So you've picked out your display, downloaded the graphic specs or templates needed for designing and you're ready to create your layout. What are some essentials to keep in mind when beginning your design?
Bleed area: Very few display specs for trade show graphics do NOT require for bleed are to be accounted for. This is the area outside of the cutoff area which still needs to be filled out, since the cut off point is more of an approximation. And you do want there to be any chance of seeing any white. Fabric trade show booths can require up to two inches of bleed, pop up displays are usually between an inch to an inch and a half. As long as your safe visual area has accurately been accounted for, there is never a thing as too much bleed if you are unsure of how much is required for your particular display.
Safe viewable zone: While this is normally clearly established on your template, it's still a good idea to keep any important elements about an inch or two away from the edge. This includes logos, text, etc. Also, if your pop up exhibit has curved end caps, it's important to keep in mind where the front viewable area is before they start to curve to the side and back. It is a common mistake on pop up display designs to place important elements (intended to be viewable or readable when viewing the display from the front) onto the end caps where they wrap around to the sides and back.
'Resolution: Most displays are designed between 100 to 150 dots per inch (dpi.) Even though most displays print at a higher resolution, such as 600 or 720 dpi, the printer usually won't read anything past 100 or 150 dpi.
CYMK mode: Your colors can look drastically different in RGB mode. Color printing utilizes a four color process: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (or K). RGB is a brighter mode used on computer screens, cameras and TVs. To emulate those colors on paper, most printing presses utilize a four-color ink system. Artwork submitted as RGB is always converted over to CMYK by the printers. When brought over to CMYK, often times the colors will look more washed out, or not as originally intended. One exception would be a high quality Lambda print offered as an option for pop up displays and truss systems. Lambda printing is an RGB process, higher grade and definition, truer colors, with more color possibilities.
Other design considerations: Are you mounting a monitor on your display? Does your display have a header that hangs in front of your back wall graphic? Any counters attached to the display (like a V-style counter on a hybrid or modular display) itself or sitting in front of it? These will need to be accounted for, so that you are not blocking any text, logos or any other important elements.
These are the most important considerations to keep in mind. Part 2 will delve more into the nuances that can make or break a good design, and help you to avoid several kinds of costly mistakes.