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  • Booth Designs at Comic-Con

    Alright, so I'm back friends! If any of you went, I was dressed up as The Red Umbrella from the Pixar short film, "The Blue Umbrella".

    Anyway, I have some pictures here of great booth designs from the biggest pop culture & comics convention in the world, and I started to notice a pattern. There were a lot of BOATS this year. Boats and Pirates. That seems to be a running theme for 2013.

    Ubisoft

    The next addition to the Assassin's Creed saga is number "IV", featuring a pirate assassin named Edward Kenway. Ubisoft docked a pirate ship right behind the Convention Center, instead of a booth, but that didn't make it any less accessible. Attendees could walk right onto the ship, explore it's reaches, play some AC IV demos, and meet with the creators. Not only is this a fantastic idea, but it was one of the biggest things I've ever seen at Comic-Con.

    Fun Fact: I seriously believed that they towed in an actual ship just for the occasion, but the ship looked mighty familiar. Turns out, it's the San Diego-famed floating museum called The Star of India. Many kids around San Diego, including myself when I was younger, usually get to spend a day on the ship or even sleep over to see what sailor life was like. Kudos to Ubisoft for taking advantage of a great opportunity.

    Starz

    Apologies for the blurriness, but this is the Starz booth. This year they decided to feature a brand new show coming this fall, called "Black Sails". And you guessed it right...it's about pirates. Just behind the lady statue and the mast was a couple of pirate actors and a prop of a pirate lashed to the mast, and clearly dead. It was fake, but still eerie, and definitely set a tone for the coming show. Up above, they had some jumbo-screens to show the trailer. I couldn't hear a thing, so I waited until I got home to watch the trailer.

    ABC

    There's no doubt that ABC's "Once Upon A Time" is a guaranteed hit, and it's coming back with another season with a vengeance. Now, I personally haven't seen the show, but my sister informed me that this last season ended with main character, Emma Swan, forced to ally with the Evil Queen and Hook in order to rescue her son from Neverland. So, it's safe to say that this is probably Hook's famed ship. I don't think this one was accessible, but it did have screens along the side for the new season trailer, like the Starz booth.

     

    Like what you see, but a little tired of pirates? Yes, I feel the same. Well, not to worry, because next time I'll be featuring a few new booth designs: Lego, The Walking Dead, and the Ender's Game Experience outside the Convention Center. For all your trade show banner and booth needs, check out out specialty Trade Show Banners page!

  • A Lesson from Comic-Con

    Today marks the beginning of Comic-Con once again! Sounds the trumpets please!

    San Diego is my hometown and it always makes me giddy when Comic-Con week rolls around. It’s as though the whole city gets dressed up in all it’s nerdy best to visit the chapel that is the Convention Center. The effects of all the new visitors can be felt as far north as Carlsbad, and it never gets old.

    But it’s not just the attendees that are putting on their best costumes...the vendors have rolled up their sleeves and gotten down to business in booth design. In fact, some designs become so iconic at the con, that they are described by the booth then the actual brand name. For example, "Hey I'll meet you by Adventure Time!", "Meet me at The Walking Dead!" Sadly, I can’t put pictures up just yet, but I will as soon as I get back!

    But let’s talk about what’s been revealed so far:

    AMC - The Walking Dead

    AMC has once again returned with The Walking Dead themed booth (definitely going to check it out!). Judging from the pictures already online, this new booth design is incredibly interactive with the fans! Its a recreation of the prison, where the protagonists were last hiding out at the end of Season 3. There’s a guard tower, the room of Walker heads floating in tanks, and some zombie actors to take pictures with! No word yet on if they’ll stay for the whole weekend, but here’s to hoping. What I love most about this is how they recreate a set that fans have come to recognize immediately. It’s a smart move, going outside the standard square booth with some plastic zombies like last year. The more you can connect with you audience directly, the more they’ll return that back to you.

