Surface Pattern Design Trade Show Prep | Abby Zweifel | Skillshare

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Surface Pattern Design Trade Show Prep

teacher avatar Abby Zweifel, Illustrator & Cocktail Nerd

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

2 Lessons (31m)
    • 1. Surface Pattern Design -Trade Show Prep- Intro

    • 2. Surface Pattern Design-Trade Show Prep- Let's Go!

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About This Class

Join Abby Zweifel and Andrea Turk as they discuss the ins and outs of selecting and exhibiting at print shows. The first part of this series dives into:

*how to select a trade show that’s right for you

*Planning a booth / marketing and advertising

*Formatting and selecting artwork for presentation

*Pricing  & organizing artwork

*Suitcase & packing tidbits

We candidly talk about what artwork buyers are looking for, how do you even select artwork for banners and even share some of the mistakes we’ve made in the past! There’s 31 years of experience between us and we hope some of our knowledge will help make planning your first show a bit easier.

Meet Your Teacher

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Abby Zweifel

Illustrator & Cocktail Nerd


Hi everyone! I'm Abby Zweifel and I am a freelance artist specializing in surface pattern design and illustration. After working as an in-house artist for two major companies, I broke out on my own and founded Pomelo & Pomelo in 2012-- a print studio determined to create the most curiously fabulous patterns. I have exhibited at many industry trade shows (Blue Print, Surtex & Printsource) and the knowledge I have collected over the years is something I would like to share with the world.

I live in sunny Florida with my husband Ben-- we love the palm trees and salt air! I am also a bit of a cocktail nerd-- I love reading and learning about the beverage industry and creating delicious drinks inspired by the people and places we've been. 



