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~ Effective Display ~      

  Is your display safe?   Your primary concern must be safety.  Straight-pin the corners of the table cover and make hospital corners so no one can trip on excess fabric laying on the floor. The display must be level and sturdy. (Don't forget to take shims for table legs on uneven floors, especially when exhibiting at an outdoor show. ) Step back after you've set up your display and take a good look: is it idiot-proof?

  • Use Solid Color Fabric for Your Display Cover.
  • Prints are cheerful, but when you put your work directly on printed fabric, the design screams for attention and competes with your product. The bottom line: your work is overlooked.   
  •  Display your work with pride. That means clean, fresh-looking fabric, down to the floor.  If the back of your display is visible, drape fabric over that side too. For wrinkle free table covers, use 54"-60" wide double-knit fabric; when pulled out of the box after weeks or even months storage, it will drape beautifully, and no wrinkles. Use space under your table to hide your stash of extra inventory, out of sight.
  • Do You Have Adequate Lighting?  Every display improves with light. Even people who normally manage very well without lights need a complete light setup if the light bulb overhead is burned out;  waiting for a janitor may mean losing several hours of sales. If they can't see it, they won't buy it.
  • Set up a separate box or suitcase with:

    • Lights: if you don't have a professional lighting set up, clip on lights serve well in the interim.  If possible, the long flexible-arm lights may be attached to your backdrop or part of your display and it's easy to adjust the area of focus.  Lighting is money well-spent.
    • Multi-plug outlets
    • 3 or 4 extension cords , in different lengths. Some promoters insist on heavy-duty cords with 3 prongs.
    • A couple of 'cheaters' (3-to-2 adapters.)
    • A roll of duct tape to tape the cord to the floor so no one will trip on it .
    • Extra 40-Watt bulbs.  (Many shows will not allow larger bulbs; some state 200-Watt maximum per space.  That gives you up to five well-lit areas in your display.   If you are planning to buy a ready-made lighting system, you should be aware that some shows are banning halogen bulbs because they are hot and can cause a fire.  There are good systems with true-light or broad-spectrum bulbs which are excellent, but pose no fire hazard.

      Create a flexible modular display. You may have a 6x10 ft. space at one show, and a 10x10 corner space at the next.

  • Display your work as close to eye-level as possible.  If you want people to be attracted to your work, they must see it.

  • Don't display your product flat on a table, all on one level. The result is confusing to the eye. Nothing stands out

  • Display your work at different heights , -think of stair steps. This solves two problems: it makes your work visible by separating it into groups, and displays in an organized manner.   Each piece will be seen individually. It also brings your work closer to eye-level.  Slide PVC pipe over the legs of your table. Cut the pipe to a height that will add 8-12 inches or more to your table legs, or more. Card table legs will take a piece of PVC pipe right up to the bracket. Make sure your display is sturdy and won't tip.

  • Find the best type of display for your work:  If you have framed photographs, paintings, etc. it's more effective to hang your work on a hinged vertical display. Inexpensive room-divider screens, hinged shutters, or a similar arrangement work well. Large paper clips make effective hangers if you open them into an 'S' formation. Store them in a coffee can with a plastic lid.  Have you researched ready-to-buy display systems?  See www.GraphicDisplaySystems.com for lightweight display modules.  Start with a basic formation, and add more modules as your needs increase!
  • There are several types of ready-made wood displays that come apart or fold down that look particularly appropriate with traditional or 'Country' crafts. 
  • There are several display systems made of hinged wire grid panels.  These are wonderful as display panels, and also help define your booth space if you make a fabric back-drop for the backside of the panel. It can be attached with velcro or with small ties.  These are designed to be sturdy low-maintenance items in contrast to home-made displays .    www.GraphicDisplaySystems.com
  • If you buy a good commercial system, you can use the time you saved to increase your production.  Using tried and true solutions allows you to focus on what you do best: design and produce your product.       
  •  Questions to ask about a commercial display unit: 
  • Size:  Will it fit in my car/van? 
  • Can I make it fit many different size/configuration spaces? 
  • Think modular: your booth will never be the same size/configuration twice.  Commercial products usually take this into consideration, but in the final analysis, you have to live with this set up.  Play a few games on graph paper to determine how flexible your choice is.
  • Weight: Can I carry it and set it up by myself?  This is even more important for those who exhibit at shows alone.
  • Is it sturdy?   Shelving units should carry some sort of information such as:  "Holds up to 50 lbs., 100 lbs, 200 lbs. etc."   It's worth doing a little research to find your dream display.
  • Attractive work, well displayed, almost sells itself!


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