    Cartoon Network - Adventure Time

    Cartoon Network’s hottest show has to be Adventure Time. And much like in previous years, it’s back with a vengeance, taking over the booth. The entrance is the entire Ice King’s head! You walk through his mouth to get to the good stuff. Again, it connects with their direct audience, albeit without the zombies.

    Mega-Booths!

    One last fan favorite at Comic-Con are, of course, the “mega-booths!”. These ones, including AMC’s and Cartoon Network’s booths, are designed to be seen above and beyond your field of vision. You can spot that sign, that tower, that screen above them from anywhere in the Exhibit Hall. These giants include the Nickelodeon booth, Fox, Lego, Lucasfilm, and the list goes on.

    Stay tuned next week! I’ll be posting my pictures and walking you through what sets all the booth designs apart, as well as some trade show do’s and don’t’s. And take a look at our Trade Show Banners to get an idea of what's in store.

  • Upgrade Your Industry with Trade Show Banners!

    Expos, trade shows, conventions, and conferences....what do they have in common? Businesses and trading ventures! These gatherings are the hub for the up-and-coming and everything new, so spruce up your appearance and connect with the conventioneers with a trade show banner.

    Portability is Key

    Trade show banners can vary between your standard hanging banner, such that can be seen on our Custom Banner page, or a specialized type of banner known as a retractable banner

    Retractable Trade Show Banners

    Retractables are exactly as that sound: easy to assemble, quick to dismantle, and trouble-less travel. Each retractable banner is created with the same attention and design as any normal hanging banner would have, so there’s no need to change a ready design.

    These handy go-to banners comes with a carrying case, a stand and support clamps to keep your banner steady and professional wherever you go. With retractable banners you are guaranteed an easy and portable self-advertisement, the same investment that you can gain with a regular banner without all the hassle of assembly.

    Other Trade Show Banner Accessories

    If a retractable banner doesn't fit your bill, then take a peek at our standard banners. No matter where your conference or trade show is located, your banner will be guaranteed to last outdoors and in. Each banner comes with grommets for hanging or pole pockets for standing up.  If your event is outdoors, we recommend wind slits to endure those breezy days.

    Creativity Slumps

    Can't Photoshop if your life depended on it? Call us up, and we’ll help you out!  Let our creative team take a look at your design and help you determine what size would best fit your design. Trade Show Banners are a fantastic investment for your business, especially when you’re frequently on the road convention-hopping.

  • Trade Show Booths: The Best of CESs Past

    Starting tomorrow, January 8th, the Consumer Electronics Show will be in full swing in Las Vegas, NV. My father, a geek in every right and proud of it, and being of sound mind and body, has said that CES is like the Comic-Con of tech junkies everywhere. After all, in our house one only has to look at the living room table to find piles of Consumer Electronics mags. But is he right?

    I wouldn't know, but what I do know is that trade shows and conventions are spectacular due to one thing: fantastic booth design. I said it, folks. Forget the freebies and product placements for a moment, will you? When you go to a convention you will always gravitate towards the most attractive booths to your eye, whether you know it or not. It may be some company you've never heard of, but "by golly that flying prop looks amazing. I want to see what it is!".

    I've gone back into the archives of CESs past to bring you some truly amazing vendor booth designs. They've got lights, they've got hanging banners, they've got more screen space than a stadium-size jumbotron. They sparkle, they shine, they tempt you with free demos. Let's go:

     1) Intel, 2008

    I...what IS that? A towering spiral of laptops? Who thinks of this? Regardless what I think, this is pretty sweet. And that blue lighting just makes it look all the more ethereal. Bravo.

    2) Samsung, 2012

    Not only is the sheer floor space a relief, but that ceiling decoration...wow. Samsung displays they're visionary might with tons of television screens and what look like reflective mirrors(?). I could be wrong. But in any case, I would totally be a slack-jawed spectator, just watching that for hours.

    Man, I wish Comic-Con had space like that....

