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Booth Design Ideas to Help Your Business Stand Out at Trade Shows

Signs are often referred to as the “silent salespeople” of businesses. They help advertise, show potential customers the business’s location and demonstrate what the brand is all about — and they do it 24 hours a day if need be, without complaint or exhaustion. At a trade show, where different booths, colors and graphics compete for visitors’ attention, attractive, quality trade show booth signage is even more critical for helping a company stand out.

According to one study, 34 percent of potential customers judge a business and its product quality by its signs. When you’re at a trade show, the signs at your booth have a direct impact on how trade show visitors perceive your company and what it has to offer.

Trade show success is critical for business. According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), 93 percent or more of trade show exhibitors find their booths essential for engaging with existing customers, finding new leads and conducting brand or company promotions.

Fortunately, we’ve created this guide to show you how to make your trade show booth stand out with signs, featuring some of our best trade show ideas.

What Are Some Graphics Ideas for Trade Show Booths?

At your trade show booth, you’ll likely want a variety of two-dimensional graphics. Here are some ideas to help you get started on your trade show displays:

1. Have One Focal Message

Graphics are wonderful tools for your trade show booth, but remember to use them judiciously. Choose one main message to emphasize for any particular show — you can always switch it up later. If you want to leave a lasting impact among all the sights and sounds of a busy trade show, your goal should be to communicate as much as you can in the shortest amount of time.

If you’re launching an exciting new product or service, you’ll likely want to focus on that. If you’re rebranding, you’ll want to focus on the aspects of your business that are new and improved. If your goal is to attract new customers, focus on our business’s best qualities, such as its reliability or fun vibe.

2. Be Clear and Concise

clear and concise trade show signs

Visitors to a trade show often have minimal attention to spare. Colorful booths, attractive signs and enticing messages bombard them at every turn, so you’ll have to grab their attention quickly before they go elsewhere. Ideally, your booth graphics should display a short catchphrase that visitors can grasp at a glance. Keeping your message brief and pointed lets your visitors know what you’re about and helps you engage with them right away.

3. Try Colorful Printed Graphics to Pack a Punch

For trade show booth graphics, colorful printed signs and banners make a big impression ⁠— and that’s exactly what you need to do to stand out among the auditory and visual ruckus of all the other impressive booths at a trade show. If you have a new product — or an old product that’s a fan favorite — printed graphics are a great way to show it off to potential customers.

Just remember to keep your trade show banner design and message simple, so you don’t overwhelm your visitors with more information or imagery than they can take in.

4. Make Good Use of Your Booth’s Back Wall

Stand-alone signs and banners make excellent choices for trade shows, but remember to make use of your booth’s back wall as well. The back wall is the focal point of your booth, acting as a trade show backdrop. When visitors come up to engage with you, it represents the biggest and most important visual they’ll see.

Use a large graphic on your back wall to promote a limited-time deal or new offer, or use that space to lay out exactly what benefits your product can offer to your potential customers. If there’s a single point you want your visitors to keep in mind after they walk away, use your back wall to emphasize it.

5. Curate Your Images Judiciously

At a trade show, it’s tempting to plaster your booth with an array of images so you can show off all your best features. But a few images, wisely chosen, often have a much more powerful effect than a scattered collage. Select a few images that best represent what your company or new product is about, and let them do the work for you.

6. Balance Your Signage With Empty Space

One excellent way to engage your booth’s visitors without overwhelming them is with empty space. Leaving some neutral space around your graphics and images gives visitors’ eyes a place to rest and respond. It also helps emphasize your most important messages by allowing them to stand apart in their own space.

7. Moderate Your Use of Bold Colors

Bold colors in your trade booth signs and banners can work to a fantastic advantage, but using them judiciously is your best bet. It’s best not to throw too much at visitors who have a limited amount of time and visual attention for your booth. Try sticking to just two or three bright colors in your booth banner design to make a powerful impression without creating an overwhelming effect.

8. Make Sure Your Text Is Easy to Read

The text of your signs may provide brilliant, informative, fascinating information — but your visitors have to be able to read it easily. Cursive fonts are beautiful, but something more straightforward, like a plain sans serif font, will work best for a trade show. Make sure your signage uses legible fonts that are large enough for readers to take in at a glance.

Remember, curious visitors may be standing at some distance from your booth, so be sure your fonts are large enough to draw them in from afar. Be sure all your fonts are consistent, as well — a barrage of contrasting fonts is more confusing to readers than a uniform array.

9. Attract Attention With Tall, Eye-Catching Signs

To attract attention to your booth at a trade show, use height to your advantage. Invest in some skyward-soaring signs — perhaps flags or long banners — to help your message rise above the crowd.

