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Tips For Designing Trade Show Graphics

Mar 13, 2008
If you have ever attended a trade show, you know that many companies struggle with designing graphics that represent their company well. Even large, nationally recognized corporations make glaring mistakes in their graphic design that could have easily been prevented with a better understanding of the trade show environment. By collecting information from designers experienced in working with trade show graphics, we have compiled a number of tips that we believe are crucial to a successful graphic design.

1- Less is more in the world of trade show graphics. Many designers seem to think that they are designing a museum exhibit, because the entire display is filled with small text and bullet points. You only have three seconds to grab the attention of attendees and visitors at a trade show, and a large graphic full of tiny text is the last thing you want. We have found that large, boldly colored images that relate directly to the brand identity of your company will not only increase your visibility at the trade show, but increase the return on your investment. If you are designing graphics to promote a company that sells orange juice, you would do much better by using a large image of a fresh orange than by writing bullet points about the advantages of purchasing your brand of orange juice.

2- Do not sacrifice a professional image in order to market a smaller facet of your company. At a trade show, you are marketing your brand, not your products. Unless you offer a cutting edge product, visitors to your booth will not be impressed by what you sell. If you design simple but professional trade show graphics that focus on the feel of your company, you are much more likely to leave a lasting impact on attendees by raising the profile of your company brand. The biggest motivating factor that changes potential customers into loyal clients is the perception that your company is professional and legitimate.

3- Maintain a consistent scheme with all of your marketing material. Your large format trade show graphics should be closely tied in with the literature and giveaways you are handing out, as well as any pre-show mailers you have sent. Your trade show graphics should also work with your company website, letterhead, and business cards. In other words, your trade show marketing campaign needs to be a part of a much larger approach that is well planned and consistent. This will help you to appear legitimate and professional to your potential clients, which will help to earn business for your company. If your trade show graphics are well designed and make a big impact at your show, visitors will be disappointed if they are pointed to a poorly designed, outdated website.

Many companies that sell trade show displays offer graphic design, usually at a cost of roughly $100 per hour. There are a few companies that offer free trade show graphic design with the purchase of a trade show display or banner stand, which can be a great way to save money and time. Companies that sell exhibits usually staff designers that specialize in large format graphic design and printing, which means that they know exactly what types of design works well in a trade show environment. The expertise of a professional can drastically increase the return on your investment without adding too much upfront cost.
About the Author
Andy Keeler is the owner of MODdisplays. They specialize in trade show displays and exhibit graphics at and their trade show booths are environmentally friendly. MODDisplays can be found online at: http://www.moddisplays.com
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