There have always been a lot of questions when the idea of using tension fabric exhibits during a discovery meeting with a potential or current client. Is this a viable way to exhibit at any particular show especially when the exhibit is on the larger side? Will it look good? Some of the inevitable first comments and strong opinions I typically hear focus on the perceived lack of accessories or wrinkle issues. The latter always seems to be at the front of most exhibitors’ minds. The “wrinkling” of fabric inevitably comes up in every conversation.
Let’s dig in and take a look at these tension fabric exhibits and get to know the strengths and weaknesses of these very flexible booth structures. Hopefully, this will open your mind and let you start imagining the possibilities these dynamic tension structures could have on your next event or upcoming trade show.
Why fabric structures are popular
As you might imagine, the popularity of tension fabric exhibits has grown over the last 10 years by leaps and bounds. Along with the interest in these fabric structures, the diversity and quality of the fabrics have grown as well. Where once we had the option of just simple cotton fabric, we now have some very flexible spandex blends that help eliminate the dreaded wrinkles while also holdin a design without looking washed out.
The benefits of using tension fabric exhibits
Some strengths of the modern-day tension fabric exhibit are that they have a nearly unlimited amount of materials to utilize; from block-out materials to elegant and translucent scrim. Most of these materials have levels of stretch to accommodate the structure they are used on. Very flexible materials will have less wrinkles though on the flip side are very heavyweight and block-out styles of materials which sometimes need some time to relax when unpacked. Any visual creases present after unpacking typically disappear once the fabric is under the stretching tension of the frame. For any stubborn wrinkles, a wand steamer is usually on hand to quickly smooth out the heavier materials.
How fabric structures can save you money
The reduction in shipping drayage fees is a huge reason why many exhibitors are interested in moving towards versatile tension fabric structures. What once would take 5 coffin crates now takes one, and cost-savings can be huge. Fabrics fold or roll into very small and tight spaces adding a soft barrier between other parts. They also tend to survive most forklift incidents that do occasionally happen when they are being unloaded for show or packed to head back to your warehouse.
Another money-saving aspect of tension fabric exhibits is the square foot printing costs in many cases can be reduced due to the speed and advancements in fabric printing. Those streamlined processes can be passed down resulting in a price per square foot that is 50% less than solid structure panels.
Some downsides to consider when using fabric booths
One of the downsides of fabric graphics can be when handled without clean gloves. When the exhibit graphics are put into place most installers are very careful, however, sometimes lighter colors can show soil marks if clean gloves are not used. The bright side is that most are machine washable and look as good as new once cleaned even by hand on the show floor. Make sure you follow the recommended cleaning instructions provided for the fabric being used. It is always a good idea to request proper cleaning instructions from your exhibit house if you do not already have them.
Many tension fabric structures need no tools to assemble
That is correct, you can assemble many full-size exhibits without the use of a single tool and that can save you time and money on labor. Hanging signs are a prime example of a common tension fabric exhibit structure that just clicks together and is then ready to be put into place by the venue labor staff. Many other structural elements work in the same way with the aluminum tube with locking ends that simply click into position. The graphics are then just slid onto the framework and zipped or together at a point that is not visible creating a seamless and visually stunning structure.
Great Examples from around the Web
You can view creative examples all over the web these days. Tension fabric exhibits are truly amazing and the only obstacle is the imagination of your team and the exhibit house you are working with. Here are some of the better examples we have seen over the years. These tension fabric exhibits are inspiring and eye-catching, to say the least!
We encourage everyone to entertain the idea of using tension fabrics for your next trade show platform. We will be posting more information on how tension fabric exhibits can be used for roadshows and kiosks as well to great effect!
Please contact your Blazer Exhibits sales representative for more information on these amazing and seemingly limitless trade show display options!