Going the Distance: Sustainability and Signage

April 16, 2018

Jessica Glenn

Jessica Glenn is the Sustainability Manager at Freeman, where she works to raise awareness and develop best practices for sustainability that make financial sense in light of corporate responsibility goals.

The quality of your graphics can make or break your success at events. But they can also break your budget and put a serious strain on the environment. 

In an attempt to grab attention, exhibitors try to out-do each other with the biggest, best and flashiest graphics. The result? An event that rivals Times Square for sheer sensory overload, with out-of-control costs and a negative environmental impact. 

It’s time to look at sustainability and how to reduce your graphics clutter. 

Out with the old

What materials do you select for exhibit graphics? 

If you're still using foam core, then make your way to a new era: foam cores are out and more sustainable, recyclable and high-quality materials are in. 

Eco-friendly substrates such as honeycomb or cardboard or even heavy-duty, high-quality paper are not only recyclable, they lend your booth a sophisticated and updated look, impressing attendees.

Increase material longevity

Printing signage is a huge expense, both in material and labor costs, let alone design time. So, do yourself a favor and print materials without specific themes, locations and dates. By keeping your materials less specific, you can use them for several events until it's time for recycling. 

Not only will you reduce your waste and save on expenses, you’ll also save time since you won’t need to worry about getting new messaging approved and new materials allocated into your budget. The materials on the market today look great for an extended period with minimal upkeep or cost, so you’ll likely wonder why you didn’t adopt this practice sooner.

Invest in the Future

Get rid of printed graphics and go digital! 

Digital signage is flexible and saves production costs. Last minute changes are easy in the digital realm, helping you stay flexible with schedules, sponsor acknowledgement and information direction. 

The venue or general service contractor has information about the range of digital signage offered, including sound options, video and screen size. Explore what’s available and put those high-tech elements to work promoting your business and ideas.

Don't Overproduce

Signage can be a major expense for exhibitors and organizers alike when you consider the cost of graphics, labor to distribute and collect, and disposal/storage costs. To reduce your waste and improve your bottom line when it comes to signage, think quality instead of quantity. 

Reviewing where you place signage is a great start. How do you know you have too much signage? 

If an attendee can see two or more directional signs from just one vantage point, then you’re in overproduced graphics territory. Reducing signage can be a bit nerve-wracking (“What if people get lost?”), so reduce gradually and track results along the way. Digital map stations offer a great way to reduce signage and can be easily updated if exhibits need shuffling. 

Being creative and strategic with your graphics can make an enormous difference. Helping the environment and your balance sheet in one fell swoop will have a positive impact on your business, your event experience and your brand. Now that's attention-grabbing! 

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