11 Event Signage Ideas You Should Know About
You’ve planned your event — from transportation options to content, from menu to sendoff. Your guests have a place to stay and a safe way to get there. Your agenda includes thoughtfully orchestrated activities and much-needed downtime. You know the event’s schedule like the back of your hand, and you know that you nailed it. Now, how do you best communicate these details to your guests? Behold a handful of creative event signage ideas you should know about!
Consider that people lose all capacity for decision-making when they walk into an event as an attendee. They don’t know the schedule, what (or when!) they’re going to eat, or the location of the bathrooms. Even the most seasoned conference patron is disoriented by surrendering control of their schedule to a team of planners. Surprises are fun, but confusion certainly is not.
Event signage does more than simply show people where the exits are. If done properly, it can catch your attendees’ eyes while keeping them moving in the direction you want them to go. It should both blend in, as if it belongs there, but also garner some positive attention. Event signage is so often overlooked. Sure, the venue may offer a flat-screen TV or digital bulletin board with a “today’s events” feature, but who really looks at that?
Following are creative ideas for your event signage, including new designs, trendy twists on the classics, and hints as to what to avoid in order to keep things interesting.
1. Suspended signs
What’s better than having your message floating down from the ceiling? Think lighted cubes, custom-cut acrylic, paper lanterns, or floating flower balls to replace a typical directional sign.
2. Oversized signs
Giant letters are a simple and fun way to direct guests to food and drink. From illuminated Hollywood-style to a rustic, weathered wood, nothing says “food” or “bar” more clearly than the words themselves.
3. Oversized balloons
We’re not talking about balloon bouquets with a frilly, shiny weight at the bottom. Choose a series of 3-foot round balloons, adorned with florals and greens or garland, to lead the way to the next event. Or, use giant balloon letters and numbers. It will soften even the coldest of banquet rooms or offer a foolproof identifier for more unique spaces — like a Peerspace!
4. Burma-Shave signs
A classic! These signs were a catchy concept developed in the early part of the 20th century. Rhyming jingles were printed on small cards and placed along the side of the road, spaced in a way that drivers could read them in order. Use this idea to direct your guests to VIP parking, the main conference room, or the post-event happy hour.
Use the rhymes to drop clues as to what is in store; they have the added bonus of being a fantastic icebreaker. Depending on the theme of your event, choose a vintage style to match the original, or put your own twist on it with signs of varying color, font, shape, and height.
5. Sign posts
There are various styles, including that of a rustic barn, vintage wrought iron, or whimsical and Seuss-like. Place a custom sign post in the entry of your event for general directions. As an added bonus, guests will likely snap photos and post on their social media pages. Marketing win!
6. Custom graphics
If you must use the hotel’s screen, there is no excuse for black letters scrolling across a solid-color background. Simple design technology has come so far that cost does not need to be an object. Canva and Google Slides give the most novice user the opportunity to create something beautiful.
7. Stair riser decals
Stair wraps are a unique, almost surreal means by which to point your guests in the right direction. Done correctly, it’s a perfect entrance to your event! Take the plainly designed stairs in any venue and cover them with custom-printed vinyl to look like an oversized stack of books or a perfect green meadow.
Street art is hot! A legitimate spray-painted backdrop is ideal but sometimes logistically impractical. If that’s the case, use photo editing software to create a custom backdrop. Again, create signage that serves a dual purpose: if your guests use it as a photo op with your event’s hashtag, even better!
Lead guests from location to location in a purely visual — rather than verbal — manner. Take them on a journey by lining the walkway with walls filled with framed movie posters, photographs, or vintage ads to use as their guide.
Design a wall of boxwood, macramé, or spangles as a backdrop for your event signage! It will add depth and color, as well as fill an otherwise empty spot. This is a place for otherwise simple event signage: advertise a rose bar or petits fours station.
They are definitely played out as cutesy signs at weddings (“choose a seat, not a side!”), but they’re still practical and attractive as an event sign to complement food and drink. Everyone has a dietary sensitivity these days. You’ve put in a tremendous amount of effort to make sure that there are options that are gluten-free, vegan, and keto.
While your caterer should be responsible for labeling their food, why leave it up to chance? Think schoolhouse-style writing slates or, even better, a giant piece of slate as a flat food display, with labels written directly on the table.
Additional event signage tips and reminders
Be mindful of reflective surfaces
Avoid using mirrors as signage. The 3-D effect of paint or vinyl in the glass is distracting and hard to read. Not to mention, it’s impossible to avoid checking one’s hair and teeth in the reflection.
Use a straightforward, easy-to-read font
Swirling, overly feminine fonts and blocks of written noise are on their way out. Guests find them confusing and, let’s face it, they smack of adolescence.
Avoid uninspired signage
Under no circumstances should you have your agenda printed on poster board, laminated, and propped on a flimsy easel. If you really did forget to plan for thoughtful event signage, strategically place an effervescent, confident associate to act as concierge.
Keep your signage simple
No matter what the purpose or occasion, keep your event signage clean and uncluttered. It should be attractive without distracting from the purpose: to offer direction!