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Successful Exhibition Stand Design

Posted By:

XL Displays


17 January 2023

Reading Time:

16 Mins

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Exhibition Stands

Successful Exhibition Stand Design

Businesses attend exhibitions and trade shows for a variety of different reasons, but no matter why you choose to exhibit, your ultimate goal will always be for your booth and your business to stand out from the crowd. Many factors contribute to success at a show, everything from experienced staff to innovative products - but the design of your stand exhibit is absolutely the most eye-catching asset at your disposal. Creating an effective stand layout design is a must. Effective exhibition stand design not only includes the actual printed design but also encompasses everything else about your booth; such as the layout, accessories and interactive technologies such as iPads.

Read on for our 7 steps to exhibiting successfully at a trade show.

1. Start With a Plan

Long before you show up at the trade show with your stand products - or even before you begin designing the layout - you need to finalise your marketing plan. Ideally, this should be done at least six months before the event, to give you, your business, employees and suppliers plenty of time to prepare and work out any problems or issues. 

In your marketing plan, you should define clear objectives, also known as KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for the show to help you measure your success. These might include:

  • Generating leads
  • Promoting a new product
  • Collecting customer data
  • Brand awareness
  • Social media followers/engagement
  • Market research

Solidifying a plan beforehand helps you to build a creative stand design that supports your KPIs and marketing messages. For example, if lead generation is your primary objective, you would choose a design that incorporates in-depth information to educate potential customers. If product promotion is your aim, then you would choose large, vibrant product images showing key details to draw the focus of attendees towards your exhibit.

2. Think About Your Target Audience

If you want to engage new customers or make sales, then you simply must put your target audience at the forefront of your design process. During the initial planning stages, as well as deciding on your KPIs, you should have defined who your target audience is and created a reference profile. You should always keep this in mind when it comes to the design stages of your exhibition stand as you want your stand to appeal to that group of people as much as possible.

An example of this may be that if your target audience is younger, the use of technology and social media will be key in engaging them. Older audiences, however, may prefer more traditional paper leaflets or face-to-face conversations.

3. Engage Your Visitors

When it comes to marketing displays, you should familiarise yourself with the 3-30-3 rule:

  • 3 seconds - The visual familiarisation with a display takes place in the first 3 seconds. 
  • 30 seconds - If interest is piqued in the first 3 seconds, the initial viewing of the display lasts 30 seconds.
  • 3 minutes - A display which grabs - and keeps - the attention of visitors will be viewed for up to 3 minutes (this can often be longer in cases of interactive displays). 

This research suggests that you have around 3 seconds to grab the attention of passers-by at a trade show or exhibition. As a result, the graphics that work best often include very little text - instead they feature bright, vivid and eye-catching high-resolution images. Any text should be large enough to read from a short distance away. You want your stand to be easy to take in, and memorable, at the same time.

Once you’ve attracted the interest of your potential customers, then engaging them is the key to getting your message across. This is where interactive accessories come into play on trade show stands; while static displays can only hold attention for so long, interactive activities keep people focused on your stand area for longer, allowing your messaging to sink in and increasing exposure time to your products. Remember; the more time a visitor spends at your stand, the more likely they are to convert into a customer.

7m Fabric Exhibition Stand Pop Up Display Wall

7m Fabric Exhibition Stand Pop Up Display Wall

6m X 3m L-Shaped Pop Up Exhibition Stand Backwall

6m X 3m L-Shaped Pop Up Exhibition Stand Backwall

Integra® Exhibition Stand 6m x 3m Corner Kit 23

Integra® Exhibition Stand 6m x 3m Corner Kit 23

4. Be Consistent

One of the first things you do when you start a business is think about your brand and what it represents. This ‘brand identity’ influences all your marketing decisions, from artwork to attitude - and it should be taken into consideration when designing an event stand, too. 

For example, if your business sells handmade organic products, then choosing a metallic, futuristic-style stand is not representative of your brand, and is likely to confuse your customers. Choosing a stand made from more natural materials, or products with eco-credentials, is much more on-brand.

Your trade show stand should offer an experience that is an extension of your brand, creating an immersive environment that will entertain, inform and engage your audience.

5. Browse For Ideas 

Once you have your marketing plan in place and have decided on your KPIs, you’ll be able to start thinking about how you can use your stand layout to best effect. Within our range of exhibition stands, there are a wide range of different styles and shapes to choose from, each serving different purposes. Exhibition stand designs can be broken down into the following main categories:

Portable Exhibition Stands

Portable, pop-up exhibition stands are our most popular kind of exhibition display. They are constructed with a series of lightweight, scissor action, connected lattice aluminium frames which are easy to transport and assemble but are sturdy and durable. The personalised graphics are hung off the mag bars at the top of the frame for an easy display solution that can be installed by one person within a few minutes. They are a flexible choice for trade show stands as you can order a number of different fabric graphics so you can re-use the same equipment for different events.

