THE GUIDELINES BELOW ARE USED AS A CRUTCH TO DRIVE HOME WHAT SEEMS TO BE AN IMPORTANT CHALLENGE FOR OUR AUDIENCE— HOW DO I STAND OUT?
THE SOLE INTENTION OF THIS ARTICLE IS TO HELP YOU EXPAND YOUR BRAND HORIZON WITH THESE EYE POPPING REALIZATIONS!
Use this article to learn the realities of the show floor.
KNOW THAT YOUR MODULAR EXHIBIT DESIGN MIGHT LOOK FANTASTIC ON PAPER, BUT NOT NECESSARILY ON THE SHOW FLOOR.
There are some standard display rules and regulations for exhibiting at trade shows and expositions in the U.S.A. If you are a veteran trade show manager or events coordinator refer to these trade show exhibit rules and regulations periodically to make sure they are in compliance, so show management doesn’t have to tell them to modify their booth structure on-site. If you are not, give us a call, we will help you sort it out.
These rules and regulations of booth design can act as a guide for you and your exhibit team. If you know the industry standard for the rules then, you may be able to push them a little but it all depends on show management. It is always good to have proper exhibit and trade show etiquette; meaning, do not do anything that may hinder or prevent exposure and attendee traffic to your exhibit floor neighbors.
Here are three of the most common booth display rules:
We have used the RSA conference, held yearly at Muscone Center in San Francisco as a reference point to get certain points across. This is important... Because, if you are exhibiting at a high profile show like RSA (with over 700 exhibitors and over 40,000 attendees), you have to rethink design, delivery and set up. Your display design might be a fantastic brand tool in isolation but it may very well loose the impact when you have other worthy exhibit designs to compete with.
Standard/ Linear Booth
Standard/Linear booths are also called inline booths. They are generally arranged in a straight line and have exhibiting neighbors on the left and right of them, leaving only the front exposed for attendees. Linear booths are most commonly 10 feet (3.05 meters) wide and 10 feet (3.05 meters) deep. They are typically referred to as a 10 foot by 10 foot. The height of the back wall is limited to 8 feet (2.44 meters). This back wall height is key to consider when designing your booth property. Corner booths are always a good location. You can usually take down one of the 3 foot side rails on the side exposed to the aisle.
Note: Linear Booths can be 10'H x10'W x 10'D | 10'H x 20'W x 10'D | 10'H x 30'W x 10'D
When do you want to go for 10' x 30' or even a 10' x 40' booth layout?
When you do not want to struggle with the big players with island booths. It saves you money and it proclaims your dominance in the space in the linear space.
Below, is the South Hall of the Muscone Center, San Francisco. The boundaries of the booths blurred as the exhibitors rushed to out-do each other in their given space. It is a visual mayhem. One has to put their brain on hyper drive even to distinguish the offerings of each brand.
Now, think about this: Instead of striving for survival in this space, wouldn't it be better for you to devote dollars and marketing sense in a linear space that is wider than the standard linear booth size of 10' x 20'.
Above, is a 10' x 30' linear booth at RSA Conference with presentation areas on both sides and storage and giveaways in the center. Below, is a 10' x 20' linear design. However, the brand ties in the detection and prevention of the cybersecurity phenomenon with the health science ideology of disease detection and prevention. The set up is like the interior of a doctor's office, complete with the human anatomy — a clever way of making your brand stand out when you provide visual aid to help the brain connect the dots.
Below, is a 10' x 20' linear design. It has a backlit 'picture glow' wall with 3 monitors. However, to draw the attention of the people down the isle, we see graphic pillar cube on the right side. It is a backlit LED graphic wall with rotating graphics. What attracts our attention is the way the exhibit design makes use of the perils of the cyberspace — identities, apps and data. The graphic design harnesses the 'Law of Category' that has developed to fuel the business of cybersecurity. Note: the name of the company is a secondary attribute in this design.
MOVING ON TO Perimeter Booth AND PENINSULA BOOTH
A perimeter booth is a linear booth that backs to a perimeter wall of the exposition facility and not to another exhibiting neighbor. All guidelines for a linear booth apply to perimeter booths except that the typical maximum back wall height is taller, 12 feet (3.66 meters).
