Boring trade show booths don’t attract visitors and they certainly don’t help sales. But coming up with new and exciting ideas is costly and time-consuming. Or is it?
In this extensive guide to trade show booths, we provide ten creative examples in each of the following categories:
Frankly, this post is jam-packed with trade show tips for exhibitors and trade show booth design tips to make your exhibition investment deliver results.
Now, let’s dive right into those examples that will help set you apart from the competition.
Trade Show Booth Ideas for Small Budgets
Small budgets don’t need to limit creativity and visitor experience. Take a look at what these groups did to make an impact without a lot of money.
1. Inexpensive and Flexible Options: DIY Pallet Repurpose
Pallets are a favorite DIY option because they can be so diverse, from furniture to event entertainment. They are now making their way into exhibitions as a unique, rustic way of displaying products, signage, or artwork.
Why it works: This exhibition “booth” provides visitors with a more relaxed feeling. The pallet walls have an almost organic notion. They can also be moved to accommodate larger crowds. The minimalist seating area makes it feel more welcoming, encouraging guests to stay, yet it doesn’t detract from the exhibit itself.
Bonus tip: No need to construct your entire booth out of rustic wood. Focus on accents such as seating, shelving or planters.
2. Soothe Attendees with Nature: Indoor Pergola
The concept of “outside in” is a treat for attendees after being “cooped-up” all day indoors. This small booth cleverly uses a garden pergola, not an expensive frame. Other ways to bring the outdoors in are through live walls, garden furniture or games, and grass mats or carpets.
Why it works: Apple Wine ties in the bridal theme (as Pergolas can be a popular backdrop and stage for ceremonies) as well as creating an organic feel among what was likely a lot of non-romantic booths.
Bonus tip: Create a selfie backdrop.
3. Stand Out: Create a Floral Ceiling as a Rich Focal Point
This creative idea involves hanging flowers from their stems as a ceiling to your booth. It provides a gorgeous experience for those who enter the booth.
Why it works: It gives attendees a reason to come into your booth, and its effect is best witnessed directly underneath it.
Bonus tip: offer to take pictures of attendees underneath it and looking up.
4. Buy Once, Use in Multiple Ways: Adaptable, Modular Building
Adaptability can be the key objective if you want a lot of elements on a smaller budget. This idea incorporates blocks that can be built out a number of ways (think of all the fun you had with Legos). Each element of this booth is built from modules including the welcome podium, digital screen holder, signage display entrance and various walls and partitions. Smaller budgets can choose the options right for them and add on at a later time.
Why it works: not only is it a flexible design with an easy build out, but the block design itself lends an air of whimsy and a nod to childhood play.
Bonus tip: if your brand supports it, add additional notes of whimsy that passers-by can see and be drawn in by.
5. Gain Exposure: Photo-Op Walls
One of the easiest ways to get people to your booth is to provide a fun photo opportunity. All it takes is a bold image, a fun cut-out, or a cool backdrop.
Why it works: attendees love the opportunity to share photos with friends. Exhibitors, on the other hand, benefit from this exposure. Cut-outs can also be an inexpensive way to make a big impression, this cow cut-out is cardboard but it could be made out of anything.
Bonus tip: make sure your photo op is branded so that your company receives the exposure. And if you use a cut-out, why not allow attendees to dress it for added fun?
Credit: Exhibit Studios
6. Play it Simple and Elegant: Wooden Signage
More is not always best, and simple white walls with elegant yet simple signage can showcase your brand better than heavy lights or aggressive colors.
Why it works: it’s all about elegance; this type of signage lends itself well to arts and crafts trade shows..
Bonus tip: use Velcro coins or Command strips to hang it on the wall. When the trade show is over, easily remove the sign and use it in your office..
7. Start Small: Pop-Up Displays
If you have a small budget, a pop-up display might be your best option. Pop-up display banners come in different shapes, sizes and material, but the standard design of the stands includes a foldable frame that pops up simplistically, channel bars that provide stability, and a display that either can be draped over the frame or comes pre-attached.
Why it works: pop-up display stands are robust, lightweight and portable in nature.
Bonus tip: change the visuals for each trade show to keep some novelty factor.
A whimsical piece or something that directly reflects your brand in a fun way can make up for a lot of complicated, high-priced extras.
