Impactful Trade Show Booths

6 Tips for Designing More Impactful Trade Show Booths

Most of us know how important first impressions are. We like to think that we don’t judge a book by its cover or a person by what they are wearing or how they appear, but it is second nature.

Studies show that your first impression has a high correlation with the actual long-term status of your relationship. There’s not much time for you to spare on your initial presentation either. Not surprisingly, we see similar results when someone’s first impression is of a brand.

Anyone who’s attended a trade show can tell you that they are essentially competitions for limited amounts of attention. The design of your trade show exhibit speaks volumes about your company and serves as the foundation for your trade show marketing success. A well-designed exhibit will attract visitors, support your goals, reflect the identity of your brand and leave a lasting impression on visitors. The overall goal of your trade show booth graphics is to attract the right attendees to your booth with a brief and bold statement.

1. Use clear, eye-catching copy to qualify booth traffic.
Simple is key. It’s best if your intended customers can interpret your message within three seconds. Keep it honest, and don’t make it too abstract. If you’re a young brand, your brand name can be secondary to the tagline, as it will ultimately be more effective in drawing people to your booth. Focus on having a clear statement about your company; you’ll find that the people entering your booth are actually interested in your brand/products.

2. Choose one main thing attendees should remember.
Are you launching a new product? Do you have a new way for the attendees to interact with your company? What do you want attendees to remember after the show when they think of your booth? Each show may have a different target audience, so be sure to cater to them!

3. Use a limited number of static images.
Apart from your logo, make sure any image you use is impactful! If an attendee only looks at your booth for their five-second first impression, are your images really showing them anything that makes your company stand out? Static images are better suited for sales pieces and brochures explaining the actual product.

4. Use a limited number of bright colors.
Try to keep your color palette limited to three bright colors. Again, the focus is on getting a simple message across in the least amount of time. Using a lot of different colors can make the booth feel “busy” and confuse the main message.

5. Respect empty space.
The overall rule of thumb for booth design graphics is that they should be 40% empty space. That’s right––almost half of your graphics space should be totally blank. That’s because what your message doesn’t say is just as important as what it does say. Remember, you only get one shot at being memorable. Don’t clutter your booth with extra information that doesn’t impact the bottom line.

6. Make your text legible.
Sans-serif fonts like Helvetica are generally considered to be the most easily read. Of course, your brand’s style guide will dictate some of these font decisions, but remember not to use more than two or three different fonts at the same time. As for size, add an inch of height to the font for every foot away that viewers will stand. If you want visitors to read your text comfortably from 10 feet away, for example, add 10 inches to the font size.

RGI recently designed General Cable’s trade show booth for the annual BICSI Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. Note how GenSPEED, General Cable’s featured product brand, is prominently displayed, while additional copy below draws attendees in to learn more. To highlight GenSPEED’s improvements at this particular trade show, RGI introduced a blue to the normally green General Cable brand arcs. We also emphasized simplicity by using negative space, which allowed the product to stand out more. Once again, General Cable provided RGI with positive feedback thanks to significant attendee interaction.

RGI has over 25 years of experience planning, designing and implementing marketing programs for our clients. Our experience allows us to build successful campaigns that deliver measurable results. Experience the RGI difference! Call 513-221-2121 or email

    By Amy Hiltibrand, Account Manager, RGI

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