Custom Trade Show Display Design: Balancing Function and Aesthetics

Mar 21, 2017





You are probably reading this because you have already decided—or you are considering—a custom trade show display is what you need to stand out in the crowd. Custom booth design can be exciting – it’s the start of a creative project that can turn in any number of directions, depending on your budget, design process and keeping important goals in mind from the onset. By doing this, you will be enabling the beauty and ‘cool factor’ to integrate with the functionality of the booth – which is important to its long term success.


One can see custom booths of all shapes, sizes and colors at every conference or event. But the best ones are those that incorporate thoughtful details including the necessary branding, aesthetics, and functionality of the booth. If it’s not functional to your needs on a show floor, it doesn’t matter how expensive or cool your exhibit is. Finding the “balance” between design and function will result in a custom booth with a longer life-span and offer the best trade show experience for attendees.


Let’s get started by discussing all the important touch points. Below is a quick list of what you want to be sure you consider before you make big decisions in designing your custom booth.


First, consider the functional needs

  • Is your product or service complicated or do you have a relationship-building sales style? If so, you will probably need seating to accommodate lengthy discussions.
  • Do you want a greeting area/welcome podium for lead retrieval?
  • Will you have product displays, marketing collateral, samples, or need storage at the booth?
  • Do you have valuables that will need to be locked when you aren’t in booth?
  • Will you need self-service or interactive components?
  • What technical capabilities will you need? Video capability, monitor, screen, etc. What about demo stations?
  • Do you intend to hire I&D teams to help assemble your booth or do you prefer to do it yourself with an easy to assemble and packable display?
  • Do your different events require reconfiguring your booth for various needs?
  • How many people (from your company) will be expected to be in the booth during show hours?
  • What kind of traffic flow do you need through your booth? Where do you want people to gravitate to?



What about aesthetic components?

  • What is your vision?
  • What is driving you toward a custom-built display?
  • Do you need a display to replicate a certain corporate image or design direction?
  • What lighting do you need on the booth? Do you need to highlight certain areas or product?
  • Does your display need to incorporate movement to demonstrate your product?
  • What is your brand differentiation?
  • Are you most attracted to the “wow” factor or more conservative design?


A custom booth can be an expensive acquisition – so make sure to think it through before you begin your design process with an exhibit agency that provides a very collaborative process through the entire project. In the end, your customer engagement points are important, so don’t sacrifice function in order to get a cool effect.


Considering these important concepts before getting started will help to create a custom environment specifically tailored to your brand and target audience.

Post by Scott Arbogast

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