Trade Show Graphic DesignExhibitors only have 3-5 seconds to grab the attendee s attention before this potential customer moves on to a trade show booth that does interest them. That is why effective graphics are critical to the success of your booth.

Smash Hit Displays has been designing graphics for their clients for almost 10 years and has learned several tricks to making the most vibrant images that will help draw in a crowd. Follow these ideas and you are sure to win over an audience at your next event.

Getting your project to print rich black

As no black ink is true black in the printing world, a mixing of the 4 inks is required to achieve a true rich black. As this can vary from printer to printer, its never a bad idea to specify which area(s) need to be printed as rich black to whoever is doing the printing. For UV printing, often the following CMYK combo works best to achieve rich black: Cyan - 60% Magenta - 50% Yellow - 50% Key - 100%

Yet another printer recommended this mix for printing rich black onto fabric: Cyan - 40%, Magenta - 40%, Yellow - 40%, Key - 100%. It never hurts to double check with the printer, and get a printed proof.

Blues printing purple

This is a very common issue and can occur when you have too much magenta in your blue in the CMYK value. Usually a 100/75 ratio between C and M will help you to achieve the desired blue, and avoid purple. One trick you can try if you are working in Photoshop: go to Image Adjustments Selective Color.

Make sure Relative is selected, and select the blue layer. Then bring the magenta level down about -15%. You will notice a slight muting effect, but this should improve the blues on your print. Remember that hard copy proofs are the only real way to ensure the colors will print as you intended.


Banding can be caused by many things, such as too many steps in the gradient in a small area for one, especially going from a light to dark color. Occasionally, banding can occur when exporting, the export feature in Corel or InDesign for example. There are ways to prevent or reduce banding, such as allowing enough room for a smoother transition between colors. In Photoshop, the following method can be used to reduce the amount of banding: under the Filter menu, go to Noise and select Add Noise. Under Amount enter 2, make sure Gaussian is selected for Distribution, click the checkbox for Monochromatic, and hit click OK. On screen the noise will be noticeable, but on a high resolution print the noise will disappear, concealing the banding. Its not a bad idea to try this on any gradient layer you create in your layouts. Again, a printed proof is always recommended to test your results.

If you still have trade show graphic design questions, call Smash Hit Displays and we would be happy to either walk you through the graphic design process or can design them for you. Hopefully these tips will help you create impactful pictures for your show display.


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