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Booth Sign Redux

The booth sign hangs from the front awning support

I use a simple sign printed both sides on aluminum, hanging from the awning support. It’s small enough to be unobtrusive, yet visible from several booths away. I use a couple of lengths of hardware chain and zip ties to fasten it. Quick, durable, doesn’t blow around in the wind, and is waterproof.

This shot shows the sign in context with a row of booths — in this case I had a corner, so there’s no booth on the side with the sign.

Booth sign hangs well above head level

The second shot shows how the sign looks up close, from directly in front of the booth. I had mine done from an Illustrator file, with just my logo and location, to extend my brand to the outside of the booth during a show. 

I had the sign printed at a local FastSigns franchise. They can also print on vinyl and other substrates, and can probably print a soft sign if that’s your preference. I like the aluminum as it is durable, stays stable in the wind, and doesn’t rust or puncture.

Another new bin

Darren Olson demonstrating how short people view printsAfter observing that my big rolling bins made it hard for shorter people to view the vertically oriented 16×20 matted prints, I came up with a new design that allows them to be displayed and transported lower to the ground. This design is similar to the box that Larry Berman describes on his site, artshowphoto.com, but has enclosed storage, and a pad to protect the face of the mat.

I built this bin out of 1/2″ oak veneer plywood and 1″ oak stock. I use plywood rather than MDF as MDF tends to swell and break if it gets wet, and there are no guarantees that bins won’t get a little water on them if it rains. The bottom compartment holds extra stock, and the bin fits nicely in front of the main rolling display. It will hold about 40 16×20 matted prints.

New Bin - for 16x20 matted prints

The door is hinged with a scrap of piano hinge that I had lying around, and the catches are basic hardware store barrel bolts. They don’t open when in the trailer. 4″ casters on the bottom make it easy to roll into the booth and back up the trailer ramp at the end of a show. Handles on each side make it easier to move around. I also made a pad out of thin plywood and carpet that fits into the front of the bin at an angle. The pad keeps the prints from falling onto a sharp wood edge and getting dented. The back of the bin has a scrap of foam plumbing insulation to let the prints fall backward gently. A couple of coats of polyurethane protect the wood, and keeps the water off.

Booth Signs


Corner Booth 2008

A lot of artists use big vinyl or canvas banners stretched across the front of their canopy. These signs, while large, aren’t as effective as they could be. They block the flow of air into the roof vents, sit above the awning, and most importantly, are parallel to the flow of traffic on the street. A more elegant solution is to hang a smaller sign from the awning support or one of the front canopy legs.

I’ve seen a lot of nice signs handled this way. One advantage to hanging your sign perpendicular to the flow of traffic is that it can be seen by people walking down the street. You do need to keep it as high as possible, so that folks don’t bang into it while walking and so that it is as visible as possible.

I use a sign that’s about 30″ x 10″, printed both sides on DiBond, a metal substrate that is coated, and hang it with a couple of cable ties. It’s durable, it withstands rain and doesn’t bend. A simple logo extends my branding. Sorry about the quality of this shot — I usually take all the signage out when photographing the booth for jury slides, so this is just a reference shot taken with a camera phone at the Birmingham Fine Art Fair in May.

Booth Sign used where no awnings are allowed

This shot shows the sign hanging from the center roof support — no front awnings allowed due to fire code. Again, you have to have enough headroom to make this happen. It works for me since I have a 9 foot high booth, but it probably won’t work with an EZ-UP.

How Many Prints will fit in a standard 10×10′ Booth?

The standard answer to this question is, it depends.

The canopy walls themselves won’t hold any pictures. You need an internal wall system of some kind: mesh walls, grid wall or carpeted panels, such as ProPanels or Armstrong Gallery.

The best way to figure this out for your configuration is to do a “planogram”, or dimensional drawing of your walls and fit proportional squares onto the drawing.

With modern technology, you can use an illustration program like Adobe Illustrator or Canvas to create a 2D drawing of each side, and rectangles for each of your picture sizes. Clone the pictures until you have an arrangement that works for you, then count.

If you are not facile with illustration programs or the computer you can do the same thing with graph paper. You can also download and print the following illustration:

Panel Wall to scale

Panel Wall to scale

A few points to consider:

Not all walls will hold the same number of framed images — Propanels are generally 12″ above the ground. Gridwalls may go all the way to the ground, but the lower sections are less visible to the public, and you may not want to hang pictures that low.

A taller booth with panel extenders will hold more pictures. For example, a 9′ Trimline with 9′ panels has 20 square feet more of display space, per wall, than a 7′ Trimline with 7′ panels. If you are using 6′ panels, it will obviously be even less.

If you’re leaving a doorway in the back of your booth, that also decreases your display space.

It will also make a difference as to whether you hang vertically or horizontally.

Bin Plans

Bin Plans

I used these plans to construct two bins that carry framed work and matted pieces, ready for display. I modified the actual boxes somewhat from these plans, but they give you a rough idea of how to make your own. They are built of 3/4” oak plywood and dimensional oak lumber. Piano hinges are used to attach the tops. I used 4” barrel bolts on the door catches, and 3” butt hinges.

Pictures, and more about the construction, here.