Thursday, January 31, 2008

Exhibiting at Recruitment Fairs

This is the time of year when colleges and universitites are holding open days for prospective students and exhibitions such as Fás Opportunities and Jobscene are being held. So, it is worth considering what exactly exhibitors should do to attract potential employees.

One thing to consider is the type of person they
UCD Stretch Fabric Panel Pop Up Stand - small. are trying to attract - in the case of colleges, universities, design & marketing companies and retail stores, the recruiters might want to project a modern image or to stand out from their fellow exhibitors with an eye-catching stand like a stretch fabric display. These stands have the added advantage of the individual panels being very economical to change, so a targeted approach to different events can be acheived at minimum cost.

ICAI Swift Banner Stand
Conversely, those recruiting for accounting and consulting companies might favour a traditional display such as a conventional pop up stand or pull up stand with a carefully designed graphic incorporating a sharp photographic image.

IT and technology companies would do well to look at Aluminium display stands which can
Isoft Display with plasma incorporate flatscreens and computer elements so that they can showcase their strengths in a stand that looks cutting edge.

In all cases the general design principles listed here and here apply - for example, don't be tempted to list too much information on the stand - leave this to brochures and printouts, or preferably engage the prospects in conversation so you can pass on this info face-to-face.

Colleges in particular will often turn to hiring display stands for 2 reasons. Firstly, colleges often have a once or twice yearly requirement for a vast amount of stands to form booths and display boards for college open days. It makes sense to hire hard panels for these occasions
rather than shell out for purchasing theseDCU HArd Panels panels and then for storing them for the long periods they are not in use.

The second reason colleges might hire is that they have many different faculties and courses and so could avail of hired pop up stands with velcro-friendly panels - this means that graphics and posters can be changed as often as needed to accommodate the needs of various faculties. Of course this can also be achieved by purchasing a pop up stand with velcro panels.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Part Two of Display Product Guide – Pull Up Stands…not to be confused with Pop Up Stands!

Pop up and Pull up stands are often confused by customers, and even by some vendors who have come to the display business late in the game. But they are really very different, with different strengths and uses, as I will explain in this installment of the Display Product Guide…

Pull Up Stands – aka Roller Banners, Roll Up Banners, Roll Up Signs, Banner Stands, Banner Signs, Penguin Stands, Banner Displays, Pull Up Signs, Pull Up Banners, Portable Banners.

Pull Up Stands/Banners are so called because, to assemble the stand, a printed panel on a roller is pulled up from the base and hooked to the tip of a telescopic bar, so that it forms a vertical banner effect, and is self supporting.

In pure layman’s terms, these are long thin displays, similar in shape and size to a strip of wallpaper and they function like an upside down roller blind, where the ‘blind’ is actually a digitally printed graphic panel.

These stands are usually in the region of 2 metres tall and 80cm to 1m wide. For this reason they are compact and versatile displays and are popular for uses as varied sales presentations, exhibitions and trade shows as well as in-store displays, and promotional displays in bars, shopping centres and hospitals.

Another major advantage of Pull Up or Roller Banner Stands is the portability they afford the user. For this reason it is important to choose a pull up banner which is as light as possible – they range in weight from around 4 kilos to 8 or 9 kilos in weight depending on the materials and components used. They travel in a bag with a shoulder strap, and unlike Pop Up Display stands, these stands can easily be transported by someone travelling on foot or on the bus!

Compared to Pop Up Display Stands, Pull Up Banners have the obvious advantage of being about 10-15% of the price of a 3m Pop Up Stand. However they are obviously much smaller and have less of a presence, which can pose a problem for those wishing to avail of their portability and low price, but needing a backdrop or wide effect from their display stand. There is an answer to this and it lies with clever graphic design – 2, 3 or more pull up stands can be designed in such a way that they form a continuous image when placed side by side. This way, the stands form an attractive display about 2.5 metres wide, and often they can be used separately as well, giving you the utmost return on investment from these clever little stands.

