Creating the perfect exhibit to showcase your products and services at a trade show takes a lot of work. You need to design eye-catching graphics and print them on high-quality materials that are going to compliment your business. Since trade shows serve to attract, inform, direct, and entertain, graphics are the best way to stand out from the crowd and achieve your goals. However, with so many types of printing materials available, it can be hard to decide which option is best for you. One of the first things you need to consider is how the graphic is going to be displayed at your event. Since most damage tends to occur during set-up and dismantling of exhibits, it’s important that you find something that’s strong enough to withstand mishandling by distributors and salespeople on site. You’ll also want to consider the impact the graphic will have on individuals at the event, what you intend to achieve with the graphic, and how many times you’ll be using it throughout the year. All of these factors will help you determine the best materials for your trade show graphics.

Popular Materials for Trade Show Graphics

While there are hundreds of types of materials that trade show graphics can be printed on, certain ones are used more often than others. The following are the most commonly used materials to showcase your company’s graphics.

Dye Sublimation Printed Fabrics

Today, one of the most popular materials used to display graphics in the trade show industry is fabric. Dye sublimation printed fabric graphics are lightweight, easy to pack and transport, and are able to be mounted and displayed in a variety of different ways. Some of the most common dye sublimation printed fabrics include:

– Silicone Edged Graphics (SEG)
– Pole Pockets
– Hook & Loop
– Edge Bead
– Tension Fabric
– Pillow-Case Fabric

If you have questions regarding any of the methods used to display or mount dye sublimation printed fabrics, contact the professionals at Impact Color today.

PVC Sheeting

PVC Sheeting is another popular material that’s been used for years. Some of the brands used include Sintra, Komatex, and more. PVC sheeting is a great material for exhibits as it’s lightweight and has a beautiful satin finish. It’s also extremely easy to cut, bend, and work with in general. There’s been a rise in direct printing on PVC sheeting over the years, as it’s a very cost-effective alternative to printing processes such as Lambda, Inkjet, and Lightjet. Another great material that can be used for direct printing is DiBond, also known as ACM board. DiBond has a PVC core overlayed with a white or brushed aluminum surface.

PSA Vinyl

PSA vinyl is a great option if you want to mount your graphics to a wide array of different materials. It can be easily adhered to aluminum, acrylic (Plexiglas), polycarbonate (Lexan), and more. If you’re looking for a great, cost-effective option, you can mount PSA vinyl to 1/8” thick Tileboard from Home Depot. This creates a nice white finish on one side with a hardboard back and is commonly used for shower wall applications.

Acrylic Sheeting

Acrylic sheeting has been a staple in the trade show industry for years and is commonly used for signage outside of events. An alternative to acrylic sheeting is polycarbonate sheeting.

Gator Board

Gator board is lightweight and has a beautiful finish that can be painted, laminated, and directly printed on. This allows for versatility in your trade show exhibit without high costs. While many people think that foamcore boards are a good alternative, they can be problematic for trade shows. Foamcore boards are easily damaged and not durable enough for the needs of many events in the industry. Instead, opt for gator board or any of the other materials discussed here.

Laminated Prints

Over the years, laminated Lambda, Inkjet, and Lightjet prints have been one of the most widely used materials for exhibits at trade shows. The thickness of each laminate varies based on the labs, but the durability of each piece increases as thickness grows. One of the most durable graphics measures 10 mil on the front and 5 mil on the back, providing your exhibit with strong, reliable graphics that can last for years. You can also use thin laminated prints for less durable graphics that you might only use once or twice. The great thing about this material is there are no set standards for thickness, so each graphic can be fully customized to your needs.

Backlit Graphics

When you want something that’s going to catch the attention of individuals passing by, backlit graphics are a great option. While Duratrans were the standard for backlit exhibit graphics for years, dye-sub fabric is considered a great, cost-effective alternative. It’s less expensive and allows for much larger printing jobs up to 12’ high with no limits on length. The improvements over the years have made dye-sublimation ink and fabrics the preferred choice for backlit trade show displays.

While the above are commonly used for portable and modular exhibits, it’s not an exhaustive list of materials you can use for your graphics—the possibilities continue to grow every day. As technology advances and creative minds flourish, new materials are regularly introduced to the trade show industry. The best way to highlight your company’s allure is to find a material that allows you to create a unique, custom exhibit that appeals to your target audience. When you create, build, and market a one-of-a-kind exhibit, you’ll ignite greater interest at your event and increase your ROI. Remember, structural design is only one part of your trade show exhibit; the materials you use matter too.

When you partner with Impact Color, you’ll stand out from the crowd with high quality printing on the materials of your choice. Check out our Online Trade Show Catalog for ideas on how to make your trade show or event a huge success. To learn more about how we can help you create a truly one-of-a-kind display, contact us today.