Trade Show Booth Design Blindness

Booth-Design-Blindness6 Questions to Ask Yourself When Evaluating Trade Show Booth Design

We’ve all seen it. Televisions commercials, magazine ads and even exhibits that are trying to sell you something, yet you have no idea what that something is. Sometimes marketers get so caught up in a flashy design and an emotionally compelling story that they lose sight of why they are exhibiting in the first place. When buzzworthy doesn’t translate into sales, everyone loses. Don’t get me wrong. Being the “must see” brand on the trade show floor has its advantages. They key to success is being able to capture buzz while still clearly conveying what it is you are selling – because if it doesn’t sell, it’s not creative. Never place the entertainment value over what should be your main focus: selling your company’s products and services. Remember that in the AIDA model (Attention, Interest, Decision, Action) the second A is actually more important than the first. When your exhibit is good at getting attention and entertaining your audience, take it a step further by conveying the right message to attendees and moving them towards purchase or purchase intent. When designing a trade show booth, ask yourself these six questions.

  1. Does your design offer enough space for your staff and attendees?

The position of the exhibit at the venue and the traffic flow should always be taken into consideration when it comes to trade show booth design. Take the time to envision what it’s like to navigate through the exhibit from a new visitor’s perspective. Allow extra room if you are performing demonstrations or have planned activities. Tight squeezes and obstructions can make people uncomfortable and less likely to stick around for any length of time. And don’t forget about your staff. Make sure they can easily move around the exhibit to reach the materials they need and that there’s adequate storage space to eliminate possible clutter.

  1. Is your exhibit clearly visible from afar?

If you envision yourself standing in front of your exhibit and you like what you see – great. But what about attendees who may be 10, 20 or even 40 feet away? A well-designed exhibit needs graphic elements that can be easily and clearly read from afar. This is especially important at large events where not everyone’s path may take them past your exhibit. You want to make sure you can attract guests even from across a large and overcrowded venue.

  1. Is your lighting sufficient for easy viewing of the exhibit?

Whether you’re highlighting featured areas or simply want to enhance the overall look and feel of a space, proper lighting can dramatically improve your trade show booth design. You might add special effects or a spotlight to draw attention to specific areas. Or perhaps you want to set a calm mood with soft lighting. Either way, make sure the graphics and displays you so lovingly designed on are seen in the best possible light.

  1. Is your organization’s name and brand clearly and professionally exhibited?

Not only do you want your attendees to walk away knowing more about your products or services, you want your company’s brand to leave a lasting impression. Think about where and how you are placing your logo. Is your organization’s name clearly and professionally presented? It is at heights that are easy and confortable for your guests to view? It is competing against other graphics? And while it’s good to ensure your brand is easily visible, don’t make the mistake of thinking you have to fill every bit of clean space with your brand. Sometimes it’s true that less can be more.

  1. Does your design leverage technology?

When evaluating your design, make sure you take advantage of technology to not only attract your audience, but to interact with them as well. Think about it from a visitor’s point of view; wouldn’t you be more likely to stick around if there was something to watch, do or listen to? Remember to incorporate elements of light, sound and motion, but always be mindful of how it will be perceived. Are the video screens or interactive elements large enough and at the right height for easy viewing? Is the sound too soft or too loud? Social media is also a great way to use your design to leverage technology. Post Twitter hash tags for the show and your company or create a check-in for your booth space – all aimed at creating an interactive experience.

  1. Is it clear what you’re offering?

This is perhaps the most important question to ask yourself. The whole point of your exhibit is to ultimately sell your products and or services. In order to do that, it needs to be clear exactly what it is you are offering. So before you’re done evaluating your design, make sure you take a step back and look at your exhibit from the perspective of someone who is unfamiliar with your company. If it is not immediately clear how you are addressing industry challenges, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

Peggy Swords

About Peggy Swords

Peggy Swords is the founder and president of Excalibur Exhibits, a $10 million Houston-based exhibit manufacturing and production corporation. Excalibur Exhibits designs, builds, delivers, assembles and disassembles as many as 300 exhibits per year. Swords was named as a finalist for NAWBO Houston 2003 Woman Business Owner of the Year and 2005 Enterprising Woman of the Year Finalist. Additionally, Excalibur Exhibits is a five time member of the Inc 5000, a three time member of the LSU100 and a two time member of the Houston Fast 100, a list of fastest growing privately held companies.