Trade Show Graphics: Best Practices for Your Next Show

By
Chris Russillo
February 11, 2016

The quality of your trade show graphics design is a pivotal factor in attracting attendees to your booth. Trade show graphics set the stage for an exhibit, letting attendees know what your brand is all about as they walk by. Ideally, the graphics reflect the products on display in the booth, while creating an enticing first impression that generates interest and welcomes attendees to check out your offering. Studies conducted by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research show that trade show attendees typically devote only 3 to 5 seconds of attention to your booth. Trade show graphics, therefore, need to be eye-catching, while either communicating the value of your positioning (if you’re a new or less recognizable brand) or encouraging brand recognition (if you’re a large, established brand). Once a qualified graphic designer has been commissioned for the job of creating your trade show graphics, a commitment to high-impact messaging becomes the name of the game. The following sections outline a few of the considerations that exhibitors should think about before a show:

Trade Show Graphics: Best Practices

Integrating text with graphics

Most exhibitors have marketing collateral that deliver a branded message to attendees (brochures, pamphlets, swag, etc.). But you must attract people to your booth first! Prominently displaying your brand’s logo and tagline will, at the very least, establish your brand’s presence at the trade show. It is imperative that your trade show graphics are consistent with your logo’s font and color(s), or your brand’s look and feel more widely. Because trade show venues can be overcrowded with attendees, any key text should ideally be at eye-level, or your messaging can get lost in the hustle and bustle of the trade show floor. If you’re a smaller company, or you’re a newcomer trying to build your brand, remember that it’s going to be difficult for attendees to understand what you can offer them unless you tell them! A tagline or slogan communicating your brand’s positioning or your offering should also be included on your graphics.

Repurposing existing media into trade show graphics

Most brands that exhibit at trade shows already have graphics used in marketing materials. Repurposing this content for your trade show booth is always an option, especially if you’re looking to invest in simple custom banners or other portable display options. Using existing media for a trade show booth does present some hurdles, however. Enlarging an image can distort and pixelate it. If the graphics do not look right after being enlarged, you’ll be left having to spend more money to have everything redone correctly. Always make sure that you’re using vector files, which do not lose quality when resized.

Becoming familiar with your trade show booth construction

The construction of a booth will also dictate the design of your trade show graphics. Panel breaks, monitor placement, and other design elements affect the positioning of your graphics. Embracing a booth’s structure as inspiration integral to your graphic design will demonstrate a high level of creativity to attendees. Also, learning how your booth comes together before arriving on the show floor is an absolute necessity.

Integrating audiovisual elements

New technologies are allowing exhibitors to get even more creative with their trade show graphics. Brands are experimenting not only with printed graphics, but also digital graphics. They’re utilizing interactive kiosk experiences, LED screens, video walls, and even virtual reality technology to create branded experiences and environments. In essence, quality trade show graphics can make or break a trade show. Creating a look and feel for your booth that informs attendees of your offering, encourages interest, and qualifies both visitors is a necessity for trade show success.