Why it works: just like in-room decor, one magical piece can make a room. In this booth, the seats say it all. Look for unique pieces you can incorporate for big effect.
Bonus tip: we don’t all have unique, customized stools we can use but there’s likely something small that speaks to your brand that you can incorporate into your design. Bonus points if it’s photo op worthy.
9. Embrace Sustainability: Use Recycled and Recyclable Materials
Because of the way the booth walls were pre-manufactured using a modular design, the stands were easy to set-up and dismantle. Additionally, the stands are reusable.
Why it works: the stands are lightweight and flat-packed, which helps the budget and makes them easy to transport.
Bonus tip: tie its green elements into your own corporate efforts and highlight them in your booth.
10. Incorporate Light in Unusual Spots: LED Furniture
Many booths use light extensively to create ambiance and special effects, but it’s usually on the walls or ceilings. Having LED seats will definitely draw the eyes of the passers-by.
Why it works: attendees will be drawn to these bright spots of light and will likely be curious as to how it feels to sit on them.
Bonus tip: make sure the colors you pick are in line with your branding.
Trade Show Booth Ideas that Attract Visitors
For a successful trade show, you need attendees to buy from exhibitors. One of the best ways to ensure that happens is to generate traffic and attract visitors to booths. These booths drive traffic very well.
1. Get Guests Involved: Miniature Kitchen
Food is a crowd-pleaser, particularly for long exhibitions and trade shows. So, a mini kitchen is an excellent way to showcase products and let attendees get in on the action. This miniature kitchen has a TV screen to showcase delicious work, ensure that everyone can see the demos, and display information on the recipe ingredients.
Why it works: this is an interactive experience that engages the senses. You needn’t sell cookware or food to use a booth like this. You could replicate your office chili cook-off or something that represents your company culture or dedication to wellness
Bonus tip: allows guests to get in on the creation and sample the finished product.
Credit: Wooden Style Interior
2. Create a Relaxing Space: Sample Living
Create an “at home” atmosphere to make attendees comfortable so they’ll want to spend more time at your booth. This concept for Dyson’s exhibition stand helps guests really imagine the brand in their home as well as seeing products live in action. But you needn’t sell housewares to create a homey experience. Creating comfortable event spaces such as this give attendees a space to “take their shoes off.”
Why it works: home is where the heart is. A homey backdrop will make attendees feel comfortable and provide a much-needed spot to relax. They won’t feel like they’re in a sales space.
Bonus tip: serve warm cookies and ask them how their day is. Encourage them to put their feet up and relax. Don’t ruin the soothing atmosphere with overly zealous salespeople. Let your guests enjoy the peace and use a sales team that will help them achieve that.
Credit: Pixel Wave Designs
3. Looking Out for Attendees: Smoothie Bikes
Two things that always draw a crowd: food and activity. This booth provides both. It’s a fairly simple idea. Attendees pick out their favorite flavors and then cycle to blend them. Voila! They have their own fruit smoothie or signature cocktail and they can walk away with. But it also creates a memorable connection between brand and attendee, not to mention the fun factor.
Why it works: these cycles are an excellent use of minimal space if you can just figure out how to manage the lines that will form.
Bonus tip: provide branded cups so they leave with something to keep. Encourage photos as they cycle and interview booth visitors and staff to share their signature recipe.
4. Entertain Guests: Use a Live Band
Adding live music to your booth can help to create a fun atmosphere that gets people to stick around. It can also attract a crowd as people can hear it from other areas and they’ll come to see what’s going on.
Why it works: in this booth, string artists transform the space with their instruments and aesthetics to showcase brand and products. The music is not overwhelming.
Bonus tip: find out the rules for music with the trade show organizers. You don’t want the band disrupting other activities they have planned. Plus, a band may make it difficult for salespeople to talk during the songs. Music is best used to draw a crowd and then your salespeople must be trained to hold their attention after the performance is over.
Credit: Euphoria Ladies Band
5. Go Big: Giant Gumball Machines and Helter Skelter
At CES 2018, Google had a huge presence showcasing their products and cool tech. The giant gumball machine and helter-skelter capture attendees’ imaginations in a big way. Sure, creating a village like this will be outside of the budget of most organizations. But it certainly had everyone talking about it and eager to have a full tour.