    3) Samsung, 2010

    Okay, I take that back. THIS is even more awesome than Samsung 2012's booth. The shape of the room, the way it looks like curtains into another world, the countless screens...hats off to you, Samsung.

    4) Griffin Technology, 2012

    Now for something completely different. How nice and homey, and (almost) away from all the blue tech giants.

    5) Microsoft, 2011

    It looms over the attendees like a god, and has the floor space to boot. Also, they put all their products at eye level, unlike Samsung where you have to crane your neck.

    Well, there you have it! My top five favorites after scouring the histories of the Consumer Electronics Show's for the best booth designs. And as CES 2013 is about to kick off, stay tuned here, where I'll be posting a look at this year's best designs.

  • Beyond the Banner: Trade Show Booths

    Banners and signs are exceptional forms of advertising, but if you're a branching business, chances are that you'll be attending some sort of trade show or convention in the future. These gatherings of geekdom and community are breeding grounds for new customers: through demonstrations, giveaways, and most of all, attractive booth designs!

    No two conventions and trade shows are alike, just like no two businesses are the same. The thing to remember is to craft your booth specifically to your business, so that it can be instantly recognized on and off the exhibition floor. When people are searching for your booth, they're not always going to think "it's next to so-and-so". A quick search is more along the lines of "it's by so-and-so, with the hanging purple cloud prop".

    Let's take a look at some examples:

    Arch Insurance Group

    Here is Arch Insurance Group. The first thing you notice are those jagged (almost hazardous!) props that shape their booth. It's eye-catching, practical, (but not too literal to their company name) and not opulent. If you'll notice on the ground, the white mat is their designated area. An important note: when designing your booth, always stay within the confines of your area! Encroaching on the neighbors is just as annoying in the hall, as it would be in the suburbs.

    XBOX

    I believe this was taken at E3: Electronic Entertainment Expo, so it's not surprising that XBOX was given such a wide area. What I appreciate about this booth, and can be applied to yours, is breathing room. Notice the large walkway down the middle of the gaming demo monitors. It's wide enough to fit another set of walled monitors, but they chose not to do that. At conventions and trade shows, it's easy to feel claustrophobic, so a design that includes a wide expanse to simply stand and look around at the latest products, is a god-send to a tired conventioneer.

    Elle

    Elle is not the only one to utilize the 'privacy' booth design. It's ingenius, really, and has been used by make-up and other fashion brands at conventions. It creates an intimate, immersive environment for your customer, and even provides a place to sit down, and maybe discuss some new products. It also gives the customer a feeling of exclusivity, like a VIP, and Elle makes sure that their booth reflects the care that they want to give to each individual who walks in.

    So, there you have it! A few broad examples from different occasions, just to give you a range of the possibilities that you can do with your next booth design. Don't forget, although a booth may be well-designed, it'll be easier to find with a hanging banner or sign!

  • A Guide to Using Banners and Other Advertising at Conventions: PART 3

    PART 3: Extra Tidbits to get you Started!

    We’ve talked about different styles of booths and now let’s talk about what you can put on your booth or advertise about it. These are just suggestions, so I don’t want to dictate what you put on display.

    “Free” is a word that everyone loves! These don’t have to be extravagant, but something small and versatile such as buttons, stickers, or patches. People will collect these, tell their friends and bring more people to your booth, where the rest of your beautiful art is displayed!

    You can also make postcards or business cards that have your websites, social media links, or other relevant information to showcase your art.

    Collectibles!

    Having collectible items would be beneficial to you as well. Such as art sets, button sets, etc. If you start a tradition of featuring some new item every time you go to a new convention, you’ll have plenty of visitors (including repeat visitors)!

    Label Your Prices

    There’s nothing like awkwardly walking up to your favorite artist and asking how much something is, only to find out it’s beyond what your wallet can handle. Avoid the awkwardness with your fans and make a display instead.

