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Exhibitor Glossary: A to Z

From A to Z, welcome to your comprehensive exhibitor glossary!
Navigating the world of exhibitions and trade shows can be a daunting task, especially for newcomers. To help you decode the jargon and unravel the intricacies of this exciting industry, we've crafted a comprehensive exhibitor glossary.

We shed light on the key terms, concepts and insider lingo that will empower you to make the most of your exhibitor experience. Whether you’re a seasoned exhibitor looking to refresh your knowledge or a rookie gearing up for your first exhibition stand, this glossary will be your go-to resource for understanding the vital elements of exhibiting, making your journey smoother and more successful.

A/V (Audio Visual) – Using both sight and sound, typically in the form of video or recorded music. Also includes screens, lights, staging, design and more. 

A/V Contractor – Supplier of audio visual equipment, projectors, screens, microphones, etc. 

Access Panel – Removable panel or sections of an exhibit that permit access to lamps, projectors, etc. 

Accessible Storage – (Access Storage) – The holding area from which goods may be easily accessible during show hours. 

Acetate – The common name for a type of strong, transparent or semitransparent sheets of plastic, as an ingredient in some plastics, textile fabrics, and lacquers. 

Acrylic – The family of clear, color and translucent thermoplastic resins such as Plexiglas. 

Actual Weight – True weight of a shipment after loaded on certified scale. 

Adjustable Standard – Vertical support which allows shelf bracket to be affixed at any point in the support. 

Advance Receiving Date – Any time prior or up to the last day allowed for shipments to arrive at the advance warehouse without a surcharge being applied. 

Preshow Advance Order – Goods and/or services ordered prior to setup. 

Advance Rates – Fees associated with advance orders which typically include discounts 

Advance Shipments to Warehouse – Includes unloading crated freight; storing at warehouse; reloading for delivery to the exhibit site; unloading freight; delivery to booth, picking up, storing, and returning empty shipping containers/boxes; reloading freight for return.   

Affixed Merchandise – Exhibitor’s products fastened to display. 

Agent – A representative with proper credentials from the party represented. 

Air Freight – Materials shipped via airline.   

Air Waybill – A bill of lading (BOL or B/L) which covers both domestic and international flights transporting goods to a specified destination.   

Aisle Carpet – Carpet installed in aisles. 

Aisle Signs – Signs (typically suspended from ceiling) to indicate aisle numbers. 

Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) – A federal law that bars discrimination against qualified individuals with a disability that limits a major life function with regards to hiring, promotion, termination, compensation, job training or other terms and conditions of employment. 

Amp – Strength of an electrical current in amperes. 

Ampere – Unit of electrical current. 

Anti-Static spray – A spray that helps reduces static electricity in carpets. 

Arch – An exhibit display ceiling or entryway which spans two points. 

Assembly – The process of erecting an exhibit from its components. Also called installation or set-up.

Association – An organization of people sharing a common interest. Some associations sponsor a trade show. See Show Management. 

Attendance – Number of people at the show. 

Attendee – An individual  who attends  conventions, trade shows, congresses, and other live events. 

ATA Carnet – Is an international customs and temporary export-import document. Used to clear customs in 87 countries/territories without paying duties and import taxes on merchandise that will be re-exported within 12 months.

Back-light – A light source that illuminates translucent material from behind. 

Backloader – A type of truck that loads through its rear door.

Back-to-Back Booth – The standard exhibit configuration where booths are placed in rows, back to back. 

Back-to-Back Peninsula Booths – Two or more peninsula booths that butt up against each other in a linear fashion. 

Backwall – The panels at the rear of an exhibit. 

Backwall Booth – Booth located on the most outer wall of the exhibit hall of the exhibit facility rather than to another exhibit. Also known as Perimeter Booth. 

Backlight – A light source that illuminates transclucent material from behind.

Backwall Exhibit – An exhibit that is back-to-back with another exhibit or against a building wall. 

Badge – A type of identification supplied to an attendee, exhibitor or worker to allow access to a show or convention. 

Baffle – A partition designed to control light, air, sound, or traffic flow. 

Ball Lights – Stationary adjustable lights most often used in a header or for overhead use. 

Banding – Thin, flat wire used to hold cartons or crates together. 

Banjo – Type of textured fabric used to make backwall drape (also booth draperies). 

Banner – A suspended panel used as a decoration or a sign, usually made of fabric or paper for temporary use. 

Barn Doors – Light modifiers that shape and direct light. Generally fixed onto the front of studio or theatre lights. 

Base – Steel floor support piece for upright post. 

Base Rate – The hourly rate or salary paid for a job performed. It does not include payments for overtime, incentives, or other differentials. 

Batten – Piece of wood, typically 1” x 3” or 1” x 4”, which are used to fasten drape or other material against a wall. 

BCP (Branch Circuit Panel) – Distribution panel often used when high voltage power is required in a booth. It turns high voltage power into 120-volt power. 

Bead – Metal edge of lath or framing which finishes corners or openings and gives plaster finish continuous, smooth corners. 

Bed Hook – Metal hardware in pairs (male and female) used for inserting into panel edge to permit easy coupling of panels. 

Bill of Lading (BOL or B/L) – A document that establishes the terms between a shipper and a transportation company for the transport of goods. Also see Air Waybill, Inland Bill of Lading, Ocean Bill of Lading, Through Bill of Lading. 

Blanket Wrap – Uncrated goods covered with blankets or other protective padding and shipped via van line. Also called pad wrap. 

Blow-up – The enlargement of a two-dimensional item by photography. 

Blueprint – A scale drawing of booth space layout, construction, and specifications. 

Bonded Warehouse – A warehouse authorized by customs authorities for storage of goods on which payment of duties is deferred until the goods are removed. 

Bone Yard – A storage area for empty crates and contractor materials. 

Boom lift – (Cherry picker, Condor, Man lift or Scissor lift) – A mechanical device that can be motorised or manually operated to lift a labourer above floor level. 

Booth – An area made up of one or more standard units of exhibit space. 

Booth Area or Booth space – The amount of floor space assigned to an exhibitor. 

Booth Equipment – Aluminium and steel framework that supports the booth draperies that define the linear booth spaces. Also known as Booth Steel or Booth Hardware. 

Booth Layout – Diagram of booth space showing orientation, electrical, plumbing, furniture, booth structure and equipment placement in a booth space. 

Booth Number – A number assigned by show management to identify an exhibitor’s floor space. 

Booth Package – When an exhibitor receives a variety of services for one single price (e.g. each booth receives carpet 1-6’ draped table, a 500-watt outlet and 500 lbs. of drayage.). Refer to: Package Plan. 

Booth Personnel – Staff members assigned by an exhibitor to work in an exhibit. 

Booth Sign – I.D. sign indicating company name and booth number of exhibitor. 

Booth Size – The dimensions of the floor space contracted by an exhibitor. Usually sold in 10’ x 10’ increments. 

Booth Stringer – A cord with several quad boxes located 10’ from each other. They supply inline booths with required power. 

Booth Space or Booth area – The amount of floor space assigned to an exhibitor. 

Booth to Booth – The installation and/or removal of coaxial, fiber optic and/or twisted-pair cables for a booth to booth connection. 

Booth to Satellite Dish – The installation and/or removal of coaxial, fiber optic and/or twisted-pair cables for a booth to satellite dish connection. 

Bottled Gas – Portable gas provide by the plumbing team at show site to run equipment. 

Box Framing – Perimeter frame with lumber on edge. 

Break Terminal – Location at which common carriers separate consolidated freight. Refer to: Consolidate. 

BTU – The British thermal unit is a traditional unit of heat; defined as the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one-degree Fahrenheit. Used by plumbers to measure gas flow to working machinery. 

Buck-Boost Transformer – Electrical transformer used to transform 208-volt power to 220-volts. 

Building Rules – Regulations set by building management outlining procedures for their property. 

Bungee Cord – An elastic-type cord used for hanging drape around columns. 

Bunting – Rows of brightly-coloured flags hung across roads or above a stage as decoration for special occasions. 

Bus Duct – Metal raceway enclosing high-voltage power feeds, suspended from overhead or in the floor, from which high voltage power over 100 amps must be fed. 

BX Cable – Flexible armoured electrical cable consisting of two or more wires.


C C.O.D. – Cash on Delivery, Collection on Delivery. 

Cable – Used for suspending objects. Much stronger than wire. Its thickness ranges from 1/8” to 1/2”. 

CAD/CAM – Computer-Aided Design /Computer-Aided Manufacturing. 

Camera Ready – Artwork or pasted up material that is ready for reproduction. 

Canopy – (1) An ornamental projection, over a door, window, niche, etc. (2) Roof type of covering, supported on pillars. 

Carpet – Floor covering for booths or aisle. 

Carpet Depot – The warehouse where rental carpets are housed between shows.   

Carpet Package – Offered for custom cut carpet grades. Packages may include items such as visqueen and padding as well as material handling, installation, front edge taping and pick-up at the close of the show. 

