trade show booth tips

September 8, 2016

Trade Show Tips for More Powerful Booth Design

Tony Treadway

Creating a powerful trade show property combines architecture, graphic design and deep insight into your target audience. From a 10-foot pop-up to a massive structure, our first tip is to build in flexibility and longevity to your property.

1. Optimize the cost of a customized design for a large property.

Build in flexibility that will enable you to re-skin specific messaging while maintaining key branding elements for the majority of the property. For example, the property might be used at a variety of shows where the message might change. For one client, we’ve created mix and match components, allowing low-cost tweaking of the message. For this client, the property will include an enclosed space for preparing food out of sight from the audience but within 10 feet of a serving area. For shows where hot food won’t be sampled, the cooking area can be replaced by shelving for displaying products as in a retail environment.

2. Creating WOW that invites engagement is key.

Often, booth design discourages visitors from stepping into the selling space. Eliminate barriers, such as perimeter tables or rails, and encourage entry into your space from more than one direction. Use a unique architectural design and powerful graphics that speak to your target customers’ interests and your selling position. For one client, a giant tomato that is dramatically lit will serve as a beacon to drive traffic in an island booth configuration. For an in-line configuration, the giant tomato is halved, then set against a backdrop that integrates the dimensional tomato into a backdrop of fresh tomatoes on the vine.

3. Use video smartly to support your message.

The advent of low-cost flat screens and hi-definition video can be a key driver of engagement. Use vibrant, but complementary background colors in a video that creates movement. Show product demonstrations, moving graphics and brief text that will catch the eye and broaden messaging even if the target simply walks past your booth. Don’t count on audio for your video, just visuals.

4. Remember to incorporate plenty of hidden storage in your design.

Nothing is worse than clutter when your booth is a reflection of your brand. Thus, incorporate plenty of hidden storage spaces for extra product for sampling, literature, coats, roller bags and even bottled water for your booth team.

5. Make a visit to your space memorable.

You know that most collateral or swag a visitor picks up at your booth is thrown away, so make your engagement memorable. Encourage a “selfie” experience and prompt the visitor to share the photo online. Incorporate a game offering a perceived high-value reward. A winning booth strategy will create a lasting memory of the brief booth experience that your target will remember.

Remember these tried and tested tips for getting the most from your investment in a booth property and you won’t be disappointed.

Tony Treadway


President & CEO

Regarded in the advertising and PR industry as a top strategist, Tony is considered one of the most respected marketing minds in the business, especially in the $600 billion foodservice industry. As president, he leads Creative Energy in serving a variety of regional and national accounts in the textile, hardware, building materials, electronics, nuclear power and health care markets.