Trade shows are all about showcasing an organization’s offerings. When it comes to the print industry, graphics need to stand out to make a statement and generate attention. As providers of display and graphic products and consumables, Agfa Graphics makes every effort to impress and find creative solutions guaranteed to attract sign show attendees to its booth.
At last year’s Specialty Graphic Imaging Association’s annual SGIA Expo, Agfa Graphics presented an application zone within its booth that illustrated its offerings under the guise of a simulated “Surf N’ Crab” snack shack. The snack shack featured vibrant graphics typically seen in tropical environments.
This creative booth took second place in DPS magazine’s annual Innovation of the Year contest, which occured this Winter.
“Our goal is to show our customers real world applications,” says Deborah Hutcheson, director of marketing, Agfa Graphics. She says the project was a true collaboration of its team. “The first step was to think of five or six different themes that were colorful and would get people’s attention. If we can print it, we keep the idea. By process of elimination, we move items off the list. This time, we combined a surf shop and crab shack.”
Hutcheson says the team looked up imagery and decided how it could build it to come up with unique, creative applications that its customers could use as inspiration to expand their business.
Practicing What they Preach
The Surf N’ Crab application zone elements were produced in house using Agfa Graphics printing systems, consumables, and substrates. The project utilized various textiles, rigid substrates, backlit, and adhesive-backed and media. Equipment used included the Jeti Titan HS, Anapurna M2540FB, and Anapurna M3200i printers. Asanti workflow was also utilized.
Hutcheson says there were a few challenges, since they were printing to some unusual materials. For example, they had never printed on a surf board before. The board was made of walnut veneer plywood.
Also, the front of the shack’s bar was made of bamboo, an irregular shaped media with half-inch ridges. “We laid the panels out on the Titan printer, set the printhead height to clear the highest point of the uneven substrate, and we had one shot at it. We would have lost all of the panels if they didn’t print correctly, but they did.”
Hutcheson explains that the company printed pieces over a span of a few months from its demonstration centers in Branchburg, NJ and City of Industry, CA. “We produced the applications from three different Anapurna inkjet systems and two Titan inkjet systems,” she offers.
The turnaround, from the first brainstorm through installation up to the first day of the SGIA show, took about six months.
Hutcheson credits the success to a collaboration on all fronts. In particular, she points to the expertise of the company’s trade show manager. In addition to offering advice on the structures needed to hold or support the applications, expertise in managing onsite trade show logistics and the people that set up the displays was also key. “We are all onsite during installation to ensure the application zone delivered to our objectives,” she adds.
The Surf N’ Crab application zone hasn’t seen its last show, and will also be displayed with a few new graphics at the International Sign Association’s ISA expo this April in Las Vegas, NV. dps