10 Top Tips for Trade Show Exhibit Design

Helpful Tips

Design your trade show exhibit well, and you’ll build your brand, attract new leads, and help generate sales. Miss the mark, and you’ll have an oversized lump that gets ignored and overlooked.

To help you get the trade show exhibit you need, here are the 10 best ideas on exhibit design that we’ve seen — and experienced — since before the days you could surf the internet:

1. Ensure your trade show exhibit clearly says who you are, what you do, and why someone should buy from you. Prioritize these messages over other messages that would just be distractions. Nothing is worse than an attendee asking you, “What do you do?” except knowing that if you get asked that question out loud, dozens of attendees have thought it without stopping in.

2. Be true to your brand and create greater recognition and memorability by integrating your exhibit design with your other marketing mediums. This includes options such as web, social media, video, brochures, email, print ads, and direct mail. Show visitors will trust you more and be more likely to stop by.

3. Create visual impact with a trade show booth that has bright, bold colors (as brand appropriate), big images that matter to your audiences, and easy-to-read text that says the right messages. Color has a huge impact on stopping attendees. Stylish text fonts convey your company’s personality but don’t go so far that it’s too hard to quickly grasp a reason to talk to you.

4. Design your trade show booth space so it best fits your specific marketing objectives. Be sure to include spaces for brand-building graphics, lead stations, demo areas, meetings, etc. While many exhibitors find they get more leads with an open and inviting space, others find they need more mass for impact or walls for meeting areas. Just focus on your top objectives, because you don’t have room for all of them!

5. Choose a trade show exhibit that balances your need for marketing impact with your desire to save money. Shipping, drayage, I&D and storage costs all add up. With today’s portable and modular trade show exhibits and dye-sublimation fabric graphics, it’s easier than ever to build a cost-friendly exhibit.

6. Put fewer words on your exhibit graphics, but make each word bigger. A single, clearly stated benefits statement is better than long list of bulleted points that gets ignored. People look at trade show exhibits, they don’t read them. You can use your website, tablet computer, brochure, or your own booth staffers’ knowledge to provide visitors with more info.

7. Plan your exhibit design around your trade show schedule for the next year, two, or three. Minimize your expenses for various booth sizes, marketing messages, and show locations. This takes commitment, but it pays off in lower operating costs, fewer rush jobs, and graphics that communicate to niche buyers better.

8. Give yourself enough time to get new trade show exhibits designed. Furthermore, include the time it takes to get agreement within your management team on marketing direction. Try to get on the agenda of their regularly scheduled management team meetings, if you are having a hard time getting a time when they are all available.

9. Focus on displaying your most popular and new products, rather than trying to cram all your products into a limited booth space. Your booth should look inviting, not like a flea market. You can use your website or an interactive kiosk to demo your less popular products.

10. Decide whatever technology you will use in your exhibit, so you can incorporate it into the exhibit design from the start. This is especially important on where you will have live graphics messages, such as important text or photos, and where you will mount a flatscreen in front of a simple colored graphic.

Effective trade show exhibit design shapes your intangible marketing messages into a solid presence that increases company visibility, attracts prospects, and hosts your customers. We hope these ten proven, practical design tips will give you useful ideas to enhance your trade show exhibit.

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