Frequently Asked Questions About Trade Show Fabric Graphics

If you have attended a trade show, convention, or event in the past four years, you have seen large, colorful fabric graphics. Fabric graphics have become the standard for most large format images. They are lightweight, vibrant, and durable, and are the perfect medium for trade shows, where every exhibitor wants minimal weight but still wants to make a big splash.

The options can be a bit overwhelming and getting more varied all the time. But for most of us, fabric graphics can be lumped into two categories: tension fabric or pillowcase graphics. The following is a convenient FAQ to get you quickly up to speed.

What is a tension fabric graphic?

Tension fabric graphics attach to a frame so the fabric is taut edge-to-edge, creating "tension." Typically, the graphic has Velcro hook sewn along the border, usually top and bottom, and attaches to Velcro loop on the frame.

What is a pillowcase fabric graphic?

Think of a printed pillowcase with zippers. A pillowcase graphic wraps around a frame structure and the inner and outer sections zip together along the least obvious edge. This creates a tailor fit. Almost all hanging sign structures are wrapped in pillowcase fabric graphics.

How does a tension fabric graphic differ from a pillowcase fabric graphic?

Tension fabric graphics attach to the frame, leaving the frame exposed. The fabric is held taut by attaching it to the frame using Velcro. Pillowcase graphics slip over the frame and hide the frame structure. The fabric is secured by a zipper (s).

What are the benefits of fabric graphics vs. traditional first surface graphics?

  • Flexibility . An array of fabric options and finishing exists. Fabric graphics can be adapted to just about any hardware
  • Storage and Shipping . Fabric is lighter than many other graphics. Fold your graphics neatly when in storage and take up much less space.
  • Care . Fabric graphics can be washed and steamed and are just as durable and long lasting as traditional graphics.
  • Lightweight. Larger graphics weigh less, perfect for draping or creating space definition.
  • Cost . More image bang for the buck!
  • Green . There are the obvious transportation and storage benefits. Even more exciting is the growing list of fabric options created from recycled materials.
  • No Glare . Fabric is the perfect choice for media walls or any background that is photographed or filmed.
  • Versatility . Fabric can be applied to most display and hardware options and is perfect for skinning or covering displays or objects. Custom covers can be created to drape over objects, wrap, or completely pillowcase them!

Do fabric graphics offer the same color saturation, vibrancy, definition, and overall image quality as other graphics?

Fabric not only matches other graphic options, it often excludes it. Dye sublimation equipment is more advanced than ever offering near continuous tone (limited by the texture of the material you choose) and exceptional detail created from high dpi outputs and sophisticated image patterns. Color is permanently dyed into the fabric creating a deep saturated image.

How do tension fabric graphics attach or hang on the frame?

Tension graphics will typically have Velcro sewn into the perimeter, although there are other options such as a pole pocket connection with a spline or a silicon edge. The finish used is dependent on the frame system requirements and or customer preference.

How do pillowcase fabric graphics attach or hang on the frame?

Pillowcase graphics are sewn a seam along the bottom edge of the frame to attach the inner and outer sides of the pillowcase. The top has zippers to secure the two sides with slots made to accommodate eye-bolt or hanging hardware. Depending on the size and shape of the frame, vertical zippers may also be necessary. The seams are sewn to the inside of the pillowcase to create a smooth, fitted finish.

What is the maximum size of a seamless tension graphic? Are there limitations to the maximum print width?

The maximum size depends on the fabric and printing process. In general, the maximum width varies from 118 "to 58" depending on the process.

What is the maximum size of a seamless pillowcase graphic? Are there limitations to the maximum print width?

All pillowcase graphics have seams, usually just at the top and bottom of the structure. However, some frames are too large to cover without a seam. Frames such as a tapered circle need to be pieced because the shape of the print is an arc, making it too large to print in one piece.

How should tension fabric graphics and pillowcase graphics be cared for?

It is recommended that graphics be zipped up, folded, and stored in a bag. You may spot clean by wiping with a damp cloth. If it is necessary to wash the graphic and it is small enough, use a commercial size front-loading washing machine. Wash on the gentle cycle, with cool water. It is VERY important that the graphic be ZIPPED during washing. Dry cleaning is not recommended.

To limit getting the graphic dirty during installation, keep the set-up area clean by using a drop cloth and wash your hands prior to set up. You may want to consider purchasing inexpensive white cotton gloves. Weaving the gloves while handling the graphic will minimize the transfer of dirt and oils to your graphic.

What is the preferred file set up for tension graphics and pillowcase graphics?

Files should be set up with at least 1 inch of bleed on all sides and marked with guides or crop marks to indicate art area versus bleed. The best file formats are Photoshop layered files, InDesign, Illustrator, or Quark documents. Files need to be set up as close to 100 percent as possible with a minimum resolution of 100 dots per inch.

Other things to consider are the live area, the diameter of the frames poles, and borders. If your critical art is too close to the edge of the frame, it may disappear as the graphic bends around the frame. Try to keep critical information 3 to 5 inches from the edge and either make borders wider or do not use borders.

Vacations Are Fun, The Traveling With Kids Is Not!

Vacations are a time to remember. Years after a holiday we remember the merirement that we had enjoyed during a particular vacation. Although the holiday is memorable, traveling to the selected destination is probably the most tiresome part of the package. The process becomes even more tedious if you are traveling with kids.

Their low attention span and impatience is the primary reason why they get over excited wherever the destination is grandma's place or Hawaii. Not an hour passages by when parents hear the endless chime of 'when do we get there?'

