You will know from your visit to a show just how important the overall look of an event stand is.  Your stand tells a story about your company.  Your stand speaks volumes, so you need to set out to impress.

Before you look at the actual stand design tips you should be aware of the four most important elements you need to consider when designing your exhibition stand:

  • Stand Functionality – your objectives for the show are likely to dictate how the stand needs to function.  After all, whilst you want your stand to look impressive it should function according to your needs.
  • Communicating the right message – remember the three second rule: a visitor should be able to see who you are, what your company does and what your company can do for them in the three seconds it takes to walk past your stand.
  • Impressing the audience – make your stand memorable – make it stand out from the crowd.  Your aim is to ensure your stand stays in the mind of the visitor long after the show.
  • Stand practicalities – it’s not just about one show, it is about how the stand works for you over a period of time – taking into account: reusability, packing, storage and transport.

What are your Objectives?

  • Are you launching a new product or service?
  • Are you taking orders or collecting leads?
  • Are you making new contacts or meeting new recruits?
  • Are you meeting with existing clients?
  • Will you be doing market research?
  • Or is it purely a PR and branding exercise?

With so many display stand design ideas to choose from, it’s important to ensure your objectives dictate your stand layout and what equipment you need – ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have products to display or demonstrate and how are you going to do this?  You may even require a dedicated presentation area.
  • Do you need audiovisual equipment, such as plasmas screens or computer workstations?
  • Do you need to establish a system to take money?
  • What items do you need to create storage areas for? i.e. if it is just for literature and maybe giveaways then these may fit into counters or if you need more space then you will have to give up some of your valuable square meterage for storage.
  • Do you need tables and chairs on your stand?
  • Do you intend to provide visitors with refreshments?

One thought regarding tables and chairs and refreshments; firstly, if the only reason for having a seating area is for your own staff to rest, then don’t!  An average of five and a half square meters will be wasted and rest periods can be taken away from the stand.  Your team should be on their feet and ready for action at all times.  If the nature of your business requires a client seating area then that is different, but bear in mind…if you invite visitors into your stand, they will spend twice as long as if you speak where you meet, and if they sit down they will spend three times as long.

And with regards to refreshments: do consider the mess!  It may be easier to entertain clients off the stand at one of the Show coffee shops, restaurants or bars.

So onto the design tips for stand layout and graphics. Here is what you need to do to really make your exhibition stand out:

Plan your layout

Making the best use of your space will make a difference. Don’t clutter your stand – less is more.  After all, you have to leave space for not only your stand staff but also to talk to your visitors.  Unless there is a reason for cutting down visitor flow, aim to keep the front of your stand open.  The general rule is to ensure at least 60% of the stand space is open and at least 60% of the stand frontage is open.

Use Height

If possible build the stand high and place your branding above eye level so it can be seen from around the show hall.  It costs less to build high than to take extra floor space.  As a general rule, build height from the centre or at the back of your stand.  (Just remember some venues have height restrictions, so check first!).

Think of a Theme

Consider creating a theme for your stand to provide a different look and feel (and to get you noticed).  This could tie in with your pre-show mailers, stand dress code and giveaways as well.  If nothing else, the overall design should reflect the personality of your business.

Create powerful graphics

98% of our senses are geared to visual imagery, it is the most important sense we have. You need to use eye-catching powerful graphics and keep the message simple.  Make sure your name and key strap lines or messages are above head height and not below 3 feet – anything below 3 feet will not be read. Use as little text as possible – don’t be tempted to recreate your brochure on your stand.  This is where the ‘3 second rule’ comes in because a visitor will not stand there for several minutes to read the detail on your stand.

Focus on colours

Use bright, striking or vibrant colours.  Coordinate your whole colour scheme to convey the right message.  Did you know that apparently…

  • Red means vibrant and appealing
  • Blue has a cooling, calming effect
  • Green is a conservation colour and also has a calming effect without the chill
  • Yellow means attention, sunshine and happiness
  • Orange means cheap offers
  • Black means power and might
  • White means honesty and purity
  • Wood has a warm comforting quality about it

Deploy light

Good use of light is vital and it can make or break your stand.  Start off by using normal halogen lights to light up every area of your stand.  Then look at the feature areas: you can back light graphics, light up showcases and even light up your floor.

Use movement

Any movement draws attention and will help to stop visitors as they pass by your stand.  Ideas include rotating turntable and moving lights i.e. gobos. If you can’t do it using your stand then think about creating movement with the people who are manning your stand.

Feature flooring

Don’t ignore the importance of your floor. You can use interesting flooring rather than plain carpet and carry the theme of your stand or company logo through to your floor.  Think out of the box – at a recent show a seed company was using real grass to create a garden feel.

Add texture and dimension

For instance: shiny areas, three-dimensional areas, perhaps using different materials to construct your stand.  Even if you just have a simple pop-up or a couple of banners, the way you position them could make all the difference.

Introduce sound

Finally, music and noise will attract visitors to your stand but may drive your fellow exhibitors (and your own stand staff) mad.  If this is a concern you could have something periodically to add impact.

Hopefully, you have gained something from this very brief guide to designing your trade stand.   If there is one thing that you take away from this, it should be that your stand speaks volumes about your company – if you only have a few posters stuck onto a back wall what impression will that give to prospective customers.  In today’s market, no matter what your budget (even if it is very small) you can create a great looking stand and MAKE SURE YOUR COMPANY STANDS OUT FROM THE CROWD!

 For more support with designing your stand, try our free display design service or download our exhibition design ideas brochure.