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1. Surface Pattern Design -Trade Show Prep- Intro: My name is Abby's rifle, and I'm the owner of Pamela on Pommel, a print design studio based in Florida. I've been doing trade shows since 2014 and I'm also one of the organizers of the blueprint show. My name's Andrea Turk. I'm an artist. Andi, owner of Cinnamon Joe Studio. I have bean in the or trade for over 25 years where I've bought on designed artwork. I'm the co finder off blueprints Shin. So, Abby, what are we actually going to do in this video? Well, in this video, we're going to talk about how to select a trade show. You know, one that's right for you, planning your booth and all but the core bits and all those fun things you get to put on your table as well as marketing and advertising. And I think we should probably cover for mounting on selecting the art. Maybe we could do figuring out your price points, and then there's probably gonna be other little bits and pieces along the way. And, you know, we just worked out between us. We've got over 31 years experience, so you're probably in for some really good knowledge. We did the math. Yeah, 2. Surface Pattern Design-Trade Show Prep- Let's Go!: um, So if I was wanting to do a trade show, what are the steps I should take to decide what trade show was right for me? Yeah, it's a It's a big decision, and it's a really big investment. So what I would normally do is actually go and visit one of the show's I'm interested in. I might have heard some really good things on blog's or visited the Websites and listen to comments, so I'm gonna hop on a flight. Go to that, then you on chocolate, what's happening at that particular show and find out if it's good enough for me. But there's probably some other things that we need to consider when we're actually out the show. What do you think? Maybe take a really good long look? Yeah, I would definitely go under the show. You know, be respectful of the exhibitors that are there. They're there to do business. I would take a long, maybe a notebook and do a lot of mental and visual observation as you walk around. You know what kind of booth types are there? Is it walls? Is it freestanding banners? Is there a lot of space to people seem to have most of their booze covered with Prince marijuana decor on the booth on just sort of walk around and then find a quiet spot and take some notes. You cannot take any photos. It's never allowed at any print show anywhere ever. Yeah, I think while you're walking around, it's really good idea to see what booths are busy. That will give you a really good indication off, perhaps what you need to be doing to be at that show and definitely the type of work that that's on the walls really helpful. So are they showing a lot of holiday? Or they're showing spring florals and and make note of what time of year it is and what's upon their booth walls. And I think also really important. You've only got a 3 to 4 window, essentially for a buyer walking past, so you've got make a really good impact with what your booth is doing behind you. Yes, oh, definitely take note of which boost. Catch your eye immediately and what they did to achieve that. Yeah, I think that's good coming. So you've done the research on the show. What's the next step I would say the next step is to go into the show's website and then find find out the contact, email, email the show manager and then get all the information about, you know, Booth packages, how much those costs. And then once you have that information, sit down and say, OK, this is my budget. This is how much the show costs. And don't forget to factor in things like flight and food and hotel and banner is and all that other stuff. So work those bits into your budget. Um, I think also manuals. You really do need to scrutinize the manuals and get as much information. They'll be possibly deitz in there that you need to put into Hsieh jewels. There might also be really interesting Facebook groups that they've got and where you can gleam even more knowledge from past exhibitors, new exhibitors You can start bonding with people that are possibly exactly in the same boat as you, the really good places to make really important new friends. Now the community is probably my favorite part of a trade show on actually ever almost every trade show I've ever been a part of surtax and blueprint. They both have Facebook groups, and there's so much knowledge in that group. It's a meeting on. Actually, that's how we met this. No. So once you get your manual like, I can't stress this enough to go through it and mark all those key dates when payments are due when social media images air do because a lot of times the shows will promote you on, you know, on their behalf. And I think that's a really great service that they offer. Um, we're including a really awesome, printable downloadable calendar, and it's blanks. He can use it year after year. But what I do personally is when I know my show date and then I proud the calendar. And then I work backwards from the show date. So 4 to 5 months in advance is when I booked my hotel book my flight, and about a month and 1/2 before the show. I do banners and we're gonna include kind of old this information in this timeline and our lovely downloadable document that we've included Andrea so kindly put together. That's OK, I don't mind. That's what I'm here for. So you've done the work on the manuals on now you probably want to do a bit of investment on what the booth package is. Exactly. I can speak from the point of blueprint fart. I'm sorry, what is our system? We have two systems that we have two systems. Thank you with two systems that we recommend either the retractable banners or posters with a pole, both of which she could get really great artwork on your boners. On their really easy to find, I get both systems off Amazon, which is great. Yeah, that's true. Actually, you can. There's different packages, but all of the tables come with black typical on DCI chairs. And then it's up to each individual artists to put together the best absolute strongest package that they can. So, in my experience and all the different traces that I've done, I've made you know I've had successes and some sort of banner failures, And what I've learned over the years is that big, bold, bright, colorful designs pop really nicely on the retractable banners and the whole system. But I mostly used the retractable banners. One year I did kind of smaller designs and white ground, and it just got lost in the whole room. I think I actually have photos of that that we're gonna show you. I'd say that bold is good, but you really do need to spend a bit of time playing with different scale on also your layout. Because high the buyer reads the the banners on the back wall is really important. That is going to be their first insight into what the artworks gonna be at this particular studio. So it is really important, even if you get images that you print off small scale and you put them on the floor and you play about with the layout or you do on your computer screen. So we've included as a download a illustrator document of a mock table set up. And so there's banner templates and you can actually place your artwork with. And then you can see what it looks like. Sitting behind a table on. I find that's really help Poland. I do that before every show is I always market my banners and the order that I'm going to place them. I do the same. Yeah. Great minds think alike. Yeah, we go to our friends. Yeah. So next we would like to talk about. How do you choose the artwork for your banners? I mean, it's quite a daunting task is, you know, you've only got four banners and let four seconds to catch my eye. If you're really lucky, you might have 100 plus or it works. So it's a big ask. That's like, What do you put on your banner? That's what do you put on your brothers, you know, sometimes to sort of think about it for quite some time about, you know, OK, actually went up. I'll finish a piece like this one. This one's going on a banner I can kind of tell like once it's done, I like to choose really pieces that make me really happy when I look at them. So usually it's an animal that I've done with really sweet eyes and kind of a son quirky smile because that I feel like that's mostly me. And that's what sets me apart from other artists. Um, another example is, uh, this last blueprint I chose in really bright fun cocktail print as one of my banners, and I blew up really big, and I did this because actually a lot of my clients to know that I'm a cocktail nerd and that usually ask me like, you know, what fun bars did you go to? What new drinks have you tried? And so they know me or sort of this fun cocktail hobby that I have and it always starts a conversation, and I love talking about it. So I chose that my banners and was really quite happy with that print. Actually, that's you just said something that's really important. It starts a conversation, and often your banners is a really good way of clients just stopping and starting to engage with the artist. For May, I've gone through so many variations of high to choose a background artwork over the years . But for a blueprint this year, I started a new technique, maybe about six months ago, so I was a little bit nervous about showing it for the first time. But I thought, I'm just I'm just gonna go for it. I don't have anything to lose. I'm gonna go for it on I really chose. My color is quite well. I had all of the placements at the top and I had all of the repeat patterns at the bottom on. I also thought about what is being purchased at that moment on that the show is on on. I put quite a lot off, um, worded, because I know that typography is a really important trend on. I used lots of really big, large, oversized characters right in the centre on I had I slept in a little bit of Christmas because I know that Christmas is really important at that time of the year. Always holiday. Always. That's another have you can't have enough. Yeah, I always have one banner that I dedicate to Christmas, because if people don't see that you do Christmas and they're looking for Christmas, they won't stop. Always try to put Christmas on my banners. Yeah, it's really good, Teoh, but I think if you there's two different trends of thought, you either want to sell or you want to license on. If you want to license, you really do need to show your artwork on some form of product. So I've mocked up a little scene on there's a really nice one. And then there's this over the top one. But the little scene has got melamine plates and it might have a little mug. And you might think, I want to attract stationary. I don't work with any stationary customers, So I've mocked up some little greeting cards that would be suitable for a client who just literally got three second window walking path. They do institutionally. They do greeting cards. They do melamine plates. I could do home interiors with this person so you don't need to go over kill. But just a little bit of product will actually get a client who hasn't worked with you engaged thinking this person understands why to use their artwork. And here they thought about how you would place the artwork on a plate. You know, what does that look like? Oh, they've got a coordinating coffee mug. That's great. They can think about merchandising their artwork across several product categories. Yeah, and if he didn't want t be a licensing or just then what? I think it's a little bit no, quite the opposite. But I mostly saw all my artwork outright, and that means that once a client purchases the artwork babe by the copyright, so it's there's It's like they created it. They can do it or they don't a bit or never use it. Do whatever. So on my boot table, I actually don't have really any decorations. I have a table skirt, which really attracts everybody's I and I have it in every show, so people confined me very easily. But on my table top, I just have my print piles because I am flipping through artwork and I have to move all the pile. So it's crucial that I don't have extra stuff on my table top because it could get knocked over. It gets in the