Canon USA’s Gamut Destinations Exhibit Is A Mini Vacation With A Message

by Sean O'Leary

I have been to more trade shows than I can (or want to) count at this point, so I think it’s accurate to say it takes something special to get my attention. At Print 18, there was no shortage of exhibitors willing to deploy loads of money and creative resources in an effort to somehow translate their corporate mission via the unwieldy medium known as the trade show booth (an esoteric and challenging art form indeed). But as has always been the case, funds expended don’t necessarily assure that a trade exhibit can deliver that elusive combo platter: enticing passersby while also conveying an instantly comprehensible message.

[ Flashback: Particularly during the infamous era when startup money was funding visually fabulous trade show booths, trade reporters often found themselves wondering what exactly digital startup companies did. After circumnavigating a fascinating booth at Seybold (remember Seybold?), I asked a booth dweller what his company did? His reply: “what do you need?” ]

That’s why it was a pleasure to take a mini-vacation at CanonUSA’s Print 18 booth, a visual tour de force that succinctly summarized its main message, while also slipping in another.

For a dynamic and diverse global brand such as Canon, a primary challenge for a print show presence is encapsulating all of the company’s digital imaging and production print solutions into a concise and digestible visual vignette. The baseline view is output devices manufactured by Canon: high speed industrial inkjets, color and digital presses in several niches, photo printers, wide-format roller and flatbed models, fine art printers, backed up by workflow solutions for web, transactional, direct mail and graphic arts environments. But the brand picture doesn’t really become whole until we can experience these printed products in a real world context.

In the case of the Print 18 booth, the real world was consolidated into a four part vacation experience.

From Promotional To Accounting
The central feature of the Canon stand was an in-booth “hotel” property conceived to display dozens of examples of printed material as deployed by the hypothetical “Gamut Destinations Travel Hospitality Company”. The circular structure was divided into four open-sided interior slices, each of which allowed the visitor access to Print Application categories representing various stages and aspects of an imaginary luxury vacation. In this trade show microcosm, “print” plays a critical role in every stage of the customer journey, from initial marketing awareness to the travel experience itself. In the process, the booth actualizes the second objective of the trade exhibit, which is to reinforce the continued viability and benefit of print in a digital world and to bring home the point that Canon is committed to partnering with PSPs in a wide range of markets.


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A. The travel agency/promotional section represented the marketing phase of the vacation experience, with a selection of promotional brochures, postcards, maps, coupon booklets, calendars, self-mailers, loyalty cards and other collateral. A banner stand advertised special events while a fine art print of travel destinations graced the wall of the office.

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B. In the next section we find ourselves in a Tuscany themed café featuring digitally printed wallpaper, floor graphics and fine art prints. A backlit sign suggests drink choices. Even the faux parquet floor is printed. Daily specials are promoted on an easel sign and table tents. Other information print products include tavern menus and cross promotional flyers. The wine bottles sport neck tags.

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C. The hotel room itself is dominated by an exotic wall mural and textile fine art prints on the walls. Door hangers, hotel feature promotions, the room service menu and other print collateral are arranged throughout. Upholstery is digitally produced as well.

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D. Finally, the back office quadrant reminds us of business applications for print with an array of prosaic yet necessary collateral. The office features more examples of digital décor on the floor and walls. Posters grace the walls and the bulletin board is full of maps, brochures and informational material. The shelves hold bound documents.


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