Exhibit Design and Marketing


Published on Aug 2, 2017 1:24:55 PM

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If something looks simple, it feels easy. If it feels easy, the brain assumes it is simple

Once that assumption is made, the path of conversion becomes one of non-friction.

That is why, Harmut Esslingen, the German designer who designed the iconic Apple products in the 1980s, followed the guiding principle that feeling follows form.

That is why, about 200 years before Harmut Esslingen, the German philoshper, Arthur Schopenhauer, postulated “One should use common words to say uncommon things.”

Words that are simple to understand your brand offering are crucial for the decision makers who are pacing the show floor looking for solutions.


What does this all mean to you as an exhibitor?

Simply put, the faster we process information, the more postively we appraise that information. 

When people can process a stimulus quickly and easily, they experience a positive emotion (Reber, Schwarz, & Winkielman, 2004). "When they experience that positive emotion, they mistakenly attribute those positive feelings with their opinion of the stimulus." (In this case it will be your brand and your exhibit design)


In this article, Shawn Lacagnina, an expert Skyline face-to-face marketer, explains why simplicity holds the key to evolved exhibit design.

Today’s trade show floor is filled with a higher level of decision makers looking for solutions to their pain.  Often working from a tightly formed agenda, if you are not on that list to visit, your exhibit has to grab his/her attention.  Your graphic image and message play an important role in your success.  These best practices are a great place to start.


WHY Keep it Simple

Remember, you have 3-5 seconds to attract a prospective client’s attention – especially on a busy trade show floor.  Who you are must be obvious and clear.  And if you are part of a large organization, your division or region needs to be spelled out as well. 

For example, GE is not as clear as GE Oil and Gas.  GE is known, however, GE Oil and Gas is specific and helps prospective clients understand how you might fill a need.


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Use action oriented words — words are powerful and actions are do much more




What You Do is the second most important message after your name. Does your tag line spell out that distinction?  If your tagline could easily be used by almost any company, then it needs support to help inform attendees what it is you do. 

For example, “Quality Service and Support” is not as strong as “Auto Transmission Quality Service and Support”.


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OR, make the name of the brand say what your company does



Support Your Message with Bullet Points – ONLY if needed

Further define your message with 3-5 bullet points, not paragraphs.  Your prospective client should be able to scan them quickly and answer the question as to how you fit into their world. 

You are helping them to qualify themselves before they ever step into your booth space.


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OR, say nothing. This is specially the case, when you are still giving shape to your company and you are doing market study on the variety of products that you are about to offer.



A Picture is Worth 1000 words

You have heard it your whole life and you know it to be true.  Use images that will help your prospective client put themselves into that solution. 

The images should INSPIRE your prospect with the feeling that the image represents. The idea of keeping it simple still applies.


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Images pertaining to empowerment, sustainabillity and environmental essentials are great conversation starters and puts your brand in a positive light



Keep the Look and Feel consistent with your other marketing materials. The first thing a new prospect does after a successful visit to your exhibit is gather more information about your company.  If what they learned does not match other marketing materials such as your website, business card, brochures, etc… then your credibility goes down. 

Mixed messages, various logos, or a multitude of different looks raises concern about your stability in the minds of prospects.  Think about how you make decisions about a new venture.  Your clients are you.


If this is not your organization’s strong suit, utilize the skills of an artist that specialize in trade show graphics.  The design meeting should focus on your goals and give the artist a clear direction to help you achieve those goals.  It will be some of the best money you can spend.

Here’s to your successful exhibit program!




Parts of this article was first published at www.skyline.com


Topics: Exhibit Design, trade show booths, booth design

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