Why it works: This exhibit aims to be one of the biggest and most talked-about. And with Google’s budget, they achieved it.
Bonus tip: This may not be attainable for everyone, but being unique is. Think about past exhibits at the show. If you’ve never been, look for pics on social media or ask the event planners what’s been done in the past. Then, do something completely different.
6. Deal with Limited Space and Garner Attention: Go Up
If you don’t have enough room or you want to be seen from across the room, consider a multi-story booth. Aerial design attracts people and showcases your branding.
Why it works: building up shows an investment in the trade show (these booths aren’t cheap) but it also accommodates a lot more attendees. It makes your booth a destination.
Bonus tip: avoiding stairs means it will be accessible to more people. Ramps and inclines work well.
Credit: Absolute Exhibit
7. Create Another World: Use Projection Mapping
Invite storytelling in your booth by projecting imagery onto 3D objects, creating a wow factor that will have attendees talk about your brand long after the event is over. This example shows how a 16th-century chapel was turned into contemporary art, but projection mapping can be used on a much smaller scale as well.
Why it works: projection mapping is very versatile and allows you to instill some magic in your booth experience.
Bonus tip: if your budget is tight, concentrate on a focal point, such as this dining table. And if you want to learn more about projection mapping, check this guide.
8. Go Holographic for an Element of Surprise
Holograms, which use a different kind of technology than projection mapping, are all the rage. This example is from a circus, but as recently as last November, X Factor Italy had an artist perform on stage and interact with competitors remotely via holograph.
Why it works: digital holography transforms your audience’s experience into something more immersive and interactive, and it allows you to bring an experience of something that isn’t physically there. Want to display a car without driving one onto the show floor? Holograph it.
Bonus tip: if you have the budget, an oversized hologram will certainly create a larger-than-life effect. Use it to cut costs by showcasing large or immersive products without the hassle of bringing them to the show physically.
9. Create a Disconnected Space: The Zen Den
Trade shows are often hectic places, where attendees try to cram as many sessions and exhibitors visits as they can in a short time. This booth invites you to stop for a while and follow a guided meditation available in 2- or 5-minute options.
Why it works: it’s an oasis for those feeling overstimulated by the noise and crowds. Also, people are becoming more mindful in their personal life, and this wellness trend is now permeating the events industry.
Bonus tip: you can add a feeling of privacy by adding light drapings inside the den.
10. Change the Perspective: Go High
At CES 2019, Omron, the electronics company, grabbed the attendees’ attention with a product specialist perched on a second-floor podium who described the robotic demonstrations taking place below.
Why it works: this exhibit would have been hard to miss due to its sheer size (3,000 sq. ft) but the elevated podium gave it the added dimension of height.
Bonus tip: when you have such an enormous booth, the use of large screens will ensure that any action will be seen from a distance on the trade show floor.
Creative Trade Show Booth Ideas
Don’t be bland. Get inspired by these creative booth ideas.
1. Communicate Your Message Without Distraction: Cinematic Stands
For video content at your exhibition, these scenography cones are a captivating idea. The cone shape shields attendees from the business of the trade show and your guests are immersed in your message. The design is weirdly futuristic and definitely piques interest.
Why it works: there’s an element of fear of missing out behind these space age-looking designs. Plus, guests are completely consumed in whatever you are showing them.
Bonus tip: you have their undivided attention so make sure your messaging is helpful and interesting.
2. Make It Easy to Buy: Implement a Meeting Room
Creating a meeting space in your booth is an awesome way to hold your attendees’ attention and give them the opportunity to speak with you in a private setting. Some questions in the buying process aren’t meant for the prying ears at a trade show. Since buying is an emotional decision, you want to do everything possible to give your attendees the tools they need to make a decision at the show.
Why it works: this meeting room is still open enough people can feel part of the trade show without being in the middle of the trade show floor.
Bonus tip: allow and encourage attendees to make appointments to speak with your team in the meeting room. If someone attending the show is not the key decision maker, encourage them to schedule a phone call with the person who is in your meeting space. Make sure you have the technology available to do it. Don’t rely on cell phone connections.
