Trade shows get a lot of repeat business. Year in and year out, many of the same attendees take in the same show floor, seeing the same companies. The products might be different, but a lot of times the booths are not.

We call this the “I saw it last year syndrome.”

For every trade show booth, the goal is to grab attention. One of the best ways to do that, especially at shows your company has a presence at every year, is to constantly shake things up.

Easier said than done, right? Wrong. The key is to constantly seek out new ways to get inspired. Here are some tips on how to do that.

Look outside your industry



Some of the best ideas can come from a place light-years away from your own industry. You just need to find them.

Since trade shows are all about interactions, think about companies you like in retail. Then ask yourself what you like about their store designs and how those things can apply to your booth design.

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

Trade shows are also about making people feel comfortable in your booth, so take a page from the hospitality industry. A lot of design innovation is being done in the lobbies of hotels, and they certainly know what they’re doing when it comes to making people want to spend time in a space.

Learn from others in your industry

Like nearly every other industry, trade shows have a ton of blogs, newsletters, Twitter feeds, YouTube channels, and more that are dedicated to the industry. Follow these and regularly check in on them, especially if you find yourself hitting a wall creatively.

(This is where we let you know you can subscribe to our blog and also visit our resource library, which you should definitely do.)

Continuous learning

Music, audio books, articles you’ve come across and saved for later — these types of creative outlets also keep the gears turning inside your head, and they’re always available on your phone in your pocket.

One of our favorites to listen to are podcasts, especially shows like How I Built This Radiolab, and 99% Invisible, which take deep dives into the world of innovators, science, and design.

Get outside of your usual space

Familiarity can feel oppressive sometimes, especially if you work in the same space for hours on end.

Even the most comfortable of working conditions can leave you brain dead after a while. So when you feel like you’re running out of gas, sometimes the best thing to do is to simply get away from your desk for a while.

It can be as simple as taking a walk or grabbing a coffee, or something more involved like taking in a movie or an art exhibit. All that matters is that you give yourself time to clear your head and recharge.

Stop thinking


There’s a reason people like to describe inspiration as a bolt of lightning. You never know when it’s going to strike.

Sometimes the best ideas happen when you’re doing something mundane like showering or driving. Even sleeping can provide a spark that causes you to snap awake and reach for a notepad.

The brain is always working, and even when you’re not actively focused on something it’s still churning out ideas. So if you get stuck creatively, just move on to the next thing. Chances are the fresh idea you’ve been looking for will eventually hit you.

For more of our tips on how you can nail your next trade show, download 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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