So what to do about making signage more sustainable? A list of ideas to ponder:
1. Choose a venue that is easy to navigate. We've all been to them: event venues that make you wonder what the architect was thinking. Those places where you always seem lost, everything looks the same, and nothing makes it obvious 'you are here'. Then there are other venues that get it just right, designed in a way that makes it intuitive where to go and how to get there. Save yourself money and your attendees a big headache by choosing a venue that by its inherit design and existing signs minimises the need for temporary directional signs from the outset.
2. Take advantage of existing digital signage. More and more venues are installing digital signs for session space and concourse areas. Take advantage of it if you can. Onsite digital signage doesn't need to be shipped and can be programmed and corrected more easily than hard signage. It's also a great way to enhance sponsor recognition, especially if available in concourse areas.
|Great use of venue-provided digital signage at EventCamp Vancouver|
|Directional staff help JavaOne attendees navigate a complicated event neighbourhood with the aid of floor plan signs printed on cardboard at the entrance to the Hotel Nikko in San Francisco|
|Non-dated reusable polyester banners made of recycled content grace the hallways to Cisco Live US 2011|
|The Canadian Tourism Commission uses generic, non-dated signage for Canada Media Marketplace|
7. Avoid grommets and adhesives that can limit recycling. Says it all really. Many of us are familiar with the need to sort recyclables, either at home or at the recycling plant. Mixing materials introduces one more un-necessary barrier to recycling, so avoid it if you can.
8. Substrate matters. Prioritise renewable materials and recycled content. Use as much post-consumer content as possible. This applies to paper, plastics and fabrics.
|Fully recyclable cardboard substrates are a staple for temporary event signs at Oracle OpenWorld|
10. Donate and re-purpose. Sometimes you're stuck with a sign that is non-recyclable that you can't reuse. Over the years I've been amazed what artists, students, actors and farmers can do with event signage. So if you're stuck with a sign you'd hate to landfill ask your venue or the convention and visitors bureau if they know of any resource centres that could re-purpose your sign to a community group. Alternatively businesses exist that may be willing to take your banners to create bags, wallets and laptop cases.
|Intel Developer Forum re-purposes event banners as stylish messenger bags that are used at other Intel events|
|Moscone Center donates vinyl event banners to local schools for murals and drama productions|