Short for 'dye sublimation', dye sub printed fabrics have had quite an impact on the Trade Show Industry over the last decade. There are still a number of applications where laminated graphics or rigid panel graphics are the best solutions for trade show marketing, however dye sublimation printed fabrics have taken over as the primary trade show graphic media. The print quality and resolution on fabrics are now equivalent to laminated and board graphics, and as an additional benefit fabric graphics will not reflect light and create glare as other medias will. Aside from the advancements that printed fabric have effected in the custom trade show exhibit arena, even the mainstay portable trade show display products, Pop Ups and Retractable Banner Stands, now utilize fabric graphics as often as laminated and paper graphics. The advantages that fabric has over laminated graphics and board graphics are many.
The largest advantage to fabric may be the portable and light weight nature of the materials. Printed fabrics pack down more compactly and efficiently than any other print media and therefore they save on shipping and drayage. Largely for this reason, many companies are transitioning from crated hard wall exhibits to the far more portable and light-weight aluminum frame structures with tensioned fabric printed graphics. From our perspective, this has been the largest trend in trade show displays over the past decade.
Durability is another tremendous advantage that fabric holds over other large format trade show graphic alternatives. Whereas laminated graphics can become damaged if they are bent or dinged, fabric graphics can be folded, rolled, or bunched up without concern as it is very difficult to damage fabric graphics. The worst case is usually that if the graphics were bunched and stored you may need to steam the graphic with an inexpensive hand-held steamer. Additionally, fabric graphics can be machine washed if they become soiled and dirty using mild detergent. This benefit, coupled with the fact that it will not harm the graphics if they get wet with rain, makes fabric graphics the ideal choice for outdoor events.
Another great attribute of fabric graphics is the world of opportunity they open for creative trade show exhibit design. There are many angles and forms that just can’t be achieved with any other print media than fabric. Tensioned fabric opens the door for unique shapes and trade show design elements that previously only existed in renderings and drawings.
Fabric graphics have revolutionized the trade show industry. Exhibitors can now display a cutting edge, modern design that packs down far more efficiently than previously possible, with both financial and environmental benefits. Fabric graphics are a win-win for exhibitors, designers, and trade show exhibit manufacturers.