To Get a Giant Banner or Not To Get a Giant Banner?

I've got a comic convention coming up reaaallllly soon (*ahem* in 2 1/2 weeks) and it's a big one. By big, I mean in a convention center, with "Wizard World" as part of the title of the show. As an indie creator, these shows can go one of two ways:

  1. No one notices you because you're not a name they recognize, so you sit and stare at your hands for the entire duration of the show
  2. Brave souls are willing to approach your table, ask you for sketches of their favorite superhero characters, and might actually purchase a book or two

Let's hope #2 is what happens. One of my main problems with big shows is the massive amount of visual stimulation EVERYWHERE. Not just people wandering around in wigs and bikinis (or, as I witnessed at my last show, a 60-year-old man in a loin cloth - WHERE DOES HE PUT HIS KEYS) but the huge banners, stands, and massive shelves of artwork screaming at you from every angle.

How is one creator (or anyone, really) supposed to compete with that?

From my years of exhibiting at shows, I've come up with a few different tricks to try to make my work both stand out, be well represented, but also give the customer a bit of room since they're already oversaturated with visual imagery (I covered some of my history with table displays a bit in this post). For the most part, I tend to lay my books out flat and try to space them out a little to give the customer some room.

It helps, though, if you don't have quite such a busy tablecloth. Soon after this, I switched to a simpler pattern, and added some zoned areas for my work. Boxes for comics, box for prints, display box for cuffs, jewelry tree for hanging prints.

I still wasn't too thrilled with the color of the tablecloth, but I liked where this was headed. My next big show, however, was Baltimore Comic Con, so in order to step up my game in order to compete with the height of booths around me, I added a wee bit of height.

The one thing I'm still really lacking in is one of those fancy-shmancy banners that people incorporate into their show tables. You know, the ones that look like this:

I've never gotten one, but lately I'm more and more tempted. At the very least, to give my table some large imagery that can be seen from far away and (hopefully) attract people to come over and say hi. It's too late to figure one out for Wizard World New Orleans in a couple of weeks, but I'm curious to hear from other comickers and crafters and tradeshowers out there - have you gotten one of these stand up display things? Worthwhile or not worthwhile? I've seen some SUPER crazy contraptions for propping giant banners up behind the table too, but they scare me a bit with their rickity-ness and the amount of time/skill it takes to put all the PVC's together.

Also, I'd love to hear opinions from any convention goers - do you like seeing banners or would you rather encounter a giant image-free zone every now and again at shows?

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