Today’s exhibit applications display high-end digital graphics, and the trend of these visually inspiring graphics is to represent a customer’s brand and marketing focus while “wowing” the audience.
By Maura Keller
Today’s digital graphics need to be of the highest quality in terms of printing, finishing and color. “Graphic suppliers need to maintain a strong color management system, state of the art printing equipment, as well as the latest in materials, to provide for highest quality output,” says Paul Lilienthal, owner of Pictura Graphics in Minneapolis, Minn.
According to Lilienthal, today’s exhibit graphics continue to emphasize the utilization of tension fabrics. “These applications provide for the ability to create unique designs that incorporate lightweight aluminum structures that accommodate the exhibitors’ desire to reduce drayage and installation costs from traditional exhibit structures.”
Because of the growth in utilizing fabric as a printed substrate, Allison Pocewicz marketing coordinator, Fabric Images, Elgin, Ill., says the industry now has more choices for inks and textiles and can offer superwide XL printing for images wider than 10 feet. “As we incorporate various textiles into the same space, there is even more need for consistent color profiling between machines and materials,” Pocewicz says.
In the details
Because exhibit applications are often substantial in size and display visual messages that are intended to make an impact on the viewer, the print provider needs to be extremely familiar with many types of hardware systems, fabric material options and finishing requirements to effectively manage each clients’ expectations and deadlines.
Jim Knoche, exhibit component sales at Lawrence Fabric & Metal Structures, St. Louis, Mo., stresses that there are special considerations when specifying
for exhibit applications. “It starts with the goal, the desired result of the graphic piece,” says Knoche. “The attachment and shape can help decide which fabric will need to be used to get a smooth and clean product. The typical combination right now is polyester fabric with dye sublimated transfer style print.”
Special finishing elements, including mounting and installation hardware can make a big impact on the finished exhibit. As Lilienthal explains, the majority of fabric applications also require a strong trimming and sewing staff that has a keen eye for detail and precision. “Many of the systems also require strong engineering of the correct material and finishing combination,” Lilienthal says. “Test fitting of the graphics with the hardware is critical in order for proper execution.Â Tolerances can tend to be very tight, sometimes within 1/16 of an inch, so there needs to be a commitment for detailed execution to be successful.”
Resolution and careful attention to contrast and colors within the exhibit artwork also is paramount. “Automotive prints with chrome type images are some of the best to showcase this,” says Pocewicz. “The contrast between shadows and the ‘metallic’ part of the dye sublimation graphic can really make the image look three dimensional, popping off of the 2-D material.Â The value of taking extra time up front to provide high quality artwork is simple—you will get a great quality end product.”