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how to design effective trade show booth displays

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You don't have to have an off-the-charts (super high) IQ, or be a NASA rocket scientist, or have a MIT PhD to know how to design a simple yet effective trade show booth display. Simply put, being good at creating simple yet effective graphic designs for trade show booth displays should never require an advanced degree from Stanford, Berkeley, or Yale (no offense to those institutes of higher education or the Ivy League). Effective trade show design is really just a simple matter of common sense. But unfortunately, simple common sense doesn’t mean that it is "simple" or "common" to find effective trade show booth display graphics at most trade shows or conventions. Unfortunately, it seems that all to many trade show exhibitors (both first timers and also, surprisingly, many veterans) completely miss the boat with their trade show booth display designs. But if you read and follow the common sense advice in this article, you too can design an attention-grabbing, compelling, and effective trade show booth display that will draw potential prospects into your booth, where you can convert them into customers (which is the whole point of going to trade shows and of being an exhibitor). Just follow these three easy, simple, and common-sense steps to make sure your design is effective (and no Ivy League degree is needed!).

First and foremost, people must notice your display when they pass by your trade show booth. Think of your trade show booth as a needle in a haystack. Your design must distinguish your booth from all the other trade show booths. You've only got a few seconds to grab the attention of the trade show attendees walking passed your booth. Combining a bright, full-color background image with a memorable tagline, slogan, or catch-phrase is one simple, easy way to accomplish grabbing their attention and "getting noticed". Also consider using super bright colors, as long as they are as professional as your particular company demands. And also make sure that your design and booth will be well lighted. Bright lights are another easy way to command attention, and they can really help the colors in your design pop!

Second and not to be overlooked, your booth design should make it crystal clear who you are and also what it is that you do. Believe it or not, some designs overlook this simple, basic, fundamental, and obvious point! Your design must include your company name in big bold letters (not little letters at the bottom of the display where nobody will ever notice it). You must also succinctly explain what it is that your company actually does. If people can't look at your tradeshow display and immediately know who you are and what you do, then you need to start over from your design. Do not overlook this second commandment of effective trade show design! In a nutshell, you need think KISS (not the rock group, but the acronym: Keep It Simple Stupid). While most attendees wandering past your booth aren't trade show Neanderthals, they also aren't trade show psychics. They can't read your mind, nor should you assume they know much if anything about your company. Your design needs to communicate the basics! Tell them quickly and simply what you do and what makes you good at it.

Third and finally, your design needs to explain to your trade show prospects WWIFM (what's in it for me, "me" being your potential customer). This is a critical and crucial part of having an effective design. Prospects correctly care about themselves first and foremost (and sometimes only about themselves), and they want to know what you can do for them, not what they can do for you. As an example of WWIFM, if you a cell phone service company, you could say how broad (and good) your reception coverage is (assuming it really is of course - do not make false claims, or claims that you can't back up). Remember, to be effective, your tradeshow booth design must explain how you can help your prospect or customer.

In the end, it all comes down to and boils down to this conclusion. Designing truly effective trade show booth displays means creating designs that accomplish the three points above. Your design must stand out and stand apart from the rest of the trade show exhibiting crowd so that attendees notice you. Your booth design must have your company name in BIG LETTERS at the top and it needs to say what your company does (because, believe it or not, not everyone knows who you are or what you do). And most critically, your design must explain in very simple and basic terms how you help and/or benefit your customers. Make sure your trade show booth display design covers these three points, and be ready to succeed with your trade show marketing. Here's wishing you good luck at your next trade show, where ever or whenever it is (though you shouldn't need luck if you follow these three points)! May your booth be swamped with more trade show traffic than you know what to do with!


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