Carpet Tape – Double-sided tape used to adhere the edge of a carpet to the floor.

Carrier – A transportation line moving freight. Usually a van line, common carrier, rail line, or air carrier. Also see Common Carrier. 

Cartage –  (1) Fee charged for transporting freight between destinations. (2) Hauling exhibit properties short distances. (3) Freight hauling between locations in the same city, town, suburb, or local area. 

Ceiling Décor – Suspended decorations to enhance the appearance of an exhibition hall or create a more intimate environment by “lowering” the ceiling. 

CEM – Certified Exposition Manager – An individual who has completed a training program offered by the International Association of Exposition Managers and has been certified as a competent manager of tradeshows and exhibitions. 

Centra Panels – A trademark name for a particular type of hard plastic panel used in exhibit booths. Typically encased by a metal frame. Can be used for any kind of booth paneling and/or certain kinds of signage. 

Certificate of Inspection – Document certifying that merchandise was in good condition immediately prior to its shipment. 

Certificate of Insurance – Document provided by an insurance carrier outlining coverage on their clients. When insurance is discontinued, all holders of certificates of insurance are notified. These are required by show management before an Exhibitor Appointed Contractor (EAC) can work on the show floor. 

Certified Weight Tickets – Printed weight ticket from a scale certified or inspected by a government authority such as the Dept. of Agriculture, indicating the date weighed, the weight of the shipment and the vehicle ID of the unit being weighed. 

CFM – Cubic feet per minute – A volumetric flow of a substance. In the case of a blower or fan, it indicates how much air it can move per minute. Used for compressed air in plumbing. 

Chain Motor Hoist – Motorised piece of equipment that is hung from the high steel in a building, used for lifting truss and heavy hanging signs. 

Chaser Lights – Lights placed around the border of a sign or graphic that blink on and off in a rapid pattern. 

Cherry picker – (Boom lift, Condor, Man lift or Scissor lift) – A mechanical device that can be motorized or manually operated to lift a laborer above floor level. 

Clamp-On Fixture – Electrical fixture with c-clamp device for attaching to display. 

Clamp-On Lights – A light fixture with a clamping device that allows it to attach to a wall or pole. 

CLC – Convention Liaison Council. 

Clean Bill of Lading – A carrier-issued receipt indicating transported merchandise was received in apparent good condition (compared with a Foul Bill of Lading).

Cloth – A term used in some regions to refer to booth drapery. 

CO2 Fire Extinguisher – Dry chemical fire extinguisher used primarily for electrical fires. 

Coaxial Cable – An electrical cable used as a high-frequency transmission line to carry a high frequency or broadband signal. 

Cobra Head Extension Cord – A two-wire extension cord that has the capability of having two or more items plugged into the end. Only approved for use in some convention facilities. 

Cold Storage – The holding of perishable goods in a climate-controlled area. 

Collective Agreement – A contract between an employer and a union specifying the terms and conditions for employment, the status of the union, and the process for settling disputes during the contract period.  Also known as Labor Agreement, Union Contract (this is often mentioned in the Show Rules of the show).

Column – A pillar in an exposition facility which supports the roof or other structures. Usually denoted on a floor plan as a solid square. 

Commercial Invoice – An itemized list of shipped goods. 

Common Carrier – A transportation company moving people or goods. For exhibit freight, the carrier usually accepts only crated materials and consolidates the properties of several customers into one shipment bound for the same destination. 

Compressed air – Air that has been compressed to a pressure higher than atmospheric pressure, comes in gas form, supplied by plumbers on the show floor to power equipment. 

Condor (Cherry picker, Boom lift, Man lift or Scissor lift) – A mechanical device that can be motorized or manually operated to lift a laborer above floor level. 

Consignee – A person to whom goods are shipped. 

Consignment – A delivery of merchandise from an exporter (the consignor) to an agent (the consignee) under the agreement that the agent will sell the merchandise, receive a commission, and remit the net proceeds to the exporter. 

Consignment Instructions – Conveys instructions from a principal to a provider of such services, without assuming any contractual status in relation to such services. 

Consignor – A person who sends freight. 

Consolidate – To ship freight to a central depot where several loads bound for the same destination are put together before being shipped to that destination. 

Constricted Space Loading/Unloading – Freight  that is loaded so tight or high that it requires additional manpower to unload or down one side as to make shipments not readily accessible. 

Construction Drawing – A drawing which gives detailed diagrams and instructions for building an exhibit. 

Contractor – An individual or company that provides services or materials to a trade show and/or its exhibitors. Also see Official Contractor or Exhibitor Appointed Contractor. 

Convention Center – A facility where expositions are held. Also known as Exposition Center, Facility or Hall. 

Cord Caps – A cover placed over the plug of an electrical cord; typically used to match up electrical equipment. 

Corkage Fee – A service charge issued by the authorised caterer for any food or beverages brought in from outside the convention centre.

Corner Booth – An exhibit space with exposure on at least two aisles. 

Counter – (1) A table raised with leg extensions to 42” in height. (2) A working cabinet for display, demonstration or registration (42” height). 

Craftsperson – A skilled worker who provides services at the exposition facility. Also called Labor. 

Crated Exhibit – An exhibit that is transported from show to show in crates (small to huge wooden boxes). 

Crated Materials – Materials that are skidded or are in any type of shipping container that can be loaded or unloaded at the dock with no additional handling required. 

Crating List – An itemised list of the contents of a crate.

Crosby – A type of clamp to temporarily secure cable when installing overhead work. 

Cross Aisle – An aisle at a right angle to a main aisle. 

Cubic Content – Length x width x height. With reference to booth space, the placement of exhibit properties at a height of 8 feet or more on 3 sides of the leased area. Also a measurement used in determining shipping costs for van lines. 

Cubic Footage – To determine cubic footage for each piece, use the following calculation: width x length x height ÷ 1728 = cubic footage. Used to calculate space for storage or shipping. 

Custom Carpet – Upgraded plush carpet in special colours provided by the Official Contractor. 

Custom Exhibit – A display designed and built to meet the specific needs of an exhibitor. 

Customs – The authorities designated to collect duties levied by a country on imports and exports. The term also applies to the procedures involved in such collections. 

Customs Broker – A person or company licensed to enter and clear goods through Customs. 

Cut and Lay – Installation of carpet other than standard booth size, generally at an increased cost. 

Cut-Out – Profile cut display item such as letters, photos, etc. 

CWT – Hundred weight. A measurement used for weighing exhibit properties. 

CWT Rate – Cost per hundred pounds.

D D.O.T. – Department of Transportation. 

D.T. Labor – Double Time Labor. Work performed on overtime  – see the manual for rates. 

Dead Man – Temporary post used during installation to help support the weight of an overhead structure. 

Discount Deadline Date – The date when payment is due for orders before exhibitor move-in. 

Declared Value – A shipper’s stated dollar value for the contents of a shipment. 

Decorator – An individual (skilled craftsperson) or company (a contractor) providing services for a trade show and/or its exhibitors. 

Dedicated Power – A power source running from the building utility to the exhibitor with no other exhibitors connected to the same line. 

Dedicated Service – A unique service running from the building utility to the exhibitor with no other exhibitors connected to the same line. These services include compressed air, telephone, T-1 lines and wireless and connected network and Internet. 

Deferred Air Freight – Long haul air freight that waits available cargo space (usually 1 to 2 days) at a reduced rate. 

Density – Pounds per cubic foot, determined by mathematical formula where the weight of an article or shipment is divided by the cubic feet it occupies. 

Design – The booth design often depicted by sketch or renderings. 

Designated Piece Loading/Unloading – When a trailer must be loaded/unloaded in a particular-sequence as to ensure proper fit. 

Detail Drawing – A drawing showing method of construction, plan views, elevations, floor ports, drains, etc. 

Die Cut – Method of producing repetitive cutout shapes in quantity. 

Diffuser – An open grid or a solid translucent plastic to soften or conceal light sources. 

DIM (Dimensional) Weight – Length x width x height divided by 194 for domestic shipments or divided by 166 for international shipments. 

Dimmer – A device to control light intensity. Refer to: Rheostat. 

Direct Date – Refers to the first day for shipments to arrive at the exhibit site. 

Direct Shipments to Exhibit Site – Includes unloading freight and delivery to your booth; picking up, storing and returning empty shipping containers; reloading freight for return to your specified destination from the exhibit site. 

Directional Signs – Signs directing attendees to exhibits, meeting or special areas. 

Directory – A catalog of basic information about the show, including exhibitors, floor plan and schedule of events. (This is also sometimes referred to as an Onsite Program or Program.) 

Disconnect – Device to permit easy and safe separation of electrical components. 

Discount Deadline Date – The published date for a show where orders will receive a lower rate if all relevant forms, floor plans and credit card information has been furnished and order paid in full in advance. 

Discount Price – a lower rate if all relevant forms, floor plans and credit card information has been furnished and order paid in full in advance. 