Another thing to bear in mind is that these stands can be purchased with 2 rollers in the base, meaning the same stand can be use to promote 2 different products, events, faculties etc. Also with all the different brands and types of stands on the market, it should be possible to replace the printed panels at a reasonable cost as many times as you like.

So, these stands will never provide the sheer presence of a Pop Up Display stand, and they can’t support plasma screens, or be joined together to create an impressive 6m backdrop display. However the portability, versatility and low cost of these stands means they are perennially popular with literally every kind of business. Bear in mind the following when purchasing a Pull Up Banner Display to ensure you get the best quality and value for money.

Things to look out for when buying a Pull Up Display stand:

**Check the hardware warranty that comes with the stand – there should be at least a year’s warranty

**Check that if the Pull Up Stand becomes damaged, it can a) be repaired, b) be repaired cheaply or for free, c) where do the repairs take place (effecting repair time and shipping costs), d) can small components, e.g. spring, top bar, be replaced easily

**Check what the panel is made of – laminated paper panels are notorious for curling at the edges and cracking. A vinyl panel is often more durable and attractive

**Check the weight of the stand – is it light enough for you to carry comfortably over your shoulder

**Look our for stands with a stable base, without fold out legs which may add weight and increase the stand’s footprint

**A stand with 2 rollers in the base may be a great investment buy IF the stand is of a high enough quality to bear repeated use through the years

**Check the price to have a new panel added or a second side added to the stand

**Look for a stand where the telescopic pole is connected by elastic to prevent losing a piece

**Check that accessories such as spotlights can be added and that they can be transported within the shoulder bag

** Ask to see the Pull Up Stand in the flesh and to practice putting up the stand before you buy so that you can compare quality – these stands are on the cheaper end of the display stand scale but very cheap stands without warranties are a false economy as they will not withstand repeated use

Important Terms relating to Pull Up Banner Stands:

Panel – The printed panel visible at the front of the stand when assembled

Print – see panels

Graphic – see panels

Update on Our Move

Well, we are well and truly moved in now and impressed by the newness and size of the new place. However we have had continuous problems with our broadband lines. Each time one problems is solved, a new one crops up it seems. So please if you are having any difficulty sending emails to us or receiving mails from us please pick up the phone and let us now. Our new phone number is 01 8712300.

Friday, January 18, 2008

We Have Moved - At Last!

Applied Signs & Display have finally relocated to a new purpose-built premises in Clonshaugh’s Whilsborough Business Centre. The move to the 8000 square foot property will allow us to streamline printing and finishing processes and to increase production levels as well as diversifying our product and service range. A third of the building has been dedicated as show room space, where a 30 square metre reusable Custom Built exhibition stand will be on permanent display. The new property also boasts a state-of-the-art design studio and a multimedia training area, so these are aspects of the business that we will be looking to ramp up in the coming year. This move coincides with the 20th anniversary year of the establishment of Applied Signs & Display, which was set up in Dublin in 1988. Click here for a map to our new premises.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Part One of Display Product Guide – Pop Up Stands…not to be confused with Pull Up Stands!

I have been meaning for a long time now to get started on a comprehensive guide to display and signage products. There are a plethora of different terms used for various display stands, signs and materials, and if this causes problems for us working within the industry, I am sure it causes major confusion for customers who might understandably be unfamiliar with the jargon or technical terminology.

For example, ‘Pop Up Stands’ versus 'Pull Up Stands’ - these terms are used interchangeably these days, but these are two distinct display stands types with significant differences. Today in part one of this series I will focus on Pop Up Display Stands…Part two will contrast these will Pull Up Banner Stands, so stay tuned…

Pop Up Stands – aka Pop Up (or PopUp) Display Stands, Pop Up Displays, Display Frames, Pop Up Frames, Backwall Displays, Spider Frames, Spider Displays, Graphic Backdrops, Pop Up Display Systems

