Glossary & Terms – Exhibition

Trade Show and Convention – Glossary & Terms


Audio/visual support such as television monitors, VCRs, or taped music.

A/V Contractor
A supplier of audio/visual equipment and services.

Advance Order
An order for services sent to the service contractor prior to the installation date. Compare with Floor Order.

Advance Rates
Fees associated with advance orders, which typically include discounts when paid in advance.

Advance Receiving
Location set by show management to receive freight before the start of show. Freight is stored at this location and then shipped to the show at the appropriate time.

A bona fide representative with proper credentials from the party represented.

Air Freight
Goods shipped via airplane.

A walkway intended for audience movement through an exposition or exhibit.

Aisle Carpet
Carpeting installed in trade show aisles.

Aisle Signs
Signs, usually suspended, identifying exposition aisles by number or letter.

The process of erecting an exhibit from its components. Also called Installation, Set Up.

See On-site.

Those persons who visit an event that are not exhibiting or connected with the event itself.



A light source that illuminates translucent material from behind.

The panels at the rear of an exhibit.

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

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

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

Bill of Lading (B/L)
A document that establishes the terms between a shipper and a transportation company for the transport of goods between specified points for a specified charge. 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.

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

A storage area for empty crates and contractor materials.

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

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

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

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

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

The level at which a discount is given for a volume order.

Build and Burn
Booth designed and built for one-time use.



C.I.F. (Cost, Insurance, Freight)
A pricing term indicating that these charges are included in the stated price.

Certified Trade Show Marketer! See

Computer-Aided Design/Computer-Aided Manufacturing.

A skilled worker used to uncrate, install, dismantle, and recrate exhibit properties.

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

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

(1) The fee charged for transporting freight. (2) The moving of exhibit properties over a short distance.

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

Cherry Picker
Equipment used to lift people to a given height.

Clean Bill of Lading
A carrier-issued receipt indicating that transported merchandise was received in apparent good condition. Compare with Foul Bill of Lading.

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.

A pillar in an exposition facility which supports the roof or other overhead structures. Usually shown 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.

A person to whom goods are shipped.

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.

A person who sends freight.

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

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

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

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

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

Crating List
An itemized list of the contents of a crate.

An aisle at a right angle to a main aisle.

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

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

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

Hundred weight. A measurement used for shipping exhibit properties. Usually 100 pounds.



Department of Transportation.

D.T. Labor
Double Time Labor. Work performed on overtime and charged at twice the published rate.

Doing Business As.

Damage Report
A report submitted by an exhibitor to a freight company or drayage contractor itemizing damage to shipped goods.

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

Dead Time
Time when a worker is unable to perform duties due to factors beyond his or her control.

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

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

DIM Weight
Length x width x height divided by 194 for domestic shipments, or divided by 166 for international shipments.

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

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

Display Builder
A company which fabricates exhibits.

Display Rules & Regulations
Exhibit construction specifications endorsed by major exhibit industry associations. Also the specific set of rules that apply to an exposition.

A platform where freight is loaded onto and removed from vehicles or vessels.

A low, wheeled frame with a platform used for carrying heavy or cumbersome objects.

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

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

The movement of show materials from shipping dock to booth for show set up and back to dock for return shipment at end of show.

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.

Deadweight (tons of 2240 lbs.)



A stand for displaying objects.

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

Scaled drawings depicting front and side views of an exhibit.

End Cap
An exhibit space with aisles on three sides.

Est. Wt.
Estimated Weight.

Event Marketing
Face-to-face promotional experiences between customers and companies.

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 Designer/Producer
Company responsible for designing and constructing exhibit booths.

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

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

Exhibit Manager
Person in charge of a company’s exhibit program.

Exhibitor Appointed Contractor
A contractor hired by an exhibitor to perform trade show services independently of show management appointed contractors. Also called Independent Contractor, 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.

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 Manager
See Show Manager.

Exposition Rules
The set of regulations which govern a given trade show.



The construction of an exhibit.

A notation on floor plans indicating the locations of fire hose cabinets.

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

No unpainted or raw surfaces or edges on a delivered exhibit.

Fire Exit
A door designated for emergency egress, which must be kept clear of obstructions.

Fire Lane
An aisle that must be kept clear of obstructions to allow emergency egress.

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

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

Floor Marking
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.

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

Forklift, Forktruck
Motorized vehicle used to load, unload, and transport heavy items.

Foul Bill of Lading
A carrier-issued receipt indicating that transported merchandise was damaged when received. Compare with Clean Bill of Lading.

Four Hour Call
Minimum work period for which union labor must be paid.

Free Trade Zone
A port designated by the government of a country for duty-free entry of any non-prohibited goods.

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 Forwarder
A shipping company which handles export shipments for a fee



International term referring to the “aisle”.

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. A multilateral treaty intended to reduce trade barriers between the signatory countries and to promote trade through tariff concessions.

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.

A photo, copy panel, or artwork applied to an exhibit.

Grid System
A network of structural members, electrical conduits, and other support systems on a pattern of centers.



General term used for an exposition facility or the exhibit area within a facility.

Hand Truck
Small hand-propelled vehicle used for transporting small loads.

Hard Card
(1) Work order for labor or services. (2) Drayage contractor’s record of materials received or shipped.

Hard Wire
Any electrical connection other than receptacle to receptacle.

A type of exhibit construction in which walls are made of a solid material, rather than fabric.

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

High Jacker
Equipment used to lift people to a given height.

International term referring to “rent” a service or product.

Hold Harmless Clause
A contract clause that relieves one party of responsibility in the event of a legal claim.



Installation & Dismantle (of an exhibit). Also known as Set Up and Take-down.

Interstate Commerce Commission.

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

An exhibitor’s unauthorized use of floor space outside the leased booth area.

Inland Bill of Lading
A contract between a shipper and transportation company used when transporting goods overland to an exporter’s international carrier. Compare Ocean Bill of Lading, Through Bill of Lading.

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

The process of setting up exhibit properties according to specifications. Also called Assembly, Set Up.

Installation & Dismantle
The set up and take-down of exhibits. Also called I & D.

Installation Contractor
A company responsible for supervising and coordinating workers who install and dismantle exhibits.

Total amount of equipment available for a show.

Island Exhibit
A display with aisles on four sides.



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

Job Foreman
A person in charge of supervising and coordinating workers.

Junction Box
A distribution point for electrical power.



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

See Service Kit.



Contracted workers who perform services. Also called Craftspersons.

Labor Call
(1) Method of securing union employees. (2) Time specified for labor to report (as in a 7 A.M. call). (3) Minimum amount for which labor must be paid.

Labor Desk
Exhibit hall location where exhibitors may place orders for labor.

Labor Form
The form used by exhibitors to order labor.

See Craftsperson.

The process of bonding two or more substances together.

Lead Tracking
A manual or automated system used to conduct follow-up activities for sales prospects resulting from a trade show.

Less Than Truckload (LTL)
The rate charged for freight weighing less than the minimum weight for a truckload.

Letter of Credit (L/C)
A document issued by a bank at the request of a buyer of goods which authorizes the payment of a specified amount of money to the seller when certain terms are met.

A legal term referring to responsibility for damages or injuries.

Light Box
An enclosure which contains lighting underneath a translucent facing material. Used to back-light signs or graphics applied to the face.

The amount or type of illumination in an exhibit or exhibition hall.

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

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

A secure storage area within an exposition facility.

A specific symbol chosen to represent a company. Usually comprised of stylized type alone or in conjunction with graphic art.

Low Voltage
A term applied to electrical currents of 24 volts or less. Usually used in animation and specialty lighting.



See Service Kit.

Marshaling Yard
A lot where trucks gather for orderly dispatch to show site.

To cover for painting or protection.

Masking Drape
A cloth used to cover storage or other unsightly areas.

The most common width for a backwall panel. (1 Meter = 39.37 inches)

Modular Exhibit
An exhibit constructed with interchangeable components designed to be set up in various arrangements and sizes.

The date specified by show management for beginning exhibit installation.

The date specified by show management for dismantling exhibits.

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


DAT – 1. Dangerous Articles Tariff. 2. Digital Audio Tape.

D/B/A – Doing Business As.

DOT – Department of Transportation.

DVD (Digital Video Disc) – A CD-size storage device with two layers of data used to store video, images, sound, and presentation software.

Dado – Term in carpentry referring to incised recess in face of lumber.

Dais – A raised platform on which the head table is placed (pronounced “day-iss”).

Damage Report – A report submitted by an exhibitor to a freight company or drayage contractor itemizing damage to shipped goods.

Dangerous Goods – Articles or substances capable of posing a significant risk to health, safety or property when transported and which are classified according to the most current editions of ICAO Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods and IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations.

Dark Day – A day on which a facility or hall has no events booked.

Date Protection – A guarantee that the dates a show organizer has selected for an event in a specific facility are reserved for that organizer.

Day Glo™ – Trademarked name for iridescent paints or inks that glow.

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

Dead Time – Time when a worker is unable to work because of factors beyond his or her control and during which he or she is paid. Also called ALLOWED TIME, DOWN TIME, IDLE TIME, or WAITING TIME.

Declared Value – Shipper’s stated value of entire shipment in terms of dollars, or the purpose of determining charges or establishing the limit of carrier¹s liability for loss, damage or delay.

Decorating – Dressing up a facility or exhibit with carpet, draping, plants, etc.

