First Impressions Count: How to Design an Eye-Catching Exhibition Stand

If you’re lucky, there’ll be a steady stream of people walking by your booth at your next trade show. But will they stop to take a look at your booth? You might have killer sales literature, a great product, and well-trained salespeople–but your trade show graphics can still make or break your booth’s popularity at a trade show. When that stream of people is walking by, they’ll glance your way and make a split-second, almost unconscious decision–to stop and learn more, or to move on. Your exhibition stand’s design can make a huge impact on which way people decide to go. Here are a few things you can do to design your next exhibition stand for maximum impact.

Keep colors simple. The usual advice is to use a color scheme that matches your business colors–you’ll look more polished and professional. If you use primarily cooler tones like blues, greens, or whites, however, your colors might not be strong enough to stand out–especially when many people in your business use the same colors, which happens more often than many realize. If this is your case, it may be worth your while to use your logo and design–but in different colors, such as reds, yellows, or oranges. If you go this route, make sure you use the same logos and graphic designs so that you still have a visual connection with your usual business symbols, and your business logo won’t look out of place at your booth–just contrasting. Above all, use a simple but compelling color palate instead of a mess of different colors.

Have some moving parts. People will stop to watch TV–so why not set up a screen where you can play your latest commercials, a documentary about your industry, or an interview with someone in your business? Or hire professional entertainers. Or give live demonstrations. Set up a show at your booth–make it look like something’s happening. You’re sure to attract a crowd.

The right lighting is key. You don’t have to go with the same old fluorescent overhead lights everybody gets. Bring a spotlight to highlight one of your products. Bring a few downlights to add drama to your display. Create a warm, inviting atmosphere at your booth with soft general lighting, and then create interest with specialty downlights and uplights. It’ll make your booth look much more polished and creative than its competitors.

Bigger is better. The smaller your Exhibition show stand, the less it will stand out. The bigger your stand, the better position you’re in to catch some of that valuable attention from trade-show attendees. Even if they’ve never heard of your company before, if you’ve got the biggest, best-designed stand at the show, people will check you out.

Easy on the text. No trade-show prospect is going to stop and read a big block of text incorporated into your graphic design–so save customer education and big sales pitches for your brochures. However, catchy slogans and funny jokes are good–even if people don’t stop right away, if you can give them a chuckle as they walk past your booth, they’ll remember you–and may come back for more later. If you go for humor, the best route to take is to hire someone to write it–what we think is funny may not strike everyone the same way, and taste is of the utmost importance. It can also be good to give them a reason to stop with copy that advertises something free or something they’ll learn for visiting your booth–keep it short and to-the-point, however.

Use levels to create interest. Don’t just display your items flat on the table. Set up levels to create an interesting display. Restaurants and caterers do this easily and quickly by using different-size Tupperware bins or bowls and covering them with tablecloths to make platforms of varying levels, shapes and sizes.

All of these things might sound trivial in comparison to the quality of your product, the effectiveness of your consumer education plan, the skills of your sales staff, and the strength of your message. But none of these things will get a chance to work if nobody stops at your booth. The right graphics and design can catch the customer’s eye during that three-second window when they’re deciding whether or not to stop and check you out–and if the graphics work the way they should, they’ll draw people over every time.

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