Pop Up Stands are an older technology than Pull Up stands and Banner Stands - they were invented in 1975 by Nomadic Display and are still hugely popular for use as exhibition stands, conference backdrops and stage displays and for press and training events to name a few. They can be curved or flat and range in size from about 1.2m wide to 6m +, but the most common size would be in the region of 2.4m-3m wide and 2.4m tall. After all these years, these stands may seem conventional and, dare-I-say-it, boring! But they don’t have to be – they can be used to create interesting shapes, different height displays and used with plasma screens or funky endcaps, (click to see the 'Esker' Pop Up Stand on the top right) to update the basic stand. See also ‘stretch fabric panels’ below for a thoroughly ‘different’ look based on Pop Up Technology. These stands have a aluminium frame work which ‘pops up’ to form a lattice-like wall, to which magnetic bars are attached and in turn fabric or graphic panels or ‘strips’ stick to the magnetic bars to cover the stand with a seamless covering. Often these stands are used with a full graphic covering allowing for an impressive photographic image to be displayed. However fabric panels can also be used in two ways – firstly, carpet-like Velcro Friendly fabric panels (alone or in combination with graphic panels) are used by people who wish to change the images or info on display quite often, or on pop up stands which are rented and need to provide a generic background for different customers. Secondly ‘Stretch Fabric’ panels can be used to provide a funky modern look – Pop Up stands with stretch fabric are much lighter as there are no magnetic bars and are quicker to set up as the panels stay attached to the stand even when it is packed up.

Things to look out for when buying or hiring a Pop Up Display stand:

**Check that the stand has cross bars (x-shaped bars) as these add greatly to the stability of the stand

**Check that the magnetic struts are connected for ease of use

**Check that if the Pop Up Stand becomes damaged, it can a) be repaired, b) be repaired cheaply or for free, c) where do the repairs take place (this affects lead time and shipping costs), and d) can small components, e.g. wheels on case, be replaced easily

**Bear in mind that if a Pop Up Stand has integral magnets rather than bars the whole stand will need to be returned to the factory for repair if the magnets become damaged or worn

**Make sure that other pop up stands can be connected to this stand in the future – allowing larger stands in different shapes to be created and adding versatility and length to the life of the stand

**Make sure that accessories can be added to the stand e.g. lights, shelves, plasma screens, showcases, backlit panels – You may not need them now but in the years to come it might be very handy & cost effective to add a plasma screen etc.

**Check the case in which the stand comes – do you want to split the stand into 2 cases for ease of lifting etc. or do you want an all-in-one case which can turn into a counter – you should have a choice of casing options

**These stands are available with two-year warranties and lifetime ‘no-questions-asked’ warranties so it doesn’t make sense to buy one that is not guaranteed

**Ask to see the Pop Up Stand in the flesh and to practice putting up the stand before you buy so that you can compare quality

Important Terms relating to Pop Up Display Stands:

Struts – the magnetic bars attached vertically to the frame to hold panels up

Panels – the ‘wallpaper-like’ strips that you hang on the stand to form the covering

Graphic Wrap – see ‘panels’

Skins – see ‘panels’

Pod – case that becomes counter

Tension Fabric - Same as Stretch Fabric - lightweight stretchy material which is digitally printed and attached to the stand in various configurations to create a 'patchwork' or overall look. Attached with buttons instead of magnets

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Trade Show & Exhibition Marketing gaining importance, as work becomes more computer focused

I read today on the Nomadic Display blog (recommended reading for anyone even remotely related to the display industry) that Trade Shows and Exhibitions have been gaining in importance due to an increased need for face-to-face marketing. It seems, because business people are increasingly confined to their computer screens rather than in meetings and personal interactions as has been the norm in the past, the opportunity to meet prospects, suppliers and customers face-to-face in a Exhibition environment has become an even more valuable resource. The article also quotes some figures which indicate that Trade Show marketing has surpassed print marketing in terms of spending in the US.