When you’re considering your overall signage strategy, it can be helpful to break your audience down into three segments: those standing in your booth, those standing or walking just outside and those you need to pull in from farther away. The back wall graphics and other smaller signs can help catch the attention of those standing close to your booth — so use taller signs to catch the eye of the people farther away.

What Are Some Trade Show Booth Design Ideas?

While individual graphics are essential for your trade show booth to succeed, you also need to examine the design of your booth as a whole. To improve the overall design of your booth, consider the following ideas:

1. Offer Small Conveniences for a Memorable Impression

When visitors come to your booth, they want to check out your products — but they also want to find out what benefits you can offer them. Showcase your commitment to a great customer experience by offering unexpected conveniences in your booth. You could use a hotspot to provide complimentary Wi-Fi or set up a stand for visitors to use to charge their phones. Providing complimentary snacks or fun giveaway items can also help make a memorable impression.

2. Consider Your Booth Signs an Investment

It may be tempting to throw together some inexpensive signs for your next trade show. For a booth that will only be up for a few hours, why worry too much about quality? However, sign quality matters. Consider the return on investment your company will get from a high-quality, well-designed booth. You can spend a few bucks on your signage and blend in with all the others — or you can spend a little more and reap the rewards of turning heads and standing out.

3. Provide Interactive Elements

One study found that 59 percent of visitors to a trade show want to have an interactive experience at the booths they visit. Consider how you can use your signage to engage with visitors in this way — try engaging visitors with lighthearted quiz challenges or hands-on interaction with your products.

4. Coordinate Different Types of Visuals

Using a variety of coordinated signage elements can help enhance the visual appeal of your booth. For example, you could use the technology of message center signage alongside more traditional printed signs. You can also coordinate in color and style to give your booth a cohesive, professional appeal.

5. Use Lighting to Your Advantage

If your trade show takes place in a large convention hall, you may find yourself surrounded by harsh fluorescent lighting. Set a more cheerful, vibrant tone for your booth by using colored lighting to brighten things up. Or, use warm strings of white lights to create an intimate, cozy glow. You can also use lighting to highlight your most essential graphics — just be careful not to let your lighting decorations steal the show.

6. Complement Your Graphics With Finishing Touches on Your Booth

Your signage should be the centerpiece of your trade show booth design, but a few finishing touches can enhance its impact tremendously. Supportive lighting is one example, but you could also add small touches, like a free candy dish, exciting giveaway items, shelves to display your products or a table of promotional materials to hand out once your signage has drawn visitors in.

What Are the Different Types of Booth Signs for Trade Shows?

There are several different types of booth signs for trade shows. Knowing how to utilize each is the key to a successful booth. The most common types include:

  • Digital printing: Digitally printed signs are a perfect fit for trade show booths because of their versatility, engaging aesthetic appeal and convenience. The options for different colors and customization are virtually limitless, and quality digital printing is quick and convenient — and exceptionally cost-effective. At ISA Signs, we can even print illuminated graphics to help lend your booth an extra special glow with a backlit trade show display. Our trade show booth graphic design team can work with you to design digitally printed signs that will be the best fit for your booth.
  • Environmental graphics: Environmental graphics are useful for helping visitors engage with their surroundings through imagery and information. Some popular locations for environmental graphics include parks, outdoor memorials, sports stadiums and plazas, but you can use them in a trade show setting to connect to your neighborhood or city or to the show’s theme. If your trade show is about architectural design, you could use environmental graphics to showcase buildings your firm has designed around the city. Or, if the trade show features small businesses, you could use environmental graphics to depict how your business forms an integral part of the surrounding neighborhood culture.
  • Message centers: Message center signs help you draw in visitors using easy-to-read electronic text. Unlike a single static sign, digital signage can cycle through a variety of messages, giving your visitors new information to read as they browse your booth. Used in conjunction with the visual appeal of printed graphics, digital signage centers can help you drive home your main points to potential customers.
  • Vinyl graphics: Vinyl graphics are an excellent choice for trade show signage displays since they don’t take much space and are easy to stick on. Many businesses use these versatile stickers to brighten up their walls or windows, but you can affix them to the walls of your trade show booth as well.

Contact ISA Signs for All Your Trade Show Exhibit Needs

To make your business stand out among trade show exhibits, contact Integrated Sign Associates for help with trade show graphic design. We’re known for the quality and durability of our products — we use high-quality paints and other materials so our signs can last for years. If we make your trade booth signs, you’ll be able to reuse them again and again for years to come.

We want to be your one-stop-shop for all your booth and business signage, especially custom trade show displays. The experienced professionals on our team are happy to help you customize your trade show display graphics and other signs. We love to have personalized conversations with our customers — learning more about your business and services helps us figure out how best to help you achieve your goals with attractive signs.

Contact us today to learn more about trade show booth ideas and trade show signage displays. Fill out our online form, or give us a call at (619) 579-2229.