Frequently Asked Questions About Trade Show Fabric Graphics

If you have attended a trade show, convention, or event in the past four years, you have seen large, colorful fabric graphics. Fabric graphics have become the standard for most large format images. They are lightweight, vibrant, and durable, and are the perfect medium for trade shows, where every exhibitor wants minimal weight but still wants to make a big splash.

The options can be a bit overwhelming and getting more varied all the time. But for most of us, fabric graphics can be lumped into two categories: tension fabric or pillowcase graphics. The following is a convenient FAQ to get you quickly up to speed.

What is a tension fabric graphic?

Tension fabric graphics attach to a frame so the fabric is taut edge-to-edge, creating "tension." Typically, the graphic has Velcro hook sewn along the border, usually top and bottom, and attaches to Velcro loop on the frame.

What is a pillowcase fabric graphic?

Think of a printed pillowcase with zippers. A pillowcase graphic wraps around a frame structure and the inner and outer sections zip together along the least obvious edge. This creates a tailor fit. Almost all hanging sign structures are wrapped in pillowcase fabric graphics.

How does a tension fabric graphic differ from a pillowcase fabric graphic?

Tension fabric graphics attach to the frame, leaving the frame exposed. The fabric is held taut by attaching it to the frame using Velcro. Pillowcase graphics slip over the frame and hide the frame structure. The fabric is secured by a zipper (s).

What are the benefits of fabric graphics vs. traditional first surface graphics?

  • Flexibility . An array of fabric options and finishing exists. Fabric graphics can be adapted to just about any hardware
  • Storage and Shipping . Fabric is lighter than many other graphics. Fold your graphics neatly when in storage and take up much less space.
  • Care . Fabric graphics can be washed and steamed and are just as durable and long lasting as traditional graphics.
  • Lightweight. Larger graphics weigh less, perfect for draping or creating space definition.
  • Cost . More image bang for the buck!
  • Green . There are the obvious transportation and storage benefits. Even more exciting is the growing list of fabric options created from recycled materials.
  • No Glare . Fabric is the perfect choice for media walls or any background that is photographed or filmed.
  • Versatility . Fabric can be applied to most display and hardware options and is perfect for skinning or covering displays or objects. Custom covers can be created to drape over objects, wrap, or completely pillowcase them!

Do fabric graphics offer the same color saturation, vibrancy, definition, and overall image quality as other graphics?

Fabric not only matches other graphic options, it often excludes it. Dye sublimation equipment is more advanced than ever offering near continuous tone (limited by the texture of the material you choose) and exceptional detail created from high dpi outputs and sophisticated image patterns. Color is permanently dyed into the fabric creating a deep saturated image.

How do tension fabric graphics attach or hang on the frame?

Tension graphics will typically have Velcro sewn into the perimeter, although there are other options such as a pole pocket connection with a spline or a silicon edge. The finish used is dependent on the frame system requirements and or customer preference.

How do pillowcase fabric graphics attach or hang on the frame?

Pillowcase graphics are sewn a seam along the bottom edge of the frame to attach the inner and outer sides of the pillowcase. The top has zippers to secure the two sides with slots made to accommodate eye-bolt or hanging hardware. Depending on the size and shape of the frame, vertical zippers may also be necessary. The seams are sewn to the inside of the pillowcase to create a smooth, fitted finish.

What is the maximum size of a seamless tension graphic? Are there limitations to the maximum print width?

The maximum size depends on the fabric and printing process. In general, the maximum width varies from 118 "to 58" depending on the process.

What is the maximum size of a seamless pillowcase graphic? Are there limitations to the maximum print width?

All pillowcase graphics have seams, usually just at the top and bottom of the structure. However, some frames are too large to cover without a seam. Frames such as a tapered circle need to be pieced because the shape of the print is an arc, making it too large to print in one piece.

How should tension fabric graphics and pillowcase graphics be cared for?

It is recommended that graphics be zipped up, folded, and stored in a bag. You may spot clean by wiping with a damp cloth. If it is necessary to wash the graphic and it is small enough, use a commercial size front-loading washing machine. Wash on the gentle cycle, with cool water. It is VERY important that the graphic be ZIPPED during washing. Dry cleaning is not recommended.

To limit getting the graphic dirty during installation, keep the set-up area clean by using a drop cloth and wash your hands prior to set up. You may want to consider purchasing inexpensive white cotton gloves. Weaving the gloves while handling the graphic will minimize the transfer of dirt and oils to your graphic.

