Magnetic Displays: Make Your Exhibit Message Stick

Trade show and exhibit displays can be tricky business. Most have a lot of parts, they get shipped all over creation, built up, torn down, banged up—when you think about it, your exhibit materials take a heck of a beating. But there’s a shining moment—a day or two or three—when your display is fully constructed on-site, looking sharp and clean as though it has always belonged in that space. The trick is getting to that Zen-like moment as painlessly and cost-effectively as possible.

We’ve been using magnetics in our trade show booths for years because... well, magnets are our business. But there are countless ways exhibitors in any industry can use magnetic products to maximize the versatility of their own booth space, help themselves stand out from the trade show crowd and, if you’ll pardon the pun, make their messages stick. There are many ways for an exhibitor to use magnets to make the life a little bit easier, including some you may not have considered before.

Magnetic graphics take just seconds to install—no tools, fasteners or adhesive required. (Photo by Bruce Wunderlich)

Printed Magnetic Graphics

Perhaps the most readily apparent application for magnetic products in a trade show or exhibit setting is large, printed graphics. Printable magnetic sheets and rolls allow you to create eye-catching magnetic banners and signs for your exhibit booth walls. You can print directly to magnet using several different kinds of printing processes, including inkjet or digital printing. This is a huge advantage for shops without in-house access to screen printing processes required for many other kinds of graphics systems. Special surfaces on the magnetic substrate will help your images stand out with rich, photo-quality color, and are available with a gloss or a matte finish.

When you’re setting up an exhibit, the last thing you need is a wrinkle, stain, or tear in your graphics—magnetic graphics have fabric beaten hands down on that front. Because printable magnets are thin and flexible, they can be rolled up into tubes and shipped to your exhibit location worry-free. Once on site, just unroll them and lay them flat—no ironing or steaming required.

Magnetic graphics are incredibly easy to install—they pretty much hang themselves. Sticking to things is what magnets do, after all. They’ll stick effortlessly to metal surfaces or magnetic receptive surfaces such as RubberSteel (more on that later). The graphics also come down with a gentle tug, giving you the freedom to change up your messages from one day to the next without having to fumble with tools or fasteners. This natural interchangeability is where magnetic graphics really shine—you can use them to promote daily (or even hourly) special offers, advertise upcoming seminars or speakers scheduled to take place at your booth, or even change the entire ambiance of your booth space by changing color and graphics schemes on the fly.

Magnetic graphics are easy to remove and replace on the fly, making fully interchangeable graphics a viable option. (Photo by Bruce Wunderlich)

Yeah, But…

What if you already own exhibit booth hardware that just so happens to be made of wood or plastic? Even the most beautiful printed magnet won’t impress anybody if it won’t stick to the booth. Fortunately, one of the hottest trends in magnetic displays is magnetic-receptive surfaces such as RubberSteel, a thin, flexible material to which magnets stick.

RubberSteel can be applied to just about any flat or curved surface to make it instantly magnetic receptive. The adhesive backing will stick to wood, plastic, Formica—even smooth concrete, plaster or cardboard—to allow you to stick magnets over any of these surfaces. There are varieties with a printable vinyl front, or that double as write-on/wipe-off dry erase boards. It’s versatile enough that you can incorporate magnetic graphics into just about any shape and type of booth, no matter what the material, without having to buy new hardware.

Of course, not every exhibit space allows participants to bring their own booth hardware—sometimes you’re renting a tabletop and not much else. Worry not! You can still use your magnetic graphics with the impromptu application of a little RubberSteel with a clean-release adhesive. You can apply it to whatever surface happens to be available to you—a tabletop, a wall, a door, the ceiling, whatever you can find—and it’ll peel off cleanly at the end of the day. This lets your magnetic graphics go places other display systems simply can’t.

Fun and Games

Although trade shows are professional gatherings where business-minded people gather to talk shop—let’s face it, magnets are fun to play with. You can take advantage of this simple truth by incorporating magnetic elements into your booth or by giving out magnetic premiums.

Being thin and flexible, magnetic graphics are easy to roll into tubes for safe shipping to trade shows and other events. (Photo by Bruce Wunderlich)

Trade shows and exhibits are great places to offer something fun and interactive with which visitors can engage. Games, contests, and prize giveaways are great methods to encourage people to stop and stay a while in your booth. Get creative with them.

If your exhibit includes a quiz game board or a spinner, consider how interchangeable magnetic pieces would allow you to change up the game, attract the attention of passing foot traffic and draw repeat visitors. Printed magnet signs or graphics also make outstanding premiums to give to visitors to your booth—they carry a higher perceived value than a paper brochure or handout, and will often wind up in use on someone’s refrigerator for a long time to come, giving them staying power well beyond the last day of the trade show. They’re great tools for keeping your brand and your message in front of your customers even after they’ve moved on from your exhibit.

Flexible Solutions

Whether you’re looking for interchangeable signage in your trade show booth, eye-catching games and premiums for your booth visitors to enjoy, or flexible solutions for unpredictable exhibit needs, magnetic materials offer the versatility to make your life as an exhibitor a little bit easier—and just maybe a moment of Zen.