Making these long car rides or a trip in the airplane is not as difficult as it may seem to a harassed parent. A wee bit of planning in advance to keep your young tykes in control will see you a long way. A variety of games will keep them engaged and divert their minds away from the long wearisome travel.

If you have not come across some games which are apt for travel time then here are a few. For bumpy car rides where children can not indulge in board games try 'spot the letter of the alphabet'. The game involves reading road signs or billboards and spotting the letters of the alphabet in the sequence. So if you come across 'Abacus building systems', the letters A, B, C, D and E are found.

In the next billboard they should look for F. This game is suitable to be played alone or with a sibling. Create a competition between two children by allotting one side of the road to each and see who reaches the end of the alphabet first.

Another extremely simple and interesting game which can be played while traveling on the freeway is 'license plates'. The objective of the game is to identify vehicles from different states using their license plates. Keep them busy by telling them to keep going till they see plates from all 50 states.

The tussle of managing a child on the airplane can be more embarrassing than a car drive. With a hollering baby you are sure to get dirty glances from the scores of passengers traveling on board. Coping with toddlers on a plane is easier since the journey is much smoother than a car ride and drop down trays can be used to play board games

If traveling with an infant, then make sure that your little one is comfortable to ensure a peaceful flight. Try and time your babies sleep to coincide with the flight timings. Feed your baby during take off and landing to reduce discomfort in the ears.

Planning activities specifically suited for travel will help you recall the vacation with fondness and visions of the harrowing time you had not cross your eyes every time you look back.

Using Weight Loss Food Programs to Stay Healthy While You Drop the Pounds

No one likes to admit that they need to shed pounds. But when you are ready to admit it to yourself, you need to look at what the various weight loss food programs have to offer you. They are not all the same and you want to choose a plan to drop the weight that will be safe and successful.

The weight loss food program you pick needs to be customized to help you not just drop weight, but also allow you to maintain the loss afterwards. To do that, you need to concentrate on developing healthy habits that you can incorporated into your lifestyle. Most weight loss food programs claim to be effective in helping you to shed pounds but not all of them live up to their claims. You need to know what to look for in a plan that will succeed in what you want to accomplish for your body and your life.

A plan that is healthy, effective, and safe must include numerous elements that make it so. The diet that you describe to must be healthy and must ensure that you get a sufficient amount of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and nutrients. The diet plan must also focus on a healthy body and at the same time, reduce the number of calories that you take in.

Eating foods from all the essential food groups is important for your continued good health. Cutting out foods from any of the food groups is not recommended as it can lead you to become deficient in nutritional content. Your body needs variety in the foods you eat to keep you energetic and feeling well. Good weight loss food programs are not designed to deprive you, but are designed to help you to slim down.

The culture you live in affects your ability to lose weight. When looking at your options in weight loss food programs, bear your cultural considerations in mind. It will be easier to make the necessary changes in your life if you do not forget that your culture has an impact on your life. Healthy weight loss does not happen overnight. It is a gradual process that you work at day by day. If you try to push your body to shed pounds too quickly, you can harm your health. A goal of losing one to two pounds per week is a healthy one to aim for.

No matter what plan you decide to follow to shed pounds, you still need to be physically active. Exercise must be an important aspect of every program that is geared to watching the pounds melt away. You do not have to push yourself beyond your limits though. Exercising at least 30 to 40 minutes at a time, three to five times per week will help to keep you limber and will support your weight maintenance.

Personal Brand Marketing – Brand Buzz 101

I understand the importance of visibility. As a small business owner, being "known" can be the difference between a steady flow of revenue or closing your doors. Yet, being visible is not enough. Being remembered is most important and means you occupy some prime real estate in the mind of someone. Garnering "share of mind" means that you somewhere along the way that they sampled your character and competency and you became memorable.

Marketing, by definition, is creating an exchange environment. For an individual, that could mean breaking a referral, speaking positively on your behalf, a promotion or an introduction. Branding, by definition, is an emotion or image tied to a product. YOU are the product. Even in businesses, people are the brand and define the company, more than any mission mission statement hanging in the lobby. So, how does an individual create "buzz" for their brand for visibility and more importantly to be remembered so that they can develop credibility?

1. Know what makes you unique.

Whether you're job hunting or wanting a position on board of director's, you need to confidently know what value you bring to the table.

2. Get really good at communicating what makes you valuable.

Ninety-three percent of communication is tone and body language. Spend time on the words so that what you say and how you communicate are congruent with your value. Yet, know that communication includes your image, the way you present yourself, your workspace, your phone skills and even your lunch meeting etiquette. They must all be congruent with what makes you valuable. Any discrepancies will jeopardize your credibility and could produce negative word of mouth which is a problem that I will address in future articles.

3. Manage that communication.

If you're creating "buzz" around your brand, it will require you to proactively manage the communication. For example, if you're new to a company or a position you will need to build a credibility wall. Yes, a physical wall if possible. It showcases every plaque, certificate, service honor, licensing, certification and degree you've received. This wall is your visual third party testimonial on the character and competency of your brand. Since that wall can not travel with you, make sure that anytime you're honored for volunteer service or recognized for a contribution that a copy of the "thank you" letter, note or card be placed into you personnel file.

Even if you're on your own, these "proof of credibility" tools will take you far. As the vice president of a business concern in college, I invited speakers to speak to our fraternity for professional development. I asked each of them to write a letter for me about their experience working with me so that I could include that in my personal portfolio. Many of these speakers went on to become regional directors, chief operation officers, chief financial officers, company presidents and further that my portfolio has become quite valuable. Actively "buzz" your brand! Doing that will develop credibility; credibility will lead to influence; and influence with lead to leadership.