What is the preferred file set up for tension graphics and pillowcase graphics?

Files should be set up with at least 1 inch of bleed on all sides and marked with guides or crop marks to indicate art area versus bleed. The best file formats are Photoshop layered files, InDesign, Illustrator, or Quark documents. Files need to be set up as close to 100 percent as possible with a minimum resolution of 100 dots per inch.

Other things to consider are the live area, the diameter of the frames poles, and borders. If your critical art is too close to the edge of the frame, it may disappear as the graphic bends around the frame. Try to keep critical information 3 to 5 inches from the edge and either make borders wider or do not use borders.

Overseas Manufacturing and Clearing Goods Through Customs

When importing into a country, there are a number of terms, regulations and procedures an importer should be familiar with. The following is a guide of different issues to be aware of when importing.

For first time importers, it is highly advisable to pay a customs broker to enter and clear goods through customs. Customs brokers are licensed by the countries in which they operate, and they act on behalf of the importer to file the necessary documents for products to enter a country at the port-of-entry. Depending on their relationship with their client, they may also pay customs duties and other importing expenses on their client's behalf. Finally, they advise importers about issues of which they may need to be aware such as country or origin marks and other issues importers need to be aware of.

When choosing a customs broker, the importer should first make sure they can enter goods at the arrival port. In the US, customs brokers are licensed by the US Customs and Border Protection Service.

Prior to placing an order with a manufacturer, the relevant nation's customs agency and the importer's customs broker should be consulted to avoid possible problems such as the following:

  • Any legal issues that may exist with the product in the country of import.
  • Finding out after the product arrives at port that the it is subject to import quotas.
  • Possible health, safety or other regulations which apply to the product to be imported.

One easy to avoid, but common problem encountered when importing is the failure to mark the product in compliance with country of origin regulations. To avoid this, contact the relevant customs agency of the nation where the merchandise will be imported to ensure the goods are in compliance. For example, custom laws in the US require each imported good be marked with the English name of the country of origin (eg China) as reasonably, indelibly, and permanently as the nature of the article permits. Furthermore, this marking must be visible to the ultimate purchaser of the product.

The tariff rate levied by customs must be paid before the importer can take possession of the goods. While tariff rates in countries like the US average around 5% for most products, they can be significantly higher for some goods, particularly those with higher labor content. Therefore, it is important to know the rate before product arrives at port.

Before the goods are shipped, ensure the packing regulations for the destination country have been adhered. For example, every box, bale or case may need to be numbered with the exact quantity in each.

Other regulations include the type of pallets that can be used.

Problems with customs clearance often center around paperwork. Different goods often require different types of documentation, but the three major types of documentation the shipper must prepare include the following:

1. A bill of lading: This document, issued by the carrier or shipper, is basically a receipt of the goods acknowledging that they have been received on the vessel for shipment. This document indicates the particular vessel on which the goods have been placed, the destination of the goods, and the terms for transporting the goods to their final destination.

2. A commercial invoice: This is used as a customs declaration by the entity that is exporting an item across international borders. This document is required by customs to determine the value of the goods to assess duties and taxes, and goods must be invoiced in a systematic manner.

3. Packing list: This document is an itemized detail of the merchandise in a particular shipment. A copy is usually attached to the outside of the shipping container or inside the container itself so the merchandise may be counted by the person opening it.

It is crucial to make sure these documents, and any others that may be needed for a particular shipment, are carefully completed and reviewed before the goods arrive.

To avoid excess storage fees, arrange for a freight forwarder or some other type of transporter to ship the goods to their final destination as soon as they have cleared customs.

Being aware of these points, as well working closely with customs and a customs broker, will make the importing process smoother and will reduce the possibility of unnecessary difficulty or expense.

Productivity Measurements and Telecommuting

Over the years, the improved channels of telecommunication have paved the way for an increase in number of Telecommuting jobs. Telecommuting occupations are not your typical office work and that is why, it has become a focus of productivity measures issues. There are a lot of myths that surround telecommuting and Productivity Measurements. Some say that measuring productivity is much more difficult in telecommuting than in regular office work.

Before going forward, let us first individually define what Productivity and what Telecommuting is. Productivity (in Economics) refers to the amount of output produced in a specific amount of time. In a factory or office setting, this can easily be computed by dividing the number of units of output with the time spent to produce them. For example, an office worker is given the task to compile kits for the participants of a lecture. He was able to compile 25 kits in 1 hour, and that becomes his productivity rate.

