4 Exhibition Signage Mistakes To Avoid

24th July 2019

Exhibition signage

Exhibitions, trade shows and conventions can all be great opportunities for your business to gain new visibility and customers by displaying your products and services in a formal public setting. However, appearance at such an event can be expensive and time-consuming to organise - so it’s important to get the most from your outing.

Everything from your location on the show floor to the demeanour of your staff can influence the effectiveness of your exhibition stand, and the visual presentation of your booth is no exception. Having the perfect signage for your stand can mean the difference between having a successful show and going away disappointed - but mistakes are commonly made.

What are some common exhibition signage missteps, and how can you avoid them?

1. Not readable from a distance

The exhibition show floor is generally a very large space, and visitors to your stand might approach from any direction - so your signage needs to communicate clearly at all times.

Most trade shows and conventions have a lot of stands and companies all fighting for the visitor’s attention, and your booth signs really need to reach attendees from a distance and entice them to come over.

There are many factors that may contribute to poor readability from afar; one such issue may be your choice of typography. By using a font that has a lot of fiddly details or ambiguous letterforms, you might accidentally create a sign that is quite hard to understand - it’s important to select a typeface that is clear at all sizes.

Other things that may determine readability could be the size of your text - even the clearest font in the world is hard to read at too small a size - or its tracking (the spacing between all the letters in a word).

A good tip to test readability when working on a design is to zoom far out of the document and see if you can still understand all the elements; if it degenerates into an unreadable soup at 10% of its normal viewing size there may be work needed to distinguish some things a little more clearly.

2. Too much design clutter

As with any large-format image designed to be seen from a distance, it’s important not to make a ‘kitchen sink’ design with too many elements.

By the time your sign has a heading, subheading, a main photo, five sub photos, contact details, a paragraph of text and a selection of testimonials, your design is likely to resemble a confused muddle with no one element standing out clearly from a distance.

Instead, the key is to prioritise and to get specific about communicating just one or two things with your exhibition signage. After all, much of the rest of the information can be passed onto visitors via other means if they are interested (whether via conversations with your booth staff, printed leaflets and handouts, or otherwise) - the purpose of your main signage is to catch people’s attention and to invite them over to your stand.

Another tip to bear in mind is the effectiveness of imagery. As the saying goes, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ - and you may be able to cut some of the text in your sign by using an image that communicates the same idea more intuitively.

3. Not paying enough for quality

For many of the show attendees your presence at the event will be their first encounter with your company, and it’s vital to make a good impression with quality signage.

From a manufacturing and materials point of view, trying to save cash with a flimsy or cheap-looking sign isn’t likely to do your business any favours - and the same goes for the graphic design.

Professional designers do cost money, and it may be tempting to lay out the banner artwork yourself or have somebody do it in-house. If you or your team do have legitimate design talent this can be a great way to save money, but beware - having naive or amateurish-looking signs at your booth can really hurt your company’s perceived professionalism.

The same can also be said for the printing or manufacture of your exhibition signage. It’s always advisable to work with a company who has plenty of experience with producing these kinds of signs - and to listen to their expert advice regarding which types of artwork and file formats give the best results.

After all, your business only gets one shot at a first impression when visitors arrive at your exhibition stand, so it’s important to make sure you’ve put your best foot forward and projected the best image possible.

4. Not making the most of colour

Colour is such an important design element and is one of the best ways of standing out on the show floor.

The use of colour needn’t necessarily be garish, but it’s important to carefully consider which hues might help you to stand out from the crowd at the event and to think about the surrounding environment (as hanging a white banner on a white wall may not provide the maximum visual impact).

Another important consideration is the use of contrast between different design elements on your exhibition signage; for example, light grey text on a white banner will likely be difficult to read and understand from a distance.

Of course, it’s best to keep things on-brand where possible - don’t go crazy with bright orange and neon green signs if you have an accounting firm that usually represents its visual branding with modest and muted blues and greys.

At the end of the day, the point of attending a trade show or exhibition is to put your company out there, make a good impression and acquire new customers or business contacts - and your signage can play a major role in your success.

By avoiding these common exhibition signage pitfalls you can ensure that your stand at the show looks great and communicates to visitors with the utmost style and professionalism.

Here at Medash Signs, we’ve provided all kinds of signs for businesses in many industries since 1977 and we have a wealth of experience with producing high-quality exhibition signage - please call us on 01233 625383 or contact us via the website for help with your show signs.