Through the Looking Glass
People are fascinated by hand-blown glass. It's why millions flock to the island of Murano in Italy's Venetian Lagoon every year to watch glass blowers in action. And it's why New York-based lamp maker Niche erected a display that brought the intricate process behind its products to light at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair. Niche knows that the artistry that goes into its hand-blown glass light fixtures is what distinguishes them from comparably inexpensive, mass-produced wares. But since it's impossible to bring 1,000-degree ovens onto the trade show floor for a glass-blowing demo, the company needed to find another way to reference the process. The solution: A simple, elegant display featuring finished pendants hanging over 15 of the hinged, wooden molds used to cast them. The molds helped convey the products' handmade status and piqued the interest of passersby who often stopped to learn more about the art of glass blowing.
According to the company's own tagline, Terra Speakers provide "great sound in all locations." So to drive that clear message home at the Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association show (CEDIA), Terra Speakers set up an eye-catching aisle-side display. The firm positioned a green outdoor speaker, which played music throughout the show, inside a Plexiglas box and then filled the box with ice. The box, then, was placed over a 4-inch-deep Plexiglas container filled with water. Here, a small fountain in front of the speaker showered it with a nonstop deluge during the event. In a glance, passersby took in – and believed – Terra's product claims that its speakers do indeed provide great sound in even
the most unfavorable of conditions.
Whether due to mergers, acquisitions, or internal mandates, companies sometimes change their names and alter their identities. Marketers are then charged with establishing
the brand and generating awareness for it – and news of the previous name's demise – within the market. That's exactly the situation Royal Building Products found itself in shortly before GlassBuild America. In an effort to inform show attendees that the firm would now be known as Energi Fenestration Solutions, marketers crafted a giant letter "E." Positioned aisle side, the roughly 3-by-8-foot 3-D letter featured internal lighting to draw attendees' eyes; meanwhile, graphic text on both sides announced the name change. In addition, vinyl graphics featuring Energi's logo and key product messages were scattered atop the "E." The unique strategy not only captured attendees' attention but also communicated the company's name change in a memorable manner.
To spotlight the architectural qualities of its chairs and to illustrate how their lines can assimilate into various aesthetics, Mity-Lite Inc. devised an ingenious display at Boutique Design New York. The firm displayed five different chairs, each of which sat atop a box covered with black and white photographs depicting the architectural style reflected in the design of the showcased piece. For example, the company's Ashlar chair sat atop a box featuring images of Federal-style columns, and an accompanying placard explained how the stately symmetry of the Ashlar reflects that style of architecture. The simple presentation offered a clean, clear message to passing attendees.
Hoping to draw attendees into its booth space to learn more about its laser-projection systems, Lightspace Ltd. crafted a magical display at the Live Design International show in Las Vegas. Prior to the show, Lightspace secured the faux genie lamp used as an attention-getting prop when then-businessman Donald Trump opened the now-defunct Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, NJ. Displayed on a 3-foot-tall pedestal, the roughly 3-by-3-foot lamp seemed to glow in a warm orange hue, courtesy of internal light projected through various cutouts in the lamp's exterior. Nearby signage informed passersby of the lamp's origin and explained that if they rubbed the lamp and dropped a business card inside it, they'd be entered into a drawing to win a Lightspace product.
When it comes to press kits, flat is forgettable. On the other hand, any lumpy, dimensional kit stands out – and tempts journalists with the possibility of free samples inside. Illustrator Janis Lillian took advantage of that truism at the Surtex show in New York by designing a tubular press kit. Wrapped inside of one of her signature prints, the mailer featured stickers on each end cap with the illustrator's URL and booth number. Inside the kit was a menagerie of samples, a pouch of candy, a branded keychain, and a tri-fold brochure featuring Lillian's past projects.
Effective exhibit graphics attract attention, brand a space, and convey key messages. BackTrack Inc., which provides background checks, accomplished all three objectives with its graphics at the 2016 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Annual Conference. A pair of large illuminated graphics featured different stock images of what appeared to be happy, smiling people, each holding his or her own sign bearing an unexpected admission, such as "There's a warrant out for my arrest." The juxtaposition of the troublesome messages and professional appearances helped to underscore the fact that you can't judge a book by its cover while reinforcing the need for BackTrack's services.
As the Shoes Turn
Despite the fact that shoes help us get around, most of the footwear displays at Magic, a fashion-industry trade show in Las Vegas, are completely static. Not so at the exhibit for G. H. Bass & Co., a subsidiary of AM Retail Group Inc. The shoe manufacturer affixed a colorful assortment of more than two dozen of its famed Weejuns loafers to a rotating disk atop a wooden drum, then placed the kinetic element right by the aisle. The unexpected movement and rainbow-like colors attracted passersby like shoe fanatics to a Jimmy Choo sale and left no doubt the company's wares are made for going places.