3. Use Giant Containers to Create a World Within a World:
This award-winning “best booth” combines multiple tiers, rigging, and red carpet VIP roping to draw a crowd. With its textured walls and container build, it creates a warehouse club vibe on the trade show floor. The booth is built from modified shipping containers which create various levels and private spaces to be uncovered.
Why it works: the various areas can offer different entertainment, theme, and catering options for attendees. The “red carpet” service around the perimeter is functional for maintaining lines and adds a sense of exclusivity drawing more guests to it.
Bonus tip: adding spotlights from the upper-level rigging or snapping pics and sharing them to social media can help build buzz.
Credit: Acme Made In America Inc.
4. Entice Guests to Stay: Park-like Rest Areas
Provide attendees with some downtime at your event and some space to enjoy it. This “booth” is actually a park-like setting that guests can enjoy a treat and some quiet or spend time getting to know another attendee in a casual atmosphere.
Why it works: not only do people love free food but giving them this break and space to enjoy it, ties your branding into a positive experience. It also makes a nice photo opportunity.
Bonus tip: add a space or item that people will want to capture and share. Make sure you brand it. For instance, if you add a koi pond, place your branding on the bottom of the pool so it shows up in pictures.
5. Create an Ideal Setting for Your Brand
This exhibit speaks to being straight off the farm. It quickly communicates the message and allows attendees to sample the freshness with a cooler containing products, pushing them further down the sale funnel.
Why it works: the booth speaks for itself and carries through the message of the Expo as well. It also shows off an ideal “farm-fresh food.” Think of the ideal your company embodies and use that in your booth.
Bonus tip: If you use a bold item (like they use the cow here) brand it with at least your hashtag. It will undoubtedly end up in many pictures.
Make people assume things about your brand by creating an ideal setting.
Credit: Condit Exhibits LLC
6. Inspire Attendees with Art-like, Live Installations
This is another example of bringing the outdoors in but in an expansive, highly visible way. Its vertical use of greenery ensures it will get noticed from a distance.
Why it works: replacing a traditional wall with a green one is healthier, more open, and more visually appealing. It also gives you a natural way to talk about your company’s environmental practices. As an added bonus, it improves the air.
Bonus tip: on the last day, give the plants away to attendees. If you use succulents like this wall, transport and care are easy.
7. Take the Green Challenge with a Sustainable Booth
Green efforts have become a trend over the past few years and for good reason. Exhibit booths are some of the most wasteful installations. Some companies use them once and out they go. Thus the idea behind rentals. Other businesses are doing what SCIB is doing by using fully sustainable and reusable stand materials.
Why it works: it’s visually appealing and reusable.
Bonus tip: shipping adds considerable expense to installations so what many businesses are turning to is lightweight, portable materials like cardboard and recycled materials. Good for the planet and less expensive.
8. Save Money and Re-Use Items: Shop from Your Office.
Who says you have to order the components of your booth from a booth manufacturer? You may have some fun pieces around your office. Decorate with function and fashion using things you already own.
Why it works: today’s offices have a lot of non-traditional items that make great conversation starters. Using what you have can bring new life to what’s sitting in your stockroom.
Bonus tip: use/demonstrate your product in a new way like a seesaw made out of surfboards. Keep in mind that if your product hasn’t been tested for the new use, you’ll want to make it clear it’s for decoration only.
9. Showcase Different Brands: Create Distinct Spaces
When you have different brands to showcase, it might seem difficult to fuse them under the same corporate umbrella booth. But clever use of theatrical lighting and ambiance can help display each of your brand’s identities, as evidenced by what Belkin did for CES 2019.
Why it works: by fusing height, light, content and color, the corporate umbrella booth space enabled each brand to shine.
Bonus tip: Segment each space so that your attendees feel transported to another world when they move from one brand to the other.
10. Draw Attention to the Ceiling with Fabrics
Why it works: the complex fabric structures from the ceiling and the lighting effects created a “can’t miss” environment.
Bonus tip: reuse it with a different lighting theme to improve the ROI of your booth.
Ideas for 10×10 Trade Show Booths
Small booth spaces can still mean big returns. Here are 10 ideas to inspire you.
