With SURTEX and the Licensing Expo coming up, many artists are wondering and comparing notes about how to set up a booth, what to print and where to print.  Here are a few suggestions – if you have others to share, by all means, leave them in the comments!

Option:  Print your art at home.

The first few trade shows I did I printed all of my art at home on a large format printer (largest paper size: 13″ x 19″)  I then hung many images in my booth to create the look I wanted.

Option: Have larger banners printed.

About 3 or 4 years ago (can’t remember!) I changed to the banner method.  It is much faster to hang 8 banners than print & trim lots of smaller images at home and then get them all lined up and hung in my booth.

So where do you get banners printed?  There are many, many options – simply head to Google and type in “trade show banners” and you will have more choices than you will want to investigate.

Personally, I’ve used UPrinting.com for vinyl banners in the past. Other artists have recommended HalfPriceBanners.com.

Last year I changed to Office Depot – I have my banners printed on glossy paper and the color comes out great.  I do go in sounding a bit high-maintenance asking them not to use rubber bands (they did that last year and it ripped the bottom of 2 of the banners) and this year I had to add, “please don’t use paper clips” as it scratched the color.  I ask them to roll up the banners and wrap recycled paper around them and tape it – that way the sides and ends don’t get messed up.  As you can probably guess, these paper banners are more delicate than vinyl but they also weigh less for transport or shipping and show the colors more vibrantly.

For more ideas and information about booth design, check out these resources:

Post by John Chester of Wild Apple on the SURTEX blog

Photo Gallery from the 2011 SURTEX show

Look around the Licensing Expo website at pictures

Find even more trade show prep resources at www.ArtLicensingInfo.com/shows.html

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed