locations, or maybe instructions for self-driven interactions. Your display may utilize some or all of these types of graphics.

Trade Show Display Graphics, Exhibit Graphics and Booth Graphics

It's a good idea to ask your designer to provide a rendering of your display with the graphic images superimposed on it, so that you may preview the overall graphic direction. In addition to getting a feel for how the display looks, a preview also enables you to ensure that the location of graphic areas won't be obstructed by booth furnishings, your products, or visitors engaged with interactive elements.

Use our handy checklist to evaluate whether your graphics are working. 

How do you know that your graphic design is working for you?

How a Custom Trade Show Display Rental Can Help You

by Kat Shea 12. September 2012 21:02

In the trade show game, presentation is everything. With dozens of companies competing for attention in an enclosed space, if you don't stand out from the crowd, you don't stand a chance. So how does a growing business with a limited budget afford a larger trade show exhibit to best show what they have to offer? By renting a custom trade show booth. It can be an ideal solution to free yourself from the hassle and expenses of booth ownership, while still leaving you open to future changes in your marketing approach or your events budget. With a custom trade show booth rental, you can have the trade show display design you want without having to worry about things like storage or maintenance. For many companies, this not only means greater flexibility, but also significant financial savings.

The new Blue Diamond Almonds trade show display is a great example of how a custom trade show booth rental can meet the growth needs of a company within their budget. Although Blue Diamond had some success in the past with inline and backwall displays, as their operations expanded they wanted to take the opportunity to create a more dynamic and attractive presentation area that would accommodate a higher volume of traffic.

After working with Blue Diamond to assess their needs and design requirements, the result was a custom booth rental that is bolder with brighter graphics and towers that are easily visible from a distance. The display is open and inviting. Semi-private seating areas allow for multiple conversations to be held simultaneously. This design allows a company like Blue Diamond to highlight their product range in a professional yet relaxed atmosphere.

Custom trade show rental displays can be created for all kinds of businesses at every budget level, and best of all, by not having to purchase the display, your company can avoid committing to a certain design. This in turn leaves you open to make changes later as your marketing plan evolves along with your business.

For more from Blue Diamond, watch their testimonial video here



4 Tips For Show Stopping Booth Graphics

by Kat Shea 14. December 2011 18:46


We like how our client Averna reinforces their brand Sky High on suspended fabric graphics, on luminous backlit display counters and on strategically placed graphic signage

Back by popular demand is part II of our previous post, Show Smart Steps To Winning Trade Show Booth Graphics. This past year there has been a lot of buzz around “Winning”, from Charlie Sheen’s comical tirades to the fiercely competitive Dancing With The Stars. But, in the world of exhibiting how do you know if you have winning trade show booth graphics? Below is a checklist of “winning” qualities that could earn you “best in show”.

Does your trade show display have…..

Headturning Headlines
With headlines think: “less is more” and “quality over quatity”. You want to limit your text to a few words that effectively communicate your value proposition. The more clear and concise your headline, the more likely the attendee is to actually read it. Keep in mind that it takes an average attendee a minimum of 6 encounters with your brand to remember you, so the more you can reinforce your brand via catchy headlines the more likely your audience is to remember your trade show booth.

Simple Typeface
There’s an entire library of fancy fonts out there and as elegant and sophisticated as they look, they are also exceptionally difficult to read from a distance (even for generation “Y”ers). Use a typeface that obviously complies with your branding guidelines but keep fancy fonts off of your trade show booth and instead explore contrasting color colors to make your typeface POP (like our client Averna - above uses jet black and a vibrant yellow). Remember – you have just 3 seconds to captivate your audience’s interest so everything from your graphic selection down to your typeface should be carefully considered.

A Visual Heirarchy
Capitalizing on your visual real estate (your trade show booth) is the key to effective trade show booth design. Compelling imagery and your logo should be at the epicenter of your trade show booth graphics. Establish early on what your visual heirarcy is going to be - make sure that imagery and text do not compete with each other and that the combination of each reinforce your brand.

Get Your Message in Motion
Nothing catches an attendee’s eye like a suspended graphic in motion (as movement can be detected in peripheral vision). As you’ll see with our client, Ferring Pharmaceuticals (below) the slight motion of their gravity defying fabric graphics enlivens their brand and makes their display stand out from the rest of the pack.

Your trade show booth graphics are your silent brand ambassadors.  Great graphics will communicate to your audience that you understand their toughest challenges and how  your products/services can provide a solution to these challenges .

If ya liked our tips for a “Winning” booth graphics you’ll love our FREE whitepaper: “Graphics That Work”.



Trade Show Tips | Booth Design | Trade Show Booth Graphics

Show Smart Steps To Winning Booth Graphics

by Kat Shea 7. December 2011 18:23

Our client, iDirect does a great job choosing vibrant booth graphic colors and placing their logo and tagline at a height that is visible to attendees up close and from afar

This past year there’s been a lot of buzz around “Winning”, from Charlie Sheen’s comical tirades to the widely popular and fiercely competitive Dancing With The Stars. But, in the world of exhibiting how do you know if you have winning trade show booth graphics? Below is a checklist of “winning” qualities that could earn you “best in show”.

