Your booth signage needs to be instantly recognizable as yours and enhance the image of your brand. Signage is one of the first things attendees will notice, so leaving signs until last or failing to give them the same consideration as your other booth components is a costly error.

Design for the Space You Have

Your booth signs need to address your target market and be easy and clear to read. Your type and imagery may have to vary based on where the signs are going; a sign designed to hang over your booth will naturally need larger text and images than one that will be displayed at eye level on a stand. Choose typeface that performs well at the correct distance when you create each piece; you should know where that piece will go, how it will hang and how close viewers will be to it for best results.

Go for Quality over Quantity

Any images you use for your trade show signage need to be of the highest quality. That photo that looks great on your computer monitor won’t perform well when it is used on your signage, unless it is high resolution. Most computer images default to 72 dpi; once you attempt to make that image larger and print it at 200 dpi (typical for booth signage…or higher) it just won’t work. Invest in quality photography and images so attendees actually know what they are looking at.

Be Brand Aware

Companies like Apple or Starbucks may be able to get away with just an image for signage, but you’ll need your full brand name on your trade show sign. If your name doesn’t instantly explain what you do, include a simple tagline as well. Trade show attendees should be able to identify your brand at a glance and understand not just the image, but what you do as well from that quick look. If you’re a big brand, you need to make sure your signage accurately represents your image and story; smaller brands can take advantage of signage to further cement and define their story and USP.

Practical Matters

Looking at all the different materials and options can be overwhelming, even for graphic designers. Cramming too many elements you simply like into a sign or group of signs won’t work, your piece must send a compelling message and be clear and easy to read. Attention to kerning (the space between letters and words) can help you avoid embarrassing errors, while careful attention to where you’re cropping images and logos ensures that you get the attention you want.

If you have interactive elements or sound, but plan on mounting the sign 12 feet above the ground, you’re wasting money on those features; people won’t be able to access them features at all. We’ve all seen magazine ads that feature models with crazy long limbs or with missing elements; be aware that trade show signs can end up with the same problem, particularly if they need to be assembled on site.

When you craft your signs, pay careful attention to where they’ll go and how well they integrate with your brand image. The same A/B testing methods used for marketing can help reveal which signage and booth components your prospects are reacting best to and allow you to adjust as needed.