Dismantle – To take apart an exhibit. Also known as Take-down, Teardown. 

Display – Graphic panel of varying sizes often used to show a product or service. 

Display Builder – Company and/or contractor that fabricates (builds) displays.

Display Case – Counter unit with glass top and/or front, for displaying product. Also known as Showcase. 

Display Labor – Required for all installation and dismantling of exhibits, including signs and floor covering installation. 

Display Rules and Regulations – Exhibit construction specs endorsed by major exhibit industry associations. Also the specific set of rules that apply to an exposition, which vary by venue and city. 

Divider – Partition between exhibitors. Refer to: Side Rail. 

Dock – A platform where freight is loaded into and removed from vehicles trucks at the convention facility. 

Dock Receipt – A receipt issued by a carrier to acknowledge receipt of a shipment at the carrier’s dock or warehouse facilities. 

Dog Bone – A one-foot, five-wire cord that is used to help transfer high voltage power to 120- volt power on the BCP. 

Dog House – A piece of equipment that is plugged into a high voltage power drop making it 120- volt power and allowing six places to plug in, shaped like a doghouse. Also known as a Six Box. 

Double Faced Panel – Finished on both sides. 

Double Decker – A two-storied exhibit. Also known as Multiple Story Exhibit. 

Draped Booth – A booth made up of back wall and sidewall of pipe and drape. 

Draper – A craftsperson who installs drapes, fabric, and special decor. 

Drayage – The service that includes delivery of materials to an exhibit space, removal of empty crates, storage of crates during the show, returning of crates at the end of the show, and delivery of materials to the carrier loading area. 

Drayage Charge – The cost of moving exhibit materials within the confines of the exhibit hall, based on weight. This charge is calculated in 100-pound units, or hundredweight, abbreviated CWT. (There is usually a minimum charge for all drayage.) 

Drayage Contractor – A company responsible for handling exhibit materials at a trade show. 

Drayage Form – A form completed by an exhibitor requesting handling of materials. 

Duplex Outlet – A double electrical outlet. 

Duty – A tax imposed on imports by the customs authority of a country. Duties are generally based on the value of the goods some other factors such as weight or quantity (specific duties), or a combination of value and other factors (compound duties). 

DW – Deadweight (tons of 2240 lbs.)

Easel – A stand for displaying objects. 

Egg Crate – Construction technique of joining two materials by notching both and inserting slots into each other. Also known as gridded diffuser panels. 

Electrical Contractor – A company hired by show management to provide electrical services to exhibitors. 

Electricians – They are hired for the installation of electrical equipment. This may include lighted headers, hanging signs and truss work depending on the work jurisdiction. 

Elevated Table – Table raised to counter height. 

Elevations – Scaled drawings depicting front and side views of an exhibit. 

Empties or Empty Crate – Reusable packing container in which exhibit materials were shipped. Not needed during show and marked to go into empty storage. 

Empty Crate Labels – Special stickers supplied by the general contractor. Special crews patrol the exhibit hall picking up empties during installation and return them during dismantling. 

Encapsulated Postscript (EPS) – A PostScript file format used to transfer a graphic image between applications and platforms. EPS files contain PostScript code as well as an optional preview image in TIFF, WMF, PICT or EPSI, the latter being an ASCII-only format. 

End Cap – An exhibit space with aisles on three sides. 

Est. Wt. – Estimated Weight. 

Estimate – A statement of the approximate cost of work performed. 

Excess Declared Value – A higher limitation of liability than what is stated in the terms. Check terms to see what is covered under Excess Declared Value. 

Exclusive Contractor – A contractor appointed by show management as the sole provider of specified services. 

Exclusive Use – The rental of a carrier’s entire cargo space by one shipper. 

Exhibit – Structure used at trade shows and events my brands for  displaying products, conveying a marketing message, brand activations, and more. 

Exhibit Designer/Producer – Company responsible for designing and constructing exhibits. 

Exhibit Directory – A guide for exhibition attendees which lists exhibitors and exhibit locations. 

Exhibit Hall – The area(s) within an exposition centre where exhibits are located. 

Exhibit House – The exhibit builder or the company who rents the exhibit to the exhibitor. 

Exhibit Manager – (1)  Person in charge of an individual exhibit. (2)  Show management staff person in charge of exhibit area. 

Exhibit Prospectus – Promotional materials for prospective exhibitors to encourage participation in an exhibition. (Provided by show sponsor). 

Exhibition – A trade show or conference at which people gather to drive business, learn new industry trends, network and attend educational sessions. 

Exhibitor – The customer/ company or persons presenting an exhibit. 

Exhibitor Appointed Contractor (EAC) – A contractor hired by an exhibitor to perform trade show services independently of show management appointed contractors. Also called Independent Contractor or EAC. 

Exhibitor Kit – A package of information which contains all rules, regulations, and forms relating to an exhibition, provided to exhibitors by show management. Also called Service Kit. 

Exhibitor Manual – A manual containing general show information, labor/service order forms, rules and regulations and other information pertinent to an exhibitor’s participation in an exposition. Refer to: Service Kit. 

Exhibitor Services Manual / Kit – Manual containing general show information, labor/service order forms, rules and regulations and other information pertinent to an exhibitor’s participation in an exposition. Also known as Service Kit, Service Manual or Exhibitor Manual. 

Expedited Service – Service offered by a transportation company to assure prompt delivery. 

Expendables – Purchases that typically have a ‘one and done’ use.  Eg: tape, disposable skirts, etc. 

Export – To send or transport goods out of one country for sale in another. 

Export Broker – An individual or company that brings together buyers and sellers for a fee. 

Export Management Company – A company that transacts manufacturers’ export business for a fee. 

Export Merchant – A company that buys products directly from manufacturers, then packages the merchandise for resale under its own name. 

Export Trading Company – A company that buys foreign merchandise for resale in its own local market. 

Exposition – The portion of a trade show or conference at which companies and exhibitors display products and/or services related to the show. Commonly referred to as the Expo Hall. 

Exposition Manager – The organiser and operator of an exposition. See Show Manager or Show Organiser. 

Exposition Rules – The set of regulations which govern a given trade show. Also known as ‘Show Site Rules.’ 

Exposition Service Contractor (ESC) – Contractor appointed by management to provide services to exhibitors. Refer to: General Contractors, Official Contractors. 

Extruded – The formation of metal or plastic to push out. 

Extrusions – Products produced in continuous shapes by forcing materials under great pressure through dies (i.e. “T” moulding channel, angle.) 

Eye Bolts – Eye bolts or eye screws have a looped head or an opening in the head.


Fabrication – The construction of an exhibit. 

Facility – Refer to: Convention Center, Hall.  

Fade – Term used to describe transition from one scene to next by slowly darkening image. 

Fascia – The panel at the top of an exhibit, typically bearing the company name. Also known as the Header. 

Federal ID – Corporation identification number issued by the federal government. 

Felt – A thick material that has two “good sides.” 

FHC – Fire Hose Cabinets – A notation on floor plans indicating the locations of fire hose cabinets. 

Fiber Optic Cable – A fiber-optic cable guides light from end to end. A signal is injected in one end by an LED (light-emitting diode) or by semiconductor lasers. LEDs are used for short-distance optical links such as enterprise backbones while lasers are used for longer distance networks. Silica cable is categorised as either multimode cable, which is used for short-distance connections (LANs, campus networks, and short distance metro networks), or single-mode cable that is used for long-distance (cross-country networks and intercontinental submarine links). The light source for the former is typically an LED, while the light source for the latter is a laser. Long-haul fiber-optic cable is often bundled with anywhere from 100 to 800 fibers per cable. 

Fiber Optics – The use of cut glass fibers to display colored light. 

Fill & Drain – Portable water and drain services provided at show site by a plumber to operate equipment or display items such as sinks, etc. 

Fire Exit – A door designated for emergencies, which must be kept clear of obstructions

Fire Lane – An aisle that must be kept clear of obstructions to allow emergency entrance and exit.

Fire Marshal – Civic or building official responsible for enforcing fire prevention regulation. 

Fire Retardant – Term used to describe a finish which coats materials with a fire-resistant (not fireproof) cover

Flasher – A device to activate one or more lamps by intermittently interrupting current. 

Flat Cable – Cable and extension cords that are used to lie on the floor under the carpet. It is flat to help reduce tripping hazards and provide a safer walk area within a booth space. 

Flatbed – A tractor 40’ x 48’ in length with a flatbed (no sides). 

Floor Load – Maximum weight per square foot a floor can support. (May also refer to the maximum amount of power available from floor outlets and ports). 

Floor Manager – An individual representing show management who is responsible for the exhibition area. 

Floor Marking – A method used to mark booth spaces. 

Floor Order – Order for services placed after exhibit installation has begun. Compare with Advance Order. 

Floor Plan – A map showing the size and locations of exhibit spaces. 

Floor Port – A utility box recessed in the floor containing electrical, telephone, or plumbing connections. 

