Create Effective, On-Brand Trade Show Banners by Following These Simple Steps

Creating signage for an upcoming event doesn’t have to be a laborious, time-consuming endeavor. Unless you have high stakes or a large budget, your signage doesn’t need to be revolutionary.

What it does need to be, however, is effective.  

Whether you’re prepping for a specific show or creating banners to tote with you to events throughout the next year, you can follow a few simple steps to help reduce the time needed to plan your banner, sign or other large piece that will accompany you to your industry event.

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Keeping consistent with your brand

Before we jump into the template, let’s talk about brand consistency.

If your company has a brand style guide, this is absolutely the time to reference it. The style guide will have rules for you to follow to help make sure your signage matches the look and feel of other marketing collateral used by your brand. It might feel as though someone has already done half of the work for you – and it’s because they have! 

If you aren’t sure if your organization has one, reach out to your marketing or design department. 

While every style guide is different, most will include the following relevant information for your banners: 

  • Brand colors – specific colors that must be adhered to when creating graphics
  • Fonts – specific fonts that can be used in marketing collateral
  • Logo usage – what version, color and size of a logo is appropriate to use, and when
  • Language usage – what types of words and tone are acceptable to use, and when
  • Image usage – what types of images are acceptable to use, and when

If you don’t have a style guide, you should review your company’s other marketing materials and take note of consistencies in colors, fonts, language and more. I recommended looking at both digital spaces (website, social media profiles) as well as printed pieces (brochures, advertisements, and event letterhead). If you see the same colors being used across all spaces, or a similar tone being taken in the copy, be sure to include them in your banners.

Keep it simple

If there’s one thing to keep in mind when creating your banner, it’s that it should use as little copy as possible while still telling your audience something about your brand. The quicker someone passing by can read your banner, the easier it will be for them to determine if they want to approach your booth.

The biggest mistake we see with banners is clutter. People are so excited to share as much of their brand story or product attributes as possible that they design a banner with too much going on. The problem with stuffing too much information on your banner is that it forces the readers to do too much work to interpret it. The less your intended audience has to read and interpret on your banner, the better off you’ll be. Even if they don’t approach your booth, they’ll still have been successfully introduced to your brand.

A simple yet effective banner copy template


  • Header sentence (this will have the largest font size of all copy on the banner)
  • Either your company/product slogan, one sentence to catch attendees’ attention, or a small number of bullet points
  • Company logo
  • Background image or design

And that’s it!

If that seems simple, that’s precisely the point: your banner should be the most basic entryway for a person to learn about your company. Keep it simple and use your personal interactions and marketing materials to go in-depth on your brand. Remember, a banner is there to bring them in, not tell your complete story. 


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