Archive for September, 2008

Creating graphics that work for your tradeshow display

 Clients often ask us why they can’t use pictures on their website or enlarge a 4” photograph to use as their 8’ mural or why the images from their brochure won’t work as their display graphics? We understand that trying to figure out what artwork and images have the correct resolution so they can be blown up large enough to look great on your display is confusing.  The other concept that is difficult to grasp is the fact that having the properly formatted artwork is not enough.  It takes three steps to get your artwork in your hands.  First you must provide us with the company logo, pictures and text messages you want to use.  Next a designer must to sit at the computer and create, size, format, crop, edit, composite, color match, assemble, layout and finish all the elements of your artwork to make it look professional and ready for print.  Lastly,  production begins and they are enlarged, printed and mounted.  Production requires anywhere from 3-7 days from your approval of a proof.


It is important to know is that your display graphics will look only as good as the artwork they are created from.  In this age of the digital camera, everyone assumes that the gorgeous photograph you took on vacation, that great graphic you have on your website or those wonderful images on your brochure can be magically enlarged for use as the 10’ background picture on your exhibit.  There is a huge learning curve associated with understanding how digital graphics are designed and how artwork resolution impacts the appearance of the final image. The simple truth is, unless you have pictures, logos, fonts or illustrations originally created in a format that can be digitally manipulated, you will not be able to turn a 3” x 4” picture from your brochure into a 6’ mural for your tradeshow booth.  There is something called DPI, (dots per inch), that determines the resolution of an image.  The resolution determines whether your words and pictures will look crisp and beautiful or a blurry, jagged mess.  To ensure perfection, the images you select for use on your display should be created for large format reproduction in design programs like Illustrator or Photoshop by someone with graphic art and design knowledge who understands that your goal is to enlarge them for use on your tradeshow display. 


Remember that the clock starts ticking the moment the designer sits down at the computer so brainstorm with your sales and marketing teams about the graphic images and messaging you desire. Share your ideas with your display consultant. They have the expertise and insight on what will look the best and attract your target audience. They will save you time and money by helping you conceptualize a preliminary layout and marketing message before it goes to the designer.


Gather useable artwork from the printer who printed your business cards and letterhead, have pictures scanned into the correct resolution or purchase large format stock photos on the internet.  You can hire your own designer  to create your display graphics or use the graphic design services provided by your exhibit house. A designers services will cost approximately $100-$150- per hour.  This may seem expensive, but upon completion the artwork will be yours to use on your website, flyers, brochures and advertising.

I hope this helps you understand what it takes to get that marketing concept from your mind onto your exhibit.  Let me know what frustrations you’ve tackled on this topic and if this explanation helps.




Let’s get face to face again.

If you’ve ever tried to justify why you should spend money to exhibit in a tradeshow, consumer show, job fair or event, to your boss, the company owner or yourself, consider this:
One of the things I love about the show floor is that it is a level playing field. What that means is whether you are a small home-based business or an emerging company you can look just as powerful, professional and successful at your exhibit as the established storefront or thriving corporation, if you spend the time to design an impressive display, engaging graphics and prepare your staff.  Perception is everything at the show.  The value for your time is also terrific if you consider that your salesperson can maybe have 8 sales calls in one day, but reach 1500 people at the show.  The other thing I love about this type of marketing is that you get to personally meet your prospects and personally engage your customers face to face. They get to meet YOU.  A real representative of the business. That is key because a personal touch, in this age of technology dominated by impersonal voice mail, email, blackberries, volp etc will stand out in someones mind.  Face to face marketing keeps you in control of the contact.  Get their information and you can be pro-active.  If they liked you and remember the encounter at the booth you will have an edge over your competitor who only sends the email without ever meeting your prospect.  My good friend, speaker, business owner and cookie queen, Susan Brooks has a terrific perspective on this exact topic.
With her permission I have included a recent article she wrote that really resonated with me. Enjoy it below and let me know your feelings on the subject.

Got a minute, Susan?

You’re busy. Your plate is full. You’re plugged in to your BlackBerry, Treo and Smartphone. You text, email and voicemail at every communication. You accept that your world’s frantically busy, frenetic pace is simply a fact of normal modern life. Sure, you are more productive, but the time and energy it takes to keep up, drains your time and energy from the ‘real world,’ the world with face-to-face potential in it.


I see our ‘disconnect’ at airports with brief reunions, quickly replaced with texting others who aren’t there; I see young children with thumbs in a blur, their minds ‘out there’ instead of in the present moment; I see people at their desks, eating lunch in huge bites while on their cell phones, clicking away on their laptops, focus split. According to Dr. Edward Hallowell, ADD expert/psychologist and author of CrazyBusy, “The Internet and TV may create the illusion that you are connected with millions of people, but opportunities for live social interactions are dropping. Studies say isolation is as dangerous as smoking and high blood pressure.”


Texting is not the same as a lunch date. Email is not the same as a thank you note. Missing out on the human connection is, well, missing out. Whether you telecommute or email your co-workers down the hall, Internet use is replacing personal interaction. The workplace is, after all, one of the richest social environments we have, no? Let’s not compromise, or, worse, undervalue, the benefits of body language, voice tone, and eye contact. Sharing the same air with co-workers and customers speaks volumes.


And what about your personal life? Solutions Research Group did a study showing that 25 million Americans use Smartphones, BlackBerrys and Treos … and, get this, 63 percent use these devices in the bedroom! 68 percent of Americans say they feel anxiety when ‘not jacked into the global mindgrid of the Net,’ deprived and disoriented without Internet access. I think we have a serious problem here…..


Everyone needs downtime.
Everyone needs to slow down…to think, and not to think.
Everyone needs to appreciate their irreplaceable human-ness.


Disconnect your technology so you can re-connect to the energy of a heartbeat or a smile or a warm embrace. After all, it’s the people — face-to-face, and heart-to-heart — that matter!

My best,


Susan Brooks