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10 Top Tips For Trade Show Exhibit Design

November 17, 2011

By Mike Thimmesch

Design your trade show exhibit well, and you’ll build your brand, attract new leads, and help generate sales.  Miss the mark, and you’ll have an oversized lump that gets ignored and overlooked.

To help you get the trade show exhibit you need, here are the 10 best ideas on exhibit design that I’ve seen — and experienced — since the days when Ronald Reagan was still president:

  1. Ensure your exhibit clearly says who you are, what you do, and why someone should buy from you.
  2. Be true to your brand and create greater recognition and memorability by integrating your exhibit design with your other marketing mediums, such as web, brochures, email, print ads, and direct mail.
  3. Create visual impact with a booth that has bright, bold colors (as brand appropriate), big images that matter to your audiences, and easy to read text that says the right messages.
  4. Design your trade show booth space so it best fits your specific marketing objectives — spaces for brand-building graphics, lead stations, demo areas, meetings, etc.  While many exhibitors find they get more leads with an open and inviting space, others find they need more mass for impact or walls for meeting areas.  Just focus on your top objectives, because you don’t have room for all of them!
  5. Choose an exhibit that balances your need for marketing impact with your desire to save money on shipping, drayage, I&D and storage costs.
  6. Put fewer words on your exhibit graphics, but make each word bigger.  A single, clearly stated benefits statement is better than long list of bulleted points that gets ignored.
  7. Plan your exhibit design around your trade show schedule for the next year, two, or three, to minimize your expenses for various booth sizes, marketing messages, and show locations.
  8. Give yourself enough time to get new exhibits designed, and include the time it takes to get agreement within your management team on marketing direction.
  9. Focus on displaying your most popular and new products, rather than trying to cram all your products into a limited booth space.
  10. Decide whatever technology you will use in your exhibit, so you can design it into the exhibit from the start.

Effective trade show exhibit design shapes your intangible marketing messages into a solid presence that increases company visibility, attracts prospects, and hosts your customers.   I hope these ten tips will give you usable ideas to enhance your trade show exhibit.




In this book, Skyline has compiled 27 blog posts originally published in Skyline E-Tips (formerly Skyline Trade Show Tips). The posts combine valuable information about trade show and event staffing, giveaways and lead management. From experienced trade show consultants, traditional marketers and digital marketing practitioners, these authors know Trade Shows and how to leverage modern technology (lead applications) and techniques to improve leads collected at your trade shows and events. We also dive into effective giveaways and booth staffing. Complete the form below to request your free copy!

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