way. Um, I find you also need a bit of space for all those lovely selections at the the art buyers gonna make. So you do need a bit of space. You dio So for me personally, I don't have a little stuff. I have a little dish for candy. Everybody always likes chocolate, and that's about it. And do you divide your artwork into any kind of four mountain or is old Rick together? I do have my artwork divided into category piles. I have holiday, I have florals and then, ah, a lot of people know me for co star works. Actually, have a separate coastal pile. Conversational is and geometrics. It was about five or six piles on my table. And usually when a client come, sit down, you know, what are you looking for Him. And I just sort of get that pile out first and then start looking through artwork. But we actually talk a little bit more about this in our second video. Hello. One very important aspect of having your own freelance studio design studio or just being a freelance artist is you need tohave marketing, so you need to have sort of a brand identity. And I'm not gonna go into how you create that brand identity, but it's important to come up with a cohesive print package. So this is your business card? Your postcard. You could even do a letterhead if you wanted Teoh on. And then he split consistent and give your client a taste of the type of artwork that you dio. So, for each show, I have a postcard that I make up that has a really cool piece of art work on the front, something eye catching bright. It's got my studio name on the front lawn, the back I have information about my studio as well as my email, my website and the next shows dates. And I actually send this out to my clients about four months before the show and I do it in . It's no male, and I think everybody likes to receive a brightly colored envelope sitting on their desk. I think it's a nice way, and a lot of people have come to me and said You sent me a postcard. I thought that was really cool. So I made a point to come to your both, and I do it before every show. That's really good. I probably went a bit over the top this year. Um, nothing you there. But I hand made every single letter on envelope. Andi. I scripted every single envelope to me weeks. Andi. I sent them a light and again, same sort of thing. People came back on, said, Yeah, I received this in the Post. I think also that the thing to remember is that there's so much done with technology getting something that's been crafted and love and thought put into that, you're more likely to keep it and put it on your PIN board and say, Actually, this is somebody that I may know necessarily work with Noi, but maybe in the future, because I really like their style on In the past I've done handmade bookmarks. I've done handmade business cars that were little highs is and they opened up and they had a window with a little character behind it on. I've also done handmade circular Don't recommend this cause cutting circles circles are a pig and can't made circular Christmas decorations. And they all went just not done again. So I've learned my lesson, but anything hound me, it is just brilliant, you know, I don't know when you sleep. Yeah, maybe that's another video. So did you get involved in social media in any way with your marketing? I do a little bit. There's a bounce that you need to find between sharing our work on social media and keeping it secret enough to boarding. Clients come to look at it. They actually haven't seen it before. Um, and it's still exclusive. Yeah, because I think the joy off on their faces, if they've never seen anything, is just It's a real treasure. Whereas sometimes if it's plastered everywhere is kind of like well, seen that Not really all that new there. So usually I'll take the artwork that I used for those postcards I was talking about. I'll take that crop it into a square format, stick my logo on the bottom, and I'll put that up on Lincoln Instagram. No, really use Facebook much anymore. I don't find that one very helpful. And actually Twitter here there. I don't do Twitter, but I'll take your word for it. There's also a lot of, ah, print surface design publications you can contact. One of them is the print and pattern Blawg. She is an incredible supporters, specifically of the blueprint show. And so, about a month before the show, I'll send an email to her, even goto their website. And I believe we've included the Lincoln our resource packet, and you can put together a little ah blurb about yourself. The studio, the type of artwork you're gonna have. Their include some images, your logo. If you go to the blawg itself and you can type in blueprints show posters, it'll bring up all the advertisements. Everybody sense any kind of get a feel of how people write their information paragraph descend. And there's also a magazine called Total Licensing. And she actually does. She partners with Blueprint, and she contacts each of the exhibitors, and we all send in a little. We're about her studio, a little image, and she puts it in her actually printed physical publication. And I have every coffee of that and then goes on to over 20,000 different companies. So money, yeah, is and it's cool. It's cool. If she does that, there's some really kind people in this industry. Yeah, so we've spent a bit of time and created a really fantastic list of all the topics. Andi sort of holidays throughout the year that would be suitable for stationery, gift wrap, um, bags home tabletop on then. Also, if you really want to do a bit of a trend on your own time, you could interest for us. Those with different topic ALS topical Sorry couple went through. These topics are really great if you're stuck. So when I design, I know I need to do Christmas Halloween harvest ST Valentine Patrick's Day with the July 4th of July, So I know I need to do those, but there's a couple other ones in there That kind of slip my mind. So I'll refer to this list and, like, I need to birthday. Yeah, look, women and birthday is a big one. You could dio Christmas every day of the year. You really good. And my gun I always forget about poor