Your trade show booth graphics should first and foremost...

1. Promote your products
Whatever combination of trade show booth graphics and text that you decide on, make sure that they work together to showcase the features and benefits of your products/services. When someone walks up to your trade show booth they should know immediately: who you are and what you do. Remember, you only have 3 seconds to captivate your target audience and you don't want to overwhelm them into scampering off to your competition's trade show display. If you have complicated messages to communicate such as a client success story, rely on to your A/V presentations instead of your booth graphics to tell the story.

2. Boost your brand
When looking at your trade show booth graphics, look at it from an all encompassing stand point, do your trade show booth graphics: incorporate your logo, adhere to established branding guidelines, communicate your value proposition etc; all of these elements should be skillfully combined to lure in your target audience. [Also, be careful to not include any propriety information in your trade show booth graphics as reprinting can be a costly endeavor].

Make sure to maintain your company’s color palette in not only your trade show booth graphics but, it should carry through to flooring and furniture. If possible, repeat your logo on graphics that are visible from across the show floor, the aisle and even up close on staff name tags or clothing all the way thru to premium giveaways. The average attendee needs to be reminded 6 separate times to distinctly remember your brand, so the more times your brand is at front and center the more success you will have at driving brand memorability.

iDirect reinforces their brand on their graphic header as well as their greeting station - so they catch their audience both coming and going

3. Stay on target
If you took a birds eye view of all of the places that your campaigns have appeared (both on and offline) your trade show booth should be another channel to promote your campaigns. Make sure that you are openly communicating conversion points on your trade show booth graphics such as your website and that your trade show display is consistent with other display properties. 

For more show smart tips on STAND APART booth graphics download our whitepaper “All Eyes on You”

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Booth Design | Trade Show Booth Graphics | Trade Show Promotion

Exhibitors, Boost Your Brand By Raising Your Roof

by Kat Shea 2. November 2011 19:13

Savvy marketers are grabbing attention and building brand awareness by "raising the roof" on their trade show displays. From our design studio through to the factory floor we've seen a dramatic increase in demand for overhead hanging signs in variety of organic and geometric shapes.

How Fabric Displays Can Save You Money…
Fabric displays demand attention on the show floor yet they’re compact, lightweight and easy to assemble so you save on storage, transportation, drayage and labor expenses.

What The Experts Have To Say…
Vince Alberta, VP of The Las Vegas Convention Center and Visitors Authority, even reports a recent surge in suspended fabric displays from years past, touching on their proven ability to drive brand exposure at trade shows and deliver ROI.

Lights! Camera ! Action!!!...
We’ve even made it easier for our customers to choose fabric graphics for their Nomadic display. Below is our newest step-by-step instructional video for Show Smart fabric installation and dismantle. Let us know what you think!!!




Trade Show Tips | Booth Design | Trade Show Booth Graphics | Trade Show Promotion

How To Kick Some Booth With Your Photo Booth

by Kat Shea 21. September 2011 18:07

A printed photo strip with Facebook account information promoting the event: EA Play

Trade show attendees love trade show giveaways.  Your job is to make your giveaway stand apart from the rest, deliver value to the recipient and work as a living PR piece for your brand.  If you need a unique and effective marketing tool on the show floor that’ll create buzz and attract more visitors to your trade show display, consider photo booths.  What makes a photo souvenir special is that your visitor is the star and people of all ages and backgrounds enjoy having their picture taken.

What Does It Do For My Brand?

Photo souvenirs are nifty for a few reasons:
  • A photo booth draws long lines of visitors to your trade show display which gives you an opportunity to promote your products/services while guests are waiting.
  • A photo booth offers your audience a fun souvenir of the event combined with a snap shot of your brand.
  • Photo booths create excitement and buzz around your brand. 

Take their photo against a branded backdrop (below) or a green screen so that a background image may be added. Print them instantly in your trade show booth or post them to a website for visitors to download and share after the trade show.

A branded photo booth and backdrop incorporated into the trade show booth

We interviewed one firm that offers a photo booth service to exhibitors.  Mike Limatola, Founder of Recorded Memories, explains that their digital portraiture machines, aka photo booths, provide a unique and effective way to generate leads, collect email addresses, promote websites and social networking pages that attendees may otherwise be reluctant to share. 

First - We work directly with exhibitors by determining their overall business goals and objectives. 
Second - We implement a photo strategy that will effectively put their product, service, message, and branding in the hands of hundreds or thousands of visitors.
Third - We then provide the equipment at the show and our employees attract guests to the trade show booth. Then we instantly provide visitors with a personal snap shot that creates a long lasting branded impression.
Fourth - We place all of the pictures on a unique landing page which gives attendees’ rapid photo access so they can email and share their pictures with: friends, family and business colleagues.  This provides long lasting marketing benefits because branded photos have the potential to go viral.

