Insiders Guide to Trade Show Design


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A guide to help companies get the most bang for their buck from trade show booth design.

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Insiders Guide to Trade Show Design

  1. 1. The Insider's Guide to Booth Design “Everything starts with design”
  2. 2. quot;Good booth “Everything starts with design” Designing a tradeshow booth can be a daunting task, and perhaps . counter-intuitively, one that that often gets put on the backburner until the very last minute. design, even with a However, in taking this approach, you may be missing a key chance to fully integrate sales, professional team, relationship and brand building opportunities at trade events. In addition, putting off booth doesn't just happen. design may actually increase the total cost of a trade show. Like everything from Designers who are experts in spatial branding and business-conducive environments, can create a product development space that immediately conveys your brand message and ultimately results in a successful show. to marketing, success Working with a professional design team pays off in implementing your event objectives and your company’s vision. It can also go a long way toward helping you meet your tradeshow budget. is in the process and After all, as virtually every business person knows, last minute changes always cost more than everything starts those given sufficient lead-time. with design.quot; Good booth design, even with a professional team, doesn't just happen, however. Like everything from product development to marketing, success is in the process and everything starts with design. Finding a good design team and trusted trade show expert is a good first step, but contributing positively to the design process is a close second. This guide offers advice from the designer’s perspective that will ultimately improve the design process and result in a better, more profitable show experience. 2
  3. 3. Getting Started “Engaging a designer Knowing where and when to begin the process is essential to its success. Any design process works best when good briefings and a realistic time line combine to give designers the time and early in the process information needed to create an effective end product. can help you make certain that your The trade show booth design process is really no different. Engaging a designer in early in the process can help you make certain that your branding objectives, messages, traffic flow and branding objectives, product presentations all fit your vision and budget. The design of your trade show exhibit is the messages, tra c ow vehicle that will help drive event success. and product quot;While we can produce and build a design in a number of weeks, a longer timeline allows for presentations all t enough input to fully understand a company's goals and personality,quot; says Donald O'Roark, a your vision and senior designer at The Rogers Company. quot;We can also better anticipate opportunities and prob- budget.quot; lems and adjust according. It just gives clients more options.quot; 3
  4. 4. Bringing in a booth design team early in the process can help determine everything from the space that you need to how best to display your products or services. The information that you quot;A design team can talk provide helps ensure that the design will ultimately help you achieve your goals for a show. Starting early in the process allows you and your design team the time needed to really think to you about what you things through, play with traffic flow, try different concepts, fine tune the messages and, most want to achieve and importantly, brand your space. make recommenda- quot;Although it's sometimes difficult, it's ideal to talk to a design team before a booth space is tions on booth space or chosen,quot; says Sukki Jahnke, an account executive at The Rogers Company. quot;A design team can talk position that's more to you about what you want to achieve and make recommendations on booth space or position informed and e ec- that's more informed and effective.quot; tive.quot; 3
  5. 5. Another important element to bring to the table is branding guidelines. This is valuable in saving time at later stages but also ensures that designers are building your booth to continue the story quot; Many times clients of your company and not clashing with it. Along the same lines, it is helpful, if possible to bring a design team to company headquarters. This helps to determine the company's personality in know what they’d like everything from architecture to office atmosphere. It also is essential in determining the size and but can’t visualize it. nature of products to be displayed at a show. It’s only by seeing Your show goals are another key element to beginning the design process. For every company, initial concepts that product category, and industry, this will be different. Are you launching a new product and using things start to the show to create awareness of the product? Is it a selling show or are you there primarily to coalesce and make collect leads? Is branding your most important goal, or are you there to to further build relationships with key customers? How much business is done at a booth as opposed to casual sense. quot; contact? Will sales people have long extended conversations or short chats? These questions and their answers are important to creating the right environment for a successful show. Design teams will take this basic information and come back with design concepts including graphic placement, lighting and product presentation. Many times clients know what they’d like but can’t visualize it. It’s only by seeing initial concepts that things start to coalesce and make sense. The feedback you provide from the initial designs is crucial to creating a final design that’s a winner. 5
  6. 6. Evaluating Design Elements quot; Lighting is an The presentation of design ideas is a critical step in creating a booth. This is where an exchange of underestimated ideas and opinions shapes the look of the final design. Design teams have experience translating design element that an image on paper to the actual booth and can help guide you during this evaluation. can be di cult to Lighting, for example, is an underestimated design element that can be difficult to visualize and is visualize and is there- therefore sometimes overlooked in the design criteria. Utilized correctly, lighting can draw atten- fore sometimes over- tion to products, logos, and signage and it can also be used to created dynamic design elements looked in the design such as a subtle change in color or create a glowing effect with fabric elements. Lighting does cost money. However, by using high impact lighting, companies can potentially save money in criteria. quot; both shipping costs given that lighting tends to create more out of less and set-up costs since lighting should take less time to setup than walls and other physical elements. Consider some amount of lighting when evaluating designs – the extra cost will pay off in making your brand pop on the show floor. 6
