Tag Archives: Eco-friendly

High Impact Exhibiting: Bring Your Event Marketing into the 21st Century – 09/28/10

High Impact Exhibiting: Draw Crowds and New Business at your Next Event or Tradeshow — a workshop presented by SMPS Long Island as part of its Marketing Tools Series

Whether you’re a new or veteran exhibitor, you will learn how to take advantage of event sponsorships and tradeshows.

  • Avoid making the 10 biggest mistakes of exhibiting
  • Discover how to take steps to go beyond “talking green” to showcase your commitment
  • See — for yourself — why new display trends are worth noticing
  • Explore integrating new digital and traditional techniques that will lead to event success.

Pre-registered attendees receive a free exhibit assessment.

This workshop by Imprinted Originals is presented as part of the SMPS-LI Marketing Tools Series.

When: Tuesday, September 28, 2010, 8 – 10 AM
Where: RXR Building Lower Level Conference Room 68 South Service Road Melville, NY 11747
Cost: Free for SMPS, IABC & USGBC members, $25 for non-members


Note: Do you have event and tradeshow experiences — good, bad or “interesting” — in the architecture, engineering, and construction world?

I’d love to gather additional examples, so I can be sure to address specific questions from within this industry.


What’s the News about Tradeshow Exhibiting? Notes from TS2

I made my way to Boston a few weeks ago for The TS2 Show, also known as “The Tradeshow for Tradeshows”, one of two primary annual shows within the industry itself.

Since we are expanding our reconfigurable, island booth and rental offerings, it made sense to take advantage of what makes trade shows irreplaceable — being able to investigate new vendors and get an up close view of potential new exhibit products, to make sure they meet our standards for quality, impact and usability.

That effort was very successful — we have many exciting new product offerings.  We are still in the process of adding them to our website and in our “Introducing … ” new products blog category, but they are available now.

Exhibitors at this show include both manufacturers reaching out to companies to resell their products and companies like ours, looking for new and updating existing clients.  In addition, the show offers a great opportunity to check out what’s new, what’s working, and what should probably be avoided.

I will highlight some of my impressions from the show, as a way to share some current trends.

Illuminated Fabric Displays

There were wonderful examples of some of my favorite new products in use– illuminated fabric displays.  Created with beautifully “living” dye-sublimated fabric graphics, backlit and side-lit within handsome aluminum supports, these products provide a true high-end look at an almost unbelievably affordable price.

Sized in portable dimensions, tower and custom sizes — they can add emphasis to an existing booth or can be put to work in a central role within newly designed structures.

One example of this type of product — at a size perfect for highlighting a key message, introducing a new product or service, or simply reinforcing the brand visibility — can be seen here:  Double-sided Backlit Fabric Lightbox Display.

Note: there are also Tower and custom-sized versions available, not yet on the site.

Creative Uses of 10′ x 20′ Booth Spaces

An in-line booth which consisted of an approximately double-height backdrop was quite dramatic in a relatively small space. I thought its hodgepodge design, meant to show an array of effects, may not have made the best use of it, however.

Even more interesting, to me, were Island Booths created in 10′ x 20′ spaces.

One used its wood-colored flooring very much like an island, positioning at its center what would normally be a cabinet style display for the back of a booth. Props of lobster traps were positioned around the booth to support the theme which was nautical, also well represented within the display design.  Staff correctly positioned themselves facing in the different directions to engage with passersby.

Another 10′ x 20′ island booth was used to show off features of the exhibitors’ offerings using three distinct elements in a way that suggested a larger booth but left open spaces for visitors to walk in from any direction and engage in conversation with booth staff. This setup reduced costs involved in shipping, drayage and set up, while still projecting a much larger and very finished look.

Even the larger footprint island booths seemed to accentuate their open space at this show, rather than walling in their “turf”.  Chances are some exhibitors were given upgrades to larger island spaces, which could account for less “display” per square foot of booth, but the net effect was quite positive. It felt good not to be hemmed in, and allowed for more natural interactions.

Social Media on Tradeshow Floor

Professionals in the tradeshow, meetings and events industries are paying a lot of attention to social media tools, and the benefit they bring both to show organizers and exhibitors.  So of course there was a Twitter hashtag promoted by the show organizers, and used widely by electronic “participants” from afar and on-site.  If you do a search at search.twitter.com using #TS2show as your query, chances are you may still find comments being made weeks later.

