Make An Impact With Your Trade Show Display Graphic Images
By: Jim Deady

So, you’ve decided on the trade show display you think will best represent your company. And after deciding on the model, the trade show graphics you select are the next most important element to help you really stand out at a trade show – your graphics.

Just as you want your trade show display materials to be as professional as possible, you want your trade show display graphic images to be as bold, clean and powerful as possible. The steps to achieving this are quite simple, but require a good marketing foundation, some creativity to develop eye-catching graphics and a thorough understanding of how to prepare those graphics for use in your trade show display.

Here, we are going to focus on the last step – gathering information and preparing your trade show graphic for submission to the trade show display company’s production department. Each company has a different procedure which makes it essential you work directly with the company from which you purchased your display. Make sure you learn the specifics of each step of the design process, from submitting your graphics files to receiving a proof/sample of how the final product will look.

Below are some details to keep in mind before you call, so you can help make the process as seamless as possible.

• Minimum size – The files must be appropriately sized in order for the trade show graphics to work. If your image is too small, or the resolution of your photography is too low, blowing it up to a size that will fit your trade show display and accessories will result in a distorted or blurry image. Ask for the smallest and largest acceptable dimensions for your graphic images to avoid needless design steps with the design department.

• Lambda or Ink Jet - Lambda graphics produce higher resolution than ink jet graphics, but at a higher price. If you furnish graphics files that are a minimum of 400 dpi, you may be able to get finished graphics that are more than four times that size. If your budget is limited, you an ink jet graphics may be a better option.

• Color Match – Your version of royal blue may not be the same as the trade show graphic designers’ version of royal blue. And asking to see an electronic sample can be tricky, because the different settings on different computer monitors can distort the color’s appearance – and the same goes for printouts as well. Because of this, many designers use CMYK or RGB color models as standardized guidelines for choosing universal colors. Find out which ones your design team follow and choose a color that best represents your company from there.

• Fonts – It is recommended you include the font files for the different types of fonts used in your trade show display graphic images – especially if your graphic combines actual text files with graphic files to create one graphical element or file.

• Format – Should your trade show graphic be submitted as an Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Quark Xpress or InDesign file? Does the design department prefer a .tif, .pdf, .eps file or some other file format? Also, should you submit your materials on a CD, DVD, ZIP disc or upload it to a FTP site?

• Production Time – Begin your submission timeline by backtracking from the time you expect to receive the completed trade show display. Ask your customer service rep how long it will take the company to complete the trade show graphic production to determine when you should expect delivery. Don’t make the schedule too tight – you want to leave some wiggle room for yourself and the designers in case there are any obstacles or last minute details to be worked out.

Your trade show display introduces your company to trade show visitors and prospective clients before they ever meet anyone from your company. Your trade show graphics are the most important part of creating that first impression, and can make or break your image.

By discussing your graphics concept(s) with your customer service rep at the very beginning of the design process you can streamline the process to ensure your trade show graphic images will be the most compelling they can be. Follow these preliminary guidelines to save yourself and the graphic design team time and frustration.

About The Author

Jim Deady, founder of Showstopper Exhibits, provides online assistance with materials. The company specializes in trade show displays and accessories. Visit:

This article was posted on October 10, 2006
Return to Index