Trade Show Design: Why is it important?


So, you just confirmed your spot at an upcoming trade show. Congratulations! This is going to be a great opportunity for you and your business. Now comes the fun part: figuring out how you want your booth to look. From giveaway items to banners to elaborate displays, you have a lot of options to choose from and a lot of real estate to work with. When it comes to trade shows, the designs you create are just as important as the items going in your booth. Here’s why.

Design Can Help Grab Your Audience’s Attention

If you’ve ever been to a trade show, you know that there can be A LOT going on. With hundreds of businesses vying for everyone’s attention, you only have a couple of seconds to draw people in. This is why design is so important. You want something that will stand out, or at least catch someone’s eye long enough to make them want to learn more. When it comes to trade show design, here are a couple of things to keep in mind:

1. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes.
Think about who your target audience will be. Who are you targeting? Why are they there? What would appeal to those people and make them want to learn more about your business? By understanding your audience, you can make design decisions that appeal to them. It could be as simple as choosing a certain type of image or changing up the text. Or, if you know your audience has a particular need, you can focus more on a specific service or business offering.


2. Keep it simple.
As I mentioned before, you only have a couple of seconds to grab someone’s attention. People don’t want or have the time to stand around reading paragraphs of information, so keep it simple. You can always give more details later after you’ve piqued their interest. Plus, if you’re able to draw people in, you can have a more personal conversation and talk about more specific aspects of your business.


3. Make sure everything works together.

When it comes to designing your booth, you can’t look at each item individually. Every item should work together and be viewed as part of a bigger whole.
For example, Systemax recently updated its trade show display. We wanted a new backdrop and tablecloth. While we knew we wanted the table to be off to the side at one show, it could be placed in front of the backdrop in the future. Because of this, we decided to change up the design of our tablecloth. Now we have a versatile design that can be used no matter how we arrange our booth.
Mockup of updated trade show display and tablecloth for Systemax.
If we hadn’t considered how these items would look together, we’d have run into an issue down the road where the two would have blended together instead of complimenting one another.

Design Can Help You Introduce Yourself

Often, people attending trade shows do not know much about the participating businesses. Yes, they may recognize some of the larger, more well-known brands, but a lot of the time, they are there for new business, to meet new people, or to just see what is out there. When they come upon your booth, you not only want it to grab their attention, but you want to use it as an opportunity to introduce them to your business. Here are a few ways you can say hello:

1. Make the Logo Bigger (…just this once)
When designing the various elements of your booth, you want it to be clear who you are. Your company name and logo must be visible to those passing by, along with any important information you want to put out there.

According to Nimlock, a division of Orbus Exhibit and Display Group, it’s best to think of your graphics as falling into one of three different categories:
  • Long-range graphics
  • Mid-range graphics
  • Short-range graphics
Long-range graphics are typically those used for brand identification. Examples include kiosks and wall signs. Any logos or text placed on these graphics should be visible from at least 100 feet away.
Mid-range graphics help to further identify your brand and provide more information about your company and its services. These items, usually signs, should be readable from about 10-50 feet.
Short-range graphics are items meant for up-close viewing when people are actually in your booth. These often include the most information about your company.
By breaking down your graphics into these categories, you can begin to think about the sizing and placement of your logo. With everything scaled to the appropriate size, it will be easier for attendees to see who you are no matter where they are standing.

2. Stay on Brand
All of your items should stick to your brand. It is who you are after all. By utilizing your different brand elements (fonts, colors, graphics, etc.) you can begin to build brand recognition with attendees. In doing so, you differentiate yourself from the competition and allow anyone who sees or interacts with you to recognize your business outside of the trade show.

Showcasing your brand is also an excellent opportunity to introduce your company’s personality. Maybe you work in insurance and want to present a clean and professional look. Or, perhaps you are a marketing agency that wants to showcase its fun, creative side. Your brand tells the story of who you are and the goals and values you have as a company. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to show that to people.

Design Can Help Reach Your Goals

No matter who you are, you have a reason for wanting to be a part of a trade show. Maybe it’s to bring in new business or even partner with other businesses. Whatever the reason, you hope to walk away having achieved some goal. While design can sometimes seem like an afterthought, it truly is one of the most important aspects of your display. When combined with a great strategy, design is the best way to get everything you’d hoped for out of a trade show and more.
Looking for help designing your next trade show display? Or even looking for some great trade show ideas? Let us know! We’d be happy to help.

Kaitlyn-Jaeger-Ruben-SystemaxAuthor Info

Hello! My name is Kaitlyn and I am one of the Graphic Designers here at Systemax. Every day, I work hand in hand with our team to develop designs that not only look great, but meet our client’s needs and help push them toward their goals. Outside of work, you can find me with my family and friends, scrolling the web for new design tricks
and inspiration, or messing around with my camera.