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Digital Discovery: ISA Expo 2013

Nine highlights to prepare you for the upcoming show in Vegas.




“Man, I really like Vegas,” said Elvis, and the International Sign Association (ISA) apparently agrees with that sentiment. For the 16th time, it’s back to Sin City for the International Sign Expo – held April 3-6 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas – where members of the sign industry will come together to network, create new business opps, and check out the latest technology.

With an estimated 19,000 attendees, more than 500 exhibitors, and more than 300 product categories, the International Sign Expo continues to be the largest show in the world serving the on-premise sign industry, the organization reports.

“The show is near a total sell out for exhibit space,” says Brandon Hensley, vice president of ISA’s tradeshow and marketing departments. “We currently have 194,000 net square feet of sold space to 531 companies. This places us up 6 percent in exhibit space over last year at this time and up over 9 percent in the number of participating suppliers and distributors.”

Networking, education, and the newest products will flourish on the exhibit hall floor as they do each year. In addition to the expo itself, there’s Dynamic Digital Signage Day, a whole new floor design, and 20 added learning opportunities.

With the International Sign Expo 2013 just around the bend, we have provided nine highlights to look forward to now and discover soon.



Show dates:
Education and networking: April 3-6
Trade show: April 4-6

Expo show hours:
Thursday, April 4: 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Friday, April 5: 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday, April 6: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

“Registration is up and running and we are trending 6 percent to 14 percent ahead in registrations week over week,” says Hensley.

Early Bird registration must have been completed by February 20, 2013, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late! Register for one of the eight education packages available (prices vary) that best suits your business needs, or choose the a la carte option and pick individual education sessions. Entrance to the trade show is $40 ($25 for ISA members).

For flight, car, and hotel information, the official International Sign Expo Hotel Program offers discounted rates, no booking or service fees, and protection from scammers through Travel Planners at



With more than 500 exhibiting companies showcasing their wares, it’s a good idea to have a game plan going in. The ISA has set up various tools on to help you do just that, including:
• The complete 2013 exhibitor list;
• An interactive floor plan; and
• MyExpoPlan, which allows you to create a list of exhibitors and booths you want to visit while at the show.

It will be easy to get your education fix at this year’s expo. “We are offering more than 40 education opportunities during the show with almost 20 of these offerings being new,” says Hensley. “We are offering for the first time six AIA (AIA Continuing Education) approved sessions in an effort to bridge the gap between design and installers,” says Hensley.

The six AIA approved sessions are: Architectural Design, Dynamic Digital Signage, Management, Peer Networking, Sales and Marketing, and Technical/Product.

“If you’re interested in learning more about digital signage, check out a Dynamic Digital Signage session. You can find out how the new technology is revolutionizing the signage marketplace and how you can add value to your sign shop with new product offerings and new business partners, the organization reports.”


The Expo may look a little different in 2013, particularly to show veterans. “ISA switched show decorators after 25 years in an effort to continue on the path of innovation, customer service, and design,” says Hensley. “We are building a lounge right on the show floor where attendees can mingle and network.”



“Dynamic Digital Signage (DDS) is becoming part of the traditional signage industry, and this segment is positioned to grow 15 to 30 percent and perhaps more in some cases. I truly believe the growth in this segment will come from the industry organization, ISA,” says Alan Brawn, chairman of the Digital Signage Federation.

So along with the Digital Dynamic Signage educational opportunities available through AIA Continuing Education, you can spend an entire day in the digital world during Dynamic Digital Signage Day on Wednesday, April 3. “The day will be dedicated to demystifying digital signage and how to incorporate this product with the rest of your business,” says Hensley.

Other ways to indulge in Dynamic Digital:
• Dynamic Digital Park on the show floor: The Park provides an interactive opportunity to look at what is happening in the digital signage world.
• Dynamic Digital Reception on Thursday, April 4 from 4-5 p.m.: This invitation-only event hosts integrators, end-users, suppliers, and distributors of interactive dynamic displays on the show floor in the Park.
Note: Separate registration is required to attend Dynamic Digital Signage Day.


Get your name out there and meet with others from your industry during the many networking opportunities on the show floor – it’s what you asked for.

“Our attendees asked for more peer-to-peer networking so we are offering four roundtable discussions: Shop Operations, Project Management, Generational Issues, and CEO Roundtable,” says Hensley. The Peer Networking Roundtables will be held Saturday, April 6 at 10 a.m., and is a time to meet with industry leaders and colleagues with similar challenges.

Other networking events during the week include:

• Integrated Design Networking Reception: Friday, April 5, 4-5:30 p.m. This invitation-only cocktail reception hosted by Nova Polymers is for designers, fabricators, and material suppliers.
• ISA Custom & National Sign Company Meeting & Networking Event (Friday, April 5, 4:30-6 p.m.): Representatives from major US national sign companies can meet with custom sign company executives to discuss specific installation needs.


Have some fun and break away for a bit with the extra activities provided by ISA, including:
• A Happy Hour with free draft beer will be provided during the last hour of each day.
• Head to the Kaleidoscope Lounge to escape, relax, and even enjoy a cool beverage at the cash bar during the tradeshow.
• Win some extra money during Dash for Cash. Names will be called six times during the show, and whoever is the first to reach The Hub (ISA’s membership booth: #4521) wins a cash prize. “Last year we gave away $4000 to four lucky attendees,” says Hensley.
• ISA/Western States Sign Council Golf Tournament will be held Wednesday, April 3, with a 1 p.m. start time; 144 player spots are available with the new tournament format.

If you’re really looking for some time away from the show floor and “the Strip,”, and you’re interested in the dining experience as well as great grub, check out Craig Miller’s column (pg xx) for his take on the top seven Vegas eateries to indulge in during your time at ISA. From Indian to Japanese to French cuisine, there’s sure to be a restaurant right up your alley – and all are less than 20 minutes from the Mandalay.


The following social-media sites will not only get you hyped for the upcoming event, but also keep you informed and involved throughout the show:
Twitter: @isasignexpo and #2013SignExpo
Facebook: ISA International Sign Expo
LinkedIn: International Sign Association (ISA)



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