Trade Show Terms You Need to Know

custom rental trade show display for calgary events.
20ft portable gullwing pop-up display for a manufacturer trade show event.
8ft curved Wabteube fabric trade show display for a Canadian malting association.

Banner Stand: Any graphic display that showcases a vertical graphic “banner” via a hardware framework.

Build & Burn: A term used to describe any display/exhibit designed and built for one-time use.

Custom: A display designed and built to meet the specific needs of an exhibitor.

Double-Decker: An exhibit with an upper deck or second story.

Fabric Display: Refers to the type of portable display where a printed fabric graphic is stretched over the hardware system. May use velcro or zippered closures.

Knockdown (KD): An exhibit with separate components that must be assembled on-site.

Modular: An exhibit constructed with interchangeable components designed to be set up in various configurations and sizes.

Pop-Up Display: Portable display where the framework ‘pops’ up and snaps together, to which graphic panels are attached.

Portable: A term that covers many different types of displays, so long as they are lightweight enough to be moved without a forklift.

Self-Contained: A display which uses the shipping case as an integral part of the exhibit.

Truss: May refer to the overhead hardware above a stage or exhibit, or a modular display where the hardware components include a truss system.

Corner Booth: An exhibit space with exposure on at least two aisles.

Cross-Aisle: An aisle at a right angle to a main aisle.

In-Line (or Linear) Booth: Exhibit spaces that are part of the continuous line along an aisle. Neighbouring booth spaces on both the left and right.

Island Booth: Where your booth space is akin to an island; alone with aisles on four sides.

Peninsula: An exhibit space with aisles on three sides—neighbouring booth space on the back.

Perimeter Booth: Any booth space that backs against the building/structural wall of the exhibit hall.

Pipe & Drape: Tubing covered with draped fabric to make up the rails and backwall of a trade show.

Side Rail: A low divider wall, usually pipe and drape, used to divide one exhibit space from another.

Hardwall: A type of exhibit construction in which divider walls are made of a solid material, rather than drape.

Advance Receiving: Location set by show management to receive freight before the start of show. Freight is stored at this location and then shipped to the show at the appropriate time.

CWT: Hundred weight. A measurement used for shipping exhibit properties. Usually 100 pounds.

Material handling/Drayage: The movement of show materials from shipping dock to booth for show set up and back to dock for return shipment at end of show.

I&D: Refers to Installation & Dismantle (of an exhibit). Also known as Setup & Take Down.

Marshaling Yard: A lot where trucks gather for orderly dispatch to show site.

Targeted Move In: A specific day and time that you are scheduled to move your booth into a show hall.

Boneyard: A storage area for empty crates and contractor materials.

Booth Babe: Also known as a CSR or a hostess. An outdated term for the more PC ‘Crowd Gatherer’; staff hired with the express purpose of drawing a crowd to the booth space.

Exhibitor Appointed Contractor (EAC): A contractor hired by an exhibitor to perform trade show services independently of show management appointed contractors.

Floor Order: Order for services placed after exhibit installation has begun.

Lead Card: A pre-printed piece of paper designed for booth staff to capture lead information on the show floor: contact info, Q&A, notes, etc.

Lead Retrieval: An electronic system used at a trade show to capture lead information. Used in place of Lead Cards.

Swag: Stuff We All Get, or Stuff We All Giveaway. Handout promotional items at a trade show.

Visqueen: A clear plastic sheeting that is placed over exhibit carpeting after its laid in order to protect it until the show opens. 

Backlighting: Use of a light source to illuminate translucent material from behind.

Electrical: Refers to the ordering and placement of the electrical outlets in your booth space.

Fire Retardant: Term used to describe a finish which coats materials with a fire-resistant (not fire proof) cover.

Foam Core: Rigid foam covered with heavy paper stock used for mounting signs, art, etc.

Header: A sign or other structure across the top of an exhibit.

Rendering: A computer 3D model of an exhibit or display.

Scrim: Fabric which is opaque when lighted from the front and transparent when lighted from the rear.

Sintra: Rigid plastic sheets often used in exhibit construction. Available in a variety of colours. Can be direct-printed or used for mounting graphics.

Throw Cover: Fabric covering for the standard 6′ or 8′ table often offered with a booth space rental. Can be custom printed.

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