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Show Rules for Linear Exhibits

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We are starting a series on show rules. This series will clear up a lot of confusion about what you can and can’t do within your exhibit space. To start we need to talk about the different types of exhibits spaces as the rules are different for each. The linear or inline exhibit is the most restrictive. They are designated by terms like 8 x 10 which means 8 foot deep by 10 foot wide. Other linear sizes that you here most are 10 x 10, 10 x 20, 10 x 30, and so on. It basically means that you have neighbors beside you and behind you so you are limited in two ways.

The first way is height. The show usually provides an 8’ tall drape line or other 8’ structure to separate the exhibitors back to back and to provide a visually uniform backdrop. The height of the drape line determines the allowable height of your exhibit structure. Most portable (or pop-up) exhibits and banner stands will be between 78” to 95” tall easily meeting the show rules for height in a linear configuration. The show rules usually specify a maximum height at 8’ tall.

I will pause for a moment to say that show rules can be stretched depending upon the type of show. A public show like a home and garden show or a jewelry show will have a much more lenient policy of enforcement then a Business to Business event like a Government or Information Technology show.  The rule of thumb that I always tell our clients is this: if your neighbor complains then the show organizer will use the show rules, as stated in the exhibitor manual, to settle any disputes. If you plan to stretch the show rules then you need to be able to conform to those rules without compromising your message.

The reasons are pretty clear for the height restriction. If you are taller than 8’ feet then the backside of your exhibit will be exposed in the exhibit space behind you. The backside of a linear exhibit is usually not very pretty. If you plan to go taller then I would suggest that you get the exhibit height preapproved by the show organizer or get a space along the perimeter of the show where the show rules may allow you to go to the 12’ height maximum.

A variation to the 8’ tall exhibit that usually do not impose a problem is a header that sticks up slightly taller, is not directly against the backwall and has a finished backside. As you move forward in the booth space you are usually not confronted about going a little taller as the sightline from the booth behind you looking up is at a pretty steep angle. So if your header is, let’s say, at 9’ tall but is two feet forward from the backwall your “back door” neighbor (meaning the exhibit behind you) probably will not see it anyway, much less complain.

Next week we will discuss the other show rule for linear exhibits which deals more with the exhibitors on either side of you.

As always, please respond with your questions or comments and let others know about EXHIBITOR LOUNGE.COM. We will see you next week. Until then, I am your host Michael Gray telling you to RELAX in the Exhibitor Lounge