Florist – Contractor providing plants and floral arrangements. 

Flush Mounted – Mounting of one material to another with no space between them. 

Foam Core – Rigid foam covered with heavy paper stock used for mounting signs, art, etc. 

Font to Outline – A process used in vector graphic design software such as Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW in which a font can be converted to “outlines” or a graphic representation of the font. Not all computers will have the same fonts installed and will sometimes not show the original font correctly from one computer to the next. When fonts are converted to “outlines”, there is no other conversion required and they will show on the computer monitor/in print as originally intended. 

Foreign Trade Zone – Refer to: Free Trade Zone. 

Forklift/Fork truck – Motorised vehicle with a prolonged platform for lifting and carrying loads. 

Forklift Operator – Person who operates a forklift and is certified to do so. 

Foyer – Public area in hotel or hall for assembly or registration. 

Free Form Exhibit – This is an exhibit with aisles on all four sides. Also known as Island Exhibit. 

Free Standing – Self-supporting and independently displayed material. 

Free Trade Zone – A port designated by the government of a country for duty free entry of non-prohibited goods. Merchandise may be stored, displayed, used for manufacturing, etc. within the zone and reexported without duties paid. Duties are imposed on the merchandise (or items manufactured from the merchandise) only when the goods pass from the zone into an area of the country subject to the Customs Authority. 

Freight – Exhibit properties and other materials shipped for an exhibit. 

Freight Desk – The area where inbound and outbound exhibit materials are handled at a trade show. 

Freight Door – A large door located on the perimeter of an exhibit hall that accommodates large trucks and freight management operations

Freight Forwarder – A shipping company which handles export shipments for a fee. 

Freight Weight – The weight of the exhibitor freight.  Measured in one hundred pound increments, CWT.  Ex:  100lbs = 1 CWT. 

Frontages – Refers to dimension across the front of an exhibit (e.g., a 30×10 exhibit has 30’ of front space and 10’ of depth.) Also known as Front Space. 

Full Booth Coverage – Carpet covering entire area of booth. 

Full Service Contractor – Contractor capable of providing all services for management and exhibitors. Refer to: Official Contractor, General Service Contractor. 

Furniture – Rental furniture provided by contractor for use by exhibitor or management.


Gang Box – A box on wheels that contains misc. supplies which the labor force uses. Also known as Johnny Box. 

Gangway – An International term referring to the aisle. 

Garcy Strip – Trade name of manufacturer that produces brackets and standards for the mounting of materials, usually shelves. 

Garment Rack – Metal frame to support large numbers of apparel. 

Gels – Pieces of plastic that are installed over a floodlight to change the color of light emitted. They are available in many different colors and hues. 

General Contractor – Show management appointed company providing services to a trade show and/or its exhibitors. Also called Official Contractor. Compare with Exhibitor Appointed Contractor. 

Genie Lift – Refer to: Man-Lift. 

Gobo – Flat piece of metal cut out like a stencil with words or shapes. Placed in front of a floodlight so the light comes through like the stencil shape on the floor and exhibit space. 

Gooseneck Light – Small (75 to 150 watt) spot light with a flexible stem. 

Graphics – Communicative elements/color, copy, art, photographs, back drop, etc. used to decorate a booth or space. 

Grid System – Technique of providing system of structural supports, electrical conduit, etc. on a pattern of centers. 

Grommet – Rubber, metal or plastic element for reinforcing holes in weaker materials.

Gross Square Feet – Total space available in exhibit hall. 

Gross Weight – Full weight of shipment excluding goods and packaging. Refer to: Tare Weight. 

Ground Loading/Unloading – Vehicles that are not dock height, preventing the use of loading docks. 


Hall – A generic term for an exposition facility; may also refer to an individual area within a facility such as south hall, etc. 

Halon Fire Extinguisher – Hypothermal fire extinguisher generally used on computer and sensitive electronics fires. 

Hand Carry – Items that an exhibitor is permitted to carry unaided in/out of a convention facility without being charged. 

Hand Truck – Small hand-propelled implement with two wheels and handles used for transporting small loads. 

Hard Wire – Electrical connections that are other than receptacle to receptacle. These are charged on a time plus materials basis. 

Hard wall – A type of exhibit construction in which the walls are of solid material, rather than fabric. 

Hard wall Exhibit System – A type of exhibit structure in which walls are made of a solid material, rather than fabric. 

Hazardous Materials – Any solid, liquid, or gas that can harm people, other living organisms, or the environment. A hazardous material may be radioactive, flammable, explosive, toxic, corrosive, biohazardous, an oxidizer, an asphyxiant, an allergen, or may have other characteristics that make it hazardous in specific circumstances. 

Header – A sign or other structure across the top of an exhibit. 

Heavy Hauler – Special trailers utilized to transport large heavy equipment. 

Height Limitation – Rules set by show manager to control height of exhibits. 

High Drape – Drape over 8’ high that requires special equipment. 

High Lift – Refer to: Man-Lift. 

Horizontal Bar – Cross bar used for hanging drapes. 

Horse Power – A unit of measure for the power of an engine, equal to 550 foot/pounds per second. In electrical terms, 1 horsepower is equivalent to 746 watts of power. 

Hospitality Suite/Event – An area separate from the exhibit, in which refreshments are served and exhibitor personnel and visitors socialise. Most shows require hospitality events to be opened only after exhibit hours.


I & D Company – Installation & Dismantle Company – A company that is hired to install and dismantle exhibits. 

I & D Labor – Installation and dismantle of an exhibit, or set-up and tear down of an exhibit. 

ID (Identification) Sign – Company name and booth number sign. Also known as Booth Sign. 

Improper Delivery Receipts – Shipments that arrive without an individual Bill of Lading. 

In Bond Transportation Requirements – In Bond Transportation refers to the system of admitting merchandise provisionally to a country without payment of duties and under customs supervision — either for storage in a bonded warehouse or for trans-shipment to another point. 

Independent Service Contractor – A contractor hired by an exhibitor to perform trade show services independently of show management appointed contractors. Also known as Exhibitor Appointed Contractor (EAC). 

Infringement – Unauthorised use of floor space outside exclusive booth area. 

Initial Focus Time – The time required for directing or aiming the lights that have been mounted on the trusses. 

Inland Bill of Lading – A bill of lading used in transporting goods overland to the exporter’s international carrier. Although a bill of lading can sometimes be used, it is usually necessary to prepare both an “inland bill of lading” and an “ocean bill of lading” for export shipments. 

Inline – An exhibit that is constructed in a continuous line along an aisle. Also known as Linear Display. 

Inquiry Cards – Cards completed by booth staff obtaining attendee information. 

Inserts – Interchangeable copy or art panels. 

Inside Booth – Exhibit space with exhibit booths on either side or back. Also known as an inline Booth. 

Installation – The time frame for installing a show or an exhibit. 

Installation & Dismantle (I & D) – Installation and dismantle of an exhibit, or set-up and tear down of an exhibit. 

Installation Contractor – May be either an official contractor hired by show management or an EAC hired directly by an exhibitor who is responsible for supervision and coordination of installation and dismantle labor. 

Installation Date – The date the general services contractor first receives access to the facility for move-in. 

Interactive Exhibits – Exhibits in which an activation that typically involved multi-media and integrated marketing to immerse the visitor in the experience Exhibitions, Exhibits, Events)

International Freight Forwarder – Refer to: Freight Forwarder. International Trade Show Forwarder – Refer to: Freight Forwarder. 

Invoice – A statement sent to clients for monies owed to a corporation for services or items provided.

Island Booth – Booth space with aisles on all four sides. 

Island Display / Exhibit – An exhibit that is exposed on all sides to an aisle in a show. A unit with aisles on four sides. 

Island Unit – A display that may be viewed from four sides. 


Jigged Crate – A special-purpose crate with hardware to secure exhibit properties in place to prevent shifting during shipment. 

Johnny Box – Refer to: Office Dolly, Gang Box. 

Johnson Bar – Long-handled wooden pry bar with metal tip and wheels used in freight handling. Also known as a J-Bar. 

Jones Plug – Theatrical term for multi-prong electrical disconnect. 

Joule – Metric unit of work or energy, used as a measurement of electric. 

Journeyman – Worker who has satisfactorily completed an apprenticeship in a skilled trade. 

Junction Box – A distribution point for electrical power. 


K.D. – Knockdown – An exhibit with separate components that must be assembled on-site. 

Kick Base – Base moulding or added to structure to absorb marring caused by brooms, mops, etc. Also known as Toe Base. 

Kiosk – A small informational counter, open to one or more sides, used within an exhibit for the display of product, services, screens, and activations. 

Kit – See Service Kit. 

KOH – A light fixture that is installed from the catwalks, ceiling or truss systems and can be easily light up a 10 x 20-booth space. They cannot be installed on the exhibit itself due to the temperature at which they burn. 

Labor – For shows, refers to workers who perform services. Also known as Craft persons. 

Labor Desk – Area from which laborers are dispatched to work areas at show site. 

