Preparing for your first trade show? Or perhaps you are looking for ways to reignite interest at exhibitions this year? These best practice tips will help you to design a show-stopping trade show booth without the need for a costly designer!
3 Second Rule
At trade shows passer-bys are flooded with information. To make sure you attract the leads you want, ensure that your design engages and clearly conveys the message of your business at a glance – hence the 3 second rule. Keep graphics and type clean with contrasting colours so that it can be seen and easily read from far away and only have one, focus message to lead your booth design.
30 Second Rule
Similarly to the 3 second rule, within 30 seconds of looking at your stand (before they even approach one of your reps!) visitors should have a good idea about who you are, what you do and what your mission is. This can be broken down into the following areas which, although overlap in some ways, each represent an element that should be easily recognised and understood in your design:
- Brand: on a basic level this is your company name, logo and colour scheme, but this can also be reflected in imagery, media, typefaces and the materials used on your stand.
- Industry: this is especially important when exhibiting at an industry-specific show where similar or closely related items are all being sold together. For example, if you are a company that sells handmade furniture at a homewares show, it should be immediately clear that you sell furniture: i.e. beds rather than bedding, or tables rather than tableware.
- Mission: Modern design? Eco-friendly materials? Time-saving technology? What does your business strive to offer its customers? Your mission is the core of your business’ identity and should be easily summarised in a single sentence. On your booth it can be represented by the overall look and feel, by a slogan or an iconic image as long as it can be easily understood.
A lot of new exhibitors feel that because stand space is often very expensive, in order to make the most of it they need to fill every inch. However a cluttered or ‘busy’ stand can often look unprofessional and be off putting to visitors. White space is one of the oldest tricks in design and if you want to draw attention to one element, for example a customer quote or your business’ slogan, this can be easily achieved by surrounding it with a lot of white space.
Colours and Patterns
As a rule of thumb it’s best to keep to two main colours maximum, three if you also include white or black. Colour is incredibly important as it’s the first thing that people notice and will guide their first impressions on your business and brand. Use a colour that reflects your organisation or key product and also aligns to your company’s identity. For a complete guide to colour check out this infographic.
Patterns can also be used to add texture to your booth but try to avoid placing text over busy or bright patterns as it can make it difficult to read. Whilst patterns are a great way to draw attention and create a unique look, they can also be distracting and over powering if over used or used in the wrong way. Ensure that your content remains the focus of the booth and it isn’t competing against the aesthetics.
In a busy trade show, this all-white display will definitely turn heads and intrigue visitors. The use of white space creates a clean and polished look that immediately establishes an impressive brand identity.
Use of strong imagery symbolises the businesses’ industry, brand and identity. Bright shades of blue and red give a sense of authority and implies enterprise size and expertise.
Bright and bold colour schemes will stand out from far away, to achieve this make sure loud colours are carried on through the whole of the stand experience and matches your business’ message.
This shabby, informal stand uses soft materials and neutral colours to mirror the natural and candid photography style of the business. This stand caters for its audience by extending the intimate and relaxed style from the product fluidly into the stand design.