I was also impressed to discover that the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center’s twitter handle @bcecnav was actively engaged in providing information throughout, alerting us to lunch hour, where there was free coffee, and when shuttle buses were available, etc.

The InZone

Then there was the InZone — a 40′ x 40′  space dedicated to gathering, entertaining and educating an interactive “hybrid” audience, made up partly of tradeshow attendees and partly those who watched via video feed and participated via Twitter and other online communities.

A professional tradeshow presenter (Emilie Barta, interviewed elsewhere on this blog) led conversations between experts and end-users about tradeshow and social media topics, especially but not exclusively focusing on the technologies and techniques which were making this experiment possible.  In addition, many of the participants who had previously “met” through networking using Twitter groups such as #eventprofs or #engage365 were able to have a well-appreciated face-to-face conversation.

This was basically a pilot for a concept that associations can use at their conferences, or an exhibitor seeking to create special “buzz” at an important show could implement.  There is great potential in this idea.

To see videos from the InZone, and learn more visit: http://ts2.3d-mediagroup.com/index.php .  And yes it  had/has its own Twitter hashtag #inzone.

I have yet to write a blog entry about my experiences participating in and helping create these kinds of hybrid events – but it’s coming!

Electronics and Event Technology

There were a range of electronic products for lead capturing, as well as interactive and 3-D displays for when it is impractical to bring actual products for demonstrations.  Many of these either used or mimicked iPad or Smart Phone technology.

There was also a product which provides Internet access for a reasonable rental fee — look out convention centers and exhibition organizers in the habit of overcharging!

I look forward to addressing some of these new products in a later blog entry.

Also Worth Noting

Let me mention a few other things that I believe are worth noting from the show, even though not brand-new ideas.

Not surprisingly, based on the work we’ve done for our own clients the last several years, the show was dominated by fabric booths and display components, including portable booths such as: Xpressions Snap, Entasi, and HopUp, as well as reconfigurable and rentable extrusion frames with silicon edged graphics (SEG).  There is good reason for that — lowered shipping and set up costs, ease of use, dramatic results and versatility appeal to essentially all exhibitors these days!

Though sometimes experts warn that using colored carpeting which contrasts with the show’s can create a barrier to attendees entering one’s booth, what I saw reconfirmed my experience that a well chosen color scheme which coordinates flooring with a booth’s graphical theme or coloring can have a quite positive result.

It is so easy to install one’s own wood-style flooring tiles now that there were several booths where exhibitors used it successfully to highlight their space.  It’s also worth noting that we now can offer standard carpeting and carpet tiles that are “green”.

What’s A Tradeshow Without Giveaways?

One odd thing I observed was a booth which made a very big deal about having barrels of beach sandals of different sizes to give away — but made no connection between them and any theme, message, or action item that I saw.  And I can think of so many ways to tie a message to those particular gifts!   It seemed to be a lost opportunity to create a deeper impression.

On the other hand, I will admit that a small part of my choosing to attend the show on the first day that the exhibit hall was open was an offer made by one of the exhibitors, “free flexible keypad for the first X visitors to our booth”. Despite the fact that I can get a sample of almost any promotional item for free or at a reduced cost, it set this exhibitor apart and motivated me even that slight bit more to get to their booth early enough to snag one.

The Boston Convention and Exhibition Center

This was my first visit to the new Boston Convention and Exhibition Center and from what I saw I was impressed.  They seem to be dedicated to providing a 21st century electronically-enabled experience — complete with Twitter handle and messaging mentioned above.

It’s also extremely handy to get to the BCEC from Logan Airport on the T via the Silver Bus Line SL1, and it only takes a few minutes.

Even though TS2 was smaller in size than previous trips, I found it very worth my while.  Participating in industry shows doesn’t just help us, it enhances our ability to support our clients exhibiting successfully at tradeshows.  I could only capture the tip of the iceberg here but I’ll be sharing more with clients throughout the fall season I’m sure.

