Trade Show Exhibiting Tips and Advice

Frequently Asked Questions

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In order to answer this question, we first need to clarify the difference between the 3D exhibit design rendering and the 2D graphic design for the printed graphics that attach to a trade show display. Godfrey Group has graphic and 3D designers on staff and we are glad to assist with exhibit renderings so that you can visualize your exhibit and the traffic flow potential for your trade show booth as well as the 2D graphic design for your print files. Our 3D exhibit rendering process is a service that we offer, free of charge, for custom exhibit designs and proposals. 3D exhibit design is not something that is usually performed for 10x10 displays, banner stands, etc. With regard to 2D graphic design, you can provide us with your graphic files in a couple of ways. Many of our clients have either a design agency that they’ve worked with previously or an in-house graphic artist that will use our templates to set up the graphic files for their display. In that case, that graphic artist will download the template from our site or the Godfrey Group Account Manager can email the template to the appropriate contact. The graphic artist can place the graphic files into our template and upload the art directly through our website. The second option is for our graphic designers to assist you with your layout. We charge $85/hr for this service. The amount of hours required for a design can vary greatly depending on the complexity of your files and the desired design but most graphic design jobs can be completed within two to four hours.

Backlit displays are some of the most popular exhibits on the market these days and with good reason. Backlit graphics really pop and help you stand out from the crowd. The backlit displays draw attention and make your branding and presentation vibrant and impactful. Godfrey Group offers a variety of backlit displays to meet your trade show marketing needs. Our PSW displays, available in 2.5’, 5’, 8’, 10’, and 20’ widths, are pop up frames with LED ladder lights. The channel bars that attach to the pop-up frames have an SEG (silicone edge graphic) channel that allows for a very clean, taut graphic application. The BKL-H backlit walls, available in 8’ and 10’ widths, are also pop-up frame with LED lights. The difference in the PSW and the BKL-H walls is that the graphic is applied with Velcro on the BKL-H walls. Also, the case is optional with the PSW walls, but the case is included with the BKL-H walls. The Light Tube Ultra Thin Backwalls, available in 3’, 5’, 8’, and 10’ widths, is thinner from front to back than the pop up walls. Rather than a pop-up frame, this backlit display utilizes a round, snap-tube aluminum frame and a pillowcase graphic and LED ladder lights. The LT backlit displays, available in 8’, 10’, and 20’ widths, is an aluminum SEG frame system. These displays are in between the depths of the pop-up walls and the Ultra Thin Light Tube walls at 8” deep. These displays also utilize LED lighting and can be single or double sided. The aluminum frame is visible on the sides of the display and makes for a clean and polished presentation. The 10’ Tool-Less backlit display is also and SEG aluminum frame system but instead of individual frame pieces that need to be assembled, this frame is linked together with hinges so that it sets up quicker and easier without tools. Lastly, for backlit frames or freestanding light boxes of all sizes, our Backlit Fabric Light Boxes are 4.7” deep frames available in many sizes ranging from 2’x2’ up to 8’ x 10’ than can be wall mounted, hanging, or freestanding by adding support feet. These are SEG frames with internal LED lighting, and they can be single or double sided.

While the terms custom trade show display and portable trade show display are not mutually exclusive, typically a portable display is a standard product where the frame is a prefabricated structure and the graphics are custom printed and added to the frame to complete the portable display package. Most portable displays are shippable with UPS and Fed Ex as package shipments and can be carried/wheeled into the trade show by the exhibitor. Most portable displays are going to pack into tote bags or plastic shipping cases with wheels and are typically simple enough for the exhibitor to set up on their own without hiring additional labor. The overwhelming majority of 10x10 booths utilize portable displays and most 10x20 booths use portable displays as well. However, some exhibitors prefer to upgrade to a custom exhibit for a 10x20 space. Once an exhibitor moves into the 20x20 and larger spaces, custom trade show exhibits are the norm. Custom trade show displays are unique and designed from scratch specifically with the exhibitor’s product or service in mind. Godfrey Group provides free 3D design renderings for custom exhibits. Custom exhibits typically ship in wooden crates that must ship by freight trucks and loaded/offloaded with fork-lifts. There are certainly exceptions to these typical situations and we have produced many custom 10x10 trade show displays and vice versa we have produced 20x20 displays that are designed to pack down to shipping cases instead of crates. Our Account Managers will be glad to discuss your trade show exhibiting needs with you and recommend a standard portable or a custom trade show display to fit your needs.

