Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Getting to Know Spectrum Glass

Spectrum utilizes DisplayStar's Cascade Retractable Banners to appeal to their glass artist audience by featuring dramatic images from the glass-making process.

DisplayStar's Versatile Banner Stands Allow Spectrum® to Target Specific Audiences
This week I had the pleasure of getting to know our customer, Spectrum Glass.  Spectrum makes great use of DisplayStar’s retractable banner and its ability to work well as a single unit—or as part of a group to tell a story.  This feature allows Spectrum the flexibility to "mix and match" banners depending on audience and space.  In addition, the images Spectrum chose reflect a great understanding of their audience.

“[The] system of the six banners allows us such great flexibility that we can tailor to any of our trade show needs. (Unlike the giant, cumbersome structures of years gone by!)

The full set of 6 banners is used in larger trade shows such as the Glass Craft & Bead Expo held every spring in Las Vegas. We have two major product lines featured within the set (Spectrum® stained glass and System 96® fusible glass) and sometimes a trade show will have more of an emphasis on one than the other so we'll send a set most appropriate for the audience. For instance, Glass Art Society's annual trade show draws more of a hot glass audience so we send the banners that feature the fusible glass. We also attend our larger Distributor's Open House events but space is usually much more limited there so we might just send a single banner.”      ~Spectrum

Spectrum Enjoys the Many Benefits of Banner Stands
“As for the benefits, we love the ease of the lightweight retractable banners—they’re visually attractive and very easy to set up and dismantle. The cost of shipping these to the various destinations is minimal as well but they yield a high impact. The cost of producing the banners is quite reasonable as well. The print quality is good—our business is based on color—and these are vibrant and get great attention from customers. Overall, a big improvement on all counts!”      ~Spectrum

Spectrum’s Amazing Community of Glass Artists
Located in Woodinville, WA, Spectrum Glass manufactures Specialty Glass, selling to retailers, commercial enterprises, and individual end users. Their glass comes in an infinite variety of colors, forms and chemical compositions to be used in a number of applications from stained glass to glass blowing to commercial architecture. Spectrum also addresses the multitude of glass enthusiasts' skill levels and interests by providing extensive educational materials on their website and different learning forums.

I was amazed by Spectrum's commitment to the growing community of glass enthusiasts and the advancement of the glass arts. Over the years, Spectrum has developed a number of lines—such as System 96®—which is a family of glass products specifically designed and produced to work together both technically and artistically in every facet of the hot glass arts.

I was impressed by all the complex products that Spectrum provides to the glass artist. However, I was also equally struck by the intricate sophistication of the end products made by glass artists. It was beyond my imagination. Glass objects and portraits with such color and texture it was difficult to comprehend they were, in fact, made out of glass.

Glass fortune cookies made from System 96® glass products—one of Spectrum’s lines of specialty glass.

Glass Artists Love of Process Shown in Banners
However, despite technological advancements, it also became clear to me that what the glass artist loved even more than her final creations was the process of glass making itself. There was something inherently appealing in mixing raw materials and heating those materials to a state of molten temperature. I imagined that appeal would carry over to the individual glass artist and her own process of working with kilns and open flames to form her own creations.

No wonder Spectrum chose images of the various steps of glass making for their retractable banners—instead of choosing an image from the infinite number of exquisite glass art pieces. Spectrum's decision reflects a deep understanding of their audience and her love of glass making. 

The Ladling & Stirring Bay are two important destinations for making specialty glass. Secondary colors are added at the Ladling Bay. Swirled, multi-colored glass undergoes a special mixing process at the Stirring Bay.

The glass-making journey is a fascinating process from its dramatic hot, molten state to the unique beauty of a finished sheet of glass. The Spectrum® Continuous Ribbon process occurs in four basic phases. 1) Raw material (batch) mixing, 2) Melting, 3) Sheet Forming and 4) Annealing (cooling).

Four of Spectrum's six banners show the glass making process with particular focus on the Ladling Bay, Ladles, and the Forming Rolls.

  • To make a multi-colored glass, secondary colors are melted in smaller, separate furnaces (Day Tanks) then hand-ladled into the stream at the Ladling Bay.
  • Downstream from the Stirring Bay, the glass flows between the two Forming Rolls creating a continuous ribbon of sheet glass.

After the glass forms into sheets and cools it is then cut into various size sheets which is the subject of the last two banners. These banners show in sheet tiles the explosion of color, texture and design in Spectrum® Glass and System 96®.

“The print quality is good—our business is based on color—and these are vibrant and get great attention from customers.”      ~Spectrum

The use of space in these two banners is superb. The colors and design come alive against the black background which is strategically ample at the bottom. The text and tiles are carefully draped across both banners. The point at which the tiles end on one, they pick up on the other. The two perfectly complement each other. Yet, each is effective on its own.

Two Distinctly Different Trade Show Audiences
Both the Glass Craft & Bead Expo and the Glass Art Society Conference:

  • Promote the art glass industry.
  • Encourage networking opportunities.
  • Provide educational forums.
  • Give glass manufacturers and retailers an opportunity to present the latest in glass materials, equipment and tools.
  • Provide an opportunity to purchase directly from prominent glass artists.

Artist models glass dress at the 2012 Toledo, OH Glass Art Society Conference Fashion Show.

Listed below are some of the differences between the two audiences:

Glass Art Society Conference (Non-Profit Org.)
  • Attendees are Glass Art Society members only.
  • Smaller show of 1,060 attendees in 2015.
  • Attendees tend to be professional artists:  Hot glass (blowers) & warm glass (fusing).
  • Attending artists may have museum & gallery installations.
  • Spectrum displays a single banner of the System 96® product line along with higher-end professional artwork.
  • Attendees create more experimental art that pushes boundaries & conventional thought.
  • Attendees are less inclined to purchase a pattern for a glass project, they would want to lead in new directions.

From Spectrum’s Facebook Page: “The Jazz Men,” a wonderful piece by Pat Beeson of Beeson Art Glass, Waverly, NE, was created for a local bistro. Spectrum is thrilled that Pat chose Spectrum's gorgeous Waterglass® to represent the “texture” of the music swirling around the players!

Glass Craft & Bead Expo
  • Expo is open to public.
  • Larger show of 7,800 attendees in 2015.
  • Attendees tend to be more recreational craft artists in stained glass & fused mediums.
  • Spectrum displays six banners with both Spectrum® & System 96® product lines and features artwork that is more “attainable.”
  • Spectrum distributes information about how to create the various pieces that they display.

Key Take-Aways
  1. Do you know how your audiences vary between different trade shows?
  2. How do you cater to these differences?
  3. Does your business have a fascinating process to show on banners or other trade show materials?
  4. Could your trade show materials make better use of space to catch the viewer’s attention?

Interested in the Glass Arts?
Checkout Spectrum’s website at www.spectrumglass.com for information about products, suppliers, image galleries, and patterns. Other reference material includes: art glass dictionary and resource, product specs, tutorials, and firing schedules.

Learn More About DisplayStar's Banners:  The New Display Essential
Effective and versatile, they are an essential addition to freshen any display with many creative ideas:

  • Tell a brand’s or customer’s story.
  • Create ambiance.
  • Announce new products or services.
  • Sales promotions.
  • Address a specific demographic at different shows or locations.
  • Create an event.

Click here to view DisplayStar's line of banners available in a variety of styles, sizes and prices.

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