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Rome was not built in a day, and the same goes for a successful National Stationery Show (NSS)! Sending fun and beautiful mailers to stores and paper friends alike only hits the tip of the NSS iceberg. As you may or may not know, we must build a booth too! Building ours (Booth 1421!) comes with both its joys and challenges.

It all starts with a plan, and for us, that plan started months ago. Priority numero uno: our booth had to be fun! Priority 2: all of our productsand I mean ALLmust be displayed on the booth walls. Priority 3: the entire booth must be able to fit in the boss's mini van. With this in mind, we hit the illustrator art board (and the ground) running.

National Stationery Show Prep | Blog | Smudge InkNational Stationery Show Prep | Blog | Smudge Ink(image: select 2-D renderings of our NSS booth)

To start, I designed 2-D models of the wall display and fixtures to essentially serve as our building and assembly blueprint. When we actually go to set up the booth, everyone gets a printout (and scaled ruler to boot!) telling us exactly what goes where right down to the quarter-inch. Putting in the effort upfront to create a detailed to-scale model saves us loads of time and guess work when we're deep in the setup trenches.  

This year’s booth measures nearly twice the size of last year’s, so we more or less had to start from the ground up. But once we landed on a direction and liked what we were seeing on paper, the implementation of 3-D modeling began. Don’t flip out too much, no auto-cad software used here, just some humble paper cutouts (more fitting for a paper trade show I must say).

National Stationery Show Prep | Blog | Smudge Ink(image: 3-D model of our NSS booth)

The 3-D model really gave us a better understanding of the flow of space. The human figurines helped us visualize the experience our visitors might have in relation to our products and furniture when steeping into our booth. And though time-consuming, three scale models later we can be even more sure of the aesthetic and functional quality of our end result than we could have with solely a 2-D printout. Basically, the 2-D blueprint serves as our building guide and the 3-D model as our vision.

National Stationery Show Prep | Blog | Smudge Ink
(image: close up of 3-D model of our NSS booth)

Priority 1 has been met with the creation of larger than life party animals while Priority 2 has been met via the laborious hours of puzzle-piecing products upon our blueprinted booth walls. Priority 3? Well, April and Eric have started building and seem to be making great headway. Let’s just say they’re basically Booth 1421 gladiators! Stay tuned for the next blog post to hear about their progress!