Godfrey Group offers a variety of banner stands to meet every need. The most popular and most common banner stands on the market are retractable banner stands. Retractable banner stands are very convenient as the banner rolls up into the hardware (like a window shade) for easy transport and very quick set-up. We have retractable banner stands in sizes ranging from 24” up to 60”w with double sided, table top, illuminated, and outdoor options. We also offer retractable stands with vinyl and dye sub fabric graphics. We offer both economy and premium retractable banner stands. The premium model can be used for many years and is tolerant to the hard knocks that can happen in shipping. Beyond retractable stands, we have a number of banner stands that ideal of trade show marketing, point of purchase, or indoor signage. Our slip cover banner stands are double sided and available in 3’, 4’, and 5’ widths ranging from 5’6” h to 11’6”h. These banner stands are very solid with a steel base and round aluminum snap tube frame. The double sided graphic is printed on fabric and it slips over the frame and zips along the bottom to make a very nice, wrinkle free graphic. Our ShowFlex banner stand displays offer maximum portability with maximum graphic impact. These displays fold out like an umbrella and range in size from small table top displays to a large freestanding 92” x 92” backwall, yet they weigh around 8 lbs and fold up to fit in a 5” x 5” x 39” package. The options cover just a few of the banner stands that we offer at Godfrey Group. Please visit the banner stands section of our website for more options including outdoor banner stands, towers, monitor stands, window mounted banners, etc.

Godfrey Group provides turn-key custom exhibit design and production. We can start with an idea, a sketch, or just a discussion about your trade show marketing objectives. We typically like to have a conference call with the client’s team, our Account Manager, and our 3D Designer where we’ll begin with the basic details such as exhibit size, transportation, install/dismantle requirements, storage, etc. While it is not necessary to provide a target budget, it substantially increases the likelihood that we will arrive at a design that checks all of your boxes. Custom exhibits can vary greatly in price based on the materials, complexity of the structure, AV equipment, etc. During the initial conversations we can show your team some examples of custom exhibits that we have produced over the years and their price points to help you get a feel for our quality as well as to establish a target budget for your project. A budget range allows our team to select the correct materials and features to make the most of the budget without exceeding the budget. We understand that we are in a competitive industry and we work very hard to earn our customer’s business. With every custom exhibit design opportunity, our objective is to provide the best design possible within the budget in order to win your business. Once we have established the general details we will get more granular with details specific to your business and your trade show marketing program. We will want to understand how you present your product or service in the marketplace and more specifically at your trade shows. We will want to understand your marketing approach so that we can translate that into an exhibit design that compliments and supports your marketing program. Our 3D Designer will then produce a set of unique renderings utilizing your company’s graphics, colors, and branding that we can typically pull from your website or you can provide if you have something more specific than what we can pull from your site. If the design meets your approval, we will proceed to estimating. If we have not hit the mark on the first iteration, we can have a conversation about what you’d like to modify or if you would like to start over completely with a totally different design. We welcome feedback and it is critical to the process of designing an exhibit that meets your needs. We typically go through three to four revisions on most of our custom designs.

There are a number of factors to consider when determining whether to rent or to purchase a trade show display. The first factor is booth size. The most common booth size is a 10x10 space. With a 10x10 purchasing a trade show display really makes much more sense than renting. The reason for this is that most 10x10 displays are prefabricated, standard structures to which the graphics are custom printed and added to the display to create a package deal. The structure is typically a fraction of the cost of the graphic for a 10x10. Therefore, it is usually more cost effective to purchase a display than to rent one for a 10x10 space and certainly if you are going to use the display more than once. Once you get into a 10x20 space and larger it makes more sense to seriously consider whether to rent or purchase your trade show display. If a standard 10x20 portable display option will meet your needs, again it makes more sense to purchase the display as the graphics typically make up the majority of the cost and with a rental or a purchase you purchase the graphics either way. For 10x20 spaces and larger, if you’re just dipping your toe in the water and testing trade show marketing as a means of growing your business, a rental might be the best option as it allows you to present your company with a first class image at your trade show without committing to the full purchase price of an exhibit. Typically, if you’re going to use the exhibit three times or more it makes more sense to purchase the exhibit. With a purchased exhibit, there are additional costs to consider like storage and upkeep, however these costs are fairly nominal and it still makes more sense to purchase the trade show display if you’re going to use it three or more times. Godfrey Group is a full service exhibit house offering storage, show services, etc. Our Account Managers will be glad to disuse your specific trade show marketing needs and determine whether renting or purchasing is the best option for your company