Decorator – 1. The skilled craftsperson that provides installation and dismantle and booth and hall dressing services for a trade show and/or its exhibitors. SEE INSTALLER. 2. The union that represents decorators, ALSO KNOWN AS INTERNATIONAL UNION OF PAINTERS AND ALLIED TRADES (IUPAT). 3. The official service contractor for an exhibition. ALSO KNOWN AS GENERAL SERVICE CONTRACTOR.

Deferred Air Freight – Long haul air freight that waits for available cargo space, usually one to two days, at a reduced rate.

Deferred Rebate – A deferred rebate is the return of a portion of the freight charges by a carrier or a conference to a shipper, in exchange for the shipper giving all or most of his shipment to the carrier or conference over a specified period of time (usually 6 months). Payment of the rebate is deferred for a further similar period, during which the shipper must continue to give all or most of his shipments to the rebating carrier or conference. The shipper thus earns a further rebate that will not, however, be paid without an additional period of exclusive or almost exclusive patronage with the carrier or conference. In this way, the shipper becomes tied to the rebating carrier or conference.

Demographics – Characteristics that help create a profile of exhibitors and attendees. May include company location, job function, purchase budget, or purchase intentions.

Demonstrators – Persons hired to illustrate, demonstrate, or explain products.

Demurrage – Excess time taken for loading or unloading a vessel. Demurrage refers only to situations in which the charterer or shipper, rather than the vessel’s operator, is at fault.

Density – Pounds per cubic foot. The cubic footage of loose articles or pieces, or packaged articles of a rectangular, elliptical or square shape on one plane shall be determined by multiplying the greatest straight line dimensions of length, width and depth in inches, including all projections, and dividing the total by 1728 (to obtain cubic feet). The density is the weight of the article divided by the cubic feet thus obtained.
Deposit – Money required in advance of the use of space or prior to provision of services.

Design – Graphic and pictorial representation of an idea.

Destination Control Statement – Any of various statements that the U.S. Government requires to be displayed on export shipments and that specify the destinations for which export of the shipment has been authorized.

Detail – Construction drawing for fabrication (or specific construction feature).

Devaluation – The official lowering of the value of one country’s currency in terms of one or more foreign currencies. Thus, if the US dollar is devalued in relation to the French franc, one dollar will “buy” fewer francs than before devaluation.

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 Weight – Length x width x height divided by 194 for domestic shipment, or divided by 166 for international shipments.

Dimmer – A device to control light intensity. A RHEOSTAT.

Diorama – Dimensional representation in forced perspective.

Directory – A catalog of basic information about the show, including exhibitors, floor plan, and schedule of events. Also called program.

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

Dismantle – 1. To take to pieces or apart. 2. Teardown of exhibit.

Dispatcher – Person responsible for scheduling and routing freight, labor, etc.

Display Builder – 1. Company that fabricates displays. SEE EXHIBIT HOUSE 2. Craftsperson that builds displays.

Display Case – Showcase for displaying products.

Display Rules and Regulations – A set of specifications for exhibit construction endorsed by major exhibit industry associations. Also the set of rules for an exposition that are used by management.

Dispute – A conflict or difference of opinion between an employer and a union or between an employer and employees over some phase of their relationship. Usually refers to a serious controversy that threatens or causes a work stoppage or that is submitted to an arbitrator or government agency for settlement.

Dissolve – See FADE.

Distributor Show – A show produced by a distributor at which exhibitors are the manufacturers of products sold by the distributor and attendees are the distributor¹s customers.

Dock – A place where freight is loaded onto and taken from vessels or vehicles.

Dock Receipt – A receipt issued by an ocean carrier to acknowledge receipt of a shipment at the carrier’s dock or warehouse facilities. When delivery of a foreign shipment is completed, the dock receipt is surrendered to the vessel operator or his agent and serves as the basis for the preparation of the Ocean Bill of Lading. Also see WAREHOUSE RECEIPT.

Dolly – Any of several kinds of low, flat, wheeled frames for transporting heavy objects.

Donkey Dick ­ A metal pole placed on the front of a fork lift for carrying rolls of carpet.

Double-Decker – A two-storied exhibit. Also called MULTIPLE STORY EXHIBIT.

Double-Faced Panel – Finished on both sides.

Double-faced Tape – Tape used to adhere carpet to floor, signs, or panels.

Doubletime – Premium pay, which is double the base rate of hourly wage.

Draper – Person who installs drapes, pleats, and special decor.

Draping – Decorating with drapes.

Drawback – A refund of duties paid on imported goods that is provided at the time of their re-exportation. Drayage Delivery of exhibit materials from the dock to assigned space, removing empty crates, returning crates at end of show for re-crating, and delivering materials back to dock for carrier loading. NOW KNOWN AS MATERIAL HANDLING.


Dressed Lumber – Term referring to lumber that has been sanded or smoothed down to less than its rough dimensions.

Dressing the Exhibits – Placing graphics, plants, literature, and applying any finishing touches to the display.

Drop Slot – Opening in countertop to receive cards.

DT Labor – Work performed on overtime and charged at twice the published rate.

Duct Tape – Fabric tape that comes in various colors to match carpet and drape.

Dummy – Mock-up, non-operative.

Dump – See BONEYARD.

Duplex Outlet – Double electrical outlet.

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

Duventyne – An inexpensive felt-like fabric commonly used for one-time decorative applications.

Dye Transfer – Technique of producing full color, accurate color prints.

E&OK – Errors and Omissions Excepted.

EAC – 1. Exhibitor Appointed Contractor. 2. Exhibit Advisory Committee.

EACA – Exhibitor Appointed Contractor Association.

EAON – Except As Otherwise Noted.

EC – European Community.

EDAC – Exhibit & Display Association of Canada.

EDC – Exhibitor Designated Contractor. MORE COMMONLY KNOWN AS EAC.

EDPA (Exhibit Designers & Producers Association) – Trade association for exhibit designers and builders.

EE – Errors Excepted.

ESCA (Exposition Service Contractors Association) – Trade association for trade show contractors; usually exposition manager-appointed contractors.

EVC (Exposition Validation Council) – A subsidiary of the Center for Exhibition Industry Research that validates audited attendance statistics submitted by exposition managers.

Easel – A stand or frame for displaying objects.

Economic Strike – A strike to compel changes in wages, hours, or working conditions, as distinguished from strike to protest unfair labor practice.

Edge Light – Technique of illuminating engraved lines in glass or plastic by transmitting light through edge of material.

Educational Sessions – Time periods during which information or instruction is presented.

Effects Projector – Device combining theatrical projector with variable throw, and rotating decorated lens; used to project ripples, waves, clouds, etc.

Eggcrate – Construction technique of joining two materials by notching both and inserting slots into each other. Also refers to GRIDDED DIFFUSER PANELS.

Electric Eye – A device that creates a light beam, the interruption of which will activate a relay switch for control of a desired animation.

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

Electricians – Trades person who handles installation of all electrical equipment, which may include headers, and signs, depending on the jurisdiction.

Elevated Table – Table raised to counter height. Elevations – Front and side views of scaled drawing.

Embedding – Technique of capturing object in Lucite or other materials.

Embedment – Casting in plastic. Can be done with photos and translites, or transparencies.

Emergency Exit – Door designed for emergency egress, which must be kept clear of obstructions.

Employers¹ Association – Organization of employers who band together mainly to deal with labor unions as a unified group.

Empty Sticker – The tag indicating a crate may be moved into storage. The sticker identifies the exhibitor and the return location for the crate.

End Cap – An exhibit space with aisles on three sides. Also called a peninsula.

Erection – Assembling of exhibit properties. SEE I&D.

Est. Wt. – Estimated Weight.

Estimate – Approximate calculation of exhibit costs.

Etching – Inscribing lines of textures on the surface of rigid materials using acids or tools.

Ex “FROM.” – When used in pricing terms such as “Ex Factory” or “Ex Dock,” it signifies that the price quoted applies only at the point of origin (in the two examples, at the sellers factory or a dock at the import point). In practice, this kind of quotation indicates that the seller agrees to place the goods at the disposal of the buyer at the specified place within a fixed period of time.

Exchange Rate – The price of one currency in terms of another, i.e., the number of units of one currency that may be exchanged for one unit of another currency. ALSO KNOWN AS SPOT EXCHANGE.

Exclusive – Any agreement that limits the provision of services to a single vendor in an exposition or in a facility.

Exclusive Contractor – Contractor appointed by show or building management as the sole agent to provide services for an agreed compensation.

Exclusive Use – Rental of entire truck or van by one shipper.

Exhibit – A display used to convey a message. A specific tool of the communications medium of exhibiting. Also EXHIBIT BOOTH.

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

Exhibit Directory – A program book for attendees listing exhibitors and exhibit booth locations.

Exhibit Hall – The area within an exposition center where exhibits are located.

Exhibit House – Company that fabricates displays. SEE SHOP, DISPLAY BUILDER.

Exhibit Manager – Person in charge of a company’s exhibit program or an individual exhibit (as opposed to the show manager) who is in charge of the entire exposition. Exhibit Prospectus – Promotional materials for prospective exhibitors to encourage participation.

Exhibition – Preferred term which refers to an event at which products and services are displayed. ALSO KNOWN AS EXPOSITION, TRADE SHOW.

Exhibition Manager – Preferred term for a person responsible or all aspects of planning, promoting, and producing an exposition. Also known as show manager and show organizer. ALSO KNOWN AS EXPOSITION MANAGER, SHOW MANAGER

Exhibitor – One who displays in an exposition.

