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Hey Good Lookin' – Top 5 Trade Show Design Best Practices

By Jeanine Norlin, Senior Marketing Manager, Modern Postcard

First dates, job interviews, meetings and trade shows — what do they all have common? The need to look your best. Your display at a trade show is your chance to make a great first impression with the attendees. An attention-getting booth design is essential for generating interest from the passers-by. In fact, recent studies reveal that visitors only peruse a display for 3 to 5 seconds before deciding to engage or move on. Whether it’s a table-top at a local networking mixer or the lollapalooza of shows for your industry, appearances matter. Here are 5 best tips for a well-designed display:

1.   Avoid Cluttered Displays
Your college dorm room bulletin board should not be inspiration for your trade show display. Keep the 3-to-5-second rule in mind to avoid busy artwork and paragraphs of content. The copy should be succinct and simply state who you are, what you do and the biggest pain point you solve for your customers. Your graphics can be eye-catching and creative, just be careful that your display doesn’t look like branded chaos.

For custom marketing collateral that complements your booth design, check out some of Modern’s popular booklets, flyers, business cards and posters.



2.   Work With Professionals
Whether it's a graphic designer or an exhibit specialist, be sure you’re working with an experienced professional who understands the complexity and variety of large displays. Having a lot of space to work with may seem like it’s an easier task, but it’s typically the opposite. Booth displays are very finicky. Whether full-mural, fabric or any other multitude of options, you need high-quality graphics and proper specs to translate successfully in these large formats. Working with professionals will help you avoid the booth equivalent of showing up with egg on your face.

3.   Lighten Up
No two trade shows are alike, but there are some constants. The exhibit areas typically have very little natural light and are visually very busy with the array of exhibitors. Displays that are light and bright stand out like a breath of fresh air in a cheerless, gloomy hall. Stick with lighter background colors for your display. You’ll be glad you did.

4.   Upgrade Often
Far too often, I notice booths at trade shows that have clearly seen better days. If you exhibit at multiple shows, plan for the likely possibility that your display materials will get beat up over time. Not replacing damaged displays screams “I don’t care” to potential buyers at shows. Plan ahead and set aside budget money to update your booth.

5.   Invest Wisely
Booth display formats used to be very limited. Now there are a variety of options from which to choose. Aluminum structures with tension fabric, full mural pop-ups, pedestals, reception counters — the list is virtually endless. Be methodical about the type of display that best fits your business needs. But remember that sometimes selecting the most economical option might not pay off in the long run.

BONUS TIP: Now that you know how to look good at trade shows, the experts at Modern Postcard can help you attract more visitors to your booth space with pre-show and post-show direct marketing for trade shows or events. Call 800.959.8365 to speak with a Direct Marketing Specialist about your event needs.

Follow our tips above and you’ll put your best face forward at your next event. The show starts in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!

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I'm an amateur photographer in Brooklyn. My neighbors love my Brownstone neighborhood photos, and this year I took the leap and started a small greeting card business using my photos! At first, the process seemed intimidating, but the customer service at Modern made it easy. I used the phone and email for help, and everyone was very nice, professional and supportive. The finished product speaks for itself...the cards are gorgeous! I am using them for my personal holiday cards, as well as selling them online and in small local businesses. I can't wait to prepare my second set of photo cards with Modern Postcard.
Edie Hoffmann