Many services can help you pull an event together in a hurry, including print shops that offer quick turnaround on signage and banners.
The United States hosts more than 1.8 million events each year. It's inevitable that some will have to be put together on short notice. These tips can help you plan, organize and order the signs and banners you'll need to make your event a success on short notice:
1. Have a Contingency Plan
You'll have a head start with your signage plans if you've already created a checklist of things that will need to be done. Your list should cover what you'll need in terms of directional signs, welcome banners and other messaging. If you frequently use certain facilities for events, make notes of special signage requirements at each of them.
Next to each item on the list include vendors who can provide the needed signs and their contact numbers.
2. Simplify Your Plan When Possible
When faced with a rush event, take out the checklist and grab a pen. Strike out every sign, banner or other message that isn't absolutely essential to success. Next look for items where reasonable but quick substitutions can be made. You may prefer large colorful banners to display your organization logo, but be ready to settle for simpler designs and black and white printing if your banner maker can't provide more complex banners on short notice.
It's natural to want any event to turn out perfectly, even when you have to turn on a dime to get things done. But the old saying that "Done is Better than Perfect" rings true on a tight deadline.
3. Develop a Firm Timetable
When you contact a vendor, establish a firm timetable for when the signage will be delivered. While you wait for their arrival, stay in touch with the vendor to make sure your signs and banners are on schedule. You'll want to be notified of any delays or issues as soon as possible so you can reassign event staff and resources that will be used to position the signage.
When you make the schedule, remember to plan for quality checks on the messaging. Allow time for a walk-through of the site after the printed products are in place, too, to make sure your signs and banners are where they belong before the event begins.
4. Borrow from Past Events
Look over signs and banners you've used at recent events for anything you can re-use or repurpose. For example, simple "Welcome" banners with your corporate logo have an evergreen message that can be used time and again. The same may hold true for simple directional signs that help attendees find rest rooms, coat checks and conference rooms. Any messaging you already have on hand represents another line you can cross off your checklist.
5. Establish and Respect Lines of Responsibility
With a short deadline, you need to move fast and that means keeping confusion to a minimum. Assign clear duties to your staff or volunteers who will put up your signage. If issues arise, support them in their decision-making even if you would have done things differently. You can discuss what went right or wrong after the event, but the first priority is to get everything up and running without a lot of second guessing.
Don't wait until the last minute to determine which sign and banner providers can meet your needs on short notice. Talk to vendors ahead of time to see if they can provide next-day banners and other event signage on short notice. This small step could help you access a reliable supplier when you have little time to spare.