Trade Show Graphics

“Signco is a turnkey trade show graphics provider. We specialize in custom graphics, booth graphics, event banners, museum graphics, business center graphics and much more.”

Target Your Audience

Communicating a message specifically for your target audience and objectives is critical for your marketing efforts to make and impact. If you are attending many different shows over the year that have different business demographics make sure you have a different set of graphics for those specific shows. Simply using the same graphics time and time again may not be the best approach.

Graphic & Structural Harmony

Your structure is a beautiful piece of dimensional art that should be complimented by the design that goes on it so the lines flow and feel like they were always meant to work together. It is always impressive to see examples of structural and graphic elements pulling together into a cohesive flow that compliment one another. Make them work well together.

Color Choices

You want to to draw your shows targeted demographic into your exhibit space without bombarding them with unnecessary colors that you think are going to draw the eye. Be respectful to the viewer and trust your message and staff to do some heavy lifting – swamping the attendee with every color in the rainbow thinking it will make your exhibit stand out may do just the opposite of your goal and chase them away. Keep true to your brands standards for your colors.

Be Seen From Every Angle

Brand consistency throughout your exhibit space is critical. One thing that many non exhibit designers forget is that these are dimensional graphic platforms that need to branded accordingly so that your company logo is clearly seen from all angles and inline with your corporate identity guidelines. That is what makes trade show structures so powerful as a canvas, you can deliver a message from many angles at once.

Critical Positioning

The scale of your booth messaging can make or break the marketing effort. Make sure your critical visual content is at least eye level or higher and clear of any physical property obstructions. Accounting for monitors that may be added on show site and the height of people within your exhibiting space. Get any dimensions of items being put into the space that may block your graphic surfaces before designing. This will save you frustration on the show floor.

Critical Content

I touched on this in the last paragraph. Making sure that your graphics are not being blocked by items such as counters, monitors, workstations, literature racks and other items that may be wheeled in elements.  This is often overlooked by the inexperienced designer. Make sure all non-structural dimensions are accounted for and critical content is clear of these potential obstructions that may not be able to be moved out of the way on the show floor. Connecting with the staff that may bring these items into your space is very important so you can adjust your graphics as needed.

Quality Full Scale Graphics

Your canvas is large and the quality of your bitmap graphic elements need to match. When designing your graphics you need to keep in mind that you need to have at the least 100-150DPI at 100% size that can mean you have graphics that can push 400mb-1gb in file size for 10 foot sections.   Many stock image sites offer advanced options that allow for downloading files that are larger than the typical print options they show. You will spend a bit more, but the results will be worth it!

Font Usage

This is Design 101. Stick to your corporate standards, and resist any urge to use all the free and exciting fonts that are out there. Typically use one or two fonts and the variations within that fonts family to complement each other. Avoid using more than a two to three font sizes that are appropriate for the exhibit and viewing distance.


The massive size of certain exhibit graphics is a huge bonus, and an opportunity that should not be wasted.  Readability of your elements and their importance should be considered along with safe areas and room so that your content does not compete or feel cramped in its new 3D environment. Print out some 8×10 pieces of paper with the font sizes and tape them at distance to get a feel for how things will look in reality.  your desktop monitors can be deceiving for viewing large format text.

Design Trends

Keep your graphic design clean and modern. Styles and trends change as we all know, and staying up the the trends can draw positive attention from attendees but you have to also consider the usage of your current graphics on the property. if you need them to last for a year or possibly more you need to lean on your brands standards so that adding new graphics and visual elements elements over time will still flow well.

Keep it Simple

Keeping things simple and the saying “Less is more” is very relevant with exhibit graphics especially with textual content. The exhibits that fail usually have an overwhelming amount of content that the attendee is supposed to read, when the stark reality is that you have just a second or two to get your message across. In the ever increasing volume of information being thrown visually at each attendee at a specific show, you can not expect anyone to spend that kind of time reading. This is where your collateral or digital links do the work after the show and your staff can answer questions and get the conversation going. Keep you graphics to the point and smart with the textual content.

Hire a Professional – It Pays

This is always a tough one to approach, because many people honestly believe they are good designers.  But the reality is that though many people who have graphics programs and some knowledge think they are as good as a professional – they typically are not. Time is worth money, and if you are not hiring a professional designer because you want to save a little money or letting someone in your office who has Photoshop design your booths graphics can be a huge disservice to your marketing objectives. In the end you may have created acceptable graphics that fit your needs, but if that time and effort was put into a team of designers that give you multiple concepts with designs that you can adjust and mold, the final outcome will by far exceed anything that a single untrained individual can create. This is why they are there, to be an extension of your vision and it is time and money well spent! So hire a professional to work their graphic magic together with your vision for the best results possible. Exhibits are a huge investment, so do not penny pinch on the most important part! Structures do not sell by themselves – it is only the platform for the message that is being created!