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Good Trade Show Booth Design Starts Here

July 12, 2023
min read
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The most popular and memorable trade show booth designs are usually the ones that are the most creative or fun to visit!

So, how do you do that? How do you give your client the best possible trade show booth or pop-up display, one that helps them attract new customers, and drive more sales?

If you’ve got a trade booth display project coming down the pipeline and you’re wondering how to make it the most memorable work of art on the trade show floor, then look no further!

Here are 8 tips to jazz up your approach and help you create a trade show booth that wows!

1. Make Your Message Clear

Always remember that your client’s trade show booth is one of potentially thousands. 

Potential customers walking through the trade show exhibit halls have plenty of distractions, so your client’s messaging needs to be very clear so that those folks walking by can quickly see not only what your client’s product or service addresses, but why they are a better solution than other competitors.

Have your client choose one clear message and goal and, whatever it is, make sure all of your design elements stick to it.

Be consistent with your client’s branding too! You want potential customers to recognize your client’s brand and easily associate it with their products, services, and other merchandise!

So, be consistent and keep it simple for a cohesive flow to your client’s trade show display!

2. Show Your Stuff

Floating smart watches, trackers, VR goggles, and headphones to demonstrate creative ways to show off products and merchandise.

A trade booth is the ideal place for product samples and eye-catching product displays that keep the traffic coming.

Find a creative way to display your client’s products or services to turn heads and attract more attention. This will depend, of course, on what the product is, what industry your client is in, etc., but keep it in mind while you’re designing!

You want something that piques interest and draws in those curious visitors who want to get a look at what this unique product display is all about.

It also helps to design branded giveaway items like pens, buttons, and magnets to help get your client’s brand name out there and turn your booth visitors into brand ambassadors as they wander the exhibit halls!

3. Make it Interactive

Sure, passive activities like a video playing on a screen are okay, but if you really want to make your client’s booth stand out, aim higher.

An interactive display is what will really command attention, set folks to whispering, and draw in curious visitors.

Consider adding in interactive elements to your design, such as touch screens or an interactive kiosk. 

Fun and unique elements like that can make all the difference in how many people stop at your client’s booth and get their foot in the door.

While you’re brainstorming, games and quizzes or fun product demos with prizes (like that branded merchandise!) tend to draw crowds to watch others participate as well, giving your client more opportunities to build awareness and spread the word about their brand!

4. Get Some Air

In a busy, overwhelming place like a trade show exhibit hall, it’s crucial to capture attention from across the room if you want a steady stream of visitors to your client’s exhibit booth.

To keep from getting overlooked, put your client’s messaging at waist-height or higher for maximum visibility.

Sure, you can have some fun with the bottom of your client’s booth, but the most important things, like logos, banner stands, and headers should be high up and kept simple to draw in attention from across the room.

5. Negative Space is a Positive

Two hands clapping, because negative space is a positive thing!

You want your client’s booth to be attractive and visually exciting, but don’t get too excited and overdo it!

Empty space is an important element that keeps your designs from overwhelming passing visitors and discouraging them from stopping to see what your client’s got.

The amount of design elements will depend on your client’s brand personality and the booth space you’re working with, but just be sure that your design isn’t too busy or your client’s messaging too overpowering.

Overall rule of thumb = booth graphics need about 40 percent empty space for maximum visual balance.

6. Use Your Colors

The right colors can convey the right emotions. 

Experiment with different color schemes to get the feel your client is looking for. Red, orange, and yellow are good for conveying a sense of urgency, green can convey health and wellness, as well as growth, and a nice cool blue can convey calmness, trust, or innovation.

Find what works for your client and use your chosen colors strategically.

Branding is important here too, so find a way to incorporate your client’s branding into the design as well to reflect their brand image and make sure their booth is recognizable to their customers.

7. Creative Visuals

Your client only gets one shot at a first impression!

Here is where you can really unleash the artist inside and come up with some amazing and creative graphics.

You want something visually stunning, something that stands out, reflects your client’s brand, and leaves an impression on those who pass by!

Get with your client and try out some sketches that appeal to their target audience, brand messaging, and overall marketing strategy.

8. Get Creative with Lighting

Two light bulbs for getting creative with trade show booth lighting.

What good is all of your amazing artwork and graphic design prowess if nobody can see it, right?

Experiment with lighting to see how you can make your client’s booth exciting and unique!

The styles you go with can be subtle, color-hued, or flashy, depending on the target audience and your client’s brand (and budget perhaps), but the right lighting can really do wonders to enhance a booth’s appeal.

Types of Lighting for Trade Show Booths

Here are some options to choose from or combine for creative and unique lighting setups: 

Spotlights — Just like on stage, these are focused lights that direct a narrow beam of light onto something your client wants to highlight.

Track lighting — Multiple lights attached to a track system to give you some flexibility to create a custom lighting arrangement.

Colored lighting — Use colored bulbs or filters to create a specific hue or ambiance for your booth.

Interactive lighting — These lights respond to user interactions like motion sensors or touch-sensitive controls for a more memorable booth.

Strobe lighting — Strobe lights can help you create a visual impact and excitement with brief flashes of light. Just use them very sparingly and on a smaller scale, because overdoing strobe lighting is overwhelming and potentially harmful.

Hanging lights — Suspended lights can help you create ambiance, define the zones of your booth, or just serve as decoration.

Accent lighting — Lighting to highlight particular features of your client’s booth.

Ambient lighting — Lighting that sets the overall mood and atmosphere of the booth. It can be achieved through colors, levels of brightness, or the direction the light is coming from.

Lightboxes — Backlit displays or panels that showcase what your client wants to promote.

Think Like a Sculptor: In Three Dimensions!

Remember that trade shows are experienced in three dimensions. To have an effective experience — remember, you’re creating an experience, not just a set of graphics — you’ll need to think about how every angle of your space is seen and felt.

Creating an Immersive Experience

To be fair, this is where many trade show expo areas fall apart due to an inexperienced design team. Whether you’re designing the space or hiring someone else to design it, think about the following elements:

  1. How will this be seen when approached from the side? From the rear? From in front?
  2. What scale is at play — can we design for much taller than the average human, or are we height-restricted?
  3. What sounds might be in the area that could distract visitors?
  4. Do we need to control traffic in and out of the space, or do we embrace the fact that people may want to leave through the side curtain?
  5. If this were a sculpture, what area or viewing angle is not getting enough attention?

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Are you ready for your next trade show?

Remember, the key to perfect booth design is to know who your client and their target audience are. 

What are their pain points? How can you creatively address those pain points in your design to make your client’s booth stand out in a crowd?

Once you know who you're designing for, then let loose and let your creativity shine!

We hope these trade show booth ideas can serve as a useful starting point for you on your next trade show booth project and help you to design an amazing trade show booth that draws in visitors and keeps your client coming back to you year after year!

What’s the most creative trade show booth you’ve ever seen?

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Sara, a Designity content writer.
About the author:
Sara Lopez
Sara is a Texas-based copywriter.
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