Because someone will ask – the other major industry tradeshow is Exhibitor, held in March in Las Vegas and much larger.  I was disappointed this year to see that social media was not used particulary effectively by organizers or exhibitors in 2010, but I predict that will change in 2011.  If you are looking for implementation ideas, or help – feel free to reach out to us!


Deborah Elms is CEO and head of the Trade Show and Event Division of Imprinted Originals.  She is passionate about helping new and growing businesses, non-profit organizations and associations create and retain customers through the effective use of tradeshows & events.

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/D_Elms
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/deborahelms
Exhibiting Success: http://www.imprintedoriginals.com/blog


Not Green Enough For a Green Tradeshow or Event?

When is green not green?

Recently a client told me about a “green product” tradeshow for businesses to showcase for purchasing agents at a large local governmental facility.

When I wrote for information about participating, I received a reply that said that, based on our website, our products are not green.   I was flabbergasted.   Then I realized, it was just a matter of perception:  we’re not selling anything “solar”, don’t provide organic cleaning materials, and trees don’t get planted in the Amazon basin through our efforts.

Because we DO sell “green”.   The last several years have seen the development of many “green” or at least “greener” products for exhibiting at tradeshows.

What makes a tradeshow display product “green” or “eco-friendly”?

When one or more of the following are true:
  • Designed to use less materials, reducing both direct and indirect impact on the Earth.
  • Uses less or no VOC inks in the printing of the graphics  –  referring to Volatile Organic Compounds which give off toxic gas fumes.  Think of your typical “ink” smell.  Now, erase that smell, and you see the difference.
  • Replacing toxic PVC-based vinyl graphic panels (printed using VOC inks) with fabric material (printed using low or no-VOC inks).
  • Built with significant amounts of recycled materials  – e.g. plastic bottles turned into fabric panels and old aluminum within new extrusions.  This not only reduces what goes into landfills, it helps preserve natural resources that otherwise would need to  be extracted, prepared and shipped.
  • Many components can be recycled after use.
  • Designed-in flexibility allows components to be re-used instead of being jettisoned after one show, or used only rarely.  They can often be re-configured either for small 10’x10′ or 10’x20′ booths and as elements within larger island exhibits.
  • Designed to reduce weight, dramatically, which minimizes the jetfuel and gasoline required to ship them.  Not just by a few pounds but in many cases by half, three-quarters or even more.  Why set up carbon offsets when you can reduce the carbon load?
  • As a side-benefit of their re-configurable and light-weight structures, these display products generally require much less time to install and dismantle, reducing I&D costs, or removing them entirely.
  • Collapsible aluminum structures, constructed from smaller components, means smaller storage requirements too.
  • Easy adaptability.   A change in branding or message requires nothing more than printing and sending light-weight fabric panels weighing a few pounds, in what could be as small a package as an overnight letter!

As you see, many of our display products and the processes used to decorate them are directly and indirectly “green”, whether or not it is obvious.

So hearing about our “not being green” did make made me realize that there’s still a need – on my part and on the part of many people in the tradeshow and event industry – to explain that everything that is “green” does not need to contain solar panels.

In fact, I am surprised at the number of “green” businesses which exhibit at tradeshows using very un-“green” displays.

Looking to green your tradeshow booth or event display products?

The rep of “green” products, in any industry, is that they must cost more.  As you can see from the above list, even when products occasionally have higher up-front costs, many of the costs associated with shipping, storage, drayage and I&D are so reduced, that very soon, your earth-friendly products have become budget-friendly as well.

We are dedicate to helping our clients understand and act on green initiatives, in a cost-effective way, whether it’s a big push or an incremental-over-time policy change.

We’ve started coding products to make it easier to spot what is green, and why.  If there are any questions about your options, and how to move in the green direction –  we’re happy to help.

~ Look for an upcoming list of The Twelve (Easiest) Ways to Green Your Tradeshow ~

Deborah Elms is CEO and head of the Trade Show and Event Division of Imprinted Originals.  She is passionate about helping new and growing businesses, non-profit organizations and associations create and retain customers through the effective use of tradeshows & events.



Do you care about the environment? As well as your budget?

If you’re like many, you want to say yes to both, and yet believe you must make trade-offs between “being green” and “saving money” when it comes to trade shows and events.

There is a lot you can do that is “eco-friendly” without extra cost. Even where there are upfront costs, in most cases, they are offset by a lower overall cost of exhibiting.