Hanging signs are an excellent means of getting your brand elevated above the competition at a trade show and getting noticed. Hanging signs are typically visible from all over the convention floor so you have brand visibility much further than just the area immediately around your booth. Godfrey Group offers two categories of hanging signs with many shapes and sizes available in each of the categories, Standard Hanging Headers and Premium Hanging Headers. The standard hanging signs are high quality products with dye sub printed fabric graphics, rigging cables, and an aluminum snap tube frame. They carry a one-year warranty. The premium hanging headers are made in the USA. The premium hanging signs have aluminum snap tube frames with a larger diameter tube so the frame is more durable and holds its form a little better with the added rigidity that the larger tube provides. In addition, the premium hanging headers come with a lifetime warranty. Finally, the premium hanging signs have shipping case options for all sizes and shapes as well as printed base panel options for most sizes and shapes.

Clients can upload print ready art files through our website using the following link: https://spaces.hightail.com/uplink/godfreygroupgraphic-specs It is best to place your order first and then submit your graphic files with the corresponding sales order number that you will receive from the Godfrey Group team once you place your order. However, if you have questions about your art files prior to placing your order, we are glad to review your files first and provide guidance. Additionally, if you need help setting up your graphics, our graphic designers are glad to assist. We bill graphic design time hourly at $85/hr with a one hour minimum. Each design job is unique, but most graphic design jobs can be completed in a couple of hours. We have a list of frequently asked questions and information regarding file type, resolution, etc. here on our site https://www.godfreygroup.com/pages/graphic-specs

We do sell used exhibits on the Used section of our website. If you have an exhibit that you no longer need and you’re interested in selling the trade show display, please contact us at sales@godfreygroup.com to discuss further. We sell used exhibits for clients that own Godfrey Group displays and for customers that purchased their trade show exhibits from other companies. We sell the used exhibits on a consignment basis. We can have the products shipped to our North Carolina shop where we will set up the exhibit and determine what, if any, elements are in need or repair or replacement and if there are any missing pieces, etc. We will gather the graphic dimensions and other pertinent specifications for the trade show display that a prospective buyer would want. The first step is that we will review whatever images, build plans, instruction sets, etc. that you can provide and we’ll suggest what we feel the used value of the exhibit would be. From there, we can discuss shipping the exhibit to our facility for the next steps.

Yes, we offer exhibit storage for our customers in our North Carolina facility in Burlington, NC. Our shop is conveniently located in central NC right off of interstates I-40 and I-85 for quick access to east/west and north/south shipping routes. We offer full-service management from our NC location with the ability to repair, update, add-on, evaluate, etc. your exhibit as needed. We also offer storage in Las Vegas if your shows are primarily in Las Vegas.

Yes, Godfrey Group is a full-service exhibit house. We will be glad to handle some or all of your show preparation including the paperwork, freight, show service orders, logistics, and installation/dismantle at the show. We offer storage in our North Carolina shop/warehouse as well as a warehouse in Las Vegas. As anyone who has executed a trade show knows, there is a lot of planning that goes into a successful show. Let Godfrey Group partner with you to walk you through the process and take some of the work off of your plate.

Godfrey Group has been in business since 1970 and we have evolved and adapted with the trade show industry over the years. One of the main things that differentiates Godfrey Group from our competitors is that most of the companies in our industry fall into one of two categories, distributors or custom exhibit houses. Godfrey Group covers both of these designations. Distributors represent different wholesalers and generally can offer X, Y, or Z product with little to no customization available. Custom exhibit houses on the other hand, rarely sell portable displays, banner stand, etc. and instead they focus primarily on large custom exhibits and the logistics that go along with large custom exhibits. At Godfrey Group, we distribute products when we feel that the products meet a need for our customers, we manufacture some proprietary portable trade show display products in house, and we also build large custom exhibits in house. In short, our approach is that we want to work with every customer that has an interest in trade show marketing. Furthermore, we strive to provide every item that our customers need to execute their trade show marketing program. With almost 50 years of business experience, we pride ourselves on our customer service. We encourage our customers to call and let us walk them through our options in order to arrive at the best solution for their trade show booth. We answer every call live during our business hours. No recordings or automated phone system. We know that our clients are busy and when they have questions, we’re here to provide answers. We work with everyone from mom and pop businesses to start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. We would love to opportunity to consult with you on your trade show needs.

