89 North Trade Show Exhibit

During the summer of 2010, XANDRA DESIGN (XD) was tasked with designing a new trade show exhibit for 89 North™. 89 North develops innovative products for the life sciences. Applications for their light source products include fluorescence microscopy, automated DNA sequencing, HTS/HCS, qtPCR and microarray analysis. These light sources produce ultrastable, high-intensity output for reliable quantitative fluorescence.

As fall approached, 89 North prepared to release a new light source called the Heliophor™. They kicked off their show season at Neuroscience 2010 in San Diego. The theme of the season’s exhibit was to highlight this innovative new product.

The Heliophor is a pumped phosphor light engine for quantitative fluorescence imaging. It includes up to 6 user-exchangeable wavelength modules and features rise and fall times of less than 10 microseconds. The Heliophor’s digital shuttering and onboard macro capabilities enable high-speed, multidimensional imaging. Backed by a limited warranty, the Heliophor delivers consistently high intensity, ultrastable output.


Our primary goal in developing 89 North’s new booth was to portray the Heliophor’s distinguishing characteristics through the design of the exhibit. Critical traits were to include bright solid-state lighting, a system of easily configurable modular units (not only does the Heliophor have modular units, but the booth also needed to be modular to work in a variety of exhibit spaces) and a wide spectrum of color. Additional concerns included keeping the exhibit in line with the Heliophor’s attributes, as well as with 89 North’s values of environmentally conscious solutions and warranty-backed quality.

An additional goal was consistency with the look of all of the rest of 89 North’s materials. Black backgrounds hint at dark imaging environments found within laboratories while bright, colorful elements are representative of colorful cell images.


Pronto 2 Banner Stands

As we began the design phase of the exhibit, we searched for options that would be lightweight to ship and easy for the user to set up. Modularity was also another important factor since the client would be exhibiting this display in a number of different-sized spaces including 8′ x 5′, 10′ x 10′ and 20′ x 10′. The retractable banner stand option was a perfect solution for this situation.

Twist Large Rectangle Counters

Since 89 North is concerned with the environment, we sought to find a vendor with environmentally friendly counter options with surface areas large enough to display the Heliophor. We also aimed to find something that was lightweight so that it would be affordable to ship and easy to assemble on the show floor without hiring show labor.

Tradeshowdirect offered a counter product, the Twist Large Rectangle Counter, that initially seemed to fit these basic needs.

Importance Of Using Digital Format for Display Information

Digital photo frames are distributed throughout the exhibit. They display more detailed information than the banner and counter graphics. This information can be digested by visitors once they have been drawn to the booth. Relegating the display of detailed information to digital media allows the banner and counter graphics to remain more generic in nature. This facilitates their reuse in future show seasons with future campaigns. The environment is spared unnecessary waste, and the budget is spared the expense of having the graphics reprinted.

A large plasma monitor in the center of the booth serves as an eye-catching focal point. It contains more detailed product information than the banners and counters, and it can be updated on the fly.

Importance of ‘Green’ Practices of Selected Vendor

Tradeshowdirect’s counter offerings comply with many of the trade show industry’s “Green” standards. Their lightweight products reduce the amount of fuel needed too ship them. They don’t contain components that are harmful to the environment. Their products are made of materials that are not endangered and are recyclable. Their sustainable designs promote the reuse of components. In fact, reuse of the entire exhibit is promoted. The counters can be updated with fresh new graphics to support new campaigns. Valuable warranties are issued to further encourage reuse of their products. Tradeshowdirect also takes substantial efforts to reduce waste in their manufacturing process and to recycle any waste that is not completely eliminated.

For more information on the Green Movement in the Trade Show Industry, download this report from Exhibitor Magazine:

An Inconvenient Booth: The Economic Impact of The Green Movement on the Trade Show Industry Trend Report No. 1



XD was first introduced to a new form of banner stand at Exhibitor 2010 in Las Vegas. These new banners have a unique 3-dimensional effect that is created by having 2 separate banners extend up from the same base unit. The background banner has a standard rectangular shape while the foreground banner can be trimmed to various angular and curved shapes resulting in a layered effect.

Cost-effectiveness was a significant concern for 89 North, a young but growing start-up company which can’t afford to purchase a new exhibit booth each year. We did some research and discovered Extraordinary Show Productions Ltd. (ESP). They sold Pronto 2 banner stands at a very reasonable price. Equally as valuable was the quick turnaround time and spectacular customer service that ESP offered.

Space, Lighting, Shipping, and Storage Requirements

The Twist Large Rectangle Counters came in an open design with one graphic panel in the front. Ideally, we were hoping to find something with an enclosed space in the center so that we could store extra equipment, literature, cleaning supplies, etc. We were also hoping to find something that made creative use of LED lighting to reflect the Heliophor’s creative take on solid state lighting.

Tradeshowdirect ran with these additional requirements. In a very short period of time, they put together a custom configuration of the Twist unit with an enclosed space that utilized backlit graphic panels on three sides and had an easily removable door on the back side. They put together a brilliant solution for the LED requirement by incorporating LED strip lighting on the underneath side of the top shelf.

Regarding space requirements, the exhibit needed to work in 10- and 20-foot exhibits as well as at shows where tabletop displays are more appropriate. It also was to be used at international exhibits, so it needed to be easy to ship or carry overseas.

There is minimal storage capacity in 89 North’s small office space, so the exhibit needed to be easily “packable” for the limited storage space.


The exhibit booth developed for 89 North’s trade show needs has been a success. The counters have proven to be easy to pack, ship and assemble. They hold up well to repeated use and continue to turn heads at every exhibit. Visitors are surprised to learn that 89 North is a small company less than two years old with only a handful of employees. The booth gives the impression of a larger, more established company.

This portable, high-quality, cost-effective exhibit booth has provided 89 North with a long-term solution for its trade show marketing needs that coincides with the company’s commitment to quality, innovation, and the environment.


For more details, download the 89 North Trade
Show Exhibit Case Study in PDF format →

Lesley Baumann

Lesley Alexandra Jump Baumann is a designer, artist and animal lover.

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