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4 Mistakes Exhibitors Make With Their Graphics (But You Won't)
Humans are visual creatures - we can't help but notice and be drawn to imagery that's beautiful, or unusual, or that evokes a mood that speaks to our inner desires.
Knowing this, it's baffling to realize how little thought some trade show exhibitors put into their graphics. For many, it's simply a lack of understanding - they try to create something captivating, but it just never seems to come together into a cohesive "look" that engages and attracts attendees.
What are they doing wrong, and what can you learn from their mistakes?
Mistake #1: Out of Sight, Out of Mind
For your trade show display or exhibit to engage anyone, it has to be visible. To make sure this happens, it's vital to consider how every element - including your booth staff - will fit together.
In other words, don't put your key messaging or most important graphic in a spot where it will be blocked by your booth furnishings or by the people visiting your booth. Ideally, your key messaging should be at eye level (or slightly above, so it's not blocked by attendees' heads) and unobscured by any other booth elements.
Mistake #2: Chaotic Clutter
Just because the back wall of your display measures 10 feet wide and more than 8 feet tall doesn't mean you have to fill every square foot of that space with photographs, icons, logos, headlines, and text. Busy backgrounds and cluttered signage turn prospects away. More stuff doesn't mean more engagement.
Consider that you have just five seconds to grab the attention of the average show attendee, then design your booth graphics and text accordingly. Treat your booth less like a brochure and more like a highway billboard. Think about what a speeding motorist would need to see on your billboard to grab their attention, and use that. The key to success here is to design your graphics in three tiers.
Mistake #3: Dim Prospects
- First Tier - Identification: If they can't find you, they can't visit you. Put these graphics on the highest part of your booth so your potential visitors identify your brand easily from across the floor.
- Second Tier - Directional: These graphics tell people who you are and what you offer. They typically describe your products and services. Design them so that all text is at least six feet above floor level.
- Third Tier - Informational: This tier is for detailed information that lets individuals learn more about you. Only detail-oriented and engaged visitors read text at this level, so keep it to a minimum, or save this tier for text that has to be there (such as copyright notices and legal disclaimers).
A booth that is poorly lit is uninviting and doesn't help to boost your brand image.
Lighting can make all the difference when it comes to impact.
So, aim spotlights on your most important booth graphics and signage to transform your exhibit into the most powerful one on the aisle. If your booth contains a separate meeting area, a warm-white lamp can create a cozy, welcoming feel that puts VIPs and prospects at ease.
Mistake #4: All Analog
No matter how beautifully designed your graphics, you're still competing in a sea of equally gorgeous imagery from your competitors' booths. Don't be afraid to branch out into something digital. LED displays, especially if they're interactive, can be an irresistible draw to attendees with their crisp, bright graphics and motion.
In addition, LED graphics can do some seriously heavy lifting when it comes to attendee engagement. Whether they list (and answer) frequently asked questions, give information on key product developments, or even provide an interactive way to get hands-on educational information or explore a 360-degree view of a new prototype, digital displays can offer audiences a fun way to interact and engage with your brand.
Want More Tips?
To learn more secrets on how to design trade show graphics and digital displays that wow the crowd, download Freeman's lookbook. Loaded with simple trade show booth ideas, best practices, and images, this guide can help you visualize (and deliver!) a buzzworthy exhibit that will remove barriers between you and your audience and generate real conversations with attendees.
Freeman is the world's leading brand experience company, with over 90 years delivering immersive live experiences.
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