Exhibitor Advisory Committee (EAC) – Representatives of a show¹s exhibiting companies who act as advisers to show management on rules and procedures, and also update show management on industry trends and issues.

Exhibitor-Appointed Contractors (EAC) – Service organizations appointed by the exhibitor, i.e., any company other than the designated “official” contractor providing a service to an exhibitor can refer to an I&D house, transportation company, AV company, furniture company, photographer, florist, or any other type of contractor. Also called INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR.

Exhibitor Lounge – An area either on or adjacent to the exhibit floor where exhibitors may relax or meet with customers. Show management sometimes provides special services in this area, such as translators for a show that has international attendees.


Exhibit Newsletter – A newsletter sent by show management to exhibitors prior to a show. It includes updates on deadlines, show rules and regulations, events, and marketing opportunities offered by show management plus educational articles to improve exhibitors¹ effectiveness.

Exhibitor Prospectus – Direct mail piece sent to current and prospective exhibitors that promotes benefits of exhibiting in a specific show. Compare ATTENDEE BROCHURE.

Exhibitor Retention – Persuading current exhibitors to participate in subsequent events. Exhibitor retention rate is the percentage of exhibitors that renew.

Exhibits Manager – See FLOOR MANAGER.

Expanded Metal – Sheets of metal cut and expanded to form an open mesh, usually used as decorative grill.

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

Exploded View – Component parts of the whole in separate relation to each other.

Export – To send or transport goods out of one country for sale in another country. In international sales, the exporter is usually the seller or the seller’s agent. Compare IMPORT.

Export Broker – An individual or firm that brings together buyers and sellers for a fee but does not take part in actual sales transactions.

Export License – A government document that permits the “Licensee” to engage in the export of designated goods to certain destinations. Lists of such goods are found in the comprehensive Export Schedules issued by the Bureau of Foreign Commerce.

Export Management Company – A private firm that serves as the export department for several manufacturers, soliciting and transacting export business on behalf of its clients in return for a commission, salary, or retainer plus commission.

Exposition – Alternate term for an event at which products or services are exhibited. SEE EXHIBITION.

Exposition Manager – Alternate term for a person responsible or all aspects of planning, promoting, and producing an exposition. ALSO KNOWN AS SHOW MANAGER, OR SHOW ORGANIZER.

Exposition Rules – The regulations prepared by exposition management for a given event.

Extruded – To form metal or plastic, push out.

Extruded Aluminum – Any of a variety of extruded metal “system” displays whose manufacturers include, but are not limited to, Octanorm, GEM, and MIS among others.

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

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

FHC – Notation on floor plans indicating the location of fire hose cabinets.

Fabrication – The building or construction of an exhibit display.


Facility Manager – The manager of a convention center or hall.

Facing – Decorative trim, painted or applied.

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

Fascia – Panel at top of an exhibit, usually bearing company name.

Fastening Tool – These are sometimes called nail guns and are powered by compressed air (pneumatic).

Featherrock – Material cut from volcanic lava in rough and varying sizes, looks exactly like heavy rock but is about one-fifth the weight; useful for decorative stone, veneers and dioramas.

Feedback – Term used to describe condition caused by return flow of electrical energy or sound.

Fiber Optics – 1. In displays, the use of cut glass fibers to display colored light. 2. In telephony, material used for carrying voice and data signals.

Fiberglass – A material fabricated from plastic resins and glass fiber. Available in rigid forms, translucent and opaque. Can also be custom fabricated in intricate shapes.

Field Services – Handling installation and dismantling, including freight, drayage, carpentry, electrical, plumbing, iron workers, riggers, and maintenance.

Filler – Material used to fill pores of broad grained woods, as part of finishing process, particularly natural finish. Finger Pull – Hinged finger grip usually mounted in recess on hinged doors.

Finished – Wooden articles that have passed the state of manufacture “in the white.” See IN THE WHITE (refers to wood that has been primed).

Fire Aisle – Interior aisle in an exhibition floor plan used for emergency egress that must be kept clear of obstructions.


Fire Extinguisher – Any agent used to extinguish fires such as water, sand, CO2, Halon, etc.

Fire Lane – An external vehicle lane that must be kept clear of obstruction to allow emergency egress.

Fire Retardant – Term used to describe a finish (usually liquid) that coats materials with a fire resistant cover. This does not render the material fireproof.

Fixed Jig – Permanent felt support mounted within shipping container.

Flame Proofed – Term used to describe material that is, or had been treated with a fire retardant.

Flange – That part of an extruded, formed or fabricated component that protrudes from the basic shape. Often used as mounting plate.

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

Flasher Button, Thermal – Flasher that is reacting to heat of electrical flow, built up heat, causing flasher to break current until cooled. These types cannot be programmed.

Flasher, Random – Several flashers acting in non-programmed fashion. Use may be restricted in show rules.

Flat Framed – 1′ x 2′, 1′ x 3′ or 1′ x 4′ mounted on flat surface, usually associated with banners or signs.

Float – A large 4 wheel dolly with upright handle, can be manual or motorized.

Floater – Worker used by foreman to help assigned labor for short periods.

Flocking – An electrostatic spraying process producing a velvety finish on any surface.

Floor Load – Maximum amount of 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 ( often an independent contractor ) representing show management, or the official contractor, who is responsible for the installation, dismantling, and operation of the exhibition area.

Floor Marking – Method of marking booth spaces in an empty exhibit hall to indicate where booths will be set.

Floor Order – Order for labor or services placed after exhibit setup begins. Usually more expensive than an ADVANCE ORDER.

Floor Plan – A map showing layout of exhibit spaces, lounges, concession areas, restrooms, electrical/plumbing accessibility, etc.

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

Flush Lock – Non-protruding locking device inserted flush with surface.

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

Foam Core – Paper exterior sandwiching rigid foam often used for show signage.

Font – An alphabet of letters of one style or type. SEE TYPE FACE.

Food stuff/Edibles – Imports are subject to sanitary/veterinary health certificates. Live animals/plants may be quarantined.

Force Majuere – The title of a standard clause in contracts exempting the parties for non-fulfillment of their obligations as a result of conditions beyond their control, such as earthquakes, floods or war.

Foreign Sales Agent – An individual or firm that serves as the foreign representative of a domestic supplier and seeks sales abroad for the supplier.

Foreman – Supervisor of a group of workers whose duties will vary based upon the region of the country and the union affiliation.

Forklift, Forktruck – Vehicle used to transport heavy exhibit materials short distances and for loading and unloading materials. Also known as HI LOW, TOW MOTOR, JEEP, OR REACH FORK LIFT.

Formica – A brand name for a plastic laminate.

For-Profit Show Management Company – A management company whose owners or stockholders share in its net proceeds. SEE INDEPENDENT SHOW ORGANIZER.

Four Hour Call – Under certain circumstances this is the minimum work period for which union labor must be paid. Not to be confused with minimum charges to exhibitors applied by contractors that service shows.




Free Standing – Self-supporting and independent exhibit material.

Free Trade Zone – A port designated by the government of a country for duty-free entry of any non-prohibited goods. Merchandise may be stored, displayed, used for manufacturing, etc., within the zone and re-exported without duties being 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, products, and other materials shipped for an exhibit.

Freight Contractor – The show designated company responsible for handling exhibit properties from the dock to the exhibit space.

Freight Desk – At a show, the freight contractor¹s service area for handling inbound and outbound exhibit materials.

Freight Forwarder – An independent business that handles shipments for Compensation, either a local cartage or long haul carrier.

Freight Handling Form – Form for exhibitor requesting handling of materials. Not to be confused with long haul shipping forms, or bills of lading.

Fresnel – Theatrical Fixture with adjustable lens 150 W through 1500 W.

Frisket – Technique of applying lettering or art to surface of rigid material by tracing outline on translucent paper; affixing the paper to surface or materials, cutting away paper within lettering spaces and then spraying color over surface. When balance of paper is removed, the lettering remains.

Fumigation – Required in some countries for live plants and wooden packing.

Furniture Dolly – SEE FLOAT, CART


GATT – General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. A multilateral treaty whose purpose is to help reduce trade barriers between the signatory countries and to promote trade through tariff concessions.

GPX – Plastic coated plywood. ( Brand Name as produced by Georgia Pacific Plywood Corp.)

GST – Goods and services taxes.

Gang Box – Nickname for a equipment box most contractors and some exhibitors carry that contains tools and supplies needed for the routine set up of trade show displays. See JOB BOX or TROUBLE BOX.

Gator Foam – Laminated foam board used for signage, available in a variety of thicknesses. More rigid and durable than Foam Core.

Gauge – Where tariffs refer to gauge, they mean the U.S. Standard Gauge for determining thickness of sheet or plate steel; Browne & Sharpe Gauge for rod and sheets of aluminum, copper, brass and bronze; US Steel Wire Gauge for iron, steel, and copper wire.

Gear Drive – Technique of transferring motion from motor shaft to object by use of one or more interlocking gears.

Gel – Theatrical color filter used in conjunction with theatrical projection fixtures and spotlights. Also referred to as GELATIN.

GEM – (Greyhound Exhibit Module) Greyhound¹s display units employing locking metal bars and flexible panels. SEE EXTRUDED ALUMINUM. General Contractors SEE GENERAL SERVICE CONTRACTOR. Also OFFICIAL CONTRACTORS.