The amount of time that it will take to set up a display varies by the size and complexity. The most common trade show booth size is 10x10. Most 10x10 displays are portable displays meaning that the exhibitor can carry or wheel the display into the show on their own and handle the set up on their own. Many of the 10x10 displays can be set up by one person, and some like the ShowFlex displays can be set up in a matter of minutes. The Banner Stand Backwalls also set up very quickly and easily with one person. In general, almost all of the displays that are listed as fabric displays tend to be very quick and easy to set up. The hybrid modular displays and shelving displays are better done with two people and those are a little more involved and can take an hour or so, especially the first time out. With custom exhibits, again it will vary based on the complexity. Typically, once you get into 20x20 booths you will need to hire additional help or professional labor for the installation and dismantle. Godfrey Group will be glad to assist you with your labor needs and any advice or questions regarding your installation.

While shipping crates and shipping cases might sound similar there is a big difference in the trade show industry. Shipping cases are typically molded plastic shipping containers, often with wheels, that can ship by UPS or Fed Ex. Trade show displays that are listed at “portable” will almost always ship in cases. Crates on the other hand are large, typically wooden, containers that are custom built to hold larger exhibits. These crates often weigh upwards of 500 lbs with some weighting thousands of pounds. Crates must ship by truck and need to be handled with forklifts and pallet jacks. For exhibitors with custom displays that require crates, we offer storage in our North Carolina warehouse.

Drayage in the trade show industry is a material handling fee that the exhibitor pays to the company that is responsible for receiving shipments at the show site or the advance warehouse. Exhibitors who carry/wheel in their displays are typically able to avoid any of these material handling fees. So typically exhibitors with 10x10 exhibits and some 10x20 displays are able to avoid drayage charges. However, exhibitors with custom exhibits that are crated or palletized, will typically have to pay for the material handling for their properties to be received at the show site or the advance warehouse. Typically, these charges are based on 100 lb increments. For example, it might be $85 for each 100 lbs. with a minimum of $85 per piece received. So it the exhibitor has two crates at 900 lbs each (1800 lbs total) the drayage costs would be 18 x $85 = $1,530. One key factor in limiting drayage costs is to try to minimize the number of items that are shipped to the show site or advance warehouse. Since there is a per piece minimum charge, $85 in the example here, it is best to palletize boxes and materials rather than shipping them independently. This is also beneficial to keep smaller boxes for potentially getting lost at the trade show. Like the cost of the booth space itself, material handling tends to be part of the costs of exhibiting. Godfrey Group, as an exhibit house, doesn’t have anything to do with the materials handling costs as these come directly from the show, but we can assist with logistics before your show to try to minimize your costs.

The turn around time on a trade display will vary between standard items and custom items. See the FAQ article on the difference between standard and custom displays for more detail on that aspect. The process begins with selecting a design that will meet your needs. With the standard products that process usually only takes a couple of days to peruse our website and discuss various designs with our team to determine the best product for your trade show marketing. Once the design has been selected, the graphic files need to be created for the printed graphics. Most of our standard, portable trade show displays can ship within three to seven days from the receipt of the graphic files. With custom exhibitis, the design process typically begins with a conversation about your booth space, how you envision interacting with potential customers within the space, etc. Once we have some of the basic information we will create a custom 3D rendering featuring your colors and branding. We often will revise and rework the renderings a couple of times to fine tune the exhibit design to your liking. Once we arrive at the final design, we proceed with estimating which typically takes a little less than a week. Once the display is purchased, the production phase for a custom exhibit tends to take two to six weeks to produce depending on the complexity of the design and the time of year.

Future FAQ answer

Trade Show Shelf Displays