Helpful Resources

True partners with you, we offer assistance to help you succeed in every aspect of your trade show journey.

Navigating trade shows can be daunting to both novices and experienced exhibitors. This is where Cardinal Expo shines. Our experienced and knowledgeable team is here to make the exhibit design process easy and seamless for you. If you don’t find what your exhibit needs here, contact us for additional information. We are happy to support your team.


What to Expect

Production Timeline


Upload Artwork

File Specifications


Show Services Form Guide

Trade Show Terms




Efficiency & Thoroughness

Collect Artwork & Print Graphics

Manage  & Coordinate Show Services

Build Exhibit In-House

Oversee Shipping Logistics to Show Site


Quality Service

Verify Show Services Accuracy

Supervise Installation of Exhibit

Test Media for TV’s & Monitors

Greet Client On-Site


Tying Up Loose Ends

Supervise Dismantle of Exhibit

Coordinate Shipping Logistics  Off-Site

Interview Client for Future Development

Invoice for Last Minute Modifications


More than Just Storage

Assess Graphics / Exhibit Condition

Maintain Quality / Restore Damage

Store Client Property in Warehouse

Inventory Assets




Submit Your Artwork

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File Size Too Big to Upload?

Don’t worry, we’ve got your back! Use to send files up to 2GB in size. Send files to our design team at:

What is Required?

Download PDF files of full artwork guidelines and requirements below.


Acceptable file formats: .ai, .psd, .pdf, etc.



Please keep artwork layered, and all objects rasterized.



Follow guidelines listed in Graphic Layout for proper artwork size, dpi, and listed print areas.



Always package linked files and fonts with your artwork submission.



List all PMS color modes used in artwork. If no PMS colors are used, be sure to format colors in CMYK for highest print quality.



Upload files via the form on the left, or if files are larger than 25MB. If using, please send files to



Artwork deadlines MUST be followed. Failure to meet the deadline can result in late fees and inability to test fit graphics. Utilize Production Timeline/Gant Chart to calculate artwork deadline.



Cardinal Expo provides a detailed graphic layout that includes a top-down view of your exhibit structure with individually labeled graphic items. Templates are provided for graphics with a partially-obstructed visual area. Each artwork file must follow bleed and safe-area guidelines listed in the graphic layout.

To simplify the artwork approval process, please send one file for each item, and include the letter assigned to that graphic in the title of the file.






What Are Show Service Forms?

 All trade shows have forms to request each service category to meet your show needs. These forms must not only be filled out correctly, but also need to be submitted on time by the published deadline. There are even discount deadlines that can save you, the exhibitor, a great deal of money! The show decorator or general contractor provides the forms that are required to order services for the show. From electrical to catering, to rigging your hanging sign, a special detailed form is required to place your order. Cardinal Expo Coordinators are experts in completing these forms and tracking your deadlines. Our team streamlines this process for you so you can focus on meeting your goals at the trade show.

What In The World Is Material Handling?

“What is material handling, and why did I get charged these fees?”

This is a very common question. Material handling (also known as “drayage”) is the cost to handle and store your booth materials. These fees are charged by the show decorator or show contractor. This cost is incurred by the client, as they are charged to the company renting the booth space. While Cardinal Expo does help our clients anticipate these charges, our estimates are only based on past shows. Actual charges come directly from the show decorator and do vary from show to show. Take a look at our helpful material handling guide for a visual understanding of the process.

How Do I Know Which Forms I Need For My Booth?

Cardinal Expo’s coordination team will review your booth and help you assess which forms are needed for your exhibit. Services such as electrical, rigging for signage, material handling, catering, daily booth cleaning, etc. are all items that we will discuss with you and your planning team. Discount incentives are sometimes offered for orders placed early.


Who Do I Pay For These Services?

Our coordinators will assist with completing the forms for all services, but you will pay the show decorator or show contractor directly for these services. Cardinal Expo can pay these services on your behalf, but this pre-payment service does require an additional management fee. Since these services are only estimated, any additional costs above the estimate will be billed to the client on their final invoice.

How Do I Pay For These Services?

When your show service forms are submitted, you will place a credit card on file with the show decorator or show contractor. These services will be billed at the end of your trade show.

When Will I Get Charged?

Most show services are billed to your credit card on file by your show decorator or show contractor at the end of your trade show.

