Sometimes a little polish can make even the most elaborate trade show booth really shine. Details matter, especially when you want to stand out in the cacophony of a crowded show floor.

Over the years, we’ve pinpointed four design touches that are easily overlooked by companies looking to make an impact with their booth:

steelhead_blog-graphics_multiple-bulbs1. Good Lighting


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One common mistake is an exhibit that fails to properly light the products on display, or even provide the right kind of atmosphere within the booth. Good lighting is about more than simply drawing attention; you want it to be bright enough to showcase what you have to offer without being blinding or too distracting.

Download Now: The Exhibitor’s Guide To Trade Show Success In 2020

Consider creative ways to light your booth, such as a mixture of traditional lighting and LED displays or simple trim lighting. You can also work with the venue operator to use existing lighting to brighten your booth.

Whatever you decide to do, remember that even the little things like lighting can do a lot to establish a certain mood in your booth. When planning a branded trade show experience, don’t just rely on the convention center’s overhead lighting to create the desired setting for your brand.

steelhead_blog-graphics_message-hierarchy2. Message Hierarchy

You’re at a trade show because you have a story to tell about your company and your products. So don’t bury that story in a flurry of competing messaging.

Design your booth with a message hierarchy in mind. Consider the following:

  • If your prospect could just remember one thing about your brand and/or booth, what would that be?
  • How can you tailor that message for each type of trade show attendee?
  • How does the layout of your booth support this message as people move through your space?

In short, keep it simple and keep it cohesive. Trade show attendees are bombarded on the show floor, so keep your messaging clear and concise.

steelhead_blog-graphics_simple-floorplan3. Strategic Design

Similar to message hierarchy, the physical design of your booth should be simple and effective.

Don’t fall into the pitfalls of chasing trends or designing for design’s sake. Every part of your booth should serve a purpose, whether it’s attracting people inside your orbit from across the floor or making one-on-one interactions possible.

The most strategic booth design is one that:

  • Establishes a messaging hierarchy (as mentioned above)
  • Considers and works for all three types of trade show attendees
  • Is designed with the end-goal in mind

Making sure your exhibit is designed as strategically as possible requires a proven design process from start to finish.

steelhead_blog-graphics_simple-pencil-paper4. Design Process

It’s tempting to start the design process by daydreaming in front of pretty pictures on your Pinterest board. Yet, this method puts the cart before the horse, as they say, and risks making your booth needlessly elaborate and creates an unwarranted expense. In short, your accounting department won’t be very happy with you.

Before you start sketching out ideas, think extensively about the goal you’re trying to achieve with your trade show presence. Consider the following:

  • What’s the look and feel of your brand?
  • How do you want that conveyed?
  • How do you want attendees to remember your brand?

Once you’ve nailed down your primary objective for the show, then you can start designing your booth with that goal in mind. Not only will this make your exhibit more successful, it will force you to be more creative by giving you the restraints of a target to hit.

For more information, check out our free resource: The Exhibitor’s Guide To Trade Show Success In 2020.

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The Exhibitor's Guide To Trade Show Success In 2020

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Event Marketing, Booth Design

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