Trade Show Graphics

Faster Graphics Uploader

Posted by Andy Keeler on September 30, 2009
MODdisplays Information, Trade Show Graphics / 8 Comments

MODdisplays is pleased to announce the launch of our new graphics upload system, which is 200% faster and much more reliable than our previous system. As always, we are able to process files as large as 2GB through our upload system, and all of our files are reviewed and processed by our team of in-house graphic designers. Unlike many companies, our graphic designers spend their days working with large format trade show graphics, and they specialize in providing quality output for exhibiting systems.

Our new graphics upload system makes use of a server that is specifically formatted to accept large file transfers, which ensures that your file is uploaded quickly and smoothly. If you have questions about our file upload system or our graphics requirements, please call 877.663.3976 and press 2 for graphics, or email graphics@moddisplays.com.

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Using Photos in Large Format Print Production

Posted by Andy Keeler on February 10, 2009
Knowledge Base, Trade Show Graphics / 2 Comments

Most trade show displays utilize large format printing in some form. Only the highest quality photographs can be blown up to the size that is required for the backdrop of a trade show display, and we recommend purchasing digital photos from a stock photography website such as www.iStockPhoto.com. When selecting your photo from a stock photography website, choose the largest size option available.

If you want to figure out if your image will work for your trade show display, you will need to know the size of the image (usually listed in pixels or inches) and the resolution of the image (usually listed in DPI or dots-per-inch). In order to avoid pixelation (which is the appearance of fuzziness or blurriness within your image), your image will need to be 100 DPI when it is blown up to actual size.

Image size and resolution are inversely proportional. As image size increases, image resolution decreases. If you magnify an image to twice its original size, the resolution of the image will be cut in half. Suppose your image is 1200 pixels wide and 1200 pixels high (100 pixels = 1 inch, so the image would be 12″ x 12″ when printed), and the resolution is 100 DPI. If you blow up the image to 2400 pixels x 2400 pixels, the resolution would be reduced to 50 DPI. If you shrink the image to 600 pixels x 600 pixels, the resolution would increase to 200 DPI.

With this in mind, the first step in figuring out if your photo will work is to determine what size it will need to be when printed. Suppose you need your photo to cover the entire back wall of your Exhibit One display (70.75″w x 82″h). It is highly unlikely that the image you need will be available in the correct size when you purhcase it, so you will need to blow up the image to the size you need before you can work with it. The largest images on stock photography websites will usually come at a resolution of 300 DPI, and the size of the image will vary. Using the relationship between image resolution and image size, you should be able to quickly determine if the photo will be large enough to remain crisp when it is blown up to the size you need.

You never need to worry about fuzzy images when you work with MODdisplays, because we have checks and balances in place to ensure that low resolution images do not make it to print. Our graphic designers check each file for images that may appear fuzzy when printed, and these problems will be pointed out in your e-proof. We never go to print without our client’s approval, and our e-proofs are very thorough and meticulous. Most resolution issues are fixed at this stage, and the chances of a client receiving a graphic with pixelation are extremely slim.

At MODdisplays, we place all of our emphasis on the final output. We understand what it takes to look great at a trade show, and we work hard to make sure our clients are pleased with the graphics we print.

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Properly Maintained Graphics Make a Big Difference

Posted by Heather Jordan on January 23, 2009
Trade Show Graphics / 1 Comment

Graphics are the most important part of any trade show display. Well designed graphics that accurately convey your company’s marketing message can elevate attendees’ perception of your brand, but even the best graphics will lose visual appeal when they are not properly maintained. Dirty, chipped, smudged, scratched, or otherwise damaged graphics reflect poorly on their owners even if the design and marketing message is impeccable.

No matter what type of graphics you purchase for your trade show exhibit, they will be susceptible to damage. Typically your trade show graphics (and your booth hardware as well) will suffer the most damage during dismantling. The goal of dismantling your trade show booth should be to pack it away neatly so it will be ready for your next event, but the combination of exhausted booth staff and the thought that “the next event is a long time from now” usually results in a hasty and careless process. Taking care of your trade show display as you dismantle it can make a big difference when you arrive at your next event.

To clean dirty or smudged inkjet graphics, MODdisplays recommends using a mild cleaner (like Windex) in highly diluted form. Keep moisture away from the edges of the graphics to ensure that it does not seep between the layers of laminate and come in contact with the sensitive photographic paper that is encapsulated inside. Chips or scratches can be repaired with a colored marker that matches the surrounding graphic area in many cases, but large chips and scratches should warrant purchasing new graphics.