General Export Licenses – Any of various export licenses covering export commodities for which VALIDATED EXPORT LICENSES are not required. No formal application or written authorization is needed to ship exports under a General Export License.

General Service Contractor – An organization that provides show management and exhibitors with a wide range of services, sometimes including, but not limited to, installation & dismantle (I&D), creating and hanging signage and banners, laying carpet, material handling , and providing booth furniture. ALSO KNOWN AS OFFICIAL CONTRACTOR. SOMETIMES REFERRED TO AS “DECORATOR”.

Genie Lift – The manufacturer of a variety of lifts used in the erection of trade show displays. The first model manufactured was a hand-cranked material handling lift .ALSO REFERRED TO AS A HURTY GURTY. Genie now also manufactures motorized lifts that can be used as material lifts or man lifts.

Gerber – Machine for cutting vinyl lettering used in making signs.

Glass Plate – Sheets of glass commonly available in thicknesses of 1/8″ 3/16″ or 1/4″.

Glass, Single Thick – One-eighth-inch-thick glass, such as is used for window panes.

Glass, Solar – Glass that has been treated to transmit light but reflect infrared solar rays.

Glass, Tempered – Hardened safety glass, usually plate.

Glass, Wire – Plate glass with embedded wire reinforcement.

Glossy – Common term for photographs reproduced on high gloss paper.

Glow Plug – A lighted electric receptacle which glows when electricity is flowing through the line.

Good One Side – Grade of plywood whose face side is free of blemishes. SEE CDX.

Goose-necked light – A small spot light with a flexible stem so that it can be pointed in the direction that light is most desired.

Graphics – Communicative elements–color, copy, art, photographs, translites, etc.–used to illustrate a booth theme or to enhance decor.

Greenfield – Rigid metal conduit, used where code demands.

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

Grievance – An employee’s or an employer’s dissatisfaction with some aspect of the employment relationship. May or may not be limited to dissatisfaction due to interpretation and application of the union contract.

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

Gross Square Feet – Total space available in exhibit hall as compared to net square feet, which is usable exhibit space.

Gross Weight – The full weight of a shipment, including goods and packaging. Compare TARE WEIGHT.

Gusset – In construction, a triangular reinforcement or brace in corners of panels or framing.

HCEA (Health Care Exhibitors Association) – Trade association for firms exhibiting in health care and medical events.

Hall – A generic term for an exposition facility. May also refer to an individual area within a facility. For instance, one facility could have multiple halls.

Halon Fire Extinguisher – A fire extinguisher generally used on computers and electronic fires. It should not hurt the computer or destroy silicon chips. It is classed as a hypo-thermal chemical fire extinguisher.

Hand Truck – A small, hand-propelled vehicle used for transporting small loads. SEE FLOAT.

Hard Card – 1. Work order for labor or services. 2. Material handling contractor¹s record of materials received or shipped.

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

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

Harmonized System – International commodity description and classification referencing system. Formerly known as SCHEDULE B.

Header – A sign or other structure across top of exhibit. Usually displays company name. SEE ID SIGN, LIGHT BAR.

Heel and Toe – To staple forming folds with sateen or other decorative material. A method of pleating.

High Drape – High drape is any drape over 8′ high which requires special equipment. High drape is used to create dramatic areas such as stages or special focal points. Typically, high drape is dark blue velour and is 16′ to 19′ high, although vinyl or 11′ banjo drape in blue and other colors is often used. All high drape needs to be anchored securely on its framework to ensure it cannot fall.

High Jacker – A manufacturer of equipment capable of lifting a person or persons to a given height. A high lift or ladder generally used in focusing lights or adjusting rigging. ALSO KNOWN AS CHERRY PICKER, JLG, SCISSORS LIFT, GENIE LIFT.


Hire – International term referring to “rent” a service or product.

Hold Harmless Clauses – Contract clauses that attempt to limit the liability of one party in case of a claim.

Hologram – A photographic effect using lasers to obtain a three dimensional image on a flat surface.

Horizontal Show – A show in which the products or services being displayed represent all segments of an industry or profession. Compare VERTICAL SHOW.

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

Hotel Show – An exposition held in the exhibit space or ballroom of a hotel.

Hurty Gurty – SEE GENIE LIFT.

I&D – Installation and dismantle of an exhibit (set-up/teardown).

IAAM – International Association of Assembly Managers. The association of facility managers for venues which house conventions, meetings, exhibitions, concerts and other assemblies.

IACVB – International Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus. The association for service bureaus which are the chief sales agents for the convention and tourism industry to the municipality they service.

IAEM (International Association for Exhibition Management) – Trade association for exposition producers.

IATSE – (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) SEE STAGEHAND.

ICC – Interstate Commerce Commission. The Federal agency that regulates interstate commerce, including the trucking industry.

Illuminations –SEE LIGHTS.

Illusion Mirror – Generally translucent mirror, that reflects when confronted with light source and is transparent when rear illuminated. Also known as CHINESE MIRROR or ONE WAY MIRROR.

Import – To bring foreign goods into a country. Compare EXPORT.

Import License – A document required and issued by some national governments authorizing the importation of goods into their individual countries.

Independent Contractor – 1. A contractor hired by an exhibitor to perform show services independent of show management-appointed contractors. ALSO CALLED EXHIBITOR-APPOINTED CONTRACTOR (EAC). 2. Any individual or company hired to perform show services on a contract basis.

Independent Show Management Company – A for-profit show management company.

Independent Union – Labor union not affiliated with organizations such as Congress of Industrial Organizations for American Federation of Labor.

Infringement – Use of floor space outside exclusive booth area.

Inherent Vice – An insurance term referring to any defect or other characteristic of a product that could result in damage to the product without external cause. For example, instability in a chemical that could cause it to explode spontaneously. Insurance policies may specifically exclude losses caused by inherent vice.

Inland Bill of Lading – A bill of lading used in transporting goods overland to the exporter’s international carrier. Although a through 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. Compare AIR WAYBILL, BILL OF LADING, OCEAN BILL OF LADING, THROUGH BILL OF LADING.

Inline Booth – Exhibit space with exhibit booths on either side and/ or back.

Injection Modeling – Method of protecting exhibit properties.

Inquiry Cards – Forms, collected from attendees, used to request information about exhibitors. ALSO KNOWN AS LEADS.

INS – Marks chalked on the floor showing where drapes are to be hung.

Inserts – 1. Interchangeable panels of copy or art. 2. Advertising flyer used by show organizers and/or exhibitors Usually tipped-in (affixed with glue) or blown-in (inserted loose) to trade publications as an advertisement.

Inside Booth – Also known as an INLINE BOOTH.

Installation – Setting up an exhibit material to prescribed setup instructions and drawings.

Installation & Dismantle – Also referred to as I&D. The setup and teardown of exhibits.

Installer – Skilled labor used to set up displays at trade shows. The union affiliation of the installer will vary based upon the locale and the facility in question.

Interactive Exhibits – Exhibits in which the visitor is involved with the exhibit in a proactive way. Interactive Video – Exhibits in which the visitor is involved with the video in a proactive way.

Internegative – Film negative of motion picture made from original raw negative to facilitate making of positive copies in quantity.

International Freight Forwarder – See FREIGHT FORWARDER.

International Sales Agent – An individual or firm that serves as the foreign representative of a domestic supplier and seeks sales abroad for the supplier. See AGENT, FOREIGN SALES AGENT.

In the Rough – Wooden articles that are not further manufactured than sawn, hewn, planed, bent or turned.

In the White – Wooden articles that are further manufactured than “in the rough,” but do not include more than one coat of priming. Inventory – Total amount of furniture and equipment available for show. SEE USEAGE.

Island Exhibit – A three-dimensional display exposed to aisles on all four sides.

Isometric – A perspective-like drawing, except that all lengths have the same proportion.


Jacobs Ladder – A series of horizontal panels held together with a vinyl bank. These panels flip to expose the opposite side when top horizontal panel is mechanically turned.

Jewel Light – Colored plastic or glass insert used in front of light source in panel faces to identify, pinpoint, etc., areas.

Jig – Shop or bench setup for making repetitive assemblies.

Jigging – Special dividers, sectioning and protective padding inside exhibit crates.

Jigsaw – Narrow blade set in a frame used with a vertical motion for cutting along wavy or irregular lines.

Job Foreman – One who is in charge of specific projects.

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

Jointing – Technique of rendering lumber surfaces perfectly straight and smooth so as to permit a perfect fit. This operation is usually performed on continuous automatic machine called a Jointer.

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

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

Junction Box – A distribution point for electrical power.

Jurisdiction – 1. The jobs that may be performed by a specific labor union. 2. The locality where a contractual dispute is decided.

KD (Knockdown) – Exhibit or display components requiring on-site assembly.

Kelvin Temperature – Refers to the temperature at which a light source would be in order to produce the color of light it emits.

Kick Base (Toe Base) – Base molding or band added to structure to absorb marring caused by brooms, mops, etc.

Kiosk – A small free-standing structure, open to one or more sides, used within an exhibit for the display of printed or electronic information.


Klieg Light (To be verified with IATSE) – A powerful carbon-arc lamp producing an intense light, invented by the Kleigl brothers, American lighting experts.

Kodalith – Type of film.

Kraft Paper – Inexpensive brown wrapping paper.

Kronoflex – An inexpensive transparent or colored transparency.

L&D – Loss and Damage.

LA – Letter of Authority.

