Getting Graphic – Which Materials Are Best for your Display?

Even the most amazing trade show exhibit build isn’t going to have an impact if the graphics are dull. Killer graphics are what grabs people’s attention and draws them to trade show displays. Even with an existing booth, changing out graphics can give it a whole new look and a new life.


Recent developments in printing technology and materials are providing more ways to create interesting, compelling and effective graphics. So what is the best choice for your graphics? The info below will help you determine what will work for your custom trade show exhibit. 

Rigid Panels

Using rigid panels with printed graphics for your display gives you the most flexibility. Because there is such an extensive range available, you will be able to find a material that suits your needs.

Surface materials

  • Photobase paper is an excellent choice for detailed graphics or photographs. Available in a variety of finishes from glossy to matte, it is suitable for a number of printing methods such as ink jet or screen-printing.
  • Canvas paper is a heavyweight paper with a coated, textured surface that resembles canvas for an upscale look. It also lends itself to a variety of printing methods.
  • Vinyl is a very durable material that does not need to be mounted on a base material. The applications for vinyl are endless and it is the best option for outdoor displays.

Base Materials

  • Laminated panels are available in a range of thicknesses. A thicker panel will increase durability. They attach to the exhibit with magnetic or hook and eye tape
  • PVC sheeting is lightweight and has a satin finish. It’s easy to cut and bend and is good for outdoor applications.
  • Foam board is another lightweight option. A thicker board can be very sturdy without being heavy.  

Fabric Panels

Newer printing technology has made fabric a viable option for trade show displays. Fabric delivers an elegant appearance and can be washed and ironed making it a good choice for graphics that will be used more than once. Lightweight and compressible, fabric can also reduce shipping costs.  Graphics can be printed and attached by different methods.

Printing Methods

  • Dye sublimation involves ink bonded to fibers via heat transfer and is an excellent application for photographs. This process is only possible on polyester fabric.
  • Direct printing embeds ink into fabric with steam delivering crisp and clear graphics. Not limited to polyester, fabrics such as cotton or silk can be used as well.

Attachment Methods

  • SEG (silicone edge graphics) have a band of flexible silicone sewn into the edge of the graphic. This edge is then pressed into a narrow channel in an aluminum frame.
  • Edge bead is similar to SEG but with a flexible tube sewn into the fabric.
  • Pole pockets consist of a continuous pocket sewn into the top of the graphic. A pole is inserted through it and the bottom edge is secured with another pole pocket or weighted.
  • Hook and loop fabric can be used to adhere the fabric directly to a display.

With so many options for graphics printing, it can be overwhelming.  The experienced staff at Loran Associates has been providing exhibit design and fabrication for more than 20 years to hundreds of clients nationwide. Let Loran’s portfolio inspire you and contact us to discuss creating incredible graphics for your trade show display.

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