Labor Form – The form used by exhibitors to order labor. 

Labor Order – Refers to an order for exhibit installation and dismantle or any job that will bill labor. 

Laborer – Refer to: Craftsperson. 

Lamination – The process of bonding two or more substances together. 

Landscape (Horizontal) – Sign where width is larger than height. 

Last in, first out – Booths built in front of overhead doors used for loading freight in & out. Booth is constructed last, before show open, and is dismantled first, prior to move out due to use of overhead doors. 

Late Arrival Surcharge – A surcharge applied to each shipment received at the advance warehouse after the deadline date. 

Lead Retrieval – A system for capturing and follow-up of leads generated by a live experience. . 

Less Than Truckload (LTL) – A shipment that utilizes less than a truckload of space; the rate charged for freight weighing less than the minimum weight for a truckload. 

Liability – Legal issue of responsibility for damage or injuries. 

Light Box – Enclosure with lighting and translucent face of plastic or glass used to back light signs or graphics. 

Light Weight – The weight of a vehicle after unloading freight. Used to confirm freight weight to charge the exhibitor per hundred-weight for shipments. 

Lighting – The amount or type of illumination in an exhibit or show site. 

Line Booth – Line booths have only one side exposed to an aisle and are generally arranged in a series along a straight line. They are also called “Linear” booths or “In-Line” booths. 

Line Spiking – Irregularities in power supply. 

Linear Display – An exhibit that is constructed in a continuous line along an aisle. Also called inline. 

Literature Rack (Lit Rack) – Devices used to hold literature or brochures. 

Load List – Anticipated number of items required for a show to be loaded onto a truck for delivery to show site. 

Loading Dock – An area within an exposition facility where freight is received and shipped. 

Load Plan Drawing – A final engineered drawing of all truss, lighting, hanging sign pick points and weights. 

Lock-Up – Secure storage area, which is either guarded or locked. 

Logistics – The movement of freight shipments on a commercial basis, where a general services contractor buys transportation at a wholesale price and sells it to their customers at a retail price. 

Logo – Symbol identifying an organization, company or event. 

Longterm Storage – Storage available at warehouse for long periods of time between shows. 

Loop Fabric – Fabric to which Velcro will adhere. Loose Jig – Removable support in shipping cases. 

Loss Prevention Guidelines – A set of injury prevention and overall safety guidelines for exhibitors to follow at the show site. 

Lounge – A space in an event, show floor, exhibit area or other environment where attendees may sit and interact. 

Low Voltage – Term applied to electrical currents of 24-volts or less; must be transformed from normal 110volt input and may be used in animation or specialty lighting. 

Lowboy – A type of truck that can be adapted for picking up loads at ground level. 

Lucite – A transparent thermoplastic acrylic resin. 


Macro bin – Box used to store trade show drape. 

Man lift – (Cherry picker, Boom lift or Scissor lift) – A mechanical device that can be motorised or manually operated to lift a labourer above floor level. 

Manual – See Service Kit. 

Marshaling Yard – An offsite location where trucks are checked in and held until space for unloading is available onsite. 

Masking Drapes – Drapes used to cover storage and other unsightly areas. 

Masonite – A trade name for commercial hardboard. 

Material Handling – Movement of materials inside a convention hall. 

Materials Requiring Special Handling – Refers to shipments that are loaded by cubic space and/or packed in such a manner as to require additional labor and handling. Additional fees are applied to special handling shipments. These include: ground loading; side door loading; constricted space loading; designated piece loading; stacked, cubed out or loose shipments; multiple shipments; mixed shipments; improper delivery receipts; uncrated shipments. 

Merchandise Pass – A form issued by show management and signed by the exhibitor that tells the security guard that removal of an item is authorized by the exhibitor. Also known as Merchandise Release Form. 

Mercury Vapor Lamp – A type of light used in many convention centers that produces a high-intensity ultraviolet light. They are most commonly used in fabricated tent structures. 

Meter – The most common width for a backwall panel. 

Method of Shipment: 2nd Day Air – Air shipment for 2nd day delivery. 

Method of Shipment: Deferred Air – Long haul air freight that waits available cargo space (usually 1 to 2 days) at a reduced rate. 

Method of Shipment: LTL Ground – See Less than Truckload (LTL). 

Method of Shipment: Next Day Air – Air shipment for next day delivery. 

Method of Shipment: Truck Load Ground – Ground shipment by truck – full truckload. 

Mixed on the Truck Shipments – Pieces for separate shipments that are loaded mixed throughout the delivery vehicle or shipments of crated and uncrated goods where the percentage of uncrated is minimal and does not warrant full uncrated rate for shipment. 

Modular Exhibit – Exhibit constructed with interchangeable components. 

Move-In – Date(s) set for installation of exhibits. 

Move-Out – Date(s) set for dismantling of exhibits. 

Multimedia – Combining two or more types of audio visual support in a presentation. 

Multiple Shipments/Delivery Areas – Shipments that are loaded mixed on the truck, failing to maintain shipment integrity and/or have multiple delivery areas. 

Multiple Story Exhibit – Refer to: Double-Decker.

Mylar – A trade name for thin plastic material in sheets or tape, translucent and opaque.


N.I.B. – Not in Booth – Refers to freight listed on bill of lading, but not in booth at time of loading. 

Net Square Footage – The total booth, room, or floor space for exhibitors and events . 

No-Freight Aisle – An aisle that must be kept clear at all times during installation and dismantling. 

Non-Official Contractors – A company other than the “general” or “official” service provider who is designated by show management as provider of a specific service and requires access to booth during installation and dismantling. A non-official contractor may only provide services in the venue which are not designated by the venue as “exclusive” to a venue provider or by show management in a contract as an exclusive service. No solicitation or providing of services not contracted is allowed by the non-official contractor. 


O.R. – Owner’s Risk. 

Ocean Bill of Lading – A bill of lading (B/L) indicating that the exporter consigns a shipment to an international carrier for transportation to a specified foreign market. Unlike an inland B/L, the ocean B/L also serves as a collection document. If it is a “Straight B/L,” the foreign buyer can obtain the shipment from the carrier by simply showing proof of identify. If a “Negotiable B/L” is used, the buyer must first pay for the goods, post a bond, or meet other conditions agreeable to the seller. Also known as Air Waybill, Inland Bill of Lading, Through Bill of Lading. 

Off-Target Shipment – Any shipment arriving before or after its target date and/or time. 

Official Contractor – General contractor appointed by exposition management. Refer to: Exhibition Service Contractors. 

Official Opening – Ceremony, ribbon cutting, etc. to proclaim show officially opened. 

OMHF – Outbound Material Handling Form. 

On-Center – Refers to measurement of space from centre of a solid object (such as a column) to another point. 

On-Site Order – A labor or service order placed on-site. 

Order Form – Form for ordering various services. 

Organiser – Show Manager. 

OT Labor – Overtime – Work performed on overtime billed at either time and one-half or twice the published labor rates. 

OT/OT – OT/OT refers to the rate if material is handled on overtime both into and out of the show. Straight time is defined as Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Trucks signing in after 2:00 PM may be charged at the overtime rate. Overtime is defined as any time after 4:30 PM as well as Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays. 

Outbound Material Handling Document/Form – An OMHF (Outbound Material Handling Form / Bill of Lading) must accompany all outgoing shipments. 

Outside Exhibit – Exhibit or booth located outdoors. 

Overhead Work – Work performed over the exhibit floor usually requiring a scissor lift or man lift. 

Overlay – A panel mounted to another surface; usually used to hide an error in graphics or material. 

Overtime (OT) – A designation for work performed outside the hours specified as normal working hours. Usually work performed on overtime is charged at a substantially higher rate. Work performed in excess of 40 hours in any week for which, under the Fair Labor Standards Act; employees must be paid one-and one-half times their normal wage rates.

P.A. System – Microphone and speakers used to convey message to audience. 

P.W. – Packed Weight. 

Package Plan – Show management provides furniture and/or services to exhibitors for a single fee. Also known as Booth Package. 

Padded Van – Similar to household goods moving vans. Operators specialize in moving fragile goods, carefully suspended and blanket wrapped if necessary. 

Padded Van Shipment – Freight shipped via van lines where material is pad wrapped but not crated. 

Padding – Usually blanket protection for uncrated material. 

Pallet – A low wooden platform onto which goods are loaded for easier handling. Usually used as a platform for objects moved by forklift. 

Panel System – A prefabricated exhibit composed of connected rectangular panels of various sizes. 

PAR – Parabolic Aluminized Reflector – Common term used for scaled beam spot or flood lamp with self-contained lens-surfaced glass. 

Particle Board – A structural panel of compressed, glued wood chips. 

Paste-Up – A mounted assembly of graphics prior to reproduction. 

Pavilion – 1. A temporary building, stand, or other structure in which items are displayed by a dealer or exhibitor at a trade exhibition or event. 2. A usually highly decorated projecting subdivision of a building. 

