Trade Show Glossary

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A/V

Audio/visual components such as television monitors, slides or video presentations, lighting display and projection systems.

ADVANCE ORDER/ RATES

An order for services sent to the service contractor prior to the installation date. Advance rates are any fees associated with advance orders.

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 venue at the appropriate time.

AISLE SIGNS

Signs, usually suspended, identifying exposition aisles by number or letter.

ARM LIGHT/ CLAMP LIGHT

A light with an extended arm, which typically clamp on.

ASSEMBLY/ INSTALLATION/ SET UP

The process of erecting an exhibit from its components.

ATTENDEES

Those persons who visit an event that are not exhibiting or connected with the event itself.

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BACK-LIGHT/ BACK-LIT

A light source that illuminates translucent material from behind.

BACKWALL

The panels at the rear of an exhibit.

BACKWALL EXHIBIT

An exhibit that is back-to-back with another exhibit or against a building wall.

BOL

Billing of Lading. A document extablishing the terms between a shipper and transportation company for the transport of goods between specified points for a specific charge.

BOOTH NUMBER

An exhibit that is back-to-back with another exhibit or against a building wall.

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CAD

Computer-Aided Design. A software is used by architects, engineers, drafters, graphic artists/designers, and others to create precision drawings of technical illustrations.

CAM/ TWIST LIGHT

A type of fastening mechanism that incorporates a tab that is turned to engage a catch or slot.

CANOPY/ FINGER CANOPY

Drapery, awning or other roof-like covering. Finger Canopies are long skinny beams that resemble fingers.

CORNER BOOTH

An exhibit space with exposure on at least two aisles.

CRATING LIST

An itemized list of the contents of a crate.

CRATES/ PALLETS/ SKIDS

A wooden frame or box used to support and/or contain heavy objects or groups of materials for easier handling. Usually used as a platform for objects moved by a forklift.

CUBIC CONTENT

Length x width x height. As it pertains to exhibition booths, cubic content is a unit of measurement allowing display materials and products to occupy 100 percent of the exhibit space purchased, regardless of sightlines, up to a height established by the exhibition’s rules. Also a measurement used in determining shipping costs for van lines.

CWT

Hundredweight or centum weight. A measurement used for shipping exhibit properties. In the US, this is equal to 100 pounds.

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D.T. LABOR

Double Time Labor. Work performed on overtime and charged at twice the published rate.

DAMAGE REPORT

A report submitted by an exhibitor to a freight company or drayage contractor itemizing damage to shipped goods.

DARK DAY

A day on which a facility or hall has no events booked.

DEAD TIME

Time when a worker is unable to perform duties due to factors beyond his or her control.

DEMO/ WORKSTATIONS

An area where sales personnel illustrate, demonstrate, or explain products.

DIM WEIGHT

Also known as volumetric weight. A pricing technique for calculating commercial freight transport which uses an estimated weight that is calculated from the length, width and height of a package.

DOUBLE DECKER

A two-story exhibit.

DRAYAGE

The movement of exhibit materials by union handlers from shipping dock to booth for show set up and back to dock for return shipment at end of show.

DRAYAGE CONTRATOR

A company responsible for handling exhibit materials at a trade show.

DRAYAGE FORM

A form completed by an exhibitor requesting handling of materials.

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EAC

Exhibitor Appointed Contractor. A third party contractor performing services like installation, dismantling, booth design, etc.

ELEVATION

Scaled drawings depicting front and side views of an exhibit.

END CAP

An exhibit space with aisles on three sides.

EXHIBIT DESIGNER/ PRODUCER

A company responsible for designing and constructing exhibit booths.

EXHIBIT DIRECTORY

A guide for exhibition attendees which lists exhibitors and exhibit booths.

EXHIBIT HALL

The area(s) within the exposition center where exhibits are located.

EXHIBITOR KIT/ SERVICE KIT

A packet of show-related information and order forms provided to exhibitors by show management.

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FIBER OPTICS

The use of cut glass fibers to display colored light.

FLOOR MANAGER

An individual representing show management who is responsible for the exhibition area.

FLOOR PLAN

A map showing the size and location of exhibit spaces.

FLOOR PORT

A utility box recessed in the floor containing electrical, telephone, or plumbing connections.

FOAM CORE

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

FOUL BILL OF LADING

A carrier-issued receipt indicating that transported merchandise was damaged when received.

FOUR HOUR CALL

Minimum work period for which union labor must be paid.

FORCED FREIGHT

When a bill of lading or material handling agreement listing exhibit properties to be picked up by a carrier, designated by the exhibitor, is not turned into the trade show contractor service desk, or if the designated carrier does not check in with the service desk by a specified time, or doesn’t show up the freight, the show contractor will either take the freight to their warehouse or ship it back to the exhibitor via its own preferred carrier at a non-discounted price.

FREIGHT DESK

An area in the exhibit facility (usually near the freight doors or loading docks) where inbound and outbound exhibit materials are handled.

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GENERAL CONTRACTOR

Show management appointed company responsible for providing such services to exhibitors as drayage, exhibit furnishings, decorations, signage, utilities and labor for specific trade show or event. providing services to a trade show and/or its exhibitors.

GRAPHICS

Communicative and visual representations or illustrations - color, copy, art, photographs, translates, etc. – used to illustrate a booth theme or relay brand messaging.

GOBO LIGHTS

A stenciled light which projects an image on to a wall or other surface.

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HARDWALL

A type of exhibit construction in which walls are made of a solid material, rather than fabric.

HEADER

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

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IN-LINE

An exhibit that is constructed in a continuous line along an aisle.

ISLAND EXHIBIT

An exhibit with aisles on all four sides.

I&D

Installation & Dismantle of an exhibit. Also known as Set-Up and Take-down.

INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR

A contractor hired by an exhibitor to perform trade show services independently of show management appointed contractors.

INFRINGEMENT

An exhibitor’s unauthorized use of floor space outside the leased booth area.

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JIGGED CRATE

A special-purpose crate with hardware to secure exhibit properties in place to prevent shifting during shipment.

JOB FOREMAN

A person in charge of supervising and coordinating workers.

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LABOR

Contracted workers who perform services on the tradeshow floor.

LABOR DESK

Exhibit hall location where exhibitors may place orders for labor or check-in when ready to secure labor to begin the setup or dismantle of their booth.

LABOR FORM

The form used by exhibitors to order labor.

LEAD MAN

Teamster or electrician supervising a crew.

LIGHTBOX

An enclosure with a surface illuminated from behind in order to be seen with high contrast.

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MARSHALLING YARD

A lot where trucks gather for an orderly departure to show site.

MASKING DRAPE

A cloth, tarp or fabric used to cover storage or other unsightly areas.

MHA

Material Handling Agreement. An agreement which lists items being shipped as well as the exhibitor’s designated carrier.

MODULAR EXHIBIT

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

MOVE-IN/ TARGET DATE

The days or date specified by show management for beginning exhibit installation. Exhibitors may be assigned target dates and times for delivery of their freight to show site depending on the location of their booth in the exhibit hall; freight arriving before or after the specified date and time may be charged a penalty for being off target.

MOVE-OUT/ TARGET DATE

The days or date specified by show management for dismantling exhibits. Exhibitors may be assigned target dates and times for moving their freight out of the venue depending on the location of their booth in the exhibit hall; freight that isn’t ready for pickup, or if designate carrier fails to show, may be charged a penalty for being off target.

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PACKING LIST

A document prepared by a shipper itemizing contents of shipment and including other information needed by the carrier.

PEG BOARD

The trade name for a type of hardboard with perforations at regular intervals. Usually used for hanging items.

PENINSULA DISPLAY

An exhibit with aisles on three sides.

PERIMETER BOOTH

A linear booth that backs to a wall of the exhibit facility rather than another exhibit.

PIPE AND DRAPE

Aluminum framework from which drapes are hung to create a wall, divide a room or defined a space.

PONY WALL/ RETURN WALL

Short side panels joined perpendicular to the backwall.

POP-UP/ PORTABLE EXHIBIT

A lightweight display unit designed for quick, simple assembly and easy transport.

PORTER SERVICE

A service that includes the emptying of wastebaskets in a booth at specific intervals during the show.

PREFAB

A pre-built booth that is ready for installation.

PRO-NUMBER

A carrier-assigned number used to designate a specific shipment.

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RACEWAY

Metal or insulated rubber tubing used to channel electrical wires.

RAIL

A low wall used to divide exhibits.

REFURBISH

The process of repairing or reconditioning an exhibit to extend its life span.

RENDERINGS

3D mock ups of an exhibit scaled to size with graphics placed in.

RENTAL BOOTH

A complete booth package offered to exhibitors on a rental basis.

RIGGER

A skilled worker responsible for attaching signs, banners, truss and other equipment to ceiling of exhibit venue.

RIGHT TO WORK STATE

A state where no person can be denied the right to work because of membership or non-membership in a labor union.

RISER

A platform for people or materials.

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STRAIGHT TIME LABOR

Work performed on straight time.

SCHEMATIC

A diagram in model form.

SELF-CONTAINED EXHIBIT

A display which uses the shipping case as an integral part of the exhibit.

SERVICE DESK

The location at which exhibitors order services from show management.

SET-UP DRAWING

Drawings which give detailed instructions for the installation of an exhibit.

SHOW BREAK

Time specified for the closing of an exhibition and beginning of dismantling.

SHOW DECORATOR

A company, contracted by show management, which is responsible for the labor, drayage, installation, decoration and dismantling of exhibits at the show.

SHOW MANAGER

The organizer and operator of an exposition.

SHOW OFFICE

The show management office at an exposition.

SHRINK WRAP

Process of wrapping loose items on pallet with transparent plastic wrapping.

SIDE RAIL

A low divider wall, usually made out pipe and drape, used to divide one exhibit space from another.

SINTRA

PVC panel, same as Chydex, Chomatex, used in signs and displays.

SPECIAL HANDLING

Applies to exhibits shipments requiring extra labor, equipment, or time for delivery to exhibit space.

STAGING

The act of erecting a booth for the purpose of previewing it prior to shipping to the event.

SUBCONTRACTOR

An individual or company retained by a general contractor to provide services.

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TABLE-TOP DISPLAY

An individual or company retained by a general contractor to provide services.

TARGET DATE

A date set by show management for the arrival of freight at a trade show. Usually shipments received before or after this date are assessed a penalty charge.

TEMPLATE

Are scaled/true to size, Illustrator or Photoshop formatted guides which are used to place graphics before production.

TIME AND MATERIALS

A form of billing in which a consumer is charged for labor costs (time) and materials.

TRADE FAIR

Broadly used as the international term for an exposition.

TRUSS

Structural element hung above exhibit for the purpose of hanging lighting equipment to illuminate exhibit components.

TOWERS

Usually stand-alone exhibit elements that are taller than other parts of the exhibit.

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VISQUEEN

A clear plastic sheeting that is placed over exhibit carpeting in order to protect it until the show opens. Visqueen also allows exhibit components to slide on top of it during setup, allowing you to align various exhibit components by pushing them into position.

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WALKTHROUGH

A final check of the exhibit by the exhibit house before it is shipped to ensure it meets the requirements of the client. The client can also come in for a walkthrough.

WALLBOARD

A construction product used for panels which are temporary.

WAYBILL

List of enclosed goods and shipping instructions, sent with material in transit.