How Do I Measure Performance?
Providing measurable results is crucial to gauge the effectiveness of any marketing strategy and is important to provide upper management. Branded photos can be measured in a variety of different ways: 

  • Post your photos to a landing page on your website to measure page activity during and after the event.
  • Add your Facebook or Twitter account information to the photo and measure your additional fans and followers after the event.
  • Incorporate a unique offer code on the photo and measure the corresponding coupons or discounts redeemed after the show to measure sales.
  • Compare booth traffic or leads at events with and without the photo booth to help justify your promotional investment.

No matter what your goals or objectives are for each trade show, souvenir photos can be a great way to attract and engage with booth visitors.  Prospects leave with a positive impression of your company and take home a branded reminder they can enjoy until they're ready to make a purchasing decision which may be long after the event.


Trade Show Tips | Booth Design | Social Media | Trade Show Promotion

10 Ways To Cause A Speed Bump At Your Trade Show Booth Part 2

by Kat Shea 24. August 2011 18:08

Back by popular demand is Part II of our post, 10 Ways To Cause a Speed Bump At Your Trade Show Booth. We’ve gathered essential “intel” and have listed the latest tactics your colleagues are using to AMPLIFY their booth traffic and get the results they want. So, kick your promotional efforts into overdrive with these Show Smart tips:

1) Enliven Your Booth Staff
Video badges were all the hype at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show.  Now savvy Exhibit Marketers everywhere are using them in their face-to-face initiatives because they make a perfect conversation starter. This nifty novelty catches the attention of visitors just long enough for your booth staff to engage them. Video badges are also pixilated powerhouses that will cost you a pretty penny or two – some average out around 178.00 each and require pre programming! So, if you think these are as cool as we do, make sure to include them in your budget for next year!

2) Arrest Your Audience
A visually arresting trade show display features graphics that POP.  Your trade show graphics need to grab attendee attention and then IMMEDIATELY communicate who you are, what you do and how your product/service can help them. Whether it's your brand that will draw audiences from all directions to be consumed by one individual at time, you need to understand how your trade show booth graphics should all work together. Not sure that your display is realizing its full potential? Download our whitepaper on Graphics That Work for more…

3) Create a Snap Shot of Your Brand
Photo booths featuring your branded back drop are fun show stoppers. While attendees enjoy “glaming” it up for silly candid photos, they bring back your branded "kodak moment" to share with friends, family and business colleagues. So, it's a great PR opportunity.

4) Extra, Extra READ All About It
Broadcast your Twitter buzz on a large LCD monitor in your exhibit using the official show hash tag. As attendees are dismissed from information packed seminars and pass by your trade show booth, they’ll see what they’ve missed out on while they were away and be encouraged to follow you on Twitter.

5) Be Intelligent
Part of driving quality booth traffic to your trade show display is knowing your particular audience and tailoring your message to them so that they feel like they are an exclusive customer. Lygase RFID Solutions has developed a product that allows exhibitors to communicate surround sound marketing messages that can be displayed on a big screen or kiosk based on recognition of an attendee's presence. The attendee wearing a lanyard with a UHF RFID tag will be shown a targeted message once detected by an RFID reader and that message will invite that person to a particular booth.

This targeted approach will impress booth attendees and will ensure that your brand is remembered. Fish (a software solution offered by our distribution partner, The Tradeshow Group) and Capture technologies are also leading vendors for RFID solutions. So, make sure to research your vendors before signing the “dotted line”. 

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10 Ways To Cause A Speed Bump At Your Trade Show Booth Part 1

by Kat Shea 10. August 2011 18:07

Our client, Louisiana Seafood uses Gourmet cooking demonstrations to drive booth traffic

Several of your peers recently chimed in on LinkedIn’s Trade Show Exhibitors Association group (TSEA) about innovative ways to drive booth traffic.  Whether you have an island or inline display, here are some unique tips to send your promotional efforts into overdrive:

1) Let Them Eat Cake
A client of ours took an oven to an event and baked branded (yes branded) cookies in their booth.  Smell is the strongest of our 6 senses. The aroma of freshly baked cookies soon permeated the show floor that lured a line of visitors to the booth wanting their delectable offerings. Other smells produce similar results, so think: fresh popped corn, coffee, chocolate, roasted nuts or other scents that trigger positive reactions.

2) Relax, Refresh, Revive
For a trade show in Colorado one exhibitor hosted an oxygen bar to generate traffic. Extra oxygen improves concentration and alertness while reducing stress.  Visitors were invited to choose their favorite scent and relax in a comfortable atmosphere in which they could network with other attendees. Nothing better than a happy customer in your booth!

3) Play Hide and Go Seek
Another exhibitor promoted an interactive scavenger hunt via social media.  Last stop - their display stand - where visitors could celebrate their journey.

4) The "WOW" Factor
Exhibitors around the world integrating technology to enliven their brand and draw audiences in from the aisles. Videos, animations, computer demos, and even virtual games can be used to enhance your value proposition, impact and memorability.

5) Take Charge
Trade shows and events are often held in conjunction with information packed seminars and conferences. Offer attendees relief from dead batteries with a cellphone charging station.  Cell phones are a lifeline to many and your hospitality will be remembered long after the event. 

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Trade Show Tips | Booth Design | Trade Show Promotion