"trade show exhibit"

2015 Octanorm Design Award Winners

A big congratulations to our design and production teams for winning all categories in the 2015 Octanorm Design Contest on December 7th.  The contest is held every two years and looks at how Canadian exhibit houses integrate the exhibit system Octanorm in the design and construction of their booths.  The different categories vary by booth square footage and also includes categories such as non-trade show and exhibit concepts.  We are very honored that our designs were chosen - thank you Octanorm Canada!

Here are our entries & booths that won:

Just a snippet: Azure - Microsoft's 10'x20' booth rebranded

At the AGM in Toronto today: Microsoft's existing booth was rebranded for Azure.
With new LED lighting technology built into the wall we were able to play with the colours in the background.

From this...

Spa Booth

To this...

Octanorm Design Contest 2013 - a recap

Every two years Octanorm Canada hosts a conference for partners who use the German display system.   They introduce new extrusions & displays, present improvements they have made, host round table discussions, and also a design competition.

The rental booths (and some purchased ones) that we custom design for our clients are built using this German display system.  Unlike your traditional shell schemes provided by show contractors, most of our exhibits incorporate both rental and custom elements.  Unique laminates, custom millwork and customized lighting solutions, give our rental booths a look and feel that sets our clients apart from other exhibitors.

Here are some of the designs we submitted for 2013. 
We won for the 'Exhibits under 400 sq. ft.' & 'Exhibit over 1000 sq. ft.' :

For entries from previous years feel free to visit the Octanorm website: Design Contest.

Staples - Back 2 School prep

A sneak peek of the new booth Microsoft Canada is taking to the Staples Back 2 School event in Markham tomorrow.  It's hard not to love what we do!

Iceberg Sighting...in Las Vegas?

The Cold - the inspiration for an exhibit

With the weather we had in Toronto this past Winter, an iceberg sighting would not be impossible to imagine....but what about in Las Vegas?

Eberspächer, known as Espar in North America, brought the Arctic experience to the 2014 Catersource show at the Las Vegas Convention Centre.  Perhaps this cold weather, Polar Vortex and all, provided the inspiration for Espar's new booth promoting their Mobile Flex Cool units.

The units featured at the show are compressor cooling containers for refrigerating or freezing perishable goods transported in vans or cars.

An Arctic Experience

Together with the Espar team, we crafted an exhibit that gave their clients and prospects an unforgettable Arctic experience at the show.  Their new cooling units were the focus in the 10' x 20' booth space.  All the other details aimed to take their visitors off the trade show floor and into an environment that helped the Sales team better communicate the capabilities and benefits of Espar's products.

From colour changing LED lighting along the entire backwall, pedestals and platforms

to the shards of 'ice' (actually acrylic sprayed with frost) everything was considered.  These unique accents,  were used to display brochures & control units, surround the platforms, and provided dimension to the backwall.

And not to forget: the iceberg in the middle of the booth.

Sculpted, coated in fibreglass  and finished with an automotive paint - the iceberg although out of place in Las Vegas, was a feature component within the overall theme.

The Response

The response to this exhibit has been fantastic.  We are very grateful to Espar for trusting us with another one of their new booths.  It was fun developing and playing with their original concept to create this Arctic booth.  So, the next time you are at a restaurant, catering, or foodservice show, don't be surprised to see an iceberg.

A fresh new look for @ADP_CDA at #HRPA2014

With a 10' x 20' booth space at this year's HRPA (Human Resource Professional Association) Conference & Tradeshow 2014, ADP Canada updated their exhibit with a custom back-wall, some new full height graphics, raised logos & letters (a personal favorite) and if you look closely you will see the 'walk-in closet' a.k.a. storage room on the right of the booth (a close second favorite in my books).

Greenbuild has got me thinking about green exhibiting

I came across the link to the upcoming Greenbuild 2012 show in San Francisco and I found myself thinking about any changes, developments or advances when it comes to green exhibiting.  
Yes, we are an exhibit house and I feel like it is our responsibility to be a leader in this space, but like everyone else we have to keep educating ourselves.  
So...curious and excited, I did some research.

To be honest I did not come across anything that was as amazing as I had hoped.  However, I was still happy to find that there are more and more options for, and suppliers of:

  • Recycled Aluminum Extrusions

  • Bamboo products (flooring/infill panels)

  • water-based, low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound), and VOC Free stains and paints

  • Fabrics made from recycled materials

  • Graphics that are recycled, recyclable, or made from recycled pop bottles

  • Eco-glass (made from 100% recycled material) instead of acrylic

  • Eco-carpets

  • LED lighting instead of incandescents, fluorescents or halogens

  • Refurbishing existing exhibits

  • Recycling retired exhibit components

(to our blog readers - please feel free to share any green products for exhibits or trade shows that I have not yet had the pleasure of coming across)

You can check out other eco-friendly exhibit products from Exhibitor Online's 'Green Gallery' 

My feeling is that there are MORE products to choose from today - but I think it's how you manage your exhibit program as a whole that will have a bigger impact. 
I don't mean to sound cynical but I think 'going green' is much more of a lifestyle choice - and not so much about a single eco-friendly bannerstand.  That is why I think what Tom Bowman is promoting with his company  Bowman Global Change is the way we need to take on our green initiatives, they "...help organizations make sustainable transformations."

