This post was originally published on January 29, 2019, and has since been updated to reflect the latest trends.


You’ve got a big show coming up a couple months from now. It’s a new year and a new decade. So it’s time for a new and unique exhibit to help your brand stand out and increase prospects

The question is: now what?

As you look back on what worked in 2019 and what trends you’d like to incorporate today, the first thing you’ll want to do is check in with your personas.

What are your customers looking for in their trade show experience? And more importantly, what are they looking for in the kinds of products/services you offer?

Once you feel you have a good grasp on that, you can start to incorporate some trends into your exhibit design. Here are a few we’ve seen so far to consider in your upcoming exhibit design:

dot-grid_steelhead_icon1. LED Walls

Nothing commands attention like a vibrant display.

LED walls allow your brand to create stunning visual displays in a variety of shapes and sizes. Best of all, the technology is continually improving, making it possible to do things like overhead displays, curved walls, and high-resolution graphics in a relatively cost-effective way.

Download Now: The Ultimate Guide to Designing a Trade Show Booth

But don’t treat LED walls like you would the TV in your home. You shouldn’t be thinking of them as a display to be stared at for hours on end. Well, unless you’ve got The Great British Baking Show on ...

Otherwise, think of them as something baked into your design.

spotlight_steelhead_icon2. Specialty Lighting

For most trade show attendees, entering the show floor will be the last bit of natural light they see for hours.

One of the best ways to make your booth stand out and feel fresh is to use unique options like recessed lighting. This type of lighting does wonders for your exhibit, partly because it’s so great for disguising light sources in your design.

Want your products and demos to stand out? Consider down-lit lighting to make them shine even at a glance.

Not only will you draw the attention of your prospects to the things you want to promote, but you can also design your lighting in such a way that is warm and inviting. Think of your exhibit as an oasis, of sorts, on the crowded show floor.

Sounds nice, doesn’t it?

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floor-pattern_steelhead_icon3. Speciality Flooring

Flooring is something easily forgotten about when designing an exhibit.

Believe it or not, great flooring can actually make the difference between an inspiring and sales-driven atmosphere and just another booth on the show floor.

Why? Because it can transport your visitors to another place, even if they don’t notice the difference at first. Think about it. How would you feel if you walked into a home with concrete flooring and no rugs? It would likely feel cold, uninviting, and uncomfortable.

Wood, faux-wood, textured floors — each of these can help your exhibit pop in a sea of bland, carpet-clad competitors.

Remember, you’re there to make connections, not a transaction. Connections take time. So make people feel at home in your space, and they’re likely to stay longer and chat more.

See the booth we designed for Gracenote to see how cool your floors can be!

 

Nose4. A Focus on the Senses

It’s all-too-easy to design an exhibit that dazzles attendees with visual bombast. But, as we’ve talked about before, you’re limiting your company’s potential when you don’t think about the other four senses.

We know you want your exhibit to look interesting. Yet, there’s so much opportunity to incorporate audio, smell, taste, and even touch into your exhibit.

After all, isn’t that how we all experience the world around us? If you want to make your exhibit an actual experience for the people who visit it, put in the effort to make them feel your booth, your brand, and your product — not just see it.

For example, want to show prospects that your company is offering something new or making a clean start? Pipe in the smell of freshly cut grass. Incorporate some tactile experiences in your design for people to run their hands over. Play some ambient sounds to reinforce the feeling you want people to have about your brand.

Whatever it is, just make sure it aligns with the overall brand message … and have some fun with it! 

rebel-arrows_steelhead_icon5. Go Against the Grain

Trade show floors are loud and chaotic. There are bright signs, loud salespeople, and loud sounds all over the place.

Instead of trying to compete with all the noise, consider going in the opposite direction by designing an exhibit that offers people a bit of respite.

Some of the most effective exhibit designs are also the quietest. And some of the most attractive exhibits are the darkest.

Remember, you’re at the trade show to make connections and increase brand awareness. That means your design should do everything possible to encourage those connections.

After all, we don’t know anyone who likes to be shouted at for hours on end.

multiple-people_steelhead_icon6. Build for Different Kinds of Attendees

Based on our experience, there are three types of trade show attendees: lookers, seekers, and explorers. We go in depth on each of them in this post, but in a nutshell:

  • Lookers are still a ways off from making a decision or a purchase and are just checking out the booths on the show floor.
  • Seekers know they have a problem to solve, and they’re cruising the show floor looking for a solution.
  • Explorers are ready to pull the trigger and are looking to get all the information they need before making a decision.

A good trade show booth and campaign will have elements to reach all three of these types. Whether it’s through design, how your brand is presented, or how you demo and talk about your products, you want to make sure your business is showing up for everyone.

Looking for more tips and tricks for your trade show presence in 2020 and beyond? Download our free eBook, The Ultimate Guide to Designing a Trade Show Booth.

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