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.





2 Responses to “Creating graphics that work for your tradeshow display”

  1. 1 Sarna OBrien October 14, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    Very good information to pass on and educate clients with! If I may, I’d like to pass on a concept that I find helpful when working with clients and an image resolution challenge comes up. I like to call it the “Lite Brite” explanation.

    I had a toy as a child called a Lite Brite. It was a back lit box which you used different colored pegs to create pictures on. I really loved the toy…. I could create all kinds of fanciful pictures on it. Anyway, imagine the picture you send to your designer is a picture made on your own Lite Brite. The picture is so tall [10″] and so wide [12″] and you’ve made this picture out of 475 different colored pegs. Now you send your picture to the designer and want him/her to make it 5 times larger [50″ tall x 60″ wide]. Your designer will still have only 475 different colored pegs to work with. The scaled image will merely fill in with “averaged” colored pegs and the resulting image will be soft and raggedy.

    I hope this further explanation is helpful to your blog readers!

  1. 1 Business blog » Blog Archive » Creating graphics that work for your tradeshow display Trackback on September 22, 2008 at 9:56 pm

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