haga. Yeah, so that's gonna be a nice freebie at the end. But then also, I think we probably possibly need to talk about the lay ICT cause I think you work slightly different to May I dio I do. So when I lay out the artwork on the paper that I pray now I do Ah, 13 by 19 Epson paper and I do it a little bit there. Think it's called their premium presentation paper and it's a little bit thicker than regular computer paper because you have to take into account that you're gonna be flipping through this artwork. It has to travel. You're gonna be handled it quite a bit, seeing you something that's a little thicker. And when I lay off the artwork eye makeup were actually included. Some examples here to show you that I usually if it's a placement, will lay out the graphic. Nice and big. I'll put color bits at the bottom. My studio named the print number. And or if I'm doing a prince that has a coordinating prints, a big printing, a little print, the bottom and I really focus in on the scale of the prince. You don't print too small that the client can't see all the individual little elements will blow it up a bit s so they can see all those little details that you put in. And I think you also work portrait. But I work Loutchansky it. Yes. Yeah. So I don't know why I don't 100. I think I just like the vertical format a lot better than that. That's okay. There's no rules. We're here to break the rules. The rules I tend to work in, say, landscape. And I will have a really large, um, repeat pattern on. Then I'll have quite a large placement. And then I might have a little mini coordinated the bottom. But again, I would include a code. And I put the code in the right hand corner because I'm right hounded. So I turned right to left on. If I'm showing artwork again and the right nice Smith rhythm on. It's really easy for me to show the artwork that way, but my paper size would probably be a three on. I think that is 29.7 by 40 centimeters, and I couldn't tell you what kind of paper because the paper changes. I go for what's affordable. What can I afford this month? That's the paper that I'm getting. But generally the qualities always really good. I'll do a tester pH first to make sure that the colors are really good on. That's the one. If I can get that the next month. Brilliant. If I can't, then I'll to something completely different. Determining price. This is a really through. This is This is something that's being talked about and talked about. New addiction. Really tired. So I think the way to probably look a pricing is to figure. Write what you want to earn sensibly, because do you want to charge so much that you might only have a few sales because it's so expensive? Do you want to charge very little on? Then you're going to sell an awful, awful lot, but you're kind of undervaluing your heart or you somewhere in the middle. I think at the end of the day, it's important to look at the price of the artwork and think about if I was paid this amount of money. Am I happy with that? Yeah. Why do I feel okay? And if you're kind, I wish I had a little bit more than up your price. So I'm just gonna go out and say it. Price ranges for princes. So outright the copyright between $501,000. Yeah, and I would say probably the lower end. That market tends to be book by fashion companies because fashion is, uh yeah, it's fast. It's in for a couple of months and then it site so they don't. There's no longevity in the art work on the higher end or products that going to be there for quite some time. Home decor, stationery, gift wrap, bedding, cable, top table, toe. I do know that when I'm pricing my artwork, I I personally have a price range. So I have ah, three point range. And so the lower end, I'll tell clients. Look, this is a really simple geometric inspector art. It's this price point. But these pieces over here that are hand painted florals, it's a photo shop. Repeat. It took me 8 to 10 hours to create. This is this price point, and everybody is always like, Oh, that makes sense. I'm like I will price my prints. I don't have one set price for every page. Some studios do that. I don't. I just price it based on the amount of work that went into the peace and what I think the value of the artwork is. I think that makes we'd Centralia, though. Yeah, you like people seem pretty happy about. I'm pretty much the Sam I will. I will have, um, with the studio artwork that will be hound painted prices. And then they'll be something that's digital but my own personal work because it's all hand painted. It's just one price, Really good tip. This actually goes also, along with the print number who talked about you having a lot of your artwork when you're creating artwork files, establish numbering system. So for my numbering system, I have my initials. So it's a Z, and then it's, you know, 10 too easy. One of three is the file name and the number that is on the print. So when a client purchases something, I can write that down. And I know exactly what violently to some of that client, just make it a really easy naming convention. Um, and then I can take those numbers. I put it into a giant Excel sheet, and then I write down the prices of each print next to the print number. So when somebody's like, How much is this? I can quickly look at the print list. Everything's in numerical order, and I can tell them this print is this price. And I definitely recommend having a price sheet or at least have a range. And you're familiar enough with your range, and you could be consistent with it. To say, this print is this amount. This Prentice this amount and not I screwed up. I want to be confident. Yeah, yeah, because it's very hard is an artist's selling your award because you've gotten an emotional tie. Actually, one thing that I went out to the code, I would put a B for vector or API for photo shop because often from a a studio point of view. If you've got a North a lot of artists within the collection you need to know if an artist is a vector artist or a photo shelf artist because you will get asked that question. What type of files thes are? It kind of