How to Create Useful Event Signage for Your Next Conference or Trade Show


With all that goes into planning a successful conference, trade show or industry event, the creation of event signage and collateral often ends up being a last-minute task, carried out without much planning or strategy.

Whether you’ve found yourself creating event signs, brochures and other printed collateral in the 11th hour or are carefully planning the design of these materials weeks in advance, your main focus should be on making your collateral as useful as possible for attendees. When your attendees have useful collateral to help them navigate the event, they can spend more time building relationships and learning – which is the point of your event, isn’t it? 

Here’s how.

Forget What You Know

Event planners have the benefit of knowing the ins-and-outs of their trade show or conference: the layout of the venue, the exhibitors and sessions, food options and more. 

The actual attendees at the event? They don’t know what you know. They’re going in blind.

You must create signage with their lack of familiarity in mind. Don’t take your knowledge about the venue and event for granted. Before creating your signage, consider the “need-to-know” information that is frequently overlooked, but makes the event less scary and easier to navigate for each attendee:

  • When attendees arrive, how will they be sure they are in the right place? Will there be a sign welcoming them? Make sure they know they’re in the right place.
  • A floor plan map is a must-have, but including landmarks and aids for determining direction on the map will make it far less confusing.
  • Think about the needs attendees will have throughout the day. Where can they go to charge a phone? Get some water? Step outside for fresh air? Show them upfront so they don’t need to feel anxious about any of those things (and yes, these are things that attendees can and do get anxious about).It’s up to you to determine where to include this information, but whether it’s a sign, brochure or something else, make sure it’s easy to find. 

Stick To The Facts

We know you have a lot you could say about the event; you planned it, after all! However, you’ll want to save your novel for another time and place. Keep your signs, brochures and other collateral clear and to the point. 

Make sure all information pieces you develop are as light on copy as they can be while still fully communicating their messages. Don’t write a paragraph when something can be communicated with a bullet point, for example. You want people to be paying attention to the event – not burying their head into a dense brochure. 

Keep Your Language and Imagery Consistent

There are so many types of materials that get created for events: signs, brochures, badges, banners and more. It’s crucial that the language and images used on each one is consistent. When the information is similar across pieces, readers will be able to more quickly find and understand the information you share.

 This should be great news, as it means you don’t have to reinvent the wheel for each new piece. Pick a design template that can be modified for each piece, and stick to it. You can copy specific instructions or details from one piece to the next, modifying the text due to space when needed, but otherwise, sticking to the same language used. 

More Useful Collateral Helps Event Planners Execute a More Valuable Event

When you keep in mind your attendees’ lack of familiarity with your event, keep collateral focused on need-to-know information, and stay consistent across different pieces, you’ll help your attendees easily and quickly find the information they are looking for. That way, you can spend less time answering questions like “where is the bathroom?” and more time building valuable relationships with attendees. 


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