Perimeter booth gives mass to your space. It is a good way to go if you want to maximize your trade show budget.
Below, is a perimeter booth (image from RSA) — a 10' x 20' linear design but 12' high. Note: the exhibit is not competing with any other booth or those sea of hanging signs, as shown above. It has a backlit wall with 3 monitors. Note: how the monitors are jutting out. This would not have be possible if they had a neighbor right next to them. In this case, this exhibit was the only one flanked by 2 doorways on either side. This is where the exhibitor has push boundaries, yet stayed within the rules and regulations. Get your drawings/renderings approved by the show management prior to exhibiting.
When 2 islands share a common wall or the same 'back of the house' in the middle, it is call a Peninsula booth space. In this kind of configuration, the rules vary from show to show. Usually, you cannot have 20' tower next to it. You have to leave a clearing of 8' or so from the back wall for your central tower. In a peninsula booth, since you have aisles on the 3 sides, angle the center structure in a diagonal fashion — this opens up your space.
Below, Home Security had an island booth (30' x 30') and it was way back in the South Hall. The whole structure followed a diagonal footprint, with a serpentine header above, tying the 2 structure below in a sweeping fashion. The structure went up 16' high, thus masking the big structure wall behind the space. Granted, this is not a peninsula booth setting; but this architectural flow is very conducive to a peninsula floor plan.
An island booth is any size booth exposed to aisles on all four sides. Island booths are typically 20 feet x 20 feet (6.10 meters by 6.10 meters) or larger, although it may be configured differently. The use of the entire space may be used. The maximum allowable height typically ranges from 16 feet to 20 feet, including signage. Obviously, there are show hall specific restrictions. Always check your exhibit manual before you strive to achieve a specific design. In the examples below, we bring to your attention some of the reasons that will cause you disappointment even when you play by the rules.
We have labeled them as eyeopeners 1, 2 and so forth....
1. Depending on the venue, you will have architectural impediments that will force you to hang your hanging signs only in certain areas. This will lead to obstruction in viewing from certain angles. On top of that, you cannot control the placement of elements on your neighbor's floor plan. If they have tall towers as you see (above left) you are literally 'out of luck.'
2. We do not say this lightly — it is a transgression of your design and your offer if you have a backlit modular design in dark shades, as you see above right. Yes, it is a backlit display including the backwall, the 2 side presentation counters (the lights are not fused), it just does not pop because of the color. Always, develop your brand colors that is trade show friendly.
3. If you have an important presentation, do it in a closed room or in a controlled environment. While an open booth is welcoming, it is also distracting. As you can see your eyes tend to wander away to the next moving eye candy that happens to be your neighbor's exhibit.
4. and 6. This is what a well controlled environment looks like. This is an enclosed perimeter island. The enclosure is made of mesh material. You can also have it done with translucent fabric material. Note: The ceiling has been closed off to control ambient light and the flat screen monitors are encased in boxes to give the illusion of display light boxes when there is no product demonstration going on.
5. Yes, you have guessed it right. Blank canvases have been dropped off the hanging sign that is about 20' high to minimize distraction and some what keeping the attendee's attention within the space.
7. and 8. Instead of using the geometry of circle or the square, this massive hanging structure is using the vertices of platonic solids with moving lights rigged from above washing it in different hues. The overhead sign is the only structure that anchors the space and creates a sense of dominance. Moving on to number 8, we like it because, the towers have been moved on to the perimeter of their island space, thus defining their space without the mega cost of rigged theatrical lights.
Congratulations! You have made it this far. Next time before you start your exhibit design, think about the geometry of your space, the logistics of the traffic flow and above all who your competing exhibitors are and what their exhibits look like. Better yet, walk the show the year before you decide to exhibit. Feel the vibe! Each show is very different!
And, speaking of our exhibiting guidelines — they are guidelines only! It is your perceptive creativity that will help you solve the challenges of your space and make your brand noticeable!
Note: All images where shot at RSA Conference. The logos and visuals are the sole property of the respective brands.