10 Tips for Better Trade Show Graphics

Tradeshow graphics can help you stand out from competitors, inform your audience about your organization, and play an important role in your branding. You may think of these as pop-up displays, table covers and banner stands, but building brand visibility means extending your graphics far beyond the obvious. Other graphical considerations for tradeshows and conferences include wearables such as custom event badges and branded clothing such as shirts, caps and woven lanyards.

Effective trade show graphics can help your organization accomplish three things:

  • Quickly and easily identify who you are

  • Illustrate what you have to offer – your product or service

  • Convince attendees to stop by and learn more about your organization

                                      Photo courtesy of Nick gray

                                      Photo courtesy of Nick gray

Here are our 10 tips to help you conceive of, design and print better tradeshow graphics:

1. Use headlines. Did you know that headlines are read an average of 5 times more than body copy? Design your headlines to grab attention and use them as a call-to-action to get people to your booth.  

2. Keep it short and sweet.  People in general have short attention spans and, at a tradeshow or conference that attention span is even shorter because of all of the flashy distractions. Keep body copy on banners and other promotional materials concise; use bullet points so people can easily scan your content and give them a reason to come to your booth and ask questions.

3. Appeal to your audience. Tradeshows and conferences are one place where it’s OK to use industry lingo on your marketing materials because chances are, you’re going to be surrounded by people from within the industry. Use terms that your customers will know and recognize and let them know you’re speaking directly to them.

4. Be consistent.  When it comes to your marketing materials, consistency is always the key.  Use the same style, tone, format and colors throughout your trade show graphics and on all of your marketing materials, custom event badges, wearables and promotional incentives. Create a style guide and abide by it if you have to; your brand should shine through everything that’s in your booth.

5. Make it fun.  Use colored text instead of black and white and grab people’s attention with a large font. If your company has a mascot, incorporate it into the design of your graphics in as many places as it makes sense. It’s small touches like these that help you stand out in a sea of competitors who are all doing the same thing.

6. Make it interactive. Interactive displays are a trend that won’t be leaving the tradeshow scene anytime soon. Fortunately, there are many different ways to interact with your customers during an event. RFID credentials can help you customize the experience as people move through your space and can even integrate with social media. A well placed QR code on your staff’s trade show badges is another way to take advantage of those branding opportunities.

7. Illustrate with photographs. People recall photographs much more readily than they recall text. So, instead of trying to describe your product in words, use product photos and illustrations to help potential customers visualize what you have to offer. If it makes sense, incorporate people into your product photos to provide context.

8. Let there be light. The lighting in your tradeshow booth can really add a sense of drama or ambiance to your exhibit. Try using spotlights as an accent or to light up elements in your booth that you want to draw attention to such as your logo or slogan. Also, make sure to check in with the venue to see if there are any restrictions on the types of lighting you can use.

9. Consider working with a graphic designer. Professional grade graphics require a professional touch. If you don’t have a graphic designer in-house, consider hiring one to help you with your branding. Also, many promotional incentive and tradeshow graphics producers have their own designers that can help you get the look you want.

10. Print professionally. It’s one thing to print out work-related flyers in the office, but when it comes to your tradeshow materials, professional printing is the way to go. Most tradeshow graphics suppliers have their own printers in-house that are specially designed for the materials and inks that they have in stock. In the long run, you’ll spend less money and achieve better results if you don’t try to do the printing at home.

Do you have any tips for designing tradeshow graphics that you would like to share with us? Share your advice in the comments below!