Signage is an essential part of any event. It helps people find what they’re looking for and ensures they get to the right places at the right times. It helps event attendees make sense of what is often a busy, chaotic environment. On the other hand, choosing the wrong signage for the purpose can make an event hard to navigate. How do you decide what kinds of event signage are best for each purpose and location?
Six Purposes of Signage
Event signage has a number of purposes, but they all amount to the same thing: Signs get people’s attention. Once you have it, you can use the sign to give them a message or instruction. Most events need to use a variety of different types of signage to help people enjoy the event. The main purposes of event signage include:
- Directional signage – One of the most common kinds of signage and one of the most important. It tells people where to go and how to get there. For instance, directional signage might give instructions for finding the event or for getting to locations within it.
- Location signage – These signs are used to highlight particular locations where people need to be during your event. Directional signage helps them get there, while location signage lets them know they’ve found what they were looking for.
- Activity signage – Some event signs tell people how to perform specific tasks; for instance, signage that tells people how to proceed through the registration process.
- Promotional opportunities – This includes things like welcome signs, sponsorship signage, and any signs that promote the event’s organizers or sponsors.
- Crowd control – Directional signage for events performs this purpose. It also includes other kinds of crowd-control, such as barricades and barriers. These keep traffic flowing and keep people away from potential problem areas or hazards.
- Event spaces – Some forms of signage can be used to create structure in an event space, turning one large space into several smaller ones.
What Kinds of Event Signage Are There?
Event signage exists in a huge variety of sizes and forms. From banners to backdrops to simple table signs, there’s a wide range of ways to disseminate information and promote your brand. Some event signage examples include:
Wall Signs and Backdrops
Display anything and everything, from banners to directional signs, instructions, and labels. But make sure to check visibility, especially in large spaces. Wall signs should be large and use fonts that are clear and easy to read, even at a distance.
Most kinds of signage can find a useful home on any venue wall, but this type of large signage shouldn’t be the only kind your event uses. For one thing, it may mean that a good chunk of people just don’t see them. In a large and crowded room, you may end up with people milling around in the middle, not sure where to go because they don’t see the directional signs on the walls. In this situation, use high wall or banner signs to improve visibility. Adding centrally located signage also helps direct traffic.
A-frame signs and other freestanding signage have plenty of space for directions, instructions, or promotional messages. They’re also lightweight and portable. They make great outdoor event signage and are most-often used by retailers as sidewalk advertising. They’re equally useful for signposting locations at events. Their main limitation is that since they’re at floor level, they can become obscured in crowded locations.
Table signage is ideal for labelling things and for giving instructions at strategic locations. For instance, at registration tables, signs can let people know how to register or activate an event smartcard or remind them to visit the sponsorship booth or pick up swag bags. Table signs are best used for local instructions. Typically small in size, they’re not the best choice for signs that need to be legible at a distance.
Their large size and overhead location makes event banners popular as marketing signage for advertising and sponsorship messages. Banners for events are also perfect as signposts for heavily trafficked locations, since they remain easily visible even in a large crowd.
This part of the venue often goes unused, but the floor can be a useful place to add extra event directional signs. And if people are already looking at the floor to help them find their way, why not add promotional messaging too?
Creative Event Signage Ideas to Amaze Attendees
Use these event signage ideas at your next event or as jumping-off points for something entirely new. Remember, great signs should be both useful and visually interesting. Whatever signage you use, make sure that it fulfills its purpose effectively, whatever that might be.
If you’re not sure what these are, just check out any celebrity red carpet photo and you’re likely to see one. A step-and-repeat is a temporary backdrop or banner with a repeating pattern of one or more brand logos. They typically serve as the background for celebrity photo ops, but you don’t need to have an event full of A-listers to use them. If you need photos of keynote speakers and other guests, setting up a small step-and-repeat wall is a great option.
Step-and-repeat walls can also be used as temporary, portable walls to add definition to a large space, or you can create smaller semi-private rooms within a bigger one.
Social Media Zone
Your step-and-repeat wall will only be needed for official photo opportunities for a brief time. When it’s not in use for this purpose, why not let the same area do double-duty as a social media station? Add hand props or cut-outs and other items people can use in their photos, and make sure you have an event hashtag they can share.
Add to the fun at your social media zone by using a digital graffiti wall to display your social media handles and hashtags. This popular event activity uses a digital screen combined with light-spray technology to let attendees create and color their own images. Or you can use the screen to display specific images or information—such as social media info—and allow users to add their own creations. Once they’ve finished, they can take photos and even upload them to a service that uses the designs to create personalized swag.
Interactive digital signage can be used in a variety of ways. It can provide information or entertainment, or it can serve as a purely decorative advertising medium. For instance, use it to display directional signage for your event, interactive sponsored content, or virtually anything else you can think of.
With both flexibility and adhesion, wraps are unique in that they can be applied to virtually any surface, at any location. Wraps are like very large stickers but are more flexible than paper or plastic, so you can wind them around corners, columns, and even stairwells to create stair wraps. They instantly transform any space into a direction or instruction, or a promotional message.
Great Event Signage Makes the Attendee Experience Better
No matter what kinds of event signage you decide to use, make sure it’s used with purpose. The right event signage can make the attendee experience noticeably better by giving your guests useful information, instructions, and directions. Signage is an integral part of the overall experience, so it’s important to be both thoughtful and creative in choosing how you use it.