Peg Board – Trade name for perforated hardboard used for hanging items. Available with holes. 

Peninsula Booth – Booth space with aisles on three sides. Also known as End Cap. 

Peninsula Display – An exhibit with aisles on three sides. Perimeter Booth – Booth located on the outer most wall of the exhibit hall. 

Permanent Exhibit – An exhibit fabricated for long-term usage (i.e. museum exhibit, office exhibit, etc.) 

Petroleum Surcharge – A surcharge designed to help offset the increasing costs of petroleum which has impacted numerous products including gasoline, carpeting, plastics, visqueen, propane and diesel fuel. 

Pin Up – Lighting fixture with surface mounting plate or with clamp base. 

Pipe and Drape – Tubing material covered with draped fabric to make side rails and back wall of a booth. 

Platform – Raised stage for speakers, entertainers or products. 

Pleat – Flat double fold in cloth. 

Plexiglas – A trade name for acrylic plastic material. 

Plug Strip – Power strip that can be plugged into a 120-volt power supply and allows up to six items to be plugged in. Also known as a Power Strip. 

Plumbers – Responsible for all plumbing installation. 

Plush Carpet – Middle grade of 26 oz. filament nylon or polyolefin carpeting with 4 mil poly covering, anti-static treatment and 3M Scotchgard™ protection available in pre-cut and custom sizes. 

Plywood – Laminated wood of an odd number of sheets glued together, often used in exhibit construction. 

Podium – Raised cabinet used to hold speaker’s notes. 

POP Display – (Point-of-purchase) Marketing material or advertising placed next to the merchandise it is promoting.

Pop Ups – A type of small exhibit in which the backwall structure expands to size from collapsed, interconnected members. 

Portable Display – Exhibit capable of being carried by one person. 

Portable Exhibit – A lightweight display unit that can be moved without a forklift. 

Porters – Job function that performs sweeping, cleaning and dusting. 

Portrait (Vertical) – Sign with greater height than width. 

Post – Metal upright used to support drapes. Refer to: Upright.

Poster Board – Refer to: Tack Board. 

POV – Privately Owned Vehicle – A vehicle, such as a passenger car, van or small company vehicle, as distinguished from trucks, tractor-trailers and other over the road vehicles. 

POV Line – Special loading dock reserved for POVs where material is unloaded at prevailing drayage rates. 

Power – Electricity. 120-volt power is considered regular household power. 208-volt single phase and three phase power is most commonly used for stage and theatrical lighting systems. 480-volt power is commonly used for industrial type machinery. 

Power Drop – Electrical power which is dropped down and installed into an island booth from above the booth. 

Power Strip – A movable unit having multiple electrical outlets.

Prefab – A pre-built exhibit ready for installation. 

Pre-Pleated – Table skirt permanently pleated, ready for installation. 

Pre-Registration – Registration of attendees prior to arrival 

Pre-Rigging – An attachment of slings, shackles, lifting eyes, spreader bars, etc. at an exhibitor’s plant for the lifting of the machine at show site. 

Press Kit – Materials provided by show management for news releases, product announcements and other materials intended for the media are distributed. 

Press Release – An article intended for use by the media about a company, product, service or individual. 

Producer – (1) Exhibit Producer: An individual or company that designs and/or builds. (2) Show Producer: An individual or company that manages trade shows. 

Program Book – Printed schedule of meeting events, location of function rooms, location of exhibitors, and other pertinent information. 

Pro-Number – Shipment number designated by the common carrier for a single shipment, used when referencing a shipment. 

Proof – A graphics copy obtained for checking purposes. 

Property Pass – Release provided by the exhibitor for the removal of materials from the exhibit hall. Also known as Merchandise Pass. 

Proscenium Arch – The visible opening that frames a stage (usually theatrical.) 

PSI – (pounds per square inch) A unit of measure for gasses or liquids. Used to measure compressed air via a regulator at show site. 

Public Shows – A show where the general-public is invited to attend, and an admission fee is usually charged. 

Publication Bins (Pub Bins) – Slotted bin for Exhibitor and Association publications. 

Publications – Exhibitor and Association materials for distribution during the show. 

Pylon – A tall exhibit structure used for identification. 


Quad Box – Four electrical outlets in one box (usually metal.) 

Que Line – Pattern of rope and stanchions used for crowd control. 


Raceway – A metal, insulated rubber, or PVC container which surrounds electrical wires (for support and protection of the wires.) 

Rail – A low wall used to divide exhibits. 

Raised Letters – Lettering cut-out of any material and applied or mounted to a surface or background for dimensional effects. 

Rating Plate – A metal plate mounted on electrical equipment engraved with the electrical information regarding the particular equipment (e.g. 120 Volt Single Phase, 60 Cycles, 1000 Watts or 230 Volts, 30 Amps, 3 Phase). 

Rear-Illuminated – Technique of using a light source to illuminate a translucent image from behind it. Also known as Backlit. 

Rear-Projected – Video technique where the projector is behind the screen, rather than in front of it. 

Receiver – (1) A document that verifies goods ordered are received. (2) Someone who fills out a receiver document. 

Reflective Ceiling Plan – (RCP) – a drawing that shows where items are located on the ceiling of a room or space. This is the first step toward finalizing a Load Plan Drawing when using rigging. 

Refurbish Materials – The process of repairing damage, renewing surfaces and replacing graphics as necessary to recondition an exhibit to extend its lifespan. 

Regional Show – A show targeted to attendees from a specific geographical area. 

Registration – Procedure in which attendees receive badges for admittance. 

Registration Area – Part of building where registration takes place. 

Registration Counter – Cabinet designed to facilitate registration of attendees. 

Regular Display Labor Rates – Applicable rates for display labor if ordered after the deadline date. 

Regular Porter Service Labor Rates – Applicable labor rates for porter service if service is ordered after the deadline date. 

Regular Price – An item’s unit price when ordered after the deadline date. 

Relay – An electrical device used to produce programmed effects by interrupting the flow of current. 

Regulator – A device for controlling the rate of flow. A handle or gauge controlling the supply of water, air, gas etc. on working machinery. 

Release Forms – Form provided by management to permit removal of goods from exhibition. Also known as Property Pass or Merchandise Pass. 

Rental Booth – A complete booth package offered to exhibitors on a rental basis. 

Rental Exhibit – An exhibit rented to an exhibitor. 

Rest Area – Seating area provided for attendees. 

Return – Common term applied to panel joined to background at ninety-degree angle. Utilized to support the back wall of the exhibit. 

Return Panels – Side panels joined perpendicular to the backwall. 

Reverse Out – To reproduce as a white image out of a solid background. 

Rheostat – A device to control light intensity. Refer to: Dimmer. 

Rigger – (1) A labourer responsible for machinery un-crating, un-skidding, positioning, leveling and re-skidding. (2) An individual that hangs overhead signs or exhibit material in some regions. 

Rigging – (1) The process of attaching the cable on a crane to a piece of machinery or equipment. (2) The process for hanging material or signs from the ceiling of a facility or by floor standing truss secured to the ceiling. 

Right-to-Work State – A state where no person can be denied the right to work because of membership or non-membership in a labor union. 

Riser – (1) A platform for people or product. (2) Shelf added to table or counter to form tiers. 

Rod – An adjustable pipe for hanging back wall and side rail drape. Also known as Telerod, Slider, Expander, Pipe or Telescopic Pipe. 

Rolling Stock – Vehicle – A vehicle that moves on wheels and usually has a container for transporting things or people. 

Router – A cutting tool for gouging, scooping and hollowing out.


Sandbags – Weights put around base to help anchor and hold materials. 

Sandwich Board – Two boards held together with hinges that form a tent-like structure for signs. Also known as Tent Boards. 

Schematic Model – A diagram in model form. 

Scissor lift – (Cherry picker, Man lift or Boom Lift) – A mechanical device that can be motorized or manually operated to lift a laborer above floor level. A type of motorized lift that raises a working platform straight up and down.  

Scrim – Theatrical term for fabric that is opaque when lighted from front and transparent when rear illuminated. 

Security – System used to keep exhibits safe, such as guards, closed circuit TV, etc. 

Security Cage – Metal cage to lock up exhibitor materials. 

Self-Contained Exhibit – A display that uses the shipping case as an integral part of the exhibit. 

Self-Contained Unit – Type of exhibit where crate is opened and becomes part of the exhibit. 

Self-Tapping Screw – A screw not needing a pilot hole (drywall screw.) 

Sentra – A plastic material used in GEM structures. 

Service Desk – On-Site location for ordering or reconfirming services provided by General Service Contractor and Specialty Contractors. 

Service Kit – Manual containing general show information, labor/service order forms, rules and regulations and other information pertinent to an exhibitor’s participation in an exposition. Also known as Exhibitor Services Manual or Exhibitor Kit. 

Set-Up – The function of assembling and installing displays. Also known as Installation. 

Set-Up Drawing – Drawings which give detailed instructions for the installation of an exhibit. 