Top Tips for Designing a Portable Display Stand:

  • Download the artwork specification of the correct size from our website
  • Use images in the highest resolution you have available
  • Keep any text to a minimum 

Modular Exhibition Stands

A modular exhibition stand is made up of a number of different sections. For example, your modular display might include several pop-up stands connected together into an eye-catching confiruation; it might include the addition of an inflatable tent, or even illuminated graphic panels. Modular stands can also include different structures, such as backdrops, arches, or hanging displays. Investing in a modular exhibition stand is a great way to set up an interesting display that’s easy to assemble and dismantle and that can be easily updated or adapted for future events as needed.

Top Tips for Designing a Modular Display Stand:

  • Choose a design you can easily reconfigure for a cost-effective design that can be reused 
  • Text should again be kept to a minimum with use of large imagery
  • Only high-resolution images should be used

Bespoke Exhibition Stands

If you have exacting specifications for your event stand, then a bespoke design is the way to go. With a bespoke set-up, you can let your creativity run wild, as almost anything you could imagine for your stand can be created with a bespoke solution. However, as these designs are often created for specific spaces, they aren’t interchangeable and reusable in the same way as modular or portable stands. Very often, businesses will choose a bespoke stand for a one-off, high-value event.. 

Top Tips for Designing a Bespoke Display Stand:

  • Consider the installation process; complicated designs are time-consuming and expensive to construct
  • Using coordinating colours and designs supports and enhances the visibility of your branding 
  • Think about using high-level branding to draw customers to your stand
  • Only use high resolution images
6. Make The Most of Accessories

The first, and most important accessory that you need to consider when planning a successful exhibition stand design is lighting. No matter what style of stand you choose, how you illuminate them can make the difference between whether people notice you or not. You can spend money on the most visually appealing and detailed display imaginable, but if it’s not correctly lit, nobody will see your hard work.

Technological accessories are another important addition to a modern exhibition stand. Engaging visitors through games, apps or quizzes on ipads located around your stand ensures potential customers spend more time in and around your stand, absorbing your brand messaging. Plus, the use of these kinds of technologies is important for engaging the younger generations.

7. Get Expert Advice

Particularly if you’re new to the exhibition/trade show world, seeking the right advice can make a huge difference when it comes to designing an eye-catching and effective stand. With so many different stand formats, shapes, sizes and designs to choose from, it can be hard to know where to begin. 

At XL Displays, we have more than 20 years’ experience in the events and exhibitions industry, so our team are some of the best people in the country to seek advice from when planning your stand. After you’ve browsed our range of exhibition stands and have an idea of what you want your layout to look like, if you’re still not 100% sure which products will work best, we are more than happy to help.

Floor plans are a free service we offer in which we will create a top-down view of your exhibition stand with all the features laid out in the most effective manner, this includes everything from the stand itself to the accessories and furniture. For this service you need to provide us with the size of your exhibition space as well as the budget for the exhibition stand, this allows us to create the most effective exhibition stand possible in your price range. 

Once you’ve designed your layout and chosen your products, it’s time to focus on the graphics. If you don’t already have your own bespoke artwork, our Graphic Design Team is available to work closely with you to create a stand design that captures your brand image. Firstly, you’ll need to send over a design brief, and you’ll be allocated your own personal project designer, who will contact you directly to discuss the project further. The designer will then be able to give you an estimated time scale for your requirements.

The next stage is where your designer will create a concept for your artwork, according to your brief and guidelines. Once a draft has been completed an artwork proof will be sent to you; you then have the opportunity to make any changes to the design. This step allows us to ensure the end result always exceeds your expectations.

The final step sees you sign off the final proof, which will then be sent to print at our state-of-the-art facility here in the UK. We print and manufacture all of our pop up stands, banner stands and table cloths in house which gives us full control over the quality of each printed product. Then, before we send your final products out to you, we always pre-assemble them and check them over to guarantee the final product is finished to the highest standard.

As an alternative to purchasing your own stands, you can instead hire an exhibition stand using our market-leading stand hire service. With 39 pre-configured stands available through the service, you’ll get a dedicated project manager to manage the process, including the completion of technical drawings, 3D renders and amendments, the handling of risk assessment and method statements (RAMS), the delivery of the stand to the venue and the contracted installation, dismantling and removal of the stand. Included in your stand hire is the rental of all structural elements e.g. walls, arches and roof panels, full colour, high definition personalised graphics, raised flooring with a choice of vinyl or carpet, cable management and lighting fixtures and exhibition accessories e.g. TV screens, shelves & furniture. All you need to do is turn up and the event! 

We hope these tips help you to design an effective exhibition stand for your next trade show. For more information or to discuss any of the tips from this article, please contact us or call our team on 01733 511030.