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Trade Show Sign Best Practices

March 04, 2020

Exhibiting your products or services at a trade show is one of the best ways to generate a flood of new business. The signs you have at your booth are vital to attracting the greatest amount of attention from passersby. However, this is often easier said than done.

Your competitors will most likely have their own booth, and in some cases, a much bigger trade show budget. We want to share with you our top five trade show sign best practices that can help you make the biggest impact, regardless of your budget.

Branding Congruency 

Think back to the last major trade show that you attended. Which booths stood out the most in your mind? Chances are they were the ones whose branding was consistent. For example, when Google attends a trade show, you can immediately tell that they’re “Google” the second you see their booth.

All-white walls, multi-colored chairs, and branded kiosks let everyone know that this is Google. When planning your trade show materials, be sure to keep your branding consistent. Banners, images, promotional products, and displays will allow visitors to identify and connect with your brand.

Do Your Homework

Depending on what trade show you exhibit at, the organizers might have special rules regarding the design of your booth or materials that you’re allowed to use. This can have a direct impact on the type, size, and materials of your signage. Here are some examples of limitations or restrictions that we have seen over the years:

  • Types of graphics you can or can’t use
  • Size of signs that are allowed
  • Sign mounting limitations 
  • Materials you can use to fasten your signs
  • Moving visuals and light restrictions
  • Available power outlets

Having a custom trade show sign created only to realize it’s too big or doesn’t meet specific criteria is the last thing you want to have to deal with. Even if the event promoter doesn’t send you a list of guidelines, it’s best to ask them to be on the safe side.

Get Creative!

Now that you have your signage guidelines, it’s time to design the perfect sign. There are several types of trade show displays that will allow you to stand out from the rest of the exhibitors. Custom lighting, graphics, and unique shapes will all work in tandem to help draw the attention of attendees from far and wide.

When designing your signs, there are a few tips that can help them have the greatest impact:

Design for Short Attention Spans – Your signage should instantly convey the message without requiring someone to sit there and read it. 

Consider Fonts and Font Size – Fonts and font sizes are two other important considerations. While they might be eye-catching, some fonts are tough to read and will cause people to ignore them. 

The size of the font that you use will have a direct impact on viewing distance. For example, a 20-pt. font size is readable from a 7-foot distance whereas a 100-pt. font is viewable from about 26 feet. Keep that in mind if you’re designing a sign that’s meant to be seen from the other end of the convention hall.

Consider Your Location – Take full advantage of your geographical location. For example, if you have a corner booth, there will be at least two direct lines of sight to the furthest focal point of your area. Design your booth to take advantage of this benefit by placing eye-catching signs and graphics so that they can be seen from both directions.

Conversely, if you’re exhibiting outdoors, certain colors might not show up as well when contrasted with the bright sunlight. This is why you should avoid using colored text on a bright background. Contrasting color schemes tend to work best on outdoor signage. 

Triple-Check Your Sign Proofs

Make sure that you triple-check your sign proofs. Planning a trade show booth is an exhausting endeavor, and this is why many exhibitors will have someone in their office perform a secondary or even tertiary check. 

This will help ensure that you’re not missing anything and that all information presented is factual. Once you sign off on the proofs, you’re stuck with any misinformation or errors that you didn’t catch. 

Events and Special Guests

If your signage is promoting an event or special guest, try to put that information on a removable slot or attachment that you can easily take off. This way if the guest speaker is unable to attend, or the event is canceled for whatever reason, you won’t be left with a sign that’s promoting misinformation. You’ll also be able to use that sign in the future for a different event or guest speaker.

Trade Show Signage Design and Creation in Seattle

We hope the above five tips will help you better prepare for your next trade show event. If you or your organization need a custom trade show sign or promotional materials, give us a call at (206) 284-0809 or contact us via our website.

At McNamara Signs, we’ve been helping Seattle businesses and organizations with their trade show and sign needs for well over ten years. Get in touch with us today, and we’ll help you design and create the perfect trade show sign or booth!

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