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Upload Your Graphic Files

Posted by Heather Jordan on January 12, 2009
MODdisplays Information, Trade Show Graphics / No Comments

MODdisplays uses advanced project management systems to ensure that your trade show display arrives on time and looks exactly as you expected. By repeating the same procedures for every exhibit we produce, we minimize mistakes. Our returning clients are confident in our system because they know exactly what to expect. Trade shows are stressful enough without any contribution from MODdisplays, so we keep our clients informed and in updated about the status of their trade show booth.

Uploading your graphic files is only one aspect of our overall project management system, but despite its simple appearance, our graphics uploader is very advanced when compared with that of other trade show companies. When you upload your graphics to our website, you must include your company’s name, your email address, and your phone number. As soon as your file is processed by our uploader, emails are dispatched to the graphic designer who has been assigned to your project, and your information is dropped directly into our project management system for easy access.

Your graphic files are usually reviewed by one of our graphic designers within an hour, and you’ll receive a customize e-proof to approve that will show you the layout of your graphics and highlight any areas that may cause problems when your exhibit is printed. We never print files until your company has approved our e-proofs, which ensures that no mistakes are made in the printing process. Many of our competitors will print files as they are received, but at MODdisplays our graphic design services are completely free, so we will offer your company design support in any way you need it.

If you have any questions about uploading your graphics or graphic guidelines, please email graphics@moddisplays.com or call 877.MOD.EXPO.

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Replacement Popup Display Graphics

Posted by Andy Keeler on December 05, 2008
Trade Show Displays, Trade Show Graphics / No Comments

Purchasing replacement graphics for your popup display is easy at MODdisplays. If you own a Standard 10ft Popup Display, replacing your main graphics and end panels costs as little as $1,200, with free graphic design included in the purchase price. This is an incredible value, especially considering that $1,200 will only buy you 3 graphic panels at the industry’s standard price.

We make ordering your new graphic panels simple through the use of our informative website and our integrated graphics uploader. When you upload your artwork into our advanced system, your artwork will be automatically associated with your order. Any color matching details you provide will be included on the work order, which ensures that no information gets lost in the communication process. Your project is immediately assigned to one of our experienced graphic designers, who will check your files for proper resolution, image quality, color correctness, spelling, and sizing to ensure that no mistakes are made in your graphic output.

Our popup display graphics are printed directly on a high-quality PET substrate using inkjet technology. The graphic is then thermally laminated (or “encapsulated”) with a protective film to ensure that your graphics last a long time. We ship our replacement graphics in solid tubes (instead of flimsy cardboard boxes) that are extremely protective to ensure that your graphic is not damaged in shipping or transportation. Please feel free to call 877.663.3976 or email sales@moddisplays with questions about our popup display graphics.

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Large Format Printing

Posted by Andy Keeler on September 06, 2008
Articles, Trade Show Graphics / No Comments

Large Format PrinterThe most important element of your trade show exhibit is the graphics. Well-designed graphics should contain your company’s logo, positioning statement, and memorable imagery that grabs the attention of visitors and attendees. Large format printing is the process by which your design files are transformed into the huge graphics that should be the focal point of your booth. Given the enormous scale of typical trade show display graphics, it’s obvious that producing these graphics requires expensive equipment and experienced professionals.

Two types of large format prints dominate the trade show landscape, and those are thermally laminated inkjet graphics and dye sublimated fabric graphics. Both of these processes have seen numerous advancements over the past five to ten years resulting in much higher print quality, longer lasting prints, and quicker turnaround times. Quality varies greatly in the world of large format printing, but MODdisplays graphics specialists understand what materials and procedures result in the best output, and we choose our vendors accordingly.

Inkjet Graphics

Inkjet graphics are the standard for graphic popup displays and detachable graphics. Inkjet print heads use tiny nozzles to squirt ink onto the paper. These nozzles are thinner than a human hair, allowing the printer to make very small dots that eventually come together as a large image. Printers with smaller, more precise nozzles are able to print at a higher DPI rating (dots-per-inch), which means the image will be more crisp and clear. Many inkjet printers are capable of printing at well over 1200 DPI, although it is often pointed out that the human eye cannot tell the difference between 500 and 600 DPI.

