The 3 Basic Rules Of Trade Show Exhibit Design

 By Chris A. Harmen, writer, Skyline

Whether you're creating your first trade show displays or have produced many successful shows in the past, you can always benefit from reviewing the basics. Although convention design certainly requires a lot of creativity and talent to be successful, there are a few basic ground rules that always seem to apply. These rules are the basics, and all other design principles flow from them.

Rule #1: Always Put the Product First
This is one of the most basic rules, yet it's surprisingly easy to forget when you're in the middle of design. Putting the product first means ensuring that the product is the first thing people see when your trade show booths come into view. In many cases, designers allow the product to be obscured by walls of text or irrelevant photographs. They always have good intentions and are attempting to keep the focus on the product, but their well-meaning creations often end up drawing attention away from what matters most.

During the creative process, always take time to step back and consider whether you're detracting from what you're selling. You should be able to look at your trade show booths and pick your item out immediately, with little doubt about what's being promoted. If necessary, ask some co-workers who haven't seen the trade show displays yet to offer their opinion. Ask them what is most prominent from their point of view, and if they don't immediately point to the product, consider revising your design.

Rule #2: Don't Overwhelm With Text
Even if your text is completely targeted, a big block of letters can be off-putting to visitors. You can write all you want in brochures, but make sure you're leaving plenty of empty space. Too much text makes people feel like they can't understand what you're presenting. It can distract from even the most clearly presented message. Try to limit yourself to a few lines of text in any given area of the board, and make sure the text you do have is spread out. Even if you're keeping things separate, it's worthwhile to step back and look at what you have thus far. It's not uncommon for words to congregate near one another, even if you're attempting to keep them apart.

Rule #3: Always Make Sure Information Is Available
You don't want to include too much info on the actual trade show exhibit, but that doesn't mean you should be unprepared for visitors who will want to know more. Instead of putting too many words on the actual trade show displays, offer brochures, handouts, and flyers to anyone who wants them. When prominently featured in trade show booths, handouts are far more effective than anything you can print on the actual stand. First, brochures are able to be taken away from the convention and considered further in the comfort of the visitor's home. They stay with people long after the event, continuing to market your product. They also act like a business card, helping anyone who wants to connect with your company get in contact. In addition, having a large stock of flyers on hand allows you to furnish enough that one visitor could pass them out to friends or colleagues who might not have attended the actual convention.

These rules are guidelines, basics that hold true in almost any situation. You'll want to adapt them as you learn more about a particular industry, and perhaps even as you learn about a particular exhibition that you attend each year. Although there may be value in customizing them, one thing never changes: Building a trade show exhibit with these rules in mind will always lead to a positive outcome.

---Source: Ezine Articles ( Chris Harmen writes for Skyline, the Toledo trade show booths experts.

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