And you may already be more “green” than you think! An increasing % of the products we’ve sold over the last few years had “green” components or processes, whether our customers knew it or not!

In addition, even where there are upfront costs, in most cases, they are offset by a lower overall cost of exhibiting.

In this tip, we look at:

  • What do exhibitors say makes a display “green”?
  • How can you know if products meet your “green” goals?
  • Doesn’t “green” cost more?


In its 2008 report “An Inconvenient Booth”, Exhibitor Magazine included the results of a survey of exhibitors on the factors they use in determining what makes for a greener display or exhibit product.

The following factors, ranked by their mean ratings, were considered to be the most important [based on a scale from 1, not at all important, to 7, extremely important]:

1.  Product design more efficient to ship (5.90)

2.  Whether the product has or avoids toxic or harmful components (5.68)

3.  Whether the product is made from products that are endangered or in short supply (5.63)

4.  The extent to which a product has a modular design, allowing flexibility and reuse of components (5.54)

5.  Product designed to consume less materials overall (5.45)

6.  How recyclable is the product (5.30)

7.  How much product is built from recycled materials (5.22)


For greener displays and products, look for the following characteristics:

Efficiency in design and shipping:

  • Constructed with new materials leading to greater flexibility in design
  • Reconfiguration rather than replacing entire booth for each show
  • Design and packaging for efficiency in shipping: fewer cases, which may double as podiums and can be shipped via UPS or FedEx

Manufacturing Processes which involve:

  • Replacing harmful chemicals with products with lower or no toxicity (i.e. using water-based solvents instead of high VOC chemicals)
  • Reclaiming scraps for recycling (aluminum, plastic or organic)
  • Reduced manufacturing steps & lower energy requirements

Components which are:

  • Recycled from post-consumer or post-industrial products, either fully or in part (i.e. EcoFi-based materials which use fibers made 100% from recycled soda bottles)
  • Recyclable – not thrown out after use, reclaimed and reused in creating other products (aluminum, plastic, Ecofi fabrics)
  • Renewable or Sustainable – built from organic materials which are replaced through natural or protected growth (i.e. bamboo, eucalyptus)
  • Much lighter, reducing fuel requirements for shipment and therefore leading to reduced “carbon” impact

Planning and execution which include:

  • Less energy-intensive lighting (low voltage or LED lights)
  • Reusable packaging materials such as blankets rather than plastic
  • Re-purposing of packaging, cases and crates as part of exhibits
  • Rental – customization hybrids
  • Local storage – rather than storing and shipping heavy booths to regional shows, designing appropriate small displays for local offices
  • Limited use of marketing collateral – printed close to the show instead of shipped, using print-on-demand, or handing out USBs
  • Taking advantage of functional, reusable giveaways made from recycled, repurposed, biodegradable or otherwise “green” materials
  • Using versatile exhibit products which reconfigure for different size booths, allowing re-use rather than full replacement

Being able to include any of these factors will increase the level of eco-friendliness of your trade show or event program.


The perception that “green costs more” is increasingly out of line. Often, the eco-friendly alternative costs no more or has become standard, as with most dye sublimation processes for stretch and tension fabric products.

Even when the upfront costs are higher, the overall cost of ownership is often lower, when all aspects of a trade show program are factored in.

Which components may cost more?

  • Some fabric products which use fibers made from 100% recycled bottles still cost more – but not all
  • Sustainable products such as bamboo come at a premium
  • Aluminum which contains recycled aluminum still costs more

Note: as products become more mainstream, prices are dropping

In what ways does “green” lower overall cost of ownership?

  • Lighter weight for exhibits leads to dramatic savings in shipping and drayage which quickly offsets additional upfront costs
  • Components are consciously repurposed instead of discarded
  • Easier setups lead to reduced staffing or hired labor costs
  • In our hearts, we all know that, in the bigger picture, the less impact we each have on the planet, the less time, money and energy will be required “fixing” our planet Earth later.

At Imprinted Originals, we’re happy to say – the products we offer are getting greener and greener, and the price points have become increasingly more budget-friendly every year.

As with an increasing number of conscientious display designers and producers, we are happy to help you balance out your requirements so that you can “do what you can” to do your part!