Click here for links to Exhibitions Lists and Venue Lists in Ireland

Friday, January 4, 2008

Planning a Training Event

Our first guest blogger, Aaron Downes of Optimum Training, gives his take on planning a successful training event, great info for those planning and budgeting for the coming year:

"A company serious about the learning and development of employees will invest a considerable amount of time in the planning of a training intervention. First and foremost it is essential to understand the organisations requirements, what are the training objectives (what performance improvement do you wish to see once the training is complete) and what metrics will be put in place to determine the success of the training.

A complete training needs analysis will enable the organisation clarify goals, set training objectives and provide potential solutions to the training need.

Training has the potential to improve staff motivation and build the skills to compete in today’s business environment. Therefore a training event must deliver above and beyond the expectations of the organisation and the participants to ensure return on investment.

The following checklist will ensure a successful training event;

  • Location/Timing – make best use of participant’s time!
  • Evaluation Process (Pre and Post) – Ensure targeted performance improvement training.
  • Custom Fit – Tailored training delivers on company’s expectations.
  • Reputable Trainers – Ask for trainer CV’s, look for previous experience.
  • Certification – Look for accreditation, ILM, HETAC etc.
  • Creativity/Innovation – What new learning methods are being applied?
  • Costs – The cheapest provider may not deliver the most value to your business.
  • Training Style – Look for a blended approach, trainer focused and learner focused.
  • Follow Through – Training will only be effective once behaviour in the workplace has changed.

Training and Development is about adding to a company’s bottom line, creating a training event which makes participants feel good about their jobs and has an impact on performance, ensures sustainable competitive advantage."

Optimum Limited specialises in the provision of Business and Management Training and Process interventions within the Corporate and Community, Private and Public Sectors. Our training programmes are designed to increase proficiency and competency in personal and business development skills. Our Business support initiatives anticipate and respond to the changing needs of our many clients.
As a preferred choice provider too many of
Ireland’s leading businesses, we have learned that the key to our success is putting their success first. Our focus is on building lasting partnerships that offer the company positive business outcomes and the individual a rewarding learning experience. Our commitment to quality is enhanced by the enthusiasm of our team and our recognition of the standards you set. Combining Innovation with flexibility, the Optimum Way
leads you to meet your challenges and achieve your potential”

To discuss your training requirements in further detail, please contact;

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Digital Printing - why it is used and what to bear in mind when designing & ordering Digitally Printed Display Panels and Display Stands

Digital printing is the method of choice for people in our industry for several reasons – firstly it is really, really quick, allowing us to produce graphics with a rapid turnaround time. Secondly it is much cheaper than screen or offset printing for doing single jobs, small quantity jobs and jobs where each version is slightly (or significantly) different. It is also a four colour process, and allows for top quality image reproduction, making it perfect for photographic or other detailed images. Furthermore it is great for large format printing and allows highly accurate digital or hard copy proofing without incurring much cost.

One thing to be considered with digital printing however, especially when used for display stand panels and the like, is that an exact colour match cannot be guaranteed unless all the material is printed at the same time. This means that ‘drop-in’ or replacement panels and new stands will not always match exactly the older panels or stands. However this should not deter marketers from using multiple and interchangeable panels with their stands, as this add so much functionality and value to their equipment – imagine a 5 panel pop up display stand (as is typically used at exhibitions and as a conference backdrop) with a corporate logo and background on the majority of the stand, with just one of the strips carrying product or event-specific information on the same background. This panel can be replaced at different events or when promoting different products so that the information is customised and targeted but the overall look is consistent and congruous. As just one new panel is needed each time, the cost is kept to a minimum, and the customer is getting maximum use from their Pop Up display stand. This is a highly cost-effective and efficient way to use your display equipment, but due to the digital printing process it is best to plan ahead and get the alternate panels or coordinating stands printed at the same time to ensure they will match. Another option is to use a contrasting colour for the panel which will need to be replaced, so that colour match will not be an issue. It is also worth bearing in mind that colour match tends to be more of an issue with strong colours.

You can see images of this type of stand on our curved pop up display stands page – the 7th, 8th, 11th and 16th stands shown here would work best with ‘drop-in’ panels - but this technique would work equally well with flat pop up stands of any size as well as Designline aluminium display stands.

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