Imagine this scene: A giant arena filled with tens of thousands of screaming fans. Bright lights flood the stage. The bass thrums from giant speakers. The colorful crowd bobs and weaves in time to the music.
Or imagine a convention center. Row upon row of booths and tables create a labyrinth of paths weaving through the cavernous space. Giant industry signs hang from the ceiling, on the walls, and suspended from elaborate frames. Professionals move among the displays to network, share expertise, and learn about the latest innovations.
What do these two environments share? They both see thousands of visitors at a time — millions of visitors each year. Concert goers and convention or event attendees have specific expectations, including clear wayfinding that enables them to navigate the space.
Entertainment and event centers rely on signage for:
- Wayfinding and traffic flow
- Helping people find places and information
- Creating sponsorship opportunities and showcasing sponsors
- Providing updates on event timelines
- Ensuring safety and security, marking emergency exits and evacuation plans
- Promoting specific organizations and future events
- Generating brand recognition
- Promoting social media outlets and generating social media buzz
Poorly designed or located signage can generate frustrating, negative experiences and leave attendees less than satisfied. Effective signage often goes unremarked because it does its job and ensures a positive experience. The following tips offer recommendations for using signage in unexpected ways to generate maximum impact.
Novel Ways to Use Signage
We’ve all seen giant signs flanking an event hall entrance, but rethinking how and where to use signs can give their visibility a little boost.
You could use the natural landscape, hanging a banner between trees instead of posts. Opt for vinyl adhesive decals, which adhere to flat, contoured and textured surfaces for indoor and outdoor use.
Areas of forced pedestrian traffic — like elevators, escalators, and stairwells — offer prime opportunities for sponsorship, promotion, and branding. Fun, see-through graphics mounted on windows work well for temporary events, even providing shade as screens from the inside while promoting the event on the outside.
A-frames offer an economic dual-purpose option: they hold signs and graphics and act as barriers to separate larger spaces. They’re collapsable, transportable, and reusable, too. Use windscreens and mesh printed front and back to capture audiences on either side of a fence.
If you’re holding an event outside, install large graphics on the bleachers and grandstands to capture the audience’s attention as they move about or find their seats.
Signs of the Times
Signs have evolved well beyond simple banners and paper posters. Large format graphics mount temporarily on floors and pillars, windows and walls. Tools and equipment — like our Magnus CO2 Laser — enable signage manufacturers to customize shapes and sizes and even add dimensional elements for a bigger impact.
Here at Metro Sign, we’ve worked on some fun signage projects for a few local entertainment and event venues including the recently rebranded Space Center, now called Block Party Social, and Majestic 7 Cinema.
Block Party Social
In early 2020, the Hookesset, NH, Space Entertainment Center, announced its transition to Block Party Social. In keeping with the family entertainment center’s rebranding, the venue needed new signage. The company worked with Metro to design and install new signage featuring a large, high-resolution LED message board.
Majestic 7 Cinema
In March 2020, Metro installed new signage for this renovated theater, located in Watertown, Massachusetts’s historic Arsenal Yards. The signage package included canopy and blade signs with color-changing LEDs. Unfortunately, the pandemic’s arrival meant the seven screens stayed dark for many months. But now the theater has opened for business.
At Metro, we’re thrilled to see the bright, cheerful lights of the building’s signage welcoming patrons of all ages eager to catch a new flick, watch live-streamed operas from the Metropolitan Opera in NYC or even root for their favorite eSports teams.