Testing a New Trade Show Sign Design at the Print Shop

December 16, 2013

Next year I am going to be doing some traveling to trade shows to do presentations and I will also have a small display in a booth. Some of you are probably asking where and when. As soon as all the details are finalized, I will pass them along so I can meet as many of you as possible. Today I wanted to talk a little bit about a project for dressing up the monitor I’ll be using in the trade show booth.

My space in the booth will be extremely limited, but I will have a laptop and monitor setup to do some in-booth presentations. I thought about some small signs to set on the table next to me. They can fall over and they wouldn’t be immediately visible when visitors are focused on the monitor. Since users will be looking at the monitor, I determined the best sign would be one that fit around the outside of the monitor. I also had to design something that fit in my travel bags both in size and weight.

I made some quick measurements of the monitor and did a mockup of the sign in CorelDRAW where the blue area represents the area where artwork will appear. As I already had a meeting at my printer to pick up some books I did for a client, I printed out my mockup and did a little cutting to show off what I was trying to accomplish. A picture of the mockup is shown below.

The one note you’ll see on my mockup is that not only does a hole need to be cut in the middle, the whole sign needs to fold in half so it is small enough to fit in my bag. Once I got down to the shop, we created another very basic mockup to prove that we could do what we wanted with coroplast (corrugated plastic). A picture of that mockup is below.

This will not be the most elaborate sign ever and will have limited durability. Given the number of times I’ll need to use it, I’m sure it will hold up just fine. The total weight of the sign will probably be no more than a pound or two and the cost to print and build it should be fairly inexpensive. These two quick mockups proved we could do it and now I need to get to work on the design that will be on the sign. If you want to see the final version, you’ll have to come see me at the trade shows.

Post Discussion


  1. Anonymous

    Many years back we had several monitors in our tradeshow booth showing our company’s design & Signage portfolios. We trimmed the monitors with a festive abstract shaped foamcore frame with digitally printed funky art.. very random… attracted a LOT of attention in a booth for a commercial sign shop. good to see someone else doing similar. attached ours with velcro.

  2. Bob Marcom

    Foster, I’ve done trade shows and taught trade show exhibition for over 3 decades and been through every kind of evolution. In fact, I just got through dong a seminar for a national association on “The 7 Secrets To Trade Show Success.” My suggestion is to ditch the monitor. People don’t seem to take the time to stop and watch a show…besides with a small monitor, the viewing space is limited. Trade shows are about personal interaction…one of my 7 tips. If you want to ‘show’ something, why not use a tablet in your hand?

  3. Foster D. Coburn III

    Bob, thanks for the suggestions. I do teach CorelDRAW and for that a monitor is really required. I will have a tablet available for other things.


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Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III built his first Web site in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013. He has used the Divi theme exclusively since 2015. Earlier in his career he was the author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences.

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