Choosing Between Cardboard and Digital Signage

Posted by Service Graphics on Jan 16, 2020 11:00:00 AM

Efficient, cost-effective, professional look and feel.

These are a few benefits businesses are finding when incorporating digital signage into their event planning.

Becoming an all-important part of the attendee experience, digital signage is opening up many opportunities for event organisers and exhibitioners, putting them in front of an audience they would never have access to otherwise.

In a recent article, Associations Senior Editor, Joe Rominiecki spoke about the impact digital signage will have on future conferences and the return on investment that can come from implementing new technology.

“where digital displays leap ahead of print signage is their potential for attendee interaction and engagement.”

  1. No right or wrong
  2. Do you know where you're going?
  3. Digital schedule
  4. Getting attendees to use Instagram the way you want them to
  5. Dedicated poster gallery, app and much more
  6. Gamification
  7. Interactive floor plans
  8. Live feedback: How am I doing?
  9. All in all

No right or wrong

There is nothing wrong with cardboard cut-outs, on the contrary, they are still quite useful and those moving over to digital alternatives will agree that it isn't because cardboard cut-outs failed them. However, one has to argue if it is wise to stick to something simply because it is what you've always done. In the current climate where shopper and delegate behaviours are changing, it might be unwise to ignore this fact simply for convenience.

Be inspired

We know event season in numerous industries are about to kick-off and planning for some are either near completion or haven’t yet begun, so we’ve provided a look at some of the benefits of incorporating digital elements to your events and how they stack up against their cardboard cut-out counterparts.

Feel free to contact us and let us know your thoughts.

Do you know where you're going?

Corporate Event Image TemplateCredit

As stated before, there’s nothing wrong with cardboard signage, especially when helping attendees navigate around a busy venue, but digital signage does one up by pulling dynamically from your event management software. This means that once you build and approve your schedule your signage will display upcoming sessions as they take place, and if there are last-minute changes a good platform will be reactive and adjust accordingly.

Attendees appreciate an intuitive system, one that eliminates confusion and frustration and event organisers want as little disruption as possible.

With digital alternatives, you can now display presentation 'tit-bits', speaker headshots and biographies before attendees have even considered attending a particular session or give them the option of scanning the QR code on signage for more information.

Digital schedule

Traditionally printed signage was perfect at communicating the complete conference schedule to attendees, but organisers found it came up short when there were last-minute changes, like a speaker cancellation. Once printed, that was it.

Meeting Planner at AHIMA, Megan Flatau says, “Having a digital schedule that’s crisp, clear, and readable takes a lot of stress off planners. One, it’s convenient for attendees, and two, changes are seamless so instant updates are clearly shown and attendees always have the most relevant information.”

Digital signage has eliminated this limitation through the use of real-time updates. You can also now add interactive features to what is being called a ‘schedule-at-a-glace’.

An example of this can be found when looking at Megan Flatau’s work at their 2019 annual conference. By adding a live Twitter feed at the bottom of their schedule and placing it in a prominent location they were able to engage with their attendees in a way that they enjoyed being engaged with.

Getting attendees to use Instagram the way you want them to


Arguably one of the best platforms for events because of its visual capabilities, Instagram is real-time and easy to use, so why is three still uncertainty about why this amazing tool can be used?

If you're an avid user of Instagram you can relate to how difficult it can be to concentrate on 1 thing when there's so much to look at and let's face it, it's the companies who understand how their audience use it and why that stands out. Well as an event planner it is important to tap into this mindset, however, if you've never used Instagram and think it's a pointless tool but your audience uses it as the main point of communicating how 'awesome' an experience was we would suggest getting help. Often in cases like this, it is because planners are not promoting it properly to attendees, who in turn aren't responding in the way desired or expected.

Digital signage can act as a subtle reminder for attendees to share, and a live feed is yet another great way of engaging your audience to share their own experience. What better way to add credibility and a buzz than other people shouting about it?

Instagram also recently surpassed Twitter with the number of users, so at some point, you might want to look into it.

Dedicated poster gallery, app and much more

Digital poster galleryCredit

Located in an exhibition hall or a lobby somewhere, and found at educational conferences almost everywhere, the poster gallery is the place you go to find research presented by students, experts and researchers.

Stapled paper printouts to bulletin boards just aren't enough anymore, especially when the rest of your conference looks every bit as professional as it should. Which is why the American American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry chose to transform their poster gallery into a digital masterpiece at one of their recent conference. From what they had in place, attendees were free to interact with each poster on the show floor, their app or online on touch screen displays.

They even went as far as getting rid of all printed material and giving poster presenters dedicated space to present their poster in front of a live audience (something not usually done).

Needing only 5-10 display screens and using digital posters that attendees can view on 1 screen makes it a cost-effective option.



If you work in the event industry, this is a word that you will be hearing a lot of if you aren’t already. Gamification is becoming more and more popular at tradeshows and conferences, as it is perfect at engaging with attendees and generate sponsor leads.

Some would say competition is the spice of life.

Using a live leaderboard feed in your competitions that are displayed on ideally located digital displays can help to encourage attendees to interact, whilst adding another USP and experiential factor.

APIC and IFO’s conferences are perfect examples of how gamification and digital displays work hand in hand and achieve impressive ROIs. Attendees were able to see who was gaining points in real-time running from booth to booth scanning the QR codes and answering questions.

Brena K. Issacs, CAPP

Accounts Payable Manager, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and winner of IFO’s scavenger hunt said:

“Honestly, at first I wasn’t going to do it. It seemed like a lot of trouble when I already had a lot to see and do at Fusion. However – the first night I met up with some very competitive women, and when I realized I was giving them answers, but not scanning the codes myself, I decided to get started. For me, it was the competition that made it fun. The leaderboard was fun to follow on my phone, and it was fun to pass it in the conference hall, as well.”

Interactive floor plans

Q: Who uses printed maps for their tradeshows anymore?

A: Not many event organisers

More businesses are opting for onsite, online and app-based interactive floor plans for an altogether better and more responsive experience. In the event of any changes with an exhibitor, rest assured everything will be updated giving attendees only the most current information.

Touchscreens also give attendees the option to click into a particular booth and find out more about each company.

Live feedback: How am I doing?

Audience Response Systems are ideal for engaging attendees in a social manner. The idea is that speakers poll attendees on particular topics, which hopefully results in live feedback that can then be used to adjust their presentations – giving attendees exactly what they want instead of wasting time trying to guess.

Seeing real-time results displayed on digital screens and in a room of hundreds or thousands of attendees, each person can be made to feel like they matter and their voice is seen and heard.

This is definitely a unique engagement opportunity.

All in all

Digital signage can act as an extension of your event schedule, allowing for greater flexibility to be creative in the way you choose to communicate your brand identity.

From an aesthetic and logistical point of view, digital signage brings events into the here and now, and perhaps more importantly – appealing to attendees used to and prefer interacting with technology.

Million pound/dollar question

How are you already using digital signage for your events and what would you like to do in the future? It is a New Year, that means a blank slate.

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Topics: Digital Experiences