Inkjet graphics are often less expensive than dye sublimated fabric graphics, but this has little to do with the actual quality of the prints (although dye sublimated fabric graphics are capable of a much higher print quality than inkjet printers). Large format inkjet printers are extremely inexpensive, easy to use, and capable of producing high-quality prints, which means that there are literally thousands of small printing operations out there. This is simultaneously a benefit and drawback to consumers. More printing companies obviously means more competition and lower prices, but it also means that there are many unqualified printing companies out there with inexperienced technicians and outdated machines. Because the quality of the paper and ink varies greatly, it can be hard to tell if you’re purchasing a quality product or if the printing company is cutting corners to save money.

For most trade show applications, inkjet prints need to be finished. This is usually accomplished with a thermal laminate, but pressure sensitive laminates are also popular among bargain basement printing companies. Thermal laminates are typically scratch-resistant, and they make your graphics more rigid and durable. For popup displays, your thermally laminated inkjet graphics will need to be finished with hangers, kickers, and magnetic strips so that the graphics can hang from the frame of your exhibit.

Dye Sublimated Fabric Graphics

Dye sublimation is a process by which your image is essentially burned into a durable, washable fabric. Your image is initially printed on a coated transfer paper as a mirror image of your final graphic, and is then transferred to the fabric using a heat press with rollers that operate between 300 and 450 degrees. When passing through the rollers, the ink is heated until it “sublimates” (changes from a solid to a gaseous state without passing through the liquid state). The gas then permeates the fibers of the fabric and solidifies, which permanently dyes the fabric. Because the fabric is permanently dyed, dye sublimated fabric is machine washable.

Dye sublimated fabric graphics can be produced at a much higher quality than inkjet graphics for two reasons. First, inkjet inks are not capable of changing colors. By changing the temperature of the heating elements in the print heads, dye sub printers are able to vary the shade of the colored panels. Inkjet printers simply place dots on paper, so dithering must be used to create the appearance of solid colors. Secondly, inkjet ink is completely opaque, which means that dots cannot be laid over top of one another. Dye sub ink is transparent, which means that colors can be placed on top of one another to create true solid color gradients.

Despite these advantages, there are a few disadvantages associated with dye sublimation printers. First, dye sub printers cannot achieve true black. Inkjet printers are able to print a rich, glossy black color, while dye sub printers cannot. Also, dye sublimation printing companies invest huge amounts of money to be able to print dye sublimated fabric. It may cost upwards of $200,000 to outfit a space with the equipment needed to create high-quality dye sublimated fabric graphics.

Large format printing is an ever-changing field with many variables. It can be difficult to know exactly what type of graphic you’re purchasing without examining a sample of the graphic in person. At MODdisplays, we stake our reputation on our top quality trade show graphics produced by the best graphic houses in the country. We constantly receive compliments on our graphics packages as well as our graphic design department, and we intend to maintain our reputation as an industry leading provider of large format graphics.

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Vector vs. Raster Artwork

Posted by Andy Keeler on September 06, 2008
Trade Show Graphics / No Comments

When designing trade show graphics, it is often important to know the difference between vector and raster artwork. Not every image is suitable for use on your booth display, because many images will appear grainy and pixelated when they are scaled up to the correct size. Understanding the difference between vector and raster artwork will make a big difference in the images you choose for your graphics.

Vector Artwork

Vector artwork is usually produced using illustration software (such as Adobe Illustrator), and it is always comprised of mathematically-drawn lines and shapes. For this reason, scaling up (or magnifying) vector artwork almost never results in a loss in quality. The word “vector” implies magnitude and direction, and that is exactly what vector artwork captures. In order to increase the size of this type of graphic, you simply need to increase the magnitude and direction in proportion.

Raster Artwork

Raster images are usually produced using digital photography or photo-editing programs (such as Adobe Photoshop).  Raster images are comprised of tiny blocks of color called “pixels”, which are aligned in a grid in order to form images. Unlike vector images, raster images cannot be magnified without the risk of pixelation. Increasing the size of a raster image forces the design program to add pixels that were not captured in the original photograph or drawing, which results in fuzzy or blurry images.

