Designing your booth for an upcoming trade show? Use these tips to get started:
1. Make your booth setup modular. This will serve you well, since not all booth spaces are equal. If your booth can easily transition to an inline or corner space, and make allowances for a space that may be few inches smaller than expected due to outlets, pipe and drape poles, etc., it will save a lot of aggravation at the show. Modular sections can also be easier to handle and transport.
2. Make it lightweight enough to handle. Whether you are taking your booth in your vehicle or shipping, controlling the weight will make your job easier. Check out this article for more tips on lightweight booth structures.
3. Keep your booth uncluttered. Give some breathing space to your art so that booth visitors can see it clearly, without too much distraction. Then plan your merchandising carefully. You may want to create groupings of different collections, or even suggested orders in a single display so that retailers can envision your line in their stores.
4. Make sure your lighting is sufficient. Proper lighting is a huge factor in successfully exhibiting your work at a trade show. A dark booth that isn’t lit correctly lacks impact and does not invite buyers to step inside.
5. Keep it safe and sturdy. Walls and displays should be well-anchored and not present any type of tripping hazard or become unstable. Use three-prong plugs for outlets.
6. Use flame-retardant booth materials. This is a requirement by fire marshals for indoor booths, and many facilities even require that you have a Certificate of Fire Retardancy in your possession.
7. Colors matter. Use colors in your booth design that provide an appropriate backdrop for your work, and also reflect your brand. Check out our Trade Show Booth Superstars for some good examples.
8. Keep your booth entrance customer-friendly. Small booth entrances tend to turn off buyers, who don’t want to feel “trapped” when they enter. Don’t block this space – leave it open and inviting.
9. Use signage that draws buyers in. Large photos of your work, your company name, logo and slogan can all be used to draw interest. Consider placing signage on the side walls of your booth near the front entrance, so they can be easily seen by show attendees walking in the aisle.
10. Preview your booth. Set your entire booth up in your home or studio before you get on the road, to make sure it is both functional and visually appealing. This will give you the opportunity to work with your space, plan your merchandising, and even take a booth photo under controlled circumstances where you can adjust the lighting to best effect.
The Arts Business Institute offers an excellent CD titled “Booth Design & Merchandising” by faculty member Bruce Baker, which we highly recommend.