Trade Designer Suppliers

Signage Events in 2020 and Going Forward

26th February 2021

Signage Events in 2020 and Going Forward

By Will Nickson

Why events are needed/beneficial in the signage industry.

No event is the same in any industry, including the sign industry. Although most events have the same purpose and objective, create connections, find likeminded people and if you are a vendor, then gain some new potential customers/partners. One of the main events I researched and used as a study ‘Sign and Digital UK’ had this to say about their events and the reasons not to miss it!

Sign and Digital UK events open up the opportunity to meet exhibitors and browse a host of exclusive shows which can only been seen at the event. It’s a way to expand your knowledge with unmissable learning opportunities, along with free seminars!’

Thousands of attendants were left guessing whether the 2020 event was going to take place at the Birmingham NEC from the 28th to the 30th of April though the event was soon suspended and delayed until March 2021 leaving an expected 5000 visitors left waiting for the rescheduled date. Some events have decided to bite the bullet and host/perform the event online – digitally. Events going digital was something I wanted to talk about as I wondered whether it being all online rather than face-to-face and more personal which is often incredibly important when building business relationships and to really understand the people you are conversing with. I also think that when it comes to signage, seeing it physically and in person would be a lot more appealing rather than it being showed through video, as people interpret things differently and looking at a sign from a forced perspective might be a lot less convincing than seeing it yourself.

An example of a signage event that decided to host it online was ISA Sign Expo 2021 which has been re-imagined as ISA Sign Expo 2021 Virtual.

They announced, ‘Given the current state of the pandemic, the ISA Board of Directors determined that ISA Sign Expo® 2021 will be a fully virtual event taking place over the same dates, April 7-9, 2021.’

As the leading event in the signage industry, with a projected 20,000 attendees before cancellation, I wondered how taking it digital instead of delaying the event, so it was possible to be held in an inside environment. My initial thoughts would be that attendance numbers would be higher due to it being accessible from everywhere rather than more aimed towards more local people to the arena. Despite more attendees being a good thing, I think that the event itself would be more confusing for the average visitor, as to hold an engaging experience with little technical problems to thousands of people will be a challenge and making it easy to follow/understand which is essential to having a successful digital event. Though the ISA Sign Expo claim that they will host a ‘truly dynamic experience; Virtual will be more than just a trade show or conference but an immersive and interactive opportunity to do business.’ So we will just have to see how it plays out

What going digital means for events!

Although I consider there to be cons to going digital for the events, I can also see positives, meaning converting the event online could be a better alternative to delaying the events further, which Signs and Digital UK have. Advantages of it being online means you may be able to interact more freely with anyone and everyone, as technology often makes striking a conversation less intimidating, there could also be benefits in terms of opportunity to speak, chat rooms could make it easier to be seen and included. Events are always the most opportune time to build relationships with other brands/companies inside your industry. Statistics from Sign and Digital UK’s website state that the average visitor has a budget of £104,000 and just under half plan to upgrade or buy new signage/equipment within the next year. If you consider these statistics alone then you can see how important events are for creating leads with potential clients or announcing new launches for products and services.

Have we been affected by event changes in 2020/21?

As I mentioned earlier, there is not a much better opportunity to showcase your products and what you create than attending an event as a vendor. In this year’s Sign and Digital event, we planned to bring more attention and awareness to our Alphascreens, as we think they need to be seen to believed, so showcasing them at this event will be very important in creating a buzz around one of the most revolutionary products we create. That being said, we still can (hopefully) in May, granted there is no further delays. In 2020 very few events were held, meaning signage fans will be eager to attend an event after a rather event-less year!

Ultimately, I started writing this blog with the intention of educating myself and possibly you too on how the signage industry has been affected by lockdowns and COVID rules and restrictions. Throughout creating this blog I managed to have a more balanced view on the impacts that were caused to the industry, I initially thought that shows being cancelled had no positives and transferring them to digital exhibitions would be harmful and possibly cause more hard than good but after researching the ISA Sign Expo 2021 I can see the benefits of going online with such an event, allowing more access and more freedom in terms of communicating with others. Even if 2020 wasn’t good for signage exposure, that just means 2021 will be great!

Are you attending any signage events? If you are check the exhibitor list and we might just be on there!