Quantitative data is more easily translated into productivity rates rather than qualitative data. On the other hand Telecommuting (other known as working from home) is form of work where the employee works on his or her own schedule. It is called telecommuting because the time and process of commuting to and from the work place are replaced by links of telecommunication. A few of the most popular telecommuting tasks is Medical Transcription and Insurance Underwriting.

The issue that lies between Productivity measurement and Telecommuting are claims saying that Productivity measurement is harder to achieve than with regular office work. This is claimed to be the major downfall of telecommuting. Because of this, employer supposedly has no hold on the productivity of their personnel who work form home.

However, that is really not the case. Productivity Measurements are still easily achievable with Telecommuting Jobs. The rate telecommuting employee works, is the same with every project that he / she receives. A Medical Transcriptionist may complete transcription of 5 files in an hour. No matter how many hours a day a medical transcriptionist chooses to work, his or her hourly rate is still the same.

Another myth about productivity measurement and telecommuting is that an employee has no hold on how much an employee works on a set number of days. This is opposed by the fact that employers enforce deadlines that a Telecommuting employee must adhere to. In example, an Underwriter is given 10 insurance policies to process in a span of 4 days. It is of no consequence to the employer how his or her Underwriter divides the task over 4 days as long as it is completed within the set number of days.

Telecommuting is a practice that will unduly continue to grow. Since early fears that it may not be a as easy to regulate and measure as regular office work, it has been proven that it is not so. That is the reason why employers should not shy away from hiring telecommuting personnel because they can still measure and regulate their productivity rate since not having set office hours.

Saving Money On Gasoline For Your Automobile

The gas that we fill our tanks with every week adds up to be quite an expensive bill over the months and years. Thirty dollars a week in gas adds up to over $1500 a year.

That’s $1500 additional dollars needed just top drive something you already own (or making payments on).

Small changes in your driving habits can save you hundreds every year. It’s really not as difficult to increase your fuel mileage as you might think.

WANT TO KNOW HOW MUCH YOU’RE SAVING?

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Keep track of your mileage for one week (7 days) BEFORE you start implementing these gas saving tips. The following week, start practicing these tips and keep track of the mileage for another seven days.

Nothing elaborate. Use the re-setable odometer found in most vehicles or simply use a post-it note in your car. You might find yourself saving $5-$10 a week which works out to $260-$520 annually!

TEN GAS SAVING TIPS

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Here are ten short gas saving tips that you can start using today. Most of these tips can be immediately put into use and cost absolutely nothing! What can be better than saving money for FREE?

- Check Tires Regularly

Keep tires properly inflated to avoid premature wear and mileage loss. Under inflated tires can waste 5%-10% more fuel than needed.

- Maintain Car Momentum

If possible, scan the road ahead to anticipate when slowing will occur. Maintaining even a ‘crawl’ will save you gallons as opposed to constantly stopping and going.

- Stop ‘n Go Traffic

Using the car air conditioning unit during heavy traffic can really ‘burn’ up gas quickly. If it’s bearable, try to keep the windows or sunroof open for fresh air.

- Remove Unnecessary Weight

If possible, remove car racks and any items of considerable weight. You’d be surprised at what an extra 50-100lbs can do to your gasoline consumption rate.

- Keep Filters/Converters Clean

This can save you and your engine a lot of extra work. Most filters cost between $3-$15 and can be replaced without much work – especially the air filter.

- Higher Octane Gas

Do not benefit most cars. Only use the higher octane if your engine is starting to ‘ping’ (engine knock)

- Cruise Control

Maintain an exact speed allowing for better fuel consumption. Effective on open highways.

- On Highways

If possible, try to keep windows and sunroofs closed especially at high speeds. Use the built in ventilation system for fresh air for optimum aerodynamics.

- PickUp Owners

Consider a ‘soft-net’ type gate replacement to eliminate the “drag chute” effect. Extremely effective on freeways/highways.

- Purchase Gas On Indian Reservations

NO taxes on gas on the reserves. It might pay to fill up the next time you are near an Indian Reservation.

CONCLUSION

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Simple yet extremely effective, these tips can help you start saving money immediately off your gas bill.

Regardless of which gas saving tips you are able to use from this article, keep in mind that SAFETY is the most important concern on the road. NEVER jeopardize the safety of you or the other drivers around you at any time. . . period.