C2E2 2013 Artist Alley Lessons
Here's a WikiHow on tabling, but I wanted some real life examples. I decided to use C2E2 to see how the greats do it. Which tables at C2E2 really stand out?
Tom Kelly's table really popped. Using wire grids he created an enclosing wall of his art prints. The plastic bins hold hand painted images of his cosplaying big headed cartoon cats, and anchor the L shaped print wall.
He loves credit card readers like Square and Paypal, which I don't have yet. "That really impacts on people's buying habits." Even so, he always hits the bank before a show to grab lots of $1 bills. Smart!
After the show he slipped me some more advice:
Oh, and for the record, I have two secret weapons BETTER than the candy. One is all the groundwork laid on social media PRIOR to the convention, raising awareness of my presence at the convention and what I'll be offering there before anyone ever sets foot on the show floor, and two, the massive help in planning and execution I get from Hal Bichel (aka ChristopherJonesWebMinion on tumblr). She's really a force multiplier when it comes to my presence both online and at conventions!
Having table signage that matched his floor banner really sings. When you come in from an angle, your floor banner isn't lined up with your table. A unified design theme creates one space that's all yours. Look at the photo: even his iPhone case, t-shirt and his cosplaying table mate all match the theme! You can tell which sign is his and which isn't, intuitively.
Four Star Studios crew. Using a well chosen tablecloth color, they've claimed a huge section of Artist Alley as a team.
Chad Sell table was a real masterpiece. Like others, he used a tablecloth to match his major signage. But look at how he places some of his signs right on the table, right above eye level. It worked great.
Chad has only been doing this for two years, but he's learned fast. "At a busy con like this people don't have time to hear your whole pitch. Having an interesting concept and image brings people in." He's gotten so much acclaim for his unlicensed Drag Race homages that the show hired him to create the graphics for their iOS game, Dragopolis. Pretty good for a kid from the rural Midwest!
Chad has items at various price points. He always has bundle offers if you want to pick up a whole set. And he rewards his online friends and fans. He gives the $3 items away as free rewards if they meet him at a convention.
I came up with a theory. Free Candy doesn't work for Chad because he has a specific audience. Witty, ironic, and especially fans of Ru Paul's Drag Race. If he draws everyone in then he's preventing his ideal customers from reaching his table. On the other hand, Chris Jones' work is aimed at a general audience, and especially kids. Candy works for Chris.
If you put out freebies, put out ones that appeal to your target demographic.
Next up, artist and writer Jason Latour.
The "Welcome To Creepyville" table of animator and designer Rich Gurnsey and Linda M. Castellitto is the polar opposite of Jason's in many ways. Soft colors, but many more elements. Still, it's a place of visual ease in a sea of clash. The color theme is kept throughout, and all the colors complement each other. Nothing too saturated or loud for the rest. There's a mock homespun feel to everything. Signs and shelves are wrapped in cartoon wood grain. They found the wood grain in Target's gift wrap aisle.