Show Your Trade Show Stuff in the Exhibit Design Awards

Awards for the best trade show exhibitsEXHIBITOR Magazine announces that the 27th Annual Exhibit Design Awards is now accepting entries. The Exhibit Design Awards honor the world’s best exhibition designs and present its winners with custom trophies, international coverage in EXHIBITOR magazine, and bragging rights.

If you produce trade show graphics it’s a good idea to get the details (view the entry form here for complete details) and enter. The Exhibit Design Awards are worth their weight in marketing and PR gold. The early bird deadline is Nov. 16, 2012 ($140), and the final deadline is Nov. 30, 2012 ($185).

Categories include:

  • Before and After
  • Double-Deck
  • Excellent Elements/Applications
    • Components
    • Graphics
    • Materials
    • Product/Service Demonstration
    • Technology
  • Experiential Exhibits
  • Green Exhibits
  • In-Line
  • Interactive Exhibits
  • International Designer
  • International Exhibit
  • Island
  • Lighting Design
  • Peninsula
  • Self-Promotion
  • Small Booths
  • Small Budgets
  • Use of Storytelling

The 2013 competition will be judged by eight of the world’s most well-respected designers, including:

  • Sean Duran, vice president for exhibition and design, Miami Science Museum, Miami
  • Tom Graboski, principal, Tom Graboski & Associates Inc., Miami Beach, FL
  • Maricarmen Martinez, AIA, principal, Upstairs Studio Inc. Architects, Miami
  • Efrain Osorio, president and creative director, Designapolis, Miami
  • Laura Paresky Gould, principal, Twain Creative, Miami
  • Emilio Perez, vice president, SB Architects, Miami
  • Annette M. Piskel, founder and creative director, AMPdzine, Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Michael Wolk, principal, Michael Wolk Design Associates, Miami

An entry form and additional information are available online at Or contact Linda Armstrong, senior writer and program manager, at

Classic Success Story: Keith Fabry Reprographic Solutions

Perforated window vinyl applicationsDuring the great digital color output revolution of the mid-90s, a host of traditional reprographic and pro photo lab companies died on the vine. The transition was difficult for any number of reasons, but much of it having to do with the question of when to write off the large capital expenses of the previous tried and true technology in favor of a less expensive but immature technology. It was not only a question of adopting new technology, but exploring and adopting new markets and clientele.

Keith Fabry Reprographic Solutions, which had been providing traditional blueprints since 1958, succeeded in that transition and thrived. Keith Fabry, based in Richmond, Va., not only transitioned, but held onto its core business. The company was able to expand its large-format digital graphics offerings while maintaining a steady reprographics business, emerging stronger and more capable overall.

Glass panel inkjet printed graphics
Keith Fabry applied LexJet Simple Low Tack Clear Vinyl, printed with only white ink on an Oce UV-curable flatbed printer, on eight glass panels for a US Army exhibit.

“In the late ‘90s we got an Epson printer from LexJet and a solvent printer and started doing banners and high-end posters. Then we got a flatbed printer [an Oce 550 GT with white ink and roll-to-roll] and are now doing aqueous, solvent and UV-curable printing, plus we have CNC routing equipment, three laminators, fabricating equipment with a small wood shop and full-time designers and installers on staff,” says operations manager Ricky Shannon. “It’s difficult to categorize what is essentially a modern sign shop, but we still do a lot of architectural printing, like building documents and presentation boards for architects. A separate building handles blueprinting and commercial printing, while here at this building we do large-format printing. Whether we’re doing museum or retail work, fine art and photography reproduction, special events, trade shows or displays for new home developments, every day is a different experience.”

Producing point of purchase displays
Keith Fabry recently showcased its display-building abilities at a point of purchase trade show.

Keith Fabry recently updated its aqueous inkjet printing capabilities with a 44” Canon iPF8300 from LexJet and does most of its fine art and photographic reproduction with the printer. Generally, the UV-curable flatbed printer is used mainly for rigid substrates and the solvent printer for outdoor projects.

“It depends on the final application: What they’re using it for, how much sunlight and temperature the project will take, and whether the material needs to be conformable, especially with UV-curable since the inks are too brittle to make curves, tight bends and stretch with the media. For higher image quality indoors we usually print aqueous. It’s a more lucrative area because the requirement is for higher-quality images on premium papers as opposed to high volume work,” explains Shannon.

Printing photographs and fine art
Show and tell: Keith Fabry shows potential customers the different looks that can be acheived for fine art and photography with LexJet Sunset papers.

Shannon says his favorite inkjet materials for high-end work are LexJet Sunset Photo eSatin, Sunset Photo Metallic and Sunset Fibre Gloss. “My favorite is probably the Fibre Gloss. It’s a good all-around paper, and I like the fact that there’s the slightest texture that shows through. I also like the Photo Metallic. I wouldn’t call it gimmicky, but if you’re looking for something non-traditional with a lot of pop, it’s a great choice,” says Shannon. “We print the Photo eSatin more than any other aqueous material. We find higher end photographers and artists that are re-selling their artwork prefer these nicer papers. For some of those projects we work through local frame shops where they’re packaging the artwork and contracting us to print it.”

Shannon adds the Keith Fabry prints for a client base that ranges from local college students to national franchise accounts, but it’s much more than simply printing. With its design and fabrication capabilities, Keith Fabry can take on practically any advertising or promotional project and is not afraid to do so.

Installing banners on a building
Keith Fabry not only designs, builds and prints, but also handles large installations like this giant banner for a local private school.

“Our willingness to try new things and constantly expand our offerings – basically our lack of saying no – can get us into trouble, but it’s helped us grow a lot. We have clients who come to us because they know we can find a way to make their ideas happen,” says Shannon.

Design, Print, Build: A Masterpiece in the Park

Essyx Design + Fabrication does exactly what its name implies, and everything in between, which is why Warriors’ Path State Park in Kingsport, Tenn. turned to the all-in-one design-build graphic company for its interactive displays.

Eleven displays dot the walking paths in Warriors’ Path State Park, informing park goers about the flora and fauna that populate the park. The displays were built and installed by Essyx and include any number of interactive features, also built by Essyx.

The main print that provides the primary information is embedded in a layer of epoxy. Essyx used LexJet 8 Mil Production Satin Photo Paper, printed on the company’s HP Designjet 5500. “We used the Production Satin because the paper is very economical and it’s easy to work with in production,” says Christian Schmid, graphics manager for Essyx. “We sent out the print for the epoxy treatment, but it’s the only piece of the project we subbed out.”

The paw prints, hoof prints, leaves and other dimensional pieces attached to the face of the display were fabricated in-house with a type of modeling clay. Essyx made a resin cast from the clay pieces and then sanded and painted them.

Some of the displays also feature sound. Users can push a button to hear the animals speak in their own wild language. Schmid says that the displays have taken a beating but have withstood far more abuse than the typical park sign can handle. “Kids are especially tough on displays like this,” says Schmid. “Because of the interactive nature of the displays we had to make them as weather-proof and vandal-proof as possible.”