  7. 7. Another often underestimated design element is the one you don't see. Empty space in a booth is often as important as the walls, furniture, and seating. An open booth environment helps to create an open feeling that invites people inside. Moreover, open spaces keep people from feeling quot;fenced inquot;. Also, what may appear to be vast empty spaces on paper, could quot; What may appear to actually be necessary for good traffic flow, meeting areas and visual accessibility to product be vast empty spaces displays or live presentations. on paper, could quot;Typically, people need 4 to 5 feet of space to comfortably pass each other,quot; says Paul Jablonski, actually be necessary a senior project manager at The Rogers Company. quot;Filling up space or tightening it to add for good tra c ow, more products can sacrifice comfort and freedom of movement. That can mean fewer people meeting areas and coming into a booth and spending less time there because they're uncomfortable.quot; visual accessibility to In addition to these practical considerations, space can often be a dramatic design element in product displays or and of itself. Displaying an overabundance products or literature can have the effect of live presentations.quot; cluttering a space and creating a visually less dramatic space from the aisle. But rules about space are made to be broken. An open booth design isn't always appropriate. When product design needs to be carefully protected, for example, a booth with hidden 'inside' elements or a completely “walled” perimeter protects intellectual property and can also create intrigue which is another draw to the booth. An enclosed booth space can also present great opportunities for dynamic branding, which can be accomplished in a cost effective manner using fabric walls, powerful graphics and lighting. 7
  8. 8. Moving outside the branding box is another step that can help create a more effective booth design. Design standards and color schemes are important, but building on these themes quot;It's much better to rather than using only corporate colors can greatly enhance the look and feel of your booth. Designers often choose colors that complement corporate colors and even add artistic touches show a story rather to create an environment that is inviting and one that reflects the excitement behind your than tell it…quot; brand. Booth signage and graphics is another arena that often requires a switch in thinking. While product brochures may give the pertinent details of your product or service, they may not always translate well into visual elements or graphics that must attract attention from 300 feet away on a 300,000 square foot floor. And more is required than just a big hanging sign with your company logo on it. quot;It's much better to show a story rather than tell it,quot; says Jahnke. quot;For example, customer quotes and photographs can explain your message more quickly in a way that relates to show attendees rather than facts and figures about your products. It's much better to express how your product can benefit attendees in large signage.quot; 8
  9. 9. Integrating Design and Sta quot;Great design When all is said and done, blending the booth design elements together with your sales team at doesn’t just draw the show is essential. A booth staff that is informed about the booth's form and function will people to your ultimately be more comfortable in the space. A design team can provide vital clues into some of booth, it helps the design’s functionality. For example, the layout and style of the booth may attract visitors into your booth but having qualified staff in each section will help your team integrate with extend the time functionality of the exhibit. they spend in it.quot; Designers may also give insight into how audiences will gather for presentations and where traffic will flow afterward. For example, some booths have regularly scheduled presentations that will gather an audience in waves. An audience area may be open to avoid quot;trappingquot; attendees inside, but still guide them through to other areas of the booth. Great design doesn’t just draw people to your booth, it helps extend the time they spend in it. 9
  10. 10. Smart Design – Smart Business quot; In the end, a smart Budgets are tight and tradeshows are certainly a large expenditure for many companies. But, design process isn't a large or small, companies can benefit and realize a better ROI by getting involved early and often luxury: it is simply a with a skilled and proactive design team. The results can be significant: better branding, better way of creating the product display, ease of setup and dismantle, reduced weight and better overall impact. Informing a design team of your marketing and trade show goals, strategies and branding initiatives will most e cient and help to create an exhibit that will be more than just a display but rather a “destination” point for e ective business that show. environment to In the end, a smart design process isn't a luxury: it is simply a way of creating the most efficient achieve the goals and effective business environment to achieve the goals of the company it represents. That's not of the company just smart design – it's also smart business. it represents.quot; 10
  11. 11. About Rogers For over 65 years The Rogers Company has been an award winning designer and manufacturer of branded environments for tradeshow exhibits, corporate events, lobbies, showrooms and retail environments - essentially any place where communicating your brand is vital. In addition to its 3D marketing services The Rogers Company is also a full service trade show and event implemen- tation partner providing turnkey services and support for its corporate clients throughout the country. With its complete design staff, skilled craftsmen and construction facilities, Rogers can custom build a wide range of branded environments to suit any need. Through its strategic partner network the company also provides a wide range of portable and modular display solutions, support and logistics for international tradeshows and an extensive rental inventory of both custom and portable display products Additionally through its strategic partner network, Rogers provides Eventelligence™, a technology infrastructure service for event registration, event mapping and way-finding systems, lead retrieval, lead tracking, fulfillment services and various RFID solutions for focused tradeshows and events. For more information on The Rogers Company please visit or call us at 1-800-544-3880. 11