How Not To Design A Trade Show Display: Mistakes You Need To Avoid
Designing a trade show display can be a difficult process, particularly for the novice designer. These tips will help you avoid some of the most common and costly trade show booth design mistakes.
Mistake #1: Too Much Text
People do not like to read a wall of text. They want you to communicate with them using images rather than focusing exclusively on words. There is no particular rule of thumb that should be followed, but most designers try to keep 60% of their trade show display space utilized by photos and graphics and no more than 40% as text area. Many will shoot for fewer words and more whitespace.
Mistake #2: The Crammed Trade Show Display
As touched on above, whitespace is a particularly vital element of any exhibit. It doesn't necessarily have to be white (it could be colored, or possibly even have a gradient), but that negative space without text or images is really crucial. When you have empty space, it becomes easier to understand what you're trying to emphasize. There is a break for the eyes of your visitors, rather than a constant stream of images and words. Without whitespace, it's easy for people to become overwhelmed, and they may actually be driven away from your booth.
Mistake #3: Lack Of Literature
Don't try to put all the information you want visitors to see on the actual trade show booth itself. It may seem counterintuitive, but having something to hand out is a benefit. Many designers believe that these handouts simply end up in the trash, with nobody really paying attention to them. The truth couldn't be more different. Many visitors will specifically collect handouts and other information from every unit that they see, putting it together in a folder to review later. Once they return to the hotel or head back to their company, they're able to remember each trade show stand in great detail because of the literature they received.
Mistake #4: Understaffing Your Display
Having the right number of people available to answer questions and pass out literature is vital. While the staff isn't a direct element of the design itself, it's an extension of it, and almost always an obstacle to overcome for first-time exhibitors. The perfect number of staff members will depend on many things, including how much space you have, how many visitors you are expecting, and whether you are expecting to actually sell at the convention or not. The more merchandise that you need to track, the more staff you need. At the same time, the smaller your space, the fewer staff you should employ. It's a balancing act, and thinking it out ahead of time goes a long way toward getting it right.
Mistake #5: Being Overwhelmed By The Task
With preparation and awareness, nobody needs to be overwhelmed by designing a trade show stand. Just remember to think everything out in advance and to avoid the pitfalls mentioned above. If you have any major concerns, don't hesitate to consult with a professional. With effort and experience, you'll soon be an expert as well.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris Harmen writes for Skyline, a leading Houston trade show display design company. Skyline has helped many companies create a trade show booth in Houston, even on a tight budget.