LCL – Less Than Carload.

Labor – For shows, refers to contracted workers who perform services. Also INSTALLERS.

Labor Call – 1. A method of securing union employees. 2. Time specified for labor to report.

Labor Desk – The location in an exhibit hall where exhibitors can order labor.

Labor Form – Form used by exhibitors requesting labor at exhibition.

Laborer – See INSTALLERS.

Lacquer Finish – Coating sprayed on wood, metal and other materials, pigment colored or clear, that is durable and washable. Composition of coating includes primarily a water soluble solution.

Lamination – The bonding under pressure of two or more materials to form a layer or sandwich of materials; i.e., plywood, plastic laminate.

Landscape – Sign where width measurement (horizontal line) is larger than height. Also known as HORIZONTAL.

Lap Joint – Joint in construction achieved by overlapping ends of lumber for greater strength than simple butt joint.

Laser Disc – A medium for holding an image. Can be randomly accessed on a disc player, allowing interactive exhibits. See also DVD.

Lazy Susan – Manually rotated tray on ball bearings. Better known as TURNTABLES.

Leadman – Employee who sets the pace for a group working on the same job or as a team. Also known as LEADS, AND LEADPERSONS.

Lead Retrieval – A system for capturing and follow up of leads generated at an exposition.

Lead Tracking – A system for follow-up of leads generated at an exposition.

Lectern – A reading stand with a slanted top. A lectern that stands on the floor is a PODIUM.

Less than Truckload (LTL) – Rates applicable when the quantity of freight is less than the volume of truckload minimum weight.

Letrasign – Trade name for self-adhesive vinyl letter.

Letter of Credit (L/C) – A document, issued by a bank per instructions by a buyer of goods, authorizing the seller to draw a specified sum of money under specified terms, usually the receipt by the bank of certain documents within a given time.

Liability – Legal definition of the person or persons responsible for damage or injuries.

Licensing – A business arrangement in which the manufacturer of a product (or a firm with proprietary rights over certain technology, trademarks, etc.) grants permission to some other group or individual to manufacture that product (or make use of that proprietary material) in return for specified royalties or other payment.

Lighting Truss – A construction of tubular steel or aluminum alloy onto which lighting instruments are hung and which is in turn suspended above the stage or exhibit.

Light Bar – A bar with a light that hangs behind a header.

Light Box – Enclosure with lighting and translucent face of plastic or glass.

Linear Display – Linear exhibits are generally 10¹ deep. They are offered in 10¹ or 15¹ widths and can be combined to create an exhibit of almost any length.

Line Art – Term for artwork composed of lines only with no tone.

Line Switch –SEE SWITCH

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

Loading Dock – An area on premises where goods are and shipped.

Loadlock – A metal brace to secure partial loads within trailers and railway cars.

Local – Organization of employees in one area or in one company or a group of companies, chartered by and affiliated with a national or international union. SEE UNION.

Lock Up – A secure storage area within an exposition facility.

Logo – A trademark, unique to each particular company.

Loop Fabric – Fabric to which Velcro fastener fabric will adhere.

Loop Projector – Projector modified to run film that has been spliced into continuous loop.

Loose Jig – Removable support in shipping case.

Low Voltage – Term applied to currents of 24 volt or less. Must be transformed from normal 110-volt input. Useful in animation, lighted model, etc.

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

LTL – See Less than Truckload.

Lucite – Term defining plastic similar to Plexiglas, an acrylic plastic.

Lumiline – Slim, cylindrical, incandescent lamp; used as substitute for fluorescent lamps where dimming is required.






Marine Insurance – Broadly, insurance covering loss or damage of goods at sea. Marine insurance will typically compensate the owner of merchandise for losses sustained from fire, shipwreck, piracy, and various other causes, but excludes losses that can be legally recovered from the carrier. Compare CREDIT RISK INSURANCE.

Marshalling Area – An area set aside for the arranging of buses or trucks prior to the beginning of operations. Also known as marshalling yard.

Mask – To cover for painting or protection. Masking Drape – A cloth used to cover storage or other unsightly areas.

Material Handling – Services performed by General Service Contractor that includes delivery of exhibit materials from the dock to assigned space, removing empty crates, returning crates at end of show for re-crating, and delivering materials back to dock for carrier loading. It is a two-way charge, incoming and outgoing. FORMERLY KNOWN AS DRAYAGE.

Masonite – A trade name for commercial hardboard.

Matte – Lusterless surface.

Measurement Ton – A space measurement, usually 40 cubic feet or one cubic meter. The cargo is assessed a certain rate for every 40 cubic feet of space it occupies. Also known as the Cargo Ton or Freight Ton.

Mediation – Third-party attempt to reconcile the differences between disputing parties by finding some middle ground on which the controversy may be voluntarily settled. Similar to conciliation, but a mediator does not take an active part in discussions as a conciliator does.

Meter – The most common width for a backwall panel for any of the extruded systems. (1 meter = 39.37 inches).

Micarta – Trade name for plastic laminate. Micro-Switch – A miniature switch opened and closed mechanically.

Minimum Call – Agreed upon minimum number of hours of work to be done by a worker under the labor agreement. In cases where the work to be done is shorter than the minimum call, the worker is guaranteed payment for the full minimum.

Minny – A van shipment weighing 500 pounds or less, for which the minimum charge is the 500 pound rate.

Mitre – The joint created when two pieces of material cut at equal angles butt together to form a comer.

Mobile – An art form suspended or balanced with freedom of movement. Mock-Up – A full-scale model of proposed structure.

Model – An object made in miniature representing something to be made.

Models – A person stationed in an exhibit to demonstrate a product, provide attraction to booth or greet visitors. (Note: This term is falling into disuse.) See TALENT.

Modular – Structural elements that are interchangeable. Maximum flexibility in arrangement and size.

Module – A repeating element within an exhibit.

Mold – A material suitable for shaping anything in a fluid or plastic condition.

Mom-and-Pop – A small, family-owned business.

Move-In – Dates set for installation. ALSO KNOWN AS SET-UP.

Move-Out – Dates set for dismantling. ALSO KNOWN AS TEAR DOWN.

Multi-Purpose Facility – 1. A facility that can be reconfigured for another use. 2. A building complex containing several different types of facilities, such as a convention center, arena, and theater.

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

Multiple – Story Exhibit – See DOUBLE-DECKER.

Music License – Control of the performance of musical compositions by the composers and authors through granting of a license to perform. Controlled by the copyright laws. SEE ASCAP, AND BMI.

Muslin – Wide-loomed fabric used for ceiling artwork.

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

NFPA – National Fire Protection Act.

NMFC – National Motor Freight Classifications.

NOS – Not Otherwise Specified.

National Electrical Code – A code issued by the National Fire Protection Association describing minimum wiring requirements on electrical installations. It includes sections on temporary installations (such as construction sites and trade shows), theatrical installations, as well as office, kitchen, and storage areas. The code does not carry the force of law unless adopted by the authority having jurisdiction.

National Labor Relations Act –The act covers the legal requirements that must be met by employers and labor organizations.

National Union – Union having membership only within the United States.

Naugahyde – A synthetic, leather-like material.

Negative – A reverse print.

Neoprene – A rubberlike material.

Nesting – Multiple objects fitting together in order to conserve space and improve safety for shipping or storage Net Square Footage – The amount of space occupied by exhibits in a facility, not including aisles, columns, registration areas, etc.

Nomenclature of the Customs Cooperation Council – The customs tariff used by many countries worldwide, including most European nations, but not the United States. It is also known as the Brussels Tariff Nomenclature. Compare STANDARD INDUSTRIAL CLASSIFICATION or STANDARD INTERNATIONAL TRADE CLASSIFICATION.

O/A – Open Account.

O/N – Order Notify.

OR – Owner’s Risk.

OS&D – Over, Short and Damage.

OT – On Truck or Railway.

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 identity. 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. Compare AIR WAYBILL, INLAND BILL OF LADING, THROUGH BILL OF LADING.

Official Contractors – Service organizations appointed by exhibition management. Also GENERAL CONTRACTORS.

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

On-Site – Location of exhibits or project. Also called AT-SITE.

On-Site Order – Floor order placed at show site.

One Shot – 1. Type of paint used for painting banners. 2. Exhibit or display fabricated for one use only.

One Ten/Sixty – Common term describing normally available current in North American Continent. The full expression is 110 volt/60 cycle. Many European and South American areas have 220 volt/50-cycle power only.

Open Insurance Policy – A marine insurance policy that applies to all shipments made by an exporter over a period of time rather than to one shipment only.

Open Shop – Generally refers to states that are right to work states. Company in which union membership is not a condition of employment.

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

Outsource – To subcontract a task or responsibility to a supplier.

OTR – Over the Road. Freight that moves on the road, typically shipped directly to the convention center.

Overlay – A panel mounted to another surface.

Overtime – 1. Time worked by an employee outside of, or in addition to, regular working time or beyond the legal maximum hours of work. 2. Rate charged at one and one-half times or two times the straight time rate for work performed outside of the normal work hours.


PAR – 1. Common term for sealed beam spot or flood lamp with self-contained lens surfaced glass. 2. One less than bogey.

Per Diem – Per Day.

Package – Can also refer to a single-fee booth package, offered by show management. A package might include booth space, one electrical outlet, one table, two chairs, and one hour of labor.

Package Plan – Management providing furniture and/or services to exhibitors for a single fee.

