A seating chart shows each guest which table they are seated at. Whether you prefer a seating chart or escort cards is a matter of personal preference. Seating charts are easier to display. They can also be signed by your guests and framed to make a nice memento of the occasion.
The seating chart can either list guests by table or alphabetically by name. Listing by table is more common in the UK and shows who else is on the same table. Listing by guest name is more common in the USA and makes it a little easier to find your table, especially at a large event.
A seating chart listing guests by table (created by PerfectTablePlan)
A seating chart listing guests by name (created by PerfectTablePlan)
Whether to display a plain and simple seating chart or a highly decorative/artistic one is very much a matter of personal preference. If you choose an artistic font for your seating chart (e.g. script or gothic), make sure it is readable by all your guests.
Many hotels will have an easel you can use to display your seating chart.