Crosland Island Display

Strategy for Designing a Trade Show or Conference Exhibit

As the old adage goes, “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” This is especially true in the trade show industry. Trade shows and conferences are a terrific way to increase brand awareness, promote products or services, generate leads and gain sales; however, you only have seconds to capture potential prospects. Having a strategically planned exhibit will ensure that all the elements of your booth design complement one another and convey your company’s message effectively.

There are several things you must think about in order to get the most bang for your buck, when exhibiting.


Strategically designing the structural part of the exhibit is the first part of the planning phase. In order to attract new and existing customers at the show, ask yourself: "What is the most important message I want to relay to potential prospects, clients, vendors and competitors?" Here are some tips for creating an inviting design.

  • The exhibit should have one main focal point.
  • Always keep flow in mind. There is nothing worse than a cluttered booth that people cannot walk through. Having too much furniture or product displays will inhibit your guests from truly getting a feel for your brand essence.
  • Tight quarters tend to run potential clients off, while open spaces invite attendees to stay longer.


Updated graphics in your exhibit are crucial in building brand recognition. Attendees are bombarded by sights, smells and sounds from the minute they walk through the convention doors. This is overwhelming for many, so the best way to grab their attention is to keep your messaging simple. Graphics should be straight to the point, with as little writing as possible to ensure the message will not get lost. Great graphics need to clearly and quickly relay who you are, what you do and how prospects can benefit from your products or services. Hanging signs will attract more attention simply because people tend to look up.


The often forgotten fifth wall, or flooring, is an important design aspect for your exhibit. Flooring is inviting as well as defining. It gives people a nice place to rest their tired feet, while clearly establishing your space. Branding the floor with your logo is an excellent way to create a lasting impression. There are many options from carpet to wood, or even your logo sweeping the floor.

Bringing in the Crowd

Having a terrific booth will bring in some attendees, but how do you get people to stop and take notice? Having high value promotional items to give away that match your brand message is a fantastic way. Promotional items add to the overall look and feel of your exhibit. Hosting contests with amazing prizes will draw in the crowds, as well. Offering fresh baked cookies, coffee or popcorn is another great way to entice attendees into your booth. Hire lead generators to draw attendees in with the best staff ready to discuss products and services. Interactive technology can attract potential customers with HD digital content and engage them deeper with your brand, while converting them into highly qualified leads with measurable analytics to impress your boss at the end of the show.

Your booth should be strategically designed to represent the essence of your brand in a creative and functional way. Great designs are not just good looking — they focus on all the visual cues that mold the audience’s impression of your company. Having the right structure, graphics, flooring and promotional items will help generate more qualified leads and close more sales on the show floor, making you the newest qualified leads champ in your company.