How to Create an Effective Trade Show Display

Start With the Right Trade Show Graphics for Your Trade Show Display

Large trade show display showing company name and attendees around several computers

J-C&D. Pratt / Getty Images

Advances in technology have made it easier to create your own trade show graphics. However, it’s easy to get lost in the technology and lose sight of the basics. When it comes to creating a trade show display, your images and messages should be simple and your layouts clean.

There are five basic elements that every trade show display should include. Using these elements will help to create an effective trade show display and draw attendees to your booth space.

  1. Visual
  2. Headline
  3. Description
  4. Company name & Logo
  5. Website

Select Your Trade Show Graphics Carefully

Simple, bold and clear images are the most effective in creating a memorable canvas for your selling story. Ornate, involved, mysterious, and confusing art and graphics may be great to look at but can be distracting and much less effective as a backdrop for your trade show message.

If possible, select simple single images. You may want to use many images to tell a complicated story, but often, a single simple image will serve you just as well.

If you are in the market for trade show graphics, many services offer simple searches and reasonably priced photos and illustrations to create trade show display graphics.

Create a Simple and Easy to Remember Headline

Choose your words carefully, and keep the headline for your trade show display simple, clear and short!

Most people who did not plan to visit you at the show will walk past your booth. They may, at best, give your display a passing glance. This, believe it or not, is often your only chance to grab them. If your trade show display has a carefully thought out and compelling headline, they may choose to take an extra moment and learn a little more about your company.

The shorter your headline, the larger it can appear on your trade show display. The larger it is on your trade show display, the further your display can reach into the trade show traffic. Even a small tabletop display with a short bold message can be seen from several yards away.

Your choice of typeface is also important. With thousands to choose from, the task of selecting the right one can seem daunting. Choose a simple and easy to read typeface. Next time you’re at a trade show, take notice of the displays produced by large companies. Not necessarily large booths, but even table top displays produced by large and successful companies consistently use simple bold graphics. You can and should do the same.

Be Careful When Writing Your Description

We know it's tempting to write a description for your trade show display that explains everything you want your customer to know about your product or service but don’t!

As much as you would like them to, most trade show attendees will not want to spend much time reading about your company. If the headline and graphic of your trade show display captured their attention, they may want to read a sentence or two at most. Keep your sentences short and choppy. Make each word count.

When writing your description, use bullet points and keep your messages short. Don’t get too technical and overwhelm the attendees. And remember, less is more!

If you have access to a copywriter, use one. If not, ask a friend, a school teacher, and/or someone not connected to your business to review your trade show display description. You will be amazed how at how much you can learn.

The key to creating an effective trade show display, whether a floor display or a tabletop display, is simple images and messages and a clean layout, as Alex explained earlier in this article.

Make the Company Name Prominent

It’s amazing how many trade show displays seem to hide their company name. You pay a lot of money to exhibit. Take a little extra effort and make certain your company’s name is easy for all to see.

Place the company name in the header portion of your trade show display, as most trade show visitors will expect to find it there.

As for a company logo, if you don’t have one, we suggest that you create one. It is your opportunity to create an impression. It makes you look established. Business Logos - Get Your Logo Working and Branding Basics - 7 Logo Design Tips provide more details.

Feature Your Website and Social Media Address

Probably the single most important message in your whole trade show display is your website address. This is because if the show attendee saw something at your booth that interests them, they can copy your website address, even at a distance, and visit it at their leisure.

If you don’t already have a website, get one. You should also implement a social media plan. Try to select a website name that is both meaningful to your business and one that is easy to remember.

Follow the basic elements outlined above to make any tabletop display or floor display more effective at your next trade show.