ISA’s 2018 Sign Expo attracts a record 20,000-plus attendees

Lori Anderson.
Lori Anderson.

The ISA (International Sign Association) International Sign Expo 2018 held March 22-24 in Orlando, Florida, attracted a record-setting 20,387 visitors – making it the largest ISA Sign Expo in Orlando and one of the largest in ISA Sign Expo history. Also, the tradeshow floor was the largest ever for the event. “Significant weather issues throughout the country affected air travel, but attendees found a way to get here anyway,” said Lori Anderson, ISA President and CEO. “And they came in a mood to buy. Exhibitors reported that sales were outstanding. This reinforces that the ISA International Sign Expo is the only industry event connecting sign and print companies with vendors who can help them capitalize on the expansions in the sign, graphics and visual communications industry.”

The previous record for Orlando attendance was set in 2016, and this year it nearly eclipsed the 2017 attendance in Las Vegas. The annual event alternates between Orlando and Las Vegas, with the West Coast show typically slightly larger. At 221,000 square feet, the 2018 tradeshow floor was the largest in ISA International Sign Expo history. Nearly 600 exhibitors offered specials and introduced new products and technologies. The annual event brings together the sign, graphics and visual communications industry – ranging from neon and LEDs, to print and soft signage. Attendees learned about products, innovations and ideas to help them expand and grow their businesses. Some highlights from the 2018 tradeshow included:

  • Three popular Game Changers events, in which attendees were inspired by stories of leadership skills and generational changes.
  • Two new pre-conference boot camps produced by Idealliance, designed to help sales professionals grow in selling wide-format projects, and an executive leadership seminar produced by Florida State University. Both were well attended.
  • The always-popular Networking Reception for National and Custom Sign Companies – which connects local sign companies with nationals who need subcontractors regionally – was packed.
  • More networking opportunities helped attendees make powerful connections.
  • The ISA Elite program attracted a new class of 36 future industry leaders.
  • More influencers (including designers, researchers and planners), were onsite through related programs.
  • ISA’s Planning for Sign Code Success event was held for the first time.
  • The Sign Research Foundation hosted its second co-located National Sign Research & Education Conference (NSREC) onsite.
  • The Experiential Design Program (XDP) offered high-level interaction with clients and end users, sign fabricators and sign material suppliers.

ISA will mark its 75th anniversary as an association at the ISA International Sign Expo 2019, April 24-27, 2019, with the tradeshow floor open April 25-27, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Registration is scheduled to open this Fall at


Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.