How to Maximize Your Signage at Trade Shows

February 21, 2024

A.J. Titus

A.J. Titus is president of Signarama, a sign and graphics franchise and the largest brand at United Franchise Group. In his role, Titus leads the brand’s growth efforts worldwide while also helping current franchise owners expand their businesses and maximize profitability. He is also president of Starpoint Brands, a family of award-winning brands that provide products and services known for quality, reliability and value.

Think of a trade show as a miniature city and each booth as a business meeting location. Like a city, it can be a confusing place for a visitor, who may end up aimlessly wandering the aisles leading past blocks of booths and tables while trying to find their destination. So many exhibits look the same, or their displays overload the viewer with such clutter that nothing can stand out. 

The right signage smooths the flow of traffic to the booths and helps attendees engage more fully with the entire show. Here is a helpful guide for trade show organizers on how to maximize signage and some tips to offer exhibitors:

Integrate event signage with the host company’s brand.

Work with the organizer to create a look and feel that strengthens the overall aesthetic and enhances the attendees’ experience. It’s like hosting a themed party or event; everything, down to the smallest detail, must resonate with the theme.


Help attendees navigate effortlessly.

You want attendees to easily find their way from one spot to another, not just from the parking lot to the event floor or from booth to booth. Along with directional signs for parking, check-ins and booths, don’t forget charging stations, restrooms and food courts, which are often overlooked. The more easily your attendees can get around, the more they’ll engage with the event.

Look for opportunities to get creative.

Directional signs should be simple and clear, but they don’t have to be boring. Besides using them for the show as a whole, think about offering these in premium packages for your exhibitors:

·      Retractable banners: Versatile and easy to transport, with floor and tabletop sizes that quickly close like a rollup window shade. 

·      Tents: Ideal for creating hospitality areas where your exhibitors can meet with clients.

·      Step-and-repeats: A branded photo background with a high engagement level, giving attendees a red-carpet experience and creating instant social media marketing.

·      Stretch table covers: Neat and clean, they’re a subtle branding device but make the table pop.

·      Digital, video and other technology: Lots of choices here, from promotional videos to digital signs that can be updated on the fly with artificial intelligence applications so you can devote full attention to your visitors. 

·      Floor decals: An underrated tool, perfect for guiding foot traffic.

Help exhibitors stand out and fit in.


All your painstaking attention to detail will be meaningless if exhibitors don’t make the same effort. While many exhibitors do recognize the value of well-executed signage, some miss the mark with pitfalls like cluttered designs, unclear messaging or tiny, indistinct fonts. Offer some guidance to your participants with these simple rules for effective signage (and be sure to apply them yourself):

·      Keep it short and simple: Follow the “5-second rule.”

In our fast-paced world, clarity and brevity reign supreme. If an attendee can’t grasp your message within five seconds, you might lose them.

·      Use high-contrast colors and fonts.

While black and white is timeless, playing with contrasting colors that align with your brand can be just as striking. If using a white background, the text should be dark for readability.

·      Give a strong call to action.  

Guide your audience clearly with a single specific action you want them to take. Whether you’re asking them to learn more, visit a website or step into your booth, accuracy is key.

·      Less is more.

Overwhelming attendees with too many signs can be counterproductive. Find a balance, focusing on one primary message and two or three secondary ones.

·      Placement matters. 

Your signage isn’t just about being seen; it’s about resonating with attendees at the right time and place. Put your primary message at eye level and in high foot traffic areas. 

Signage isn’t just a decorative element, it’s a communication tool. As the world becomes more digital, the tangible touchpoint that signs offer at trade shows becomes even more valuable. The right signage will help attendees and exhibitors engage to the fullest and experience everything you want them to discover at your show. So, invest wisely, design thoughtfully and let your signs do the talking.



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Overview: The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) goes the extra mile to make every day extraordinary by offering customer service excellence and industry-leading partnerships. From their dedicated in-house Rigging team to their robust Exhibitor Services, The Center of Hospitality brings your imagination to life by helping you host unforgettable meetings and events. With more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, world-class services and a dream destination, we are committed to making even the most ambitious conventions a reality. In October 2023, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve allocating Tourist Development Tax funding for the $560 million Phase 5A completion of the OCCC. The Convention Way Grand Concourse project will include enhancements to the North-South Building, featuring an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space, an 80,000- square-foot ballroom and new entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. “We are thrilled to begin work on completing our North-South Building which will allow us to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “As an economic driver for the community, this project will provide the Center with connectivity and meeting space to host more events and continue to infuse the local economy with new money and expanding business opportunities.” Amenities: The Center of Hospitality goes above and beyond by offering world-class customer service and industry-leading partnerships. From the largest convention center Wi-Fi network to custom LAN/WAN design, the Center takes pride in enhancing exhibitor and customer experience.  The OCCC is the exclusive provider of electricity (24-hour power at no additional cost), aerial rigging and lighting, water, natural gas and propane, compressed air, and cable TV services. Convenience The Center is at the epicenter of the destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Pedestrian bridges connect both buildings to more than 5,200 rooms and is within a 15-minute drive from the Orlando International Airport. The convenience of the location goes hand-in-hand with top notch service to help meet an event’s every need. Gold Key Members The OCCC’s Gold Key Members represent the best of the best when it comes to exceptional service and exclusive benefits for clients, exhibitors and guests. The Center’s Gold Key memberships with Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World greatly enhance meeting planner and attendee experiences offering world-renowned venues, immersive experiences and creative resources for their events. OCCC Events: This fiscal year, the OCCC is projected to host 168 events, 1.7 million attendees, and $2.9 billion in economic impact.  The Center’s top five events during their 2022-2023 fiscal year included:  AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2023 200,000 Attendees $257 Million in Economic Impact MEGACON 2023 160,000 Attendees $205 Million in Economic Impact Open Championship Series 2023 69,500 Attendees $89 Million in Economic Impact Sunshine Classic 2023 42,000 Attendees $54 Million in Economic Impact Premiere Orlando 2023 42,000 Attendees $108 Million in Economic Impact