Set-Up Personnel – A labor crew that installs a show or exhibit. 

Shackle – A horseshoe piece of metal used to fasten slings together temporarily. 

Shadow Box – Five-sided enclosure with face open for display of art or object; a niche. 

Shipment – Freight tendered to a carrier by one consignor at one place at one time for delivery to one consignee at one place on one bill of lading. 

Shipments Without Delivery Receipts – Typically includes shipments through carriers such as Federal Express and UPS.

Shipper – Person who arranges transportation of goods. 

Shipping – Transportation of goods. 

Shipping Case – A container for exhibit components, usually made of wood or fiberglass. 

Shipping Crate – Wooden containers for transporting exhibit materials, which may be designed for a single use or custom-built for extended reuse. 

Shirring the Drape – Gathering drape along the rods to even out the folds and give each panel of drape equal spacing. 

S-Hook – Type of hanging hardware in the form of metal “S” used as a hanger for I/D signs, etc. 

Shop – Service contractor’s main office and warehouse. 

Short-Term Booking (STB) – Shows sold for the upcoming, or current year, after the deadline. 

Show Break – Time specified for the close of the exhibition and beginning of dismantling. 

Show Card – A type of material used for booth identification signs. 

Show Close Date – Date that a show-ends. 

Show Decorator – Company or individual responsible for hall draping, furniture, aisle carpeting, signage, etc. for trade shows.

Show Management – People or company responsible for an exposition.

Show Office – Office maintained by show management. 

Show Photographer – Official photographer for exhibition, appointed by show management. 

Show Producer – An individual or company that manages trade shows, including leasing the exposition facility, hiring official contractors, and promoting the show. 

Show Rules – The general rules and regulations governing a specific trade show set by show management and/or facility. 

Show site – Onsite at a trade show or event. 

Showcase – General term for glazed or framed enclosure for display of objects. Also known as Display Case. 

Shrink Wrap – Process of wrapping loose items on pallet with transparent plastic wrapping. 

Side Chair – Chair having no arms. 

Side Door Loading /Unloading – Shipments tendered for delivery in such a manner as to prevent access from the rear of the trailer. 

Side Rail – A low drape divider used to separate one exhibit space from another. 

Sign Copy – Represents the wording, logo, etc. that will go on a sign. 

Sign Holder – A frame on a stand into which a sign can be inserted for display. 

Sign Service – Producing of signs for exhibitors and management. 

Sign Standard – A frame on a stand into which a sign can be inserted for display. Also known as a Sign Holder. 

Silk Screen – A printing stencil used for reproducing one or more times on a variety of materials. 

Skid – A wooden platform used to support machinery or a collection of objects for easier handling. In addition, wood blocks attached to crates that allow forklift access for easier handling. Also known as a Pallet. 

Skid Accessible Storage – A secured storage area available for an exhibitor’s materials that do not require refrigeration. 

Skirting or Skirts – A pre-pleated fabric made of polyester satin or taffeta, which is stapled to tables or counters. 

SL and C – Shippers Load and Count. 

Sling – (1) A pre-made length of cable used for hanging exhibit materials or signs. (2) A pre-made length of cable or a heavy-duty nylon strap used for rigging machinery to cranes or forklifts.

Small Package – Any cartons or envelopes with a maximum weight of 50 lbs. per shipment, per delivery that are received without documentation. 

Sound Mix – Procedure of combining independently recorded narration, music and/or sound effect to single master tape or file, while at the same time establishing tone, volume and balance between elements. 

Space – Exhibitor’s location in the hall. 

Space Assignment – Method of allocating space to exhibitors. 

Space Rate – The cost per square foot of exhibit area. 

Space Rent – Cost per square foot for exhibit space paid to Show Management by exhibitor. 

Special Freight Services – Applies to small passenger type vehicles being used for material shipments. Service includes 1 laborer with 1 pushcart in 1 trip. Designed for as many as eight (8) small hand carry type items weighing less than a total of 250 lbs and will all fit on a 3’ x 4’ pushcart for one (1) trip only. There is one cartload allowed per vehicle. 

Special Handling – Applies to display shipments requiring extra labor, equipment, or time in delivery to booth area. 

Special Handling Charges – Costs or charges associated with shipments requiring special handling. 

Splice – Twisting together of two or more electrical wires to provide continuous power. 

Spot Colors – Refers to a method of specifying and printing colors in which each color is printed with its own ink. In contrast, process color printing uses four inks (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) to produce all other colors. Pantone is the most commonly used spot color specification system. 

Spot Light – A lamp providing controlled circle of light. 

Spotting – Placement of equipment in exact location in booth by using a forklift. 

Spotting Fee – The charge to spot equipment. 

Spreader – A device used with crane for special lifting of equipment. 

Storage fee – A fee charged by the warehouse if goods for a show are stored between shows or arrive prior to the advanced warehouse arrival date set for the exhibitors show of attendance. 

ST Labor – Straight Time Labor – Work performed on straight time or at the regular hourly rate. 

ST/OT – ST/OT refers to the rate if machinery/material is handled on straight time into the show and overtime out of the show. Straight time is defined as Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Trucks signing in after 2:00 PM may be charged at the overtime rate. Overtime is defined as any time after 4:30 PM as well as Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays. 

ST – ST/ST refers to the rate if machinery/material is handled on straight time both into and out of the show. Straight time is defined as Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Trucks signing in after 2:00 PM may be charged at the overtime rate. Overtime is defined as any time after 4:30 PM as well as Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays. 

Stacked, Cubed Out or Loose Shipments – Shipments loaded in such a manner as to require items to be removed to ground level for delivery to booth. 

Stage – Elevated platform for entertainment, speakers, etc. 

Stagehands – Individuals that are responsible for the installations of theatrical and stage lighting systems, as well as high rigging on suspended truss systems depending on the work jurisdiction. 

Staging Area – (1) A location used for demonstrations. (2) Area set aside to get equipment ready to move on to show floor. (3) Area used to prepare trucks or privately-owned vehicles (POVs) for unloading or loading at dock. 

Stake-Bed Truck – A truck that has a flatbed body permanently attached to it that has slots for removable side gates. 

Stanchion – Upright post to support ropes for crowd control. 

Stand – European term for booth. 

Standard (Classic) Carpet – Standard grade of 16 oz. filament nylon carpeting available in pre-cut and custom sizes. Custom-cut carpeting includes 4 mil poly covering. Carpet packages include visqueen covering and padding. 

Standard Kit Rate also known as Regular pricing– The regular rate paid for ordered products and services after the discount rate expires. 

Stat – A direct reproduction of two-dimensional graphics without the use of photographic film. 

Standard Exhibit System – A basic model of exhibiting systems often provided by the general contractor or your local exhibit house.  

Standard U-Ground Cap – Has a parallel blade with a cord clamp and a rubber cap with a reinforced zinc-plated steel plate. The cord grip accepts all cords from 19/64” to 9/16” dia. Solid brass with #6-32 brass terminal screws backed out and staked and a grounding screw. Rated: 15amp 120 volt. 

Step Down Transformer – A device used in converting available power to meet machine power requirement. Step Up Transformer – Electrical transformer used to transform 208-volt power to 220-volts, or other voltage. 

Steward – An on-site union official elected by co-workers to oversee union’s work in the facility and resolve jurisdiction issues. Also known as a Union Steward. 

Stock Exhibit – A pre-designed display modified for a particular use by the exhibitor. 

Storage Area – Designated areas for storage of crates or materials. 

Straight Truck – A truck that has a van body permanently attached to it. Also known as Bobtail. 

Strike – 1. Dismantle Exhibits. 2. To remove all scenery and props from the stage. 

Structural Pick Points – Truss mounting points – more mounting points required to support more weight. 

Structure/Tent – An additional, or temporary exhibit/official/association space. 

Subcontract Labor – Labor hired to perform work that cannot be fulfilled by the union labor pool.  Ex: United Maintenance to clean carpet, Advance Warehouse Labor, Lease Drivers, etc. 

Subcontractor – Company retained by prime contractor to provide services. 

Supervised Labor – Union labor that is provided to a customer/exhibitor to install or dismantle a booth or exhibit space and is supervised and/or directed by GES. 

Supervision Minimum – Minimum amount charged for labor supervision fee. 

Surcharge – Additional charge to base rate such as a surcharge for receiving freight on overtime. 

Surge Protector – A surge protector is an appliance designed to protect electrical devices from power surges and voltage spikes. Surge protectors attempt to regulate the voltage supplied to an electric device by either blocking or shorting to ground voltage above a safe threshold. 


T and M – Time and Materials – A form of billing in which a consumer is charged for labor costs (time) and materials. 

T.L. – Truckload 

Table Top Display – Graphic designed for use on top of a table. 

Tack Board – A 4’ x 6’ or 4’ x 8’ board supported on legs that can be tacked to the board and used to display posters, graphics, signs or other material. 

Taffeta – Type of material used for skirting or special draping. 

