Blog Trade Show Graphics: 5 Things You Need to Know.
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This is blog is titled; Blog Trade Show Graphics: 5 Things You Need to Know. Here is a quick bullet point list. Click on the links below for more detailed information and please contact us with any questions you still have after reading this. We’ll be more than happy to help you out. And if there is any item you would like us to Blog about, please let me know. Thanks!
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5 Things You Need to Know
- What determines lead-times?
- How long will you need for proofing?
- Can shorter lead times limit your graphic options?
- Will your proof be printed on the same material as the final?
- What size should your proof be? How about a Mag Test?
A good PSP will pre-flight your files as soon as they arrive and compare it to the information on the trade show graphic order. Beware; print files typically come in with missing fonts, missing attachments, images that are too low in resolution to print from or the proportions of the image don’t proportion out to the sizes of the graphics required.
For more information on Lead Times go here”
For more information on Proofing go here:
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TRADE SHOW & EXHIBIT GRAPHICS
~ What You Need to Know ~
Prepare a schedule of all the due dates needed to have a successful Trade Show. Determine the show opening date and work backwards creating a list of deadlines for your different items. What’s the set-up date and when is the deadline for advanced receiving?
For your Trade Show & Exhibit Graphics, you should also know what the rules are for displaying graphics, banners and other signage. This will put limits your on graphic sizes.
Do you have an existing trade show booth or are you going to be purchasing or renting one – you’ll need to know the size of the exhibit hardware and what are the graphic panel sizes and how do they attach – by hangars, magnetic tape or Velcro?
If your graphics are flexible and roll-able – the shipping container can be lighter and smaller than if they are rigid substrates – which may require a larger crate for shipping.
Will you need to hire a graphic designer to create your graphics or are you using an existing print file. The designer will have to know the graphic sizes and when you’ll need the file. Get the printing production lead-time from your PSP (Print Service Provider) to determine when you’ll need the file. Does this allow you enough lead time to meet your next deadline?
Depending on the complexity, size and quantity of your Trade Show & Exhibit Graphics, will depend on the lead-time needed to produce them.
Lead times are based on when the PSP (Print Service Provider) receives your print ready file. Shorter than normal lead times may limit your graphic options and increase your costs – so plan accordingly.
Contact your PSP and review your graphics order with them. They will tell you how many days are needed to complete your project. Once they receive your print file(s), the graphic production lead-time schedule will begin.
A good PSP will pre-flight your files as soon as they arrive and compare it to the information on the trade show graphic order. Beware; print files typically come in with missing fonts, missing attachments, images that are too low in resolution to print from or the proportions of the image don’t proportion out to the sizes of the graphics required. Changes and revisions from companies happen all the time too. This could affect your due date. Build in extra lead-time whenever possible to deal with these unknown, but all to frequent issues that can arise during the pre-flighting and production process.
Once your print file goes into production, allow 24 to 48 hours for proofing. Once you have approved the proof for printing, allow another 24 to 48 hours for the unfinished finals. Finishing services such as; mounting, laminating, silo-cutting, etc, generally require another 24 hours, again depending on the complexity, size and quantity of your trade show graphic order.
When your trade show graphics are finished, they will be carefully packaged and shipped per your instructions to your specified location.
Allow sufficient time for standard shipping in order to keep costs down vs. priority overnight which could cost you hundreds of dollars more – especially if the graphics are rigid, oversized and need a heavy wooden crate for protection.
Lead times for most trade show & event graphics will take 4 to 5 days for completion. The wildcard is always the pre-flighting and proofing process – will it pass or fail?
You should always ask your PSP (Print Service Provider) to provide you with a proof before the final graphics are produced.
Allow anywhere from 24 to 48 hours in most cases for your proof to be ready. Then allow sufficient time to review the proof with your boss, client or whomever. The PSP’s production clock stops at this point until you approve the proof – which means the longer you take to approve it, the longer your due date becomes.
When requesting a quote show the PSP a pdf of your print file(s), and discuss any Pantone Matching Colors, products or art work that is critical to color-match.
If possible always build in enough time for a second round of proofing just in case you are not satisfied with the results of the first proof, usually another 24 hours. Once the approval is ok’d the printing process will begin.
The first thing to consider when thinking about your Trade Show & Exhibit Graphics, is what type of material would you like; rigid substrates, flexible roll-able graphics, or soft goods such as fabric.
A lot of this will depend on the type of exhibit hardware you will be using.
Your PSP (Print Service Provider) will ask you questions about the size, application, and your budget in order to best determine the right material(s) for you and what will yield the best results for what you are looking for.
Other factors that may influence the material selections are Pantone Matching Colors specified (not all materials print the same), apparent resolution desired, texture wanted, reflectance concerns, and longevity of the graphic and the output devices available to the PSP.
A PSP with a wide variety of in-house output devices will be able to offer you more choices and hence provide you with the best solution for your application.
Once the materials have been chosen this will dictate which output device will be used for printing. The output device controls the resolution and process type ie; Photo, Dye-Sublimation, Solvent, UV Curable, UV Pigment, Latex, and Aqueous Ink. Output devices are limited to the maximum print width they can handle as well as printable material choices they can accommodate (materials can be printed only on certain machines).
Trade Show Graphics can be printed directly to substrates (DTS) on clear, translucent and opaque materials. Images can be Dye-Sublimated onto a wide variety of fabrics or printed as continuous tone images photographically, as well as imaged onto banner vinyl, Paper, Film, Adhesives, and more.
Find a PSP who offers a full range of these materials and output devices in-house. Printing widths can go up to 16 feet wide as well creating enormous trade show and event backdrops.
Once your Trade Show & Exhibit Graphics have been printed they will most likely need some type of finishing. Your PSP (Print Service Provider) can recommend various finishing options, the most common being mounting and laminating.
The most common substrate used for mounting prints is a foam-board like Gatorfoam, Ultraboard or Foamcore. These come in black and white and different thicknesses. 4’x8’ size is the standard board size but larger sizes can be specially ordered.
Another very popular material is PVC, such as Komatex or Sintra. Again these come in different sizes and thicknesses and colors. It is more durable than foamboards but also heavier.
Clear plexi-glass can be used for second surface mounting for backlit transparencies or for mounting a print underneath the surface. These are typically used on lobby walls with metal stand-offs.
As for laminates, a luster laminate with a UV inhibitor is the most common type of over-lam offering some protection to the print. It is mainly used when the print will be mounted on top of a substrate.
Laminates also come in matte and glossy as well as textures and different thicknesses. Laminates will help protect the graphic to some extent and the UV inhibitors built into the film will retard fading.
Thicker lamination is required like; Lustex, available in 5, 10 and 15ml thicknesses for roll-able panels. Roll-able trade show graphic panels typically will have magnetic tape or Velcro applied to the edges. Hangers and kickers can also be added for use on portable Pop-Up exhibits enabling the exhibitor to hang the graphics onto the hardware.
Finishing for fabric banners involves stitching pole pockets to allow a pipe or rod to be installed for hanging. Hemming can be added for a finished look or to help reinforce the edges of the fabric. Fabric can also have Velcro attached to it or silicone edging (S.E.G.) for extrusion based display systems.
Other finishing services can include Silhouette cutting to create life-size cut outs and other interesting shapes other than squares or rectangles. Some substrates can also be heat bent to obtain different shapes.
“Trade Show Manager’s Checklists Pack” by Writers Direct Group
“Five Steps to Successful Signage” by Lena Valenty
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