Packing Case – See SHIPPING CASE, CRATE.

Packing Drawing – A visual to supplement written instruction.

Packing List – A list showing the number and kinds of items being shipped, as well as other information needed for transportation purposes.

Pad Wrap – See BLANKET WRAP.

Padded Van – Describes vehicle used for uncrated shipments.

Padding – Usually blanket protection for uncrated material.

Painters – Laborers who are responsible for sign painting and graphics. May also have other duties depending upon union jurisdiction and agreements.

Pallet – See SKID.

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

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

Parallax – Illusion of opacity resulting from the juxtaposition of translucent or polarized surfaces. Also achieved when rows of panels or fins are spaced in such a way as to be seen through when viewed directly, but that appear to be opaque when viewed from an angle.

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

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

Pavilion – 1. A group presentation of different companies for the purpose of generating collected impact. 2. Temporary structure for housing exhibits.

Pedestal – A floor support for an exhibit component.

Peg Board – Trade name for perforated hardboard. Available with holes on various centers.

Pegged Off – An object mounted away from supporting surface with spacers. BETTER KNOWN AS STAND OFF.

Peninsula – An exhibit or area with aisles on three sides.

Perimeter Booth – Exhibit space located on an outside wall of an exhibit hall.

Permanent Exhibit – A product display held on a long-term basis, e.g., mart exhibit, museum exhibit, office exhibit, lobby exhibit, and the like.

Permanent Import – In case of sales, with payment of duties and VAT, or in case of free distribution, disposable or consumable usually exempted from payment of duties and VAT depending on each country. Quantity and value exempted at discretion of Customs authorities.

Permit Card – Temporary work permit card granting temporary employment rights.

Phosphorescent Paint – Radiates visibly when activated by ultraviolet light.

Photo Screen – A stencil made photographically for silk screen reproduction.

Photostats – A reproductive process employing paper negatives.

Phytosanitary Inspection Certificate – A certificate, issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to satisfy import regulations of foreign countries, indicating that a US shipment has been inspected and is free from harmful pests and plant diseases.

Piano Hinge – Continuous fixed pin hinge.

Pier Demurrage – A charge assessed when the container is removed from the carrier¹s control and is not returned within the allowable free time. SEE CONTAINER DETENTION.

Pipe and Drape – Pipe material with fabric draped from it to make up side RAILS and BACKWALL of a trade show.

Pixie Tubes – Special high intensity lamps with internal circuits and filaments in shape of numerals.

Plan – A top view mechanical drawing.

Plastic Laminate – Any one of several of the melamine plastics bonded to paneling for durability and appearance.

Plating – A decorative and protective metal finish.

Plexiglas – A trade name for acrylic plastic material in common use.

Plumbers – Trades person responsible for all plumbing installation.

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

Podium – A reading stand for making presentations.

Point of Purchase Display (POP) – An aid to retail selling. Used to promote or identify products at their point-of-sale.


Pop – Ups – Lightweight displays normally shipped in molded plastic crates. ALSO KNOWN AS PORTABLE EXHIBITS.

Portable Exhibits – Lightweight displays normally shipped in molded plastic crates. ALSO KNOWN AS POP-UPS.

Porters – Laborers who perform sweeping, cleaning, and dusting.

Portrait – Sign where height measurement (vertical line) is greater than width measurement. OPPOSITE OF LANDSCAPE.

Positive Prints – A reproduction similar to the original. SEE UPRIGHT.

Poster Board – A stiff-weight art board usually used for printing and/or presentations.

Poster Session – An area set aside with poster boards on which presenters can mount information about their research or other projects and explain their work to those who stop. A cross between the meeting and trade show formats of presenting information.

Power of Attorney – A document that allows another person to act legally on your behalf in your absence.

Power Strip – A movable unit having multiple electrical outlets.

Prefab – Pre-built exhibit ready for installation.

Pre-finished Paneling – Factory finished panels.

Premium Pay – SEE OVERTIME (O/T)

Pre-pleated – Material permanently pleated, ready for installation.

Presenters – Trained individuals stationed in a booth to present a scripted promotional message.

Press Kit – Materials, usually contained in a folder, in which 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, individual, or show.

Press Room – A room where members of the media may obtain exhibitor press kits, conduct interviews, or relax. Larger press rooms contain typewriters, computers, telephones, and fax machines for use by the press in filing their stories.

Priority Rating System – Method of assigning booth space.

Prismatic Glass (or Prismatic Plastic) – Material that is textured with a multitude of tiny facets that refract and diffuse light.

Producer, Exhibit – An individual or company that designs and/or builds exhibits. May also provide other services. ALSO KNOWN AS BUILDER.

Producer, Show – An individual or company that manages trade shows; leases exhibit facility, hires official contractors, and promotes events.

Pro Forma Invoice – An invoice provided by a supplier prior to the shipment of merchandise, informing the buyer of the kinds and quantities of goods to be sent, their value, and important specifications (weight, size, etc.).

Prohibited Cargo – Goods restricted by international convention. Also refers to drugs, weapons and ammunitions.

Pro-Number – Shipment number designated by the common carrier to a single shipment, used in all cases where the shipment must be referred. Usually assigned at once.

Proof – Any preliminary reproduction by photography, typesetting or lithography, provided by processor for approval prior to finished product.

Proposal – To put forth an idea, design or concept for consideration or acceptance.

Proscenium Arch – Theatrical expression for visible opening that frames stage. Also visible opening that frames DIORAMA.

Public Show – One where general public is invited to attend and an admission fee is usually charged.

Purchasing Agent – One who purchases goods in his/her own country on behalf of foreign importers such as government agencies and large private concerns.

Pylon – A tall exhibit structure normally used for identification.

Quad Box – Four electrical outlets in one box. ALSO KNOWN AS DOG HOUSE.

Qualifying – The act of determining an exhibit visitor’s authority to purchase a product or service on display.

Quota – The quantity of goods of a specific kind that a country will permit to be imported without restriction or imposition of additional duties.

Quotation – An offer to sell goods at a stated price and under specified conditions.

RFP (Request for Proposal) – A request for a description of work to be performed, products and services to be supplied, and bids for a project.

ROI (Return-On-Investment) – Measurement of benefit an exhibiting company receives from participation of an exhibition. Broadest example formula: income minus costs equals ROI.

ROO (Return on Objectives) – Measurement of benefit an exhibiting company receives for participation at an exhibition by company pre-set objectives to show success.

RS or L – Classes the Same or Lower.

Rabbet – A saw cut used in the fabrication of wood parts.

Raceway – A metal container for electrical wires or a wood channel for rubber.

Radius Mark – Internal and external marks left on acrylic after improper or inadequate bending.

Rail – A low divider between exhibit spaces.

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

Rank and File – The membership of a union other than officers and officials.

Rate of Exchange – The rate of currency exchange established daily as the buying rate of foreign currency by the Federal Reserve Bank. The daily rate is used only when it varies by more than 5 per cent from the quarterly rate. When applicable, the daily rate is the rate certified on the day of exportation.

Raw Film – Condition of motion picture film after printing process but before surface has been treated.

Rear Illuminated – Technique of lighting color transparency or adlux from rear.

Rear Projection – Movie, slide, or computer image presentation where the screen is between the viewer and the projector.

Recall – Requiring employee to return to work after he or she has left for the day (or night).

Reception – Stand-up social function with food and beverages.

Refraction – The change of direction of a light ray passing from one medium to another of different density.

Refurbish – To repair damage, renew surfaces, and replace graphics, as necessary, to recondition an exhibit, extending its life span.

Registration – The process of obtaining information from an event¹s participants, including name, company affiliation and address, plus any other information that is requested by show management.

Registration Area – Designated area, usually outside the exhibit hall or meeting room, where exhibitors and attendees are badged.

Regional Show – A show targeted to attendees from a specific geographical area. May be a stand-alone event, or a regional version of a national show.

Reinforced Vinyl – Covered cord, wall coverings, or upholstery materials. Vinyl laminated with fabric. Generally used for banners.

Relay – Electrical device used to interrupt or sustain flow of current. Commonly used in low-voltage systems for programmed effects.

Release Forms – Documents provided by management to permit removal of goods from exhibition during show hours. MORE COMMONLY REFERRED TO AS PROPERTY PASSES. Released Value Limit of carrier¹s liability

Remote Ballast – Removal of ballast from fluorescent fixtures to a separate or remote location, to allow for extremely limited space.

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

Return – Common term applied to panel joined to background at 90-degree angle.

Reverse Prints – Dark or black field with white line art or copy.

Rheostat – A device for regulating strength of an electric current by varying the resistance. Also called a dimmer.

Rib – A framing member, usually termed in circular forms.

Rigger – 1. Responsible for machinery uncrating, unskidding, positioning, leveling, and reskidding. 2. Skilled labor responsible for attaching signs, banners, truss, and other equipment to ceiling of exhibit hall.

Right-to-Work State – A state where joining a union is not a condition of employment.

Rim Drive – A turntable operated from its edge rather than the center for heavier or off-center loads.

Riser – A platform to elevate people or product.

Room Capacity – The maximum number of people allowed in any given area.

Room Set-Up – The layout of tables, chairs, other furniture, and equipment for functions.

Rough Sketch – Quick drawing giving indications of proposed exhibit.

Round – A banquet table, usually 60 inches in diameter; also available in 66- and 72-inch diameters.

Router – A high speed cutting tool for shaping, gouging, scooping, hollowing out.,etc.