Whenever possible, MODdisplays recommends using vector images in the design of your trade show displays. Vector images will always look crisp and sharp no matter how big you make them. Since all photographs are raster files, nearly all booth graphics will utilize at least a few raster images. If you plan to use a photograph in the design of your exhibit, we recommend viewing the file at 100% (the actual size you will want the image to appear on your graphic) on your monitor. If the file appears blurry when viewed at 100%, then the resolution is too low. Low resolution files result in poor print quality.

Stock photography websites such as iStockPhoto and GettyImages are a great resource for high-quality raster photographs. Files can be purchased in a variety of sizes, and usually the “large” size is good enough to provide a crisp, clean image when printed. When in doubt, you can always send your files to graphics@moddisplays.com and we will check them out for you. At MODdisplays, we never print low resolution or low quality files, because all of our graphics go through a rigorous screening and proofing process.

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The Rush Charge is Not Happening

Posted by Andy Keeler on July 08, 2008
Trade Show Displays / 1 Comment


Rush charges are a huge annoyance.  MODdisplays understands that the trade show industry is fast paced and deadline orientated so we try to recognize that as the norm and not charge rush charges.  While you may need to have your display or product expedited in, you won’t have to pay a premium on top of that.   MODdisplays simply does NOT have rush charges.  We simply pass shipping charges along to you and do not mark them up; so if you need your display or graphic quick, simply choose the expedited shipping option.

Even our turnaround times are flexible.  Many of our displays can ship within 24 hours even if the turnaround is typically 3 to 5 days.  We want to work with you, so if you are in desperate need of a display for whatever reason, call us up and we can almost always accommodate.  Many of our displays like the Xpressions or VBurst are easy to turn around quickly along with many of our other displays.  

Most of our hardware and fabric displays like the Standard Popup are stocked and ready to ship.  So if you simply needs lights for your display or a table top pop up that is Velcro receptive those items ship the very same day they are ordered.   

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Shopping Online

Posted by Andy Keeler on June 25, 2008
Trade Show Displays / 2 Comments

One of the great aspects of online display shopping is that you have a wealth of knowledge at your finger tips.  MODdisplays is always striving to add more information about our products on our site in an easy to navigate manor.   That is why we have been adding when possible instructions, templates, additional photos and other helpful items.

We also strive to be as straight forward as possible with pricing and what that pricing includes.  So when you see a display on our site with added accessories and full graphics you can be assured that all that is included in the price and when in doubt scroll down on the product page to find the “Purchase Price Includes” heading for a list of what that product includes.

We understand that many online companies will advertise images of displays with graphics and added features and then give prices that don’t include any of those items.   We don’t even charge set up charges, so there are no hidden cost.  Even our graphic design services are free with the purchase of any display with graphics, including banner stands and table top displays.   The only other cost is shipping and that can be easily calculated out on the check out page if you add your zip code.  There you can see all your shipping options and associated cost.

We keep our prices compative, but we realize the hundreds of online stores selling displays on the web.   So if you like MODdisplays style of business and our value added services but find a lower price from another company on a comparable product, let us know and we will match or beat that price.  And even when we match prices you can still take advantage of our free services like rendering and design, as well as our excelent customer service.  So shop with confidence on our online store.

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Create a Memorable Message

The primary goal of any exhibitor should be to leave a lasting impression of your company in the minds of attendees, so branding should always be your first priority. However, once your brand has been established, you can work toward creating a unique message for the expo that embodies the ideas of your company, and your table top display and exhibit graphic systems are a great way to do that. Here are some examples of company slogans or messages that have been ingrained in the minds of business to business buyers:

  • UPS – Synchronizing the world of commerce.
  • AT&T – Your world. Delivered.
  • FedEx – The world on time.
  • Apple – Think different.
  • Microsoft – Your potential. Our passion.
  • Yahoo! – Do you Yahoo?
  • General Electric – Imagination at work.
  • 3M – Innovation.

These slogans and many others are known worldwide and are directly associated with an idea related to the company. Think of a corporate slogan as a way to say something about your company’s personality in addition to just the company name. Different types of buyers are attracted to different company personalities, so crafting your slogan carefully can help you convey a message to your clients about the type of environment you work in.

Our experienced graphic designers have worked with countless exhibitors to craft their company image for specific trade shows, and they are standing by to help you with your event. If you want to incorporate a slogan into your branding effort, we can help you create that slogan and incorporate it into your pop up display or modular exhibit. Please call 877.663.3976 (toll free) for details.

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