depends on their manufacturing process. Sometimes they can only print in, uh, screen print or they confront and for color. And they actually to know that before the purchase here Because if you do it afterwards and they find out they can't use the file LA memory, they're gonna have to spend extra money. Not a good idea for one of my first trade shows that I did. I got the dimensions of the tabletop and then on my floor, I taped out the lead, measured out and take out the dimensions of the table. And then I laid out all of my stuff on the floor to make sure everything was gonna fit. I had binders and a little pin holder and everything, and I found that really helpful. So when I got to the show, it wasn't fumbling with you know where everything was gonna go and if everything was gonna fit and That's one of my biggest, like, helpful boot tips I could possibly share with anybody. And did it take you long to figure out? I mean, we know there are is just figuring what you wanted to go on the table. No, I think it happened pretty quickly because I needed I know books and all that other other business. That's that's a really good tip. If you think three dimensionally, I think you are actually very good at organizing Spears. I'm not so great. So I tend to do a lot of my work on the computer and I'll I'll just give, like a little Mini. I know that it's a rectangle, and I'll try and figure out in miniature scale what I want to go on the terrible or the whole lay ICT on. And if I was doing anything that I did one year I did three D balloons at the top that were elephants and just my ears and trunks and just all over the place, so that if someone was far off, they could say, Hang me that cinnamon Joe. Yes, that's those way over there in the corner. So anything to try and say Hey, look at me and move it. Really Make your booth stand. I you're organizing our work for your table. Organizing it into categories is really helpful, Especially when you want to show clients. So I do Christmas and then I do other holidays. Floral coastal geometrics. There's one more conversational prince Those air my piles on. What I do is I laid them all of my dining room table. I organized the piles and then I packed them up into the boxes that the printer paper came in and I bubble wrap those and put them in my suitcase on doing all of that before going to the show is really helpful because you really don't wanna be organizing your prints the morning of the show. It's just one last thing you don't have to worry about. Actually, I do something similar, but I do it when I'm actually creating the collection s o. If I do a print, I print off straight away. I do print from home. That is one thing. We've got really good printer, so I print on my own artwork on. I've got a really big empty floor on. I just lay out every piece of artwork that I print because I find then I can see words gaps on if I need a color change or find a pops of color. And then at the end, I would organize it into this specific topics that I want to take to the event. We've included an essential packing guy and some of the things that we always make sure that we have for every show. Andi, I also think it's really important to have things like snacks. No. Yes, the snack. As you can get hungry during the day as well. So when packing your suitcase. So you thought all about your boob and how it's gonna look. You actually need to think about yourself. The one packing your clothes. Number one tip is packed. Comfortable shoes. They seriously seriously are so comfy. Hello, Skechers. I love you because you're on your feet all day long and it hurts and that you're walking to and from the show and probably to go get lunch or coffee and whatnot so you'll be walking around more than just standing. So I tend to where I think Tom's are probably the perfect show ships. Send your samples to us. We love homes, Skechers. Thank you, actually. And at the end of the day, you don't want you don't have time to go home and get changed. So you're going straight white and getting food. So you're on your food, feet more walking. It doesn't really matter cause your feet or under the table anyway. But as far as I know, I pick out my outfits for every day of the show, and I'll kind of came out of my closet. But you need to remember that. Think about the artwork that's behind you and pick colors that either Kourtney or just don't clash. And I have a lovely example of me doing what not to do at a show. Actually, at the most recent blueprint, I wore a blue pattern dress that I absolutely love. I didn't realize it, but the better behind me with the exact same color palette, and I just blend in with it. There's a picture toe showcase that that moment genius, But I really love the dress and has pockets, so I don't care. I went completely opposite. I literally built my whole wardrobe, arrived the shoes. So I am near the cream read on neutral. And that was my whole color palette. So I was just standing. I guess I was standing right because I was so neutral, but in a good way. My didn't blend in with the artwork that was behind me. You know, it was nice about that. Was that you could switch your outfits around depending on the weather. Because New York, I mean, we've been there would have been Ranald. Yeah, it's been 50 degrees. It's been 90 degrees, so definitely planned for layers and all different types of weather. So bring an umbrella raincoat, shoes. You don't mind getting wet because the streets of New York are actually pretty gross. Yeah. I was gonna say leave a bit room for shopping. Yeah. All right. Yeah. It's not my bill. Go that extra shelf like, yeah, You know, the success of the trip is how many times you went to H and M toe. Get something ever out. Yeah. We hope that you'll join us in our second video where we talk about actually being at the show and what goes on at the actual trade show itself, which only comes from people who down the trade shows. We might tell you some things that you don't even know exist or want the now or want to know like rooftop parties. What gets on all the gossip? Okay, Next one next video.