Hansen Belyea Blog
Tuesday, September 8, 2015

7 Trade Show Design Essentials

By Ron Hansen

Something most people don’t know: the size of your budget doesn’t determine whether or not you will have a well-designed booth, nor will it dictate if your booth is inviting. We have all seen big booths (that clearly cost big money) standing empty while small, well-done booths are full of attendees. Here are 7 Trade Show Design Essentials:

  1. 1. Distance test

  • How far away from your booth will people be when they first see it? This depends on where you are on the show floor. Make sure that your main message and graphics are visible and easy to read from this vantage point.
  1. 2. Inviting staff

  • No matter how beautiful your booth may be, if the people in it aren’t well trained, it won’t matter. Here are some simple (but often overlooked) rules:
      • No talking or texting on cell phones
      • Limit conversation amongst staff
      • Be well rested, hydrated, and in a good mood (or at least look like it!)
      • Know a good introductory question to ask attendees, such as “What brings you to the show?”
  1. 3. Eye-catching or thought provoking message or graphics

  • Make it interesting enough for people to think, stop, and (even better) remember. The challenge is that it still has to tie into your company or offerings.
  1. 4. Good layout

  • Make sure you don’t put too much furniture in your booth. Create a rendering or a sketch of your booth to get a sense of whether there is enough space for people to actually come in and have a conversation or partake in an activity.
  1. 5. Get the right furniture

  • Most people are not comfortable sitting in a desk-height or lounge chair during the show. While this may look cool – the first priority should be functionality. The combination I have seen work best is a counter roughly 3.5’ high with bar stools. The bar stools can be just on the employee side if you don’t have enough room to include them all around. This way people can sit or stand and still be at eye level.
  1. 6. Simple, well placed messaging

  • Too often graphics contain too many words. Keep it simple! It is best to use a legible font size, assuming people are seeing the graphic from 10+ feet away.
  1. 7. Large imagery

  • Photos on a large scale, especially depicting people, draw attendees’ attention. Think of graphics more like a billboard than a brochure.