Glossary Trade Show Industry Terms D - F

Author: D - F
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