SISO (Society of Independent Show Organizers) – Trade association for independent exposition producers.

SIT – Stopping In Transit.


SL&C – Shipper’s Load and Count.

Sand Blasting – Technique of etching smooth surface of glass, plastic or metal to achieve matte or textured quality.

Sandwiching – Mounting of transparent subject matter between one translucent and one clear plastic panel.

Sateen – Fabric used in special draping or bunting.

Satin Finish – Smooth semigloss finish, usually a metal or lacquered surface.

Scale Model – Any model articulating all components of original object, but in smaller size.

Scene in Action – Term for mechanical animation technique that achieves simulated flow motion by rotating striped cylindrical acetate drum between light source and face art work.

Schematic Model – A diagram of an object in model form.

Schoolroom Set-Up – SEE CLASSROOM

Scissors Lift – A motorized platform used to lift people to a given height. ALSO KNOWN AS FLYING CARPET, PLATFORM LIFT.

Scooter – Electrical cart used for driving around the show floor.

Screen Enamel – For silkscreen printing on nonporous surfaces.

Screw Post – SEE T-NUT

Scribe – Technique of fitting prefabricated unit into existing site condition by cutting prefabricated unit slightly to allow perfect fit.

Scribe Line – Shallow groove incised into face of material.

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

Sealing – Technique of applying sealer coat to porous woods prior to painting procedure. Prevents absorption of final paint finish.

Second Option – Second place on a waiting list. The organization holding the second option for specific dates of a facility, for example, may book those dates only if the organization holding the first option decides not to book.

Second Tier – A city where the space limitations of the convention center, the hotels, or both, make the city more appropriate for smaller meetings and shows.

Security Cages – Wire enclosures supplied to exhibitors to lock up materials for safe storage.

Security Contractor – Company hired by exhibit or show management to keep individual exhibits and the entire show floor safe using guards, closed-circuit TV, etc.

Self-Contained Exhibit – A display that has its shipping case an an integral part of of its design.

Self-Tapping Screw – Screw used to attach material to metal with predrilled hole. As screw is rotated, it threads into hole and remains secure.

Sepia – Printed reproduction of black and white art tinted in brown tones, which imparts an antique look.

Service Desk – A central location to order or reconfirm the functions provided by general service contractor or exposition management.

Service Kit – Packet for exhibitor containing information and forms relating to the exhibition. Also called an EXHIBITOR MANUAL.

Set Screw – Threaded machine screw with flush head normally used to adjust tension or tighten movable parts on shafts.

Set-Up – The function of erecting the displays, installation, or articles in their assembled condition.

Set-Up Drawing – The plans from which the exhibit components are assembled.

Set-Up Personnel – Exhibit installers.

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

Sheetrock – Material used in drywall construction composed of gypsum core and paper veneer. Standard measurements: 4′ x 8′, 4′ x 10′, thicknesses 3/8″, 1/2″, 5/8″. ALSO KNOWN AS DRYWALL.

Shell Scheme – A standardized hardwall exhibitt system that is is offered as part of the space package for exhibitors

Shiplap – Construction technique of joining two materials by notching both and inserting slots into each other.

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.

Shipper – Company or individual to whom exhibit materials are consigned for transportation.

Shipper’s Export Declaration – A form required for all shipments by the U.S. Treasury Department and prepared by a shipper, indicating the value, weight, destination, and other basic information about an export shipment.

Shipping Case – A container for exhibit components suitable for extended reuse.

Shipping Crate – A container for exhibit components Usually with screwed or nailed lid. SEE CRATE.

Ship’s Manifest – An instrument in writing, signed by the captain of a ship that lists the individual shipments constituting the ship’s cargo.

S-Hook – Type of metal hanging hardware in form of the letter “S”, used as hanger for identification signs, plaques, etc.

Shop – Primarily refers to display builder, also refers to contractor’s main office and warehouse.

Shop Steward – Person designated by the union within a shop or unit to represent employees.

Show Break – Time of show closing when dismantling begins. ALSO KNOWN AS SHOW CLOSE.

Show Daily – A newspaper published each day during the run of a show. It includes articles about the exhibit and events. Show Decorator – SEE GENERAL CONTRACTOR, OR OFFICIAL SERVICE CONTRATOR.

Show Directory – A softcover book containing a listing, with booth numbers, of all the exhibitors in a show, a map showing booth locations, and (often) advertising. ALSO KNOWN AS SHOW BOOK.

Show Manager – The organizer and/or operator of an exhibition.

Show Office – Show Management Office at exhibition.

Show Photographer – Official photographer for exhibition appointed by show manager.

Show Producer – Company or individual who initiates and plans an event, is responsible for renting a site and for soliciting exhibitors. See EXPOSITION MANAGER.

Show Rates – Rates established by show management, official service contractors and/or other official service providers, and published in the Exhibitor Kit.

Show Rules – The general rules and regulations governing a specific trade show.

Show-Within-A-Show – A show with its own name and focus that takes place within a larger, related event.

Showcase – General term for glazed or framed enclosure for display of objects.

Shrink Wrap – SEE PALLET WRAP.

Side Rail – A low divider panel used to separate an exhibit space from an adjacent area.

Sign Holder – Stand for displaying signs.

Sign Hook – Piece of S-shaped metal for hanging signs. ALSO KNOWN AS S-HOOK.

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

Sintra – PVC Panel, same as Chydex, Chomatex, used in signs and displays.

SISO (Society of Independent Show Organizers) – An organization of independent trade show producers whose membership produces over 3000 events annually all over the world.

SJ Cord – Rubberized cable commonly used as a flexible lead in, or where conduit or Greenfield are not practical.

Sketch Model – A three-dimensional sketch.

Skid – Wooden platform used to support machinery or a collection of objects for easier handling. Also thick wood blocks attached to crates that allow forklift access for easier handling. Also called a PALLET

Skids – Wood runners protecting the exterior of a shipping case.

Skin – A tracing of a sketch with explanatory notes.

Skin Drawing – Preliminary elevation and plan indicating overall dimensions.

Skirting – Decorative covering around tables and risers.

Sleeper – Leveling strip on which flooring or horizontal panels are fixed.

Slider – Telescopic pipe.

Smokers – Ashtrays on stands.

Snorkel – SEE BOOM

Society of Independent Show Organizers – SEE SISO.

Soffit – A lowered portion of a ceiling.

Solarized – An overexposed photographic print, purposely done for artistic effect.

Solid Surface – Material used in display fabrication that is the same all the way through eg. Corion, fountainhead, so it can be sanded and repaired.

Soss Hinge – Trade name for concealed barrel-shaped hinge installed in recess of cabinet doors and jambs to eliminate revealed hinge.

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

Space Rate – Cost per square foot for exhibit space.

Spade Connectors – Fork shaped metal connectors soldered to wire ends for connection to terminals having machine screw or knurled nut contacts.

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

Specialty Contractor – A supplier of a specific show service, such as photography, rental of furniture or audio/visual equipment, or floral decoration.

Spinning – Technique for working sheet metal into concave or convex shapes.

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

Spline – Thin metal or wood strip glued into grooves, cut in panel edges to reinforce joint between panels.

Sponsorship – Payment of the cost of a service or activity at an event, in exchange for being publicized at the event. Spot Exchange The exchange rate for foreign currency for immediate purchase/delivery. SEE EXCHANGE RATE.

Spot Light – A lamp providing controlled circle of light.

Squeeze Connector – Fitting used to secure SJ-type cords to plugs and splice boxes.

Stagehand – Union labor for theatrical productions. In some cities, they also may handle spotligths, rigging, scenery, display installation, decorating tasks, such as hanging draperies at convention facilities. Member of IATSE.

Staging Area – 1. A place for demonstration. 2. A preparation area, usually on premises, where suppliers review orders and organize items before delivering them to exhibit booths. 3. An area adjacent to the dock where freight trucks wait until they may unload.

Stanchions – Upright posts used to support signage; also support ropes that prevent entry.

Stand – European term for booth.

Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) – A standard numerical code system used by the U.S. Government to classify products and services. Compare NOMENCLATURE OF THE CUSTOMS COOPERATION COUNCIL, STANDARD INTERNATIONAL TRADE CLASSIFICATION.

Standard International Trade Classification (SITC) – A standard numerical code system developed by the United Nations to classify commodities used in international trade. Compare NOMENCLATURE OF THE CUSTOMS COOPERATION COUNCIL, STANDARD INDUSTRIAL CLASSIFICATION.

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

State – Controlled Trading Company – In a country with a state trading monopoly, a trading entity empowered by the country’s government to conduct export business.

State Federation – Organization of AFL unions located within a state.

Stepper Switch – Electrical relay that is timed to activate further mechanisms after it has itself been activated.


ST Labor – Work performed on straight time.

Stock Bill – A list of specific materials and sizes.

Stock Exhibits – A pre-designed unit adapted to particular use by identification, color, graphics and minor structural modifications.

Story Pole – Fixed pole with predetermined layout markings.

Stretcher – General term for cross member mounted between sides or legs of cabinets, or between upright poles in a pipe and drape booth, to ensure rigidity. These typically hold the drape to form the booth.

Strike the Show – 1. Term used in some cities to descirbe the dismantle of exhibits. 2. To remove all scenery and props from the stage.

Strip Light – Fluorescent lighting wired in a line.

Strong Back – A framing member using the triangular system to support a cantilever load.

