Design Elements – Hanging Signs

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Hanging Signs – Tension Fabric Structures

Trade Show hanging signs may be the best development in trade show marketing to date. Today’s trade show hanging signs are huge, printed graphics that act as an effective billboard visible from across the show floor. Hanging signs are light, durable and utilize overhead real estate better than any other option, allowing attendees to see it from a distance and drawing them to your booth.

What are Hanging Signs made of? – Today, most trade show signs are hanging signs made from a tubular aluminum frame with a printed fabric graphic stretched over and zipped onto the frame. There are 1” diameter tubes for smaller signs, and there are 2” diameter tubes for larger ones (typically signs over 15’ in length). There are different ways to make the spreaders so that the inner surface is smooth like the outer surface, a better look than the scalloping seen in lower cost signs.

Evolution of Hanging Signs – With advances in large format fabric graphic printing, hanging signs have continued to get bigger and more complex over the years. Round signs paved the way for square hanging signs, and from there the signs got increasingly more complex, with many companies now opting for hanging signs with a solid bottom, hanging signs with printing on the inside and outside surfaces, or even rotating signs. With the complexity of hanging signs today, various hardware products may be used in the construction or hanging of signs, such as motors for rotating hanging signs, and materials for suspending hanging signs from hanging signs.

Hanging your Sign (Rigging)

Tip: Hanging signs are hung by riggers. As a safety precaution, they insist on assembling your hanging sign in addition to hanging it. While most hanging sign companies include the wire harness to hang the sign, many riggers won’t use it claiming that they can only use their certified harnesses.

Tip: Double check to see if your hanging sign is required to ship separate and early. Some shows make this stipulation when the show floor will be overly crowded with freight in the aisles. Larger shows where a lot of product is shipped in and displayed are more likely to have this requirement. The rigging form in your Exhibitor Manual will clearly state the requirement as well as provide a blank label to print and use.

Tip: it’s important to determine if you will have to pay for lift and rigger time, or if they are included with the cost of a hang point. This is something the show negotiates with the facility when organizing the show. While most shows pricing include lift and rigging time, some shows don’t, and the cost can be upwards of $300-$400 per hour.

General Tension Fabric Structure Assembly

The parts and assembly process is very similar for all hanging signs and tension fabric structures. The Tubes are connected, the frame is completed, the zipper skin is pulled over and the zipper pulled closed tightening the skin the frame.

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