How can I talk about green initiatives and not bring up costs. I read a comment a U.S. exhibitor wrote about green exhibiting and he said that the only 'green' people see is the additional money they have to spend.  The Exhibitor Magazine survey confirms this:


'In 2007, 73 percent of exhibitors reported they would pay at least a 5-percent premium for Green alternatives, compared to only 60 percent in 2011. Furthermore, the generally higher cost associated with Green materials topped respondents' list of primary obstacles in their path toward going Green, followed closely by the challenges of a weak economy'

[Source: Exhibitor Media Group -  EXHIBITOR Magazine's 2011 Green Exhibiting Survey]

With that said, I'd like to focus our attention again to the overall initiatives we could take to create a more sustainable exhibit program.  A tweet just came through from the IDSA (Industrial Designer's Society America) sharing a seminar entitled 'Improving Products Through Sustainable Design'
"...Learn how to decide on the right strategies for optimizing a product’s life and end-of-life and how to get the most use out of the materials and energy that your product uses throughout its life cycle."

I guess that is how we should think of our exhibits or trade shows.  Not as a one time purchase - but consider your exhibit in the context of your overall Marketing life cycle.  I'm not saying that you shouldn't work with your exhibit house to choose the most socially responsible (and probably more expensive) materials and products for your booth - I'm just suggesting that you also consider the impact of shipping, number of staffers attending, printed materials for your show, and tackle these along with designing and building a sustainable exhibit.


I'll leave you with this excerpt from Invista's 'non-booth concept' press release for Greenbuild in 2008:

In lieu of shipping a booth and supplies to the show site in Boston, INVISTA created its exhibit with all locally sourced and reclaimed materials, based on a minimalist design. Defining the space was a 14-year-old carpet removed recently from a leading Boston-area university, which demonstrated durable performance and the environmental message of the Antron® carpet fiber brand, “Sustainability starts with products that last.”

Vintage furniture greeted visitors along with 1950’s style chalkboards that displayed brand messaging and graphics created onsite by an artist, all sourced locally. All booth materials were reused or donated to local charities after the show. The reclaimed carpet were cut into sample sizes and used by Antron® fiber consultants to demonstrate the lasting texture retention, soil resistance and stain resistance Antron® fiber brings to commercial carpet constructions

 [Source and full article: Invista / Officenewswire]

Staging your home? Staging your exhibit?

I often visit the Houzz site and love looking at beautiful homes, but I often wonder how those owners keep their amazing spaces neat, tidy and free from clutter. Of course most of these houses had interior designers hard at work and it got me thinking about an article I just saw posted by Freshome Design & Architecture; it was about home staging and the impact on the sale of your property.

With Toronto's housing market booming the way it is - I have experienced first hand what a difference it makes to stage your house for sale.  I'm not only suggesting for you to clean your home but have a design savvy friend help you de-clutter your space, rearrange furniture, or even go out and hire a professional stager.  Home buyers will not be able to look past all the 'junk' at the beautiful woodwork, the great pot-lights, or the beautiful kitchen.

I believe the same applies to exhibits.  I started to think about what booths we have done where staging played an important role in making the product or messaging stand out.

I want to share two examples.  The first is Microsoft's 'Home' exhibit for a Future shop event in Whistler.  They had asked us to help create an environment, that not only provided some space for a trainer to talk to a few attendees, but also allowed them to showcase their products in a 'home' setting.   This booth was very different from our usual 'corporate' exhibits and even though we did not go the traditional route of building a small scale house - there was still a lot of staging going on!

The second example I found (and we can't take any credit for the staging!!!) is from Mucci Farms

The first set of images were taken after our installation crews set-up the booth:  you have the carpet down, the exhibit structure up, the lighting, graphics, AV and rental furniture ready for the show.

You can see from the 'before' and 'after' that the booth is fairly plain until all their produce is showcased throughout the space.  The greenhouse vegetables are so vibrant in colour and the Marketing Coordinator did a fantastic job incorporating their product into the staging of their exhibit.   Cushions, vases, bowls, and other accessories were used to complete the look.

 I guess staging is not strictly for your home anymore!

If you want some tips on styling or staging your home (or even exhibit) - you can read the article

"Why Home Staging Could Give You The Edge in The Property Market"