    Try not to use Post-it notes or sticker labels, but rather something more professional looking, like a small sign or a banner. Making a sign leaves more room for interaction with your fans and the fun questions that you can answer. It doesn’t have to be boring either! Spruce it up, decorate it and make it your own!

    Embrace Your Pop Culture

    To get the people’s attention, showing something familiar like pop culture characters could draw people to your booth. For example, when I went to Anime Expo, it was right after the “Avatar: The Legend of Korra” finale and I can’t even begin to tell you how much Korra fanart was in Artist Alley alone. Most of the artists were fans of the show, sure, but they strategically put the Korra fanart before some of their original pieces to draw the hardcore fans to their booth. This is a good strategy, and by no means demeans your artwork at all! It’s all about acknowledging the trends of the day. Not only will people come to see their favorite characters done in your style, but they are more likely to stay and look at your other art in the meantime. It’s the bait that draws them in!

    Advertise Ahead of Time!

    No doubt, most of you who are reading this have a website, a Facebook, DeviantArt, Twitter, Tumblr, Blogspot, etc.! Use them to your advantage, the closer you get to convention day. Talk about your freebies, your collectibles, or any other tidbits you plan on selling at your booth. Use a physical sign, like a banner or a flag, so your fans know what to look for when trying to find you in the Artist Alley!

     

    The End!

    So that’s it! That’s all I got to give. Above everything else: HAVE FUN. These people love you. Even if strangers only stop to look for a little while, the fact is that they stopped to see you. And that will speak volumes about your art.  

     

  • A Guide to Using Banners and Other Advertising at Conventions: PART 2

    Seize Your Space!

    Take advantage of your space! Every artist is allotted the confines of a certain size booth. You get all the table space as well as above (although that may differ depending on the convention). Don’t be a jerk and try to spill over onto your neighbor’s table: keep it classy and stay in your cube. Many artists implement different techniques with what they have.

    The following pictures are pulled from Google, and come from different conventions. Let’s take a look at some booths and examine how they make it work in their own right.

    These lovely ladies have definitely utilized the space that they have!

    • Take a look at their table: every inch is covered with their merchandise, from cards to prints to postcards.
    • Observe the edges of the table: there’s a fold out screen where they hung buttons and keychains for sale, propped up some books and displayed prices. There’s also signs about who they are.
    • Above them is a PVC pipe arrangement where various prints and art examples are hung.

    Now, it’s understandable how some people could be “turned off” by how this looks. BUT let’s consider the advantages of such a loud display:

    • their art style is very clear, from the sheer amount of art on display. If someone happened to be passing through the aisle and something caught their eye on the PVC pipe hangings, boom! New customer.
    • Nothing is hidden: honest display
    • The more that’s on the table, the longer that someone interested will linger and possibly buy something

    Here is the lovely Mike Gray: I don’t know who he is, but I like how his booth is arranged. He has taken a more simplistic approach.

    • Background: He chose to show a simple banner with a cartoon figure of himself and his website.
    • Table: Signs (i.e. “Free Sketch!” etc), free candy??, a contact sheet clipboard, books, sketchpad, even a DVD player in the corner!Sides & Above: Nothing other than a button/magnet board
      • Tables like these typically feature albums with all their art stored inside, rather than hung up like the other booth example.

    This is a “comfortable” booth: not too loud, but not quiet either. Some advantages:

    • Approachable, very open: depending on your style, it might behoove you to NOT be cluttered with so many hanging displays and busy table bits.
      • He also leaves room to draw where someone can see, rather than hide behind his sketchbook.
    • Display is clear, more geared to his professional work: he showcases some of his art, but not too much where it overloads the senses
    • The banner is advantageous: shows information that may not otherwise be shown on his other merchandise

    Now, here at Banner4Sale, we can provide you with banners specifically tailored for conventions and trade-shows. We recommend a Trade Show Banner, although those tend to run larger. A retractable banner is more practical for booth use.

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