Avoid Licensed Images for Trade Show Graphics

by Casey Valiant on December 10, 2015

When you’re trying to catch people’s attention at a trade show, you want to go for the big bang. The perfect image that catches everyone’s attention so they’ll all have to look your way. Something surprising, funny, dramatic, or bright and colorful.

While we did this with posters 20 and 30 years ago, it’s been in the last few years that exhibitors have been able to easily turn an entire trade show backdrop into a graphic wall. Now, you can’t walk down a show aisle without seeing full-sized trade show graphics in every booth.

Which leads some marketers to either try to cram as much information into their graphics as possible (bad move; keep it simple and clear), or to pick such eye-catching images, the passers-by can’t help but notice.

Trade show backdrop displayYou only have to peruse Facebook or certain photo sharing sites to find breath-taking photo after breath-taking photo. And the temptation might be to snag one of these images and use it for your trade show graphics, figuring to use it to catch exhibitors’ attention.

Not so fast though! If you just grab and go, you’ve got a very good chance of running afoul of copyright laws and licensing laws for that image, and you could end up getting burned in the process.

This means you can’t just use images from the year’s biggest movies, sports teams, or Hollywood celebrities. While an image of Peyton Manning throwing a pass to Darth Vader would be an awesome graphic, you would also be in a lot of hot water if you did it.

This means you can’t just do a Google search for a particular image and then download the ones you like best. Remember, just because you find it on the Internet doesn’t mean it’s available to use.

While there are a few things you can do to make sure you only find Creative Commons or public domain images — ones you’re allowed to use by permission and/or law — keep in mind that your local Signarama store has subscriptions to photo sites that gives licensing rights to our clients.

If you want more advice and information on choosing the right images for your trade show graphics, speak to your Signarama professional. They’ll be happy to show you what you need, and even help you get your favorite images.

You can find your local Signarama store with our online store locator. You can also visit the Signarama website to see what other kinds of business signs we have available.

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This post was written by...

– who has written 73 posts on Signarama Blog.

is the co-owner of SIGNARAMA Evansville. He graduated from Purdue University with a Computer Graphics Technology degree in 1999. He spent 3 years modeling in Salt Lake City (okay, 3D modeling for flight sim trainers for the US Navy) before moving to Texas to work with an international student ministry on the campus of Texas A&M. His wife, Kristi, is an award winning picture book author and illustrator. Whenever the occasion presents itself, Casey rides hippos bareback.

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