Stud – Vertical structural wall support of wood or metal.

Styrofoam – Trade name for lightweight rigid form of compressed polystyrene crystals.

Subcontractor – Company retained by a primary contractor to provide services to exhibitors or show management.

Submersible Pumps – Pumps that operate underwater.

Survey – Solicitation of exhibitor’s or attendees opinions.

Switch – Electrical on/off switch used directly in wiring to control, by make or break, the flow of current.

System – A stock set of components that can be put together to make an exhibit.

T&M – An abbreviation of a form of billing through labor costs (time) and materials.

TL – Truckload.

TLO – Total Loss Only.


Table Skirt – Any fabric used to skirt a display table.

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

Talent – Outside personnel stationed in a trade show exhibit to demonstrate a product, provide attraction to booth or greet visitors. Includes magicians and similar attractions. See MODELS, PRESENTERS.

Tape Blip – An audible impulse that activates an electric mechanism.

Tapered Edge – Any material that is reduced in thickness at its outer edge.

Tapping – Technique of threading hole in metal to receive machine screw.

Tare Weight – The weight of a container and/or packing materials without the weight of the goods it contains. Compare GROSS WEIGHT.

Target Date – A date set by show management and/or general service contractor for the arrival of freight at a trade show. Usually shipments received before or after this date are assessed a penalty charge.

Tariff – Rules and rates of a specific carrier.

Teardown – Dismantle.

Telescopic Pipe – Drape support where one section slides inside another for use at various lengths.

Tempered Pressed Wood – A hardwood product generally used in backwall paneling.

Template – Pattern or guide for various repetitive shop functions.

Temporary Import – Exhibition material whose temporary import status exempts payment of duties and taxes on arrival.

Temporary Import Bond – The surety covering articles imported into a country on a temporary basis. This is generally done in lieu of paying import duties and/or taxes. The fee for the bond is non-refundable in most cases.

Terminal –The carrier’s facility for transferring freight.

Theatrical Case – A telescoping fiber case with canvas straps.

Thin Wall Conduit – Lightweight electrical conduit.

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

Three Wire – Term describing electrical cable with one continuous ground wire in addition to positive and negative wires.

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, therefore, cannot be used. Compare AIR WAYBILL, BILL OF LADING, INLAND BILL OF LADING, OCEAN BILL OF LADING.

Tie-Off – A method of securing shipment by use of nylon belts and block latches.

Time and Materials – A method of billing for work done. Similar to cost plus, but without any extra fee or mark up.

TIR Carnet – Similar to an ATA Carnet, but used for trucks from non- EC countries to EC countries or for transit between non-EC countries. Can be used for different unloading locations. Trucks must be sealed by Customs.

T-Nut – Recessed, threaded fastening device.

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

Ton – Freight rates for liner cargo generally are quoted on the basis of a certain rate per ton, depending on the nature of the commodity. This ton, however, may be a weight ton or a measurement ton. Short ton = 2000 lbs. Long ton = 2200 Lbs.

Tongue and Groove – Construction technique of assembling two wood elements, one having a protrusion, the other having a recess.

Touch Up – Paints accompanying an exhibit, in the necessary colors, for the purpose of painting nicks and scratches.

Tow Motor – See FORKLIFT.

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

Trade Fair – Broadly, the commonly used international term for an exposition.

Trade Out – A type of barter. For example, a show manager might do a trade out with a publishing company, giving the publisher a free booth in exchange for free advertising.

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

Trade Show Exhibitors Association – Trade association for organizations that use exhibits as a marketing, promotional or communications medium. Also designated by the acronym TSEA. Formerly known as the International Exhibitors Association (IEA).

Traffic Flow – A supposed or directed path the audience will take through an exposition or exhibit.

Tramp Steamer – A ship not operating on regular routes or schedules. Calls at any point where cargo is available.

Translite – A defused transparency, usually mounted between rigid plastic panels.

Transparency – A black and white or color translucent (see-through) photograph or artwork.

Traveler – A heavy duty traverse rod for drapery.

Trouble Box –SEE GANG BOX or JOB BOX.

Truckload – Truckload rates apply where the tariff shows a truckload minimum weight. Charges will be at the truckload minimum weight unless weight is higher.

Turnbuckle – Hardware installed between stretched cable to adjust tension.

Turnkey Exhibit – A system whereby the exhibit manager turns responsibility of the display over to an exhibit services company. In essence, the exhibitor simply “turns the key” upon arrival at the show and opens the booth.

Turntable – Electrically or manually rotating platform.

Turret Projector – General term for slide projector that stores slides in rotating cylinder, dropping or passing slides one at a time between light source and lens.

TV Monitor – A cathode ray tube (CRT) used to show a video image.

Twinkle Lights – Flickering or intermittent lights.

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

Typeset Copy – Text whose type has been mechanically set prior to reproduction.

Tyrex Cord – A type of cord that, within proper specifications, makes an acceptable electrical cord for exhibits.

USS – U.S. Standard Gauge for bolt threads.

UL (Underwriters Laboratory) – An organization ask EDPA.

U/W – Underwriter.

Ultraviolet Lamp – A source of ultraviolet light used with phosphorescent and fluorescent paints.

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

Union Contract – Written agreement between an employer and a union specifying the terms and conditions of employment for workers. Also known as COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT.

Union Jurisdiction –The jobs that may be performed by a specific labor union. SEE JURISDICTION.

Union Official – Representative of a union either selected or elected to conduct the affairs of the union.

Union Referral – Method of hiring in which the union refers job applicants to the employer. Differs from central hiring hall in that there is no fixed location at which applicants gather.

Union Steward – On-site union official; union official who will represent the union workers in relation to the terms of the agreements.

Upright – Metal support for drapes. See POST.

Upson Board – Fiberboard of varying thickness, used as the surface for visual enhancement such as paint or decoration.

Usage – Temporary storage area for excess furniture, carpet and equipment. Typically used by general service contractor on show site.

VAT – Value Added Tax. Applies to all EC countries, Switzerland and other countries around the world. A tax on the estimated market value added to any product at each stage of its manufacture or distribution, ultimately passed on to the consumer. The percentage applies to CIF value and duties and the percentage differs from one country to another. Local VAT on forwarding/handling services is not charged between EC companies with a registered VAT number, or to non-EC exhibitors on condition the local forwarder executes Customs clearance and transport.

Vacuum Forming – Technique for molding plastic sheets by heating and drawing sheets in a vacuum press.

Valance – A short overhead, decorative border normally used as a light baffle or screen.

Validated Export License – A document issued by the US Government authorizing the export of commodities for which written export authorization is required by law. Compare GENERAL EXPORT LICENSE.

Velcro – Brand name of hook and loop fastener used to adhere objects to a display. Has two components: hook and fabric. The two components adhere to one another, but may be easily separated and reattached, allowing graphics and other materials to be moved.

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

Veneer – Finish product that is applied over a base material, or substrate.

Venue – Any place that you can conduct a trade show.

Vertical Show – A show in which the products or services being displayed represent one element of an industry or profession. Compare HORIZONTAL SHOW. Video Formats – 3/4″, 1/2″ (VHS & BETA), PAL, SECAM; CD, DVD, standard sizes of video tape.

Vinyl – Plastic material used for drapes or table tops.

Vinyl Tops – Plastic tabletop coverings.

Visitor – An attendee at an exposition. A potential customer.

Visqueen – A type of clear plastic sheeting used to protect carpeting from the time it is laid to the time the show opens. ALSO KNOWN AS POLY.

Volume (VOL) – Volume rates or classes are those for which a volume minimum weight (Vol. min. wt.) is provided; charges will be assessed at the volume minimum weight shown in the tariff, except that actual weight will apply when in excess of the volume minimum weight.

W&I – Weighing and Inspection.

WA (With Average) – A marine insurance term meaning that a shipment is protected from partial damage whenever the damage exceeds 3 percent (or some other percentage).


Wage Pattern – The wage structure of various jobs in a specific industry or area.

Wage Rate – Rate of pay per period of time or per unit of production for an employee on a given job.

Wallboard – A soft wood product used in one-time paneling or where whiteness and softness is desired.

Walsh-Healy Act – Federal law establishing wage, hour, and working conditions for government contractors.

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

Waste Removal – Removal of trash from building.

Waybill – List of enclosed goods and shipping instructions, sent with material in transit.

Wet Mount – Process of wetting photo blowup prior to wrapping it around panel.

Wharfage – A charge assessed by a pier or dock owner for handling incoming or outgoing cargo.

Wheeler – An upright, manually propelled, two wheeled cart used to move objects such as boxes. ALSO KNOWN AS TWO-WHEEL DOLLY.

Wide Angle Lens – Special lens on projector for wider than normal image projection.

Wing Nut – Commonly used threaded nut with flanges. Used for connecting backwall panels, and preferred for their easy adjustment by hand.

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

Wishbone Leg – Fold-up leg on display table.

Without Reserve – A term indicating that a shipper’s agent or representative is empowered to make definitive decisions and adjustments abroad, without the approval of the group or individual represented. Compare ADVISORY CAPACITY.

Work Rules – Regulations that govern union craftspersons’ working conditions. Includes what type of work an exhibitor may perform, when overtime begins, etc.

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

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

Working Foreman – Employee who functions both as a workman and a foreman at the same time. May be a workman part of the time and a foreman the rest of the time. May or may not be considered a supervisor under the

Wage – Hour Law and the Labor Management Relations Act.