Who Is Responsible For Submitting These Forms?

As a trade show exhibitor, you are ultimately responsible for submitting all show service forms. However, Cardinal Expo provides this as a complimentary service to all of our clients to insure a simple seamless process. That way, you can focus on showing up and having a successful experience onsite at the show.


General Terms

1) EAC – Exhibitor Appointed Contractor; a third party contractor performing installation, dismantling, booth design, and similar services. Cardinal Expo is an EAC.
2) Exhibit Manager – Person in charge of an individual exhibit booth. Cardinal Expo provides Exhibit managers for booths.
3) Display Builder – company that designs and builds displays. Cardinal Expo is a Display Builder.
4) General Contractor – Company that provides all services to exhibition management and exhibitors: i.e. Freeman and GES.
5) Decorator – General Contractor or Service Contractor.
6) Floor Manager – person retained by show management to supervise exhibit area and assist exhibitors.

Exhibit Terms

7) Rental Booth – Complete booth package offered to exhibitors on a rental basis.
8) Turn Key Booth – A pre-packed linear booth consisting of standard furniture, sign and carpet.
9) Island Booth – an exhibit space with aisles on all four sides.
10) Linear Booth – any booth that shares a common back wall with other exhibits on one or two sides.
11) Peninsula Booth – Exhibit space with aisles on three sides.
12) Perimeter Booth – Exhibit space located on an outside wall.
13) Pipe and Drape – tubing with drapes which separate exhibit booths.
14) Modular Exhibit – Exhibit constructed with interchangeable components.
15) Kiosk – Free standing pavilion or light structure.
16) Backwall – panels arranged into a wall formation at the back of the booth area.
17) Side Rail – low divider wall in exhibit area.
18) Skirting – Decorative covering around tables and risers.
19) Light Box – Enclosure with lighting and translucent face of plastic or glass.
20) Rear Lit – method of lighting transparency from behind registration – process by which an individual indicates their intent to attend a trade show.
21) Scrim – light weight, loosely woven covering or cloth used for decorative purposes.
22) Truss – a collection of structural beams that form a rigid framework.
23) Space Assignment – Booth space assigned to exhibiting companies.
24) Booth Number – Event designated number used to identify exhibitor’s space.

Show Service Terms

25) Advance Order – Order for show services sent to the contractor prior to the discount deadline date.
26) Exhibitor Service Center – A centralized area where representatives of various show services can be contracted or located.
27) Aisle Carpet – Carpet in the aisles between booths. The show will lay the aisle carpet and determine the colors.
28) Audiovisual(AV) – Equipment, materials, and teaching aids used in sounds and visual.

Labor Terms

29) I&D – Installation and Dismantle of the exhibit.
30) Leadman – Cardinal Expo representative supervising a showfloor crew.
31) Move-In – date set for the installation of booths/process of setting up exhibits.
32) Move-Out – date set for the dismantle of booths/process of dismantling exhibits.
33) Target Date – Move-in date assigned to exhibitors.
34) Off-Target – Move in date that is before or after the officially assigned target date.
35) O.T. Labor – Showfloor work that is performed on overtime. Work before 8 am and after 5 pm Monday through Friday, and all hours Saturday and Sunday and holidays.
36) Electrical Contractor – Company contracted by show management to provide electrical services to the exhibitors.


37) Special Handling – applies to display and/or product shipment requiring extra labor, equipment or time in delivery to booth area.
38) Drayage/Material Handling – The unloading of a shipment, transporting to the booth space, storing and returning empty crates and cartons and reloading shipment at the close of the show.
39) CWT – Hundred weight. Weight measurement for exhibit freight. Usually 100 pounds.
40) Bill of Lading – Document or form listing goods to be shipped.
41) Advance Warehouse – Shipments that have been sent to be stored in the show contractor’s warehouse up to 30 days prior to move-in.
42) Target Freight Floorplan – Color – coded floor plan indicating freight delivery for individual booths.
43) Marshaling Yard – Check in area for trucks delivering exhibit materials.
44) Teamster – Union member that handles all material in and out of the hall for all non-electrical functions.
45) Pallet – Wooden platform used to carry goods.
46) Shrink-Wrap – process of wrapping loose items on a pallet with transparent plastic wrapping.