The 4 S’s of Trade Show Booth Design

Many different aspects go in to planning and preparing for a trade show. Exhibitors typically begin planning months in advance, accounting for things such as registration, travel, booth design, collateral and marketing materials. Preparation is key in order to assure that nothing is forgotten or left behind.

One of the most important pieces of planning, and often the most time consuming, is the actual booth design and layout. What will your booth look like? What is the message you want to convey? These are very important questions that you don’t want to leave until the last moment. If you do not have a unique and well-designed booth that engages attendees, the rest of your efforts likely won’t matter. An advertisement for ExhibitorLIVE says it best,

“Principles of exhibiting #1: You cannot sell a buyer who doesn’t stop walking.”

So how do you connect with the right attendees and attract them to your booth? Excellent trade show booth design, of course! Here are the 4 S’s of trade show booth design to keep in mind when planning for your next trade show:

  • Structure

The first thing to consider when beginning your booth design process is the structure. There are so many different structures to choose from – some options include pop up frames, banners, fabric displays, and customizable units. You can either purchase or rent your booth structure, depending on which is better suited for your needs. It’s important to take into consideration the size of your exhibit space. Certain structures will be more conducive to certain spaces. You don’t want to end up with a booth that is too small or large for your designated area. When considering structure, you have to think ahead as to how you will display your products or services. Do you need shelves, storage, or media screens? You also need to consider the depth of the booth. For example, most booth spaces are 10′ x 10′ but at Expo East, they are 8′ by 10′ so you lose two feet in depth. If your structure is convex this can cause some space issues. We recommend reaching out to a trade show exhibit specialist who can help guide you in the right direction.

  • Stand out graphics

Once you determine the structure and size of your booth, stand out graphics will help to attract and engage trade show attendees. You want to design a booth that is clear and organized, but also exciting and different. Depending on the nature of your business, it may be appropriate to use mostly imagery, text, or charts and graphs. What is going to clearly communicate who you are, and what you do? The booth messaging needs to be very direct; you don’t want to confuse or overwhelm attendees with paragraphs of text. When it comes down to it, there are rows and rows of booths at any given trade show. What would stand out and make an impression to you? We have found that simple and bold is actually more effective at stopping the eye on a show floor. Don’t feel that you have to tell the attendeeseverything through the booth. Give them enough information to make them stop and want to learn more. Whatever direction you choose to go, be sure to keep your branding consistent throughout the design.

  • Storage

Storage is one of the most overlooked aspects of trade show booth design! Having appropriate storage space is crucial to having a fantastic booth. Without storage, booth staffers will have nowhere to put their belongings, and there won’t be any room for your extra marketing materials, products, or samples. You will have to store your things in plain sight, which makes for a very messy and overcrowded booth. Incorporate storage into your design from the beginning that is both functional and attractive. A few storage options are lockers, bins, tables, drawers, shelving units, and chairs or stools with inner storage space. These things can be integrated seamlessly with your design and can even enhance the appearance of your booth.

  • Sampling/SWAG

Lastly, if you will be participating in any sampling of product or giveaways, make sure to account for that in your booth design. For example, if you sell a food product and want to give out samples, you need to have a designated area or station to prepare and serve the food. Your serving station must also comply with the health rules and regulations of the trade show. On a similar note, if you are planning to give away any marketing materials or fun trinkets, give yourself room to do so. Plan ahead in your booth design to include tables and other flat surfaces to place your give away items where people will see them.

What other tips do you have when it comes to designing a trade show booth? Have you learned any significant lessons over the years of exhibiting or attending trade shows? In your opinion, what booth features stand out to you the most? Share your feedback in the comments below!