Trade show use of fabrics has grown dramatically in recent years with substantial advancements in printing capabilities and available materials turning the market away from other display types. In fact, most new digital textile equipment is used for signs and banners and not for apparel, upholstery, or bedding. This is because fabric displays offer companies significant cost savings compared to traditional displays.
Strong and resilient, fabric displays can be easily stretched and shaped without damage, allowing for more creativity and fewer limitations in graphic design. They are also more easily stored and transported and will thus save companies a significant amount of money in the long-term. This is because they are much lighter than traditional materials and take up much less space when taken down.
An exhibit booth with fabric displays may cost about the same to create as one with displays made from traditional materials but the ease of storage and transportation of fabric displays can save a company up to 40% on these costs meaning they will easily pay for themselves in a few years. Change-outs are also less expensive meaning that customized displays for different events are easier to implement and afford.
Fabric displays are also more eco-friendly and can help to reduce the carbon footprint of your company by avoiding unsustainable materials. Because fabric can be reused, it is a much smaller impact on the environment than vinyl materials.
Additional benefits include:
- More durable than traditional materials;
- Machine washable;
- Fade, wrinkle, and mildew resistant;
- Matte surface easier to read in variety of lighting conditions;
- Last many years;
- Many options including single- or double-sided, sheer or opaque;
- Hard to damage, stretch out of shape, or scratch; and
- Available in flame retardant materials.
There are two common ways fabric signs can be printed and both have their uses. Dye-sublimation is a process in which ink is permanently bonded to polyester fabrics using a heat transfer. This allows photographic images to look more realistic but the process can only be applied to polyester, polyester twill, and other manmade fabrics such as art canvas, ribstop, and polyester suede.
Direct printing uses a steam process to embed ink into fabric and can be used on natural fabrics such as silk and cotton. It often creates sharper more brilliant designs but does not give photographs the same realism as dye-sublimation printing.