Talent – An individual or company hired to work in an exhibit to greet visitors, demonstrate product, or stage a performance. 

Tare Weight – The weight of a container and/or packing materials without the weight of the goods it contains. Also known as the empty weigh, weigh empty. Refer to: Gross Weight. 

Tape – Double-faced tape is used to adhere carpet within the booth space. Duct tape is sometimes used on the carpet edges and to secure carpet pad to the floor and carpet and pad together. Plastic tape is used to close carton, hold pads on blanket wrapped exhibits and for basic packing. 

Target Date – A designated day and time for arrival of freight assigned to a particular exhibitor or exhibit area depending on their location within the facility. Helps to ensure a smooth move-in. 

Target Map – Color-coded floor plan indicating freight delivery for individual booths.

Tariff – Rules and rates of a specific carrier. 

Tax Exempt – Customer is exempt from paying taxes. 

Tax Exempt Certificate – Document needed from customer to verify tax exemption status in the state the show is held. 

Tear Down – Dismantle or disassembly of an exhibit. Also known as Dismantle. 

Telescopic Rod or Pipe – Horizontal drape support where one section slides inside another for use at various lengths. 

Temporary Imports – Temporary importation provisions are an important tool for companies who want to show their products in foreign markets or for professionals bringing tools of the trade into a foreign country for a limited period of time. 

Terminal – Freight handling or dock area of carrier. 

Tent Board – See: Sandwich Board. 

Thin Wall – Lightweight electrical conduit. 

Three Wire – Term describing electrical cable with one continuous ground wire. (ALL SUBS SETS)

Three Dimensional (3D) – A flat image having the effect of three dimensions. 

Through Bill of Lading – A single bill of lading covering both the domestic and international carriage of an export shipment. An “air waybill” for instance, is essentially a “through bill of lading” used for air shipments. Ocean shipments, on the other hand, usually require two separate documents; an “inland bill of lading” for domestic carriage and an “ocean bill of lading” for international carriage. “Through bills of lading” cannot be used. Refer to: Air Waybill, Inland Bill of Lading, Ocean Bill of Lading. 

Tie-Off – 1. A method of securing shipment by use of nylon belts and block latches. 2. Securing a hanging sign once it has been leveled. 

Toggle Switch – A lever moved back and forth to open or close an electric circuit. 

Toolkit – A box which every exhibitor should carry containing tools and supplies to repair an exhibit or product in case of an issue. 

Total Weight – The weight of the actual shipment after the “heavy” weight and the “light” weight of the shipping vehicle has been taken. 

Touch Up – Paint and the act of painting nicks and scratches on an exhibit. 

Tow Motor – See Forklift. 

Track Light – A 4’ to 8’ track bar that holds light fixtures. 

Tractor-Trailer – Tractor is the driving unit of a large truck; trailer is the container unit. 

Trade Fair – Broadly, international term for an exposition. 

Trade Show – An exposition held for members of a common or related industry. Typically not open to the general public. 

Traffic Flow – The movement of attendees through an exhibition, exhibit, or event. 

Trailer Accessible Storage – Available as locked access trailer storage for materials not requiring refrigeration. Space is available as 1/4 trailer, 1/2 trailer, 3/4 trailer or full trailer. 

Transient Space – Short-term rental space. 

Transparency – A black and white or colour translucent photograph or artwork. 

Traveler – A heavy-duty traverse rod for drapery. 

Truss – A triangular beam structure utilized in overhead rigging. 

Turnbuckle – A metal device that pulls the tension and allows cable to be tightened. 

Turnkey Exhibit – A phrase used to describe an exhibit where the exhibitor simply “turns the key” upon arrival at the show and opens the booth. Everything else is handled by their exhibit provider. 

Turntable – Electrically or manual rotating platform. 

TV Monitor – A type of screen used to show a video image. 

Twinkle Lights – Flickering or intermittent lights. 

Twist Lock – Type of electrical plugs which are connected by twisting together as opposed to standard male and female plugs. 

Twisted-Pair Cable – A type of cable that consists of two independently insulated wires twisted around one another. The use of two wires twisted together helps to reduce crosstalk and electromagnetic induction.


U.L. – Underwriters Laboratory – Underwriters Laboratory. An organization that grants electrical ratings. 

U/W – Underwriter. 

Ultra Plush Carpet – Highest grade of 50 oz. filament nylon premium carpeting with 4 mil poly covering (visqueen), anti-static treatment and 3M Scotchgard™ protection available in custom sizes. 

Uncrated Materials/Shipments – Material that is shipped loose or pad-wrapped and/or un-skidded machinery without proper lifting bars or hooks. 

Under-Carpet Distribution – Refers to the distribution of electrical wiring beneath booth carpeting as required. 

Union – An organization of workers formed for the purpose of dealing collectively with their employer in wages, hours, working conditions and other matters pertaining to their employment. 

Union Jurisdiction – (1) Jobs that the union has negotiated to be filled by its members. (2) Crafts covered by specified national or international unions. 

Union Steward – An on-site union official elected by co-workers to oversee union’s work in the facility and resolve jurisdiction issues. Also known as Shop Steward when in a warehouse. 

Unsupervised Labor – Union labor that is provided to a Customer/Exhibitor to install or dismantle a booth or exhibit space and, per customer’s election, is not supervised. Customer/Exhibitor assumes the responsibility for the work of union labor when Customer/Exhibitor elects to use unsupervised labor. 

Upright – The vertical post that supports back wall and side rail drape. Also known as Post, Stanchion, Tube, Pipe, Steel or Pilaster. 

Upson Board – Material used primarily for Tack Boards.


V.A.T. – Value Added Tax – A tax that has been added to the overall price of a product reflecting the value added to the product by processing. 

Valance – An overhead, decorative border normally used as a light baffle. 

Van Line – Crated – Freight which is enclosed in some container (e.g. a cardboard box or fiber case). 

Van Line – Full Pad – A shipment that is fully padded. All pieces in the shipment are wrapped. 

Van Line – Partial Pad – A shipment that is only partially padded. 

Van Shipment – Shipment of exhibit properties via van lines, often consisting of large pieces, crated or uncrated, such as furniture and exhibit materials. 

Vehicle – Applies to any rolling stock, self-propelled, towed and/or pushed vehicles or machinery. IMPORTANT: The City Fire Marshal requires disconnecting the battery, taping the gas tank and placing a protective covering under the vehicle. Check local Fire Marshal rules and regulations for additional requirements. 

Velcro – Brand name for a fabric closure with two components: hooks and loops. The two components adhere when pressed together and separate when pulled apart, allowing repeated use. 

Velour – A plush fabric like velvet, used for draperies. 

Vinyl – Plastic material used for drape or table tops. 

Vinyl Tops – Plastic tabletop coverings. 

Visqueen – Plastic covering over carpet for protection.


W/B – Waybill. 

Wallboard – Sometimes used as substitute for Tack Board. 

Wall-to-Wall – Carpeting an entire area. 

Warehouse – Building where goods are stored. 

Warehouse Handling In – Any materials shipped back to warehouse from exhibit site. 

Warehouse Handling Out – Any materials shipped to exhibit site from warehouse after the deadline to receive advance shipments. 

Warehouse Receipt – A receipt issued by a warehouse listing goods received for storage. 

Warehouse Storage – Location where advance crated freight shipments can be stored. 

Waste Removal – Removal of trash from an area or building. 

Wastewater Drain – A temporary drain line usually leading into sewer system. 

Watermark – An impression incorporated in the paper making process showing the name of the paper and/or the company logo. 

Watt – Unit of electrical power, equivalent to one joule per second. 

Wharfage – A charge assessed for handling cargo at a pier. 

Wingnut – Commonly used threaded nut with flanges for easy adjustment by hand, also called Butterfly Nut. 

Wire Nut – Plastic thimble with recessed spring, which closes spliced wires so that electrical contact is maintained. 

Wishbone Leg – A type of leg found on 30” wide wood display tables. 

Work Order – A document prepared to authorise and detail a request for service. 

Work Rules – Regulations which govern union working conditions such as when overtime begins, etc. 

Work Time – Paid time that begins as soon as the workers are turned over to the exhibitor and stops when the exhibitor releases them. 

Working Drawing – The detail plans from which an exhibit is constructed.

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24 Hour Power/Service – When power must be left on in a booth for 24 hours during the run of the show. Often required when there are refrigerators, fish tanks, computers, etc. in the booth. 

3rd Party Billing – A contractual agreement between a party other than the exhibiting firm and GES in which the third party is invoiced for all or part of the products and services purchased by the exhibiting firm. If the third party has not paid the invoice by the last day of the show, responsibility for the charges is reverted to the exhibiting firm for payment. 

4th Side Counter Skirt – A standard counter skirt is 3-sided with one side open. A 4th side counter skirt encompasses all four sides of the counter. 

4th Side Table Skirt – A standard table skirt is 3-sided with one side open. A 4th side table skirt encompasses all four sides of the table.


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