1. Give Them Something to Do and a Reason to Do It
This fairly simple idea uses graphics to give immediate incentives to attract visitors and packs in plenty of storage space and a tasting station. The prize entry idea gets people to the booth and entering a giveaway by trying the product. Also, the stand design resembles a bar layout with fridge and display behind and the tasting area up front. They even fit in a flat-screen TV.
Why it works: it incentivizes product testing and introducing products to attendees while offering them the opportunity to win a prize.
Bonus tip: if you’re serving samples of your product, give people a way to visibly rate them so others can see the crowdsourced favorite.
2. Go Round for a Change
This round booth is a welcome change from the usual ‘square’ feeling of many small spaces. It provides a more inviting atmosphere, and gives a sense of perspective with the big central visual and the background visible on the sides.
Why it works: it’s a pretty simple display with none of the clutter of some other booths, and that makes it a relaxing sight.
Bonus tip: use the round format to contribute to the theme by depicting an environment, like a shoreline scene in this case, as round enclosures are great for giving the feeling of an open expanse, whereas corners make it more difficult to create that effect.
3. Boil Down Your Offerings for Quick Understanding
This booth showcases natural drinks and places fruit as one of the first things you see aside from their name and product. The attendee quickly assumes the drinks are made from these fresh fruits. It’s a natural assumption (and a bad pun).
Why it works: never make your guest wonder what you do. You don’t want to tie up your salespeople explaining the very basics of what you do and who you are as a company. Instead, do what this booth did. They make it obvious what their product is and one benefit. That helps draw in a crowd that would be interested in you.
Bonus tip: offer samples in branded cups so attendees can serve as walking advertisements for you.
4. Leverage Your Brand Recognition
Everybody recognizes Coca-Cola, so it doesn’t take a lot to convey the brand message at a trade show. Nevertheless, this small booth is sure to draw attention: what are those tubes and buttons for? Can I customize my bottle at this stand?
Why it works: this is very effective for brands that are easily recognizable like Coca-Cola. No need to showcase the name everywhere, the color palette and the shape of the bottle are enough.
Bonus tip: if you have a product that can be turned into a big prop, take advantage of it, you can afterwards use it at your office or in your showrooms.
5. Draw People In with Creative Flooring
Flooring can be an integral part of your exhibit like in this example where the flooring resembles a road that leads into the booth.
Why it works: not only does it draw people in but it can make your booth appear larger than it is.
Bonus tip: don’t use a big table or you’ll break up the continuity. Alternatively, if you don’t have a lot of room in your booth, a minimalist approach with branded flooring, as shown in the second picture, is a unique solution, and can capture the attention of attendees looking down at their phones.
6. Command Attention: Use a Bold Graphic in a Small Space
Sometimes a bold graphic is all you need to get noticed.
Why it works: this works well when you have a recognized brand. A bold image allows your brand to speak without the clutter.
Bonus tip: It’s a common trend but one that we’re going to use again: photo op. You can also enhance your image by creating a custom filter or frame on Snapchat or Facebook.
7. Create a Focal Point to Stand Out from Others
This display is larger than a 10×10, but you could create a version on a smaller scale. It uses 2D and 3D elements to draw attention to the back wall. This booth uses cardboard for easy build-out and tear-down.
Why it works: Many small booth exhibits look alike, a skirted table in front of a screen. This booth uses texture to focus attention on its product.
Bonus tip: be aware of exhibit height limits.
Speaking of building up the back wall….
8. Display Your Product in Creative Ways for Dramatic Design
A small stand can still take advantage of flexible back wall solutions and create a different look and feel at each show. These pegboards are a great option for smaller spaces. Set it up to give a creative display of your products and your brand.
Why it works: the trick is to create something visually appealing so that your product is both decor and on display.
Bonus tip: use a collage of pictures of customers using your product.
9. Set the Scene with Textured Backdrops
Printing saves money while texture adds interest. Color printing has become much less expensive in recent years, allowing exhibitors to do a lot of creative things with backdrops.
Why it works: the possibilities are endless with a printed backdrop along with the flexibility to switch it out with different shows for a completely new look and theme.
Bonus tip: your backdrop should complement your branding, not compete with it.
Fun Trade Show Booth Ideas
It’s not just girls who want to have fun. All attendees do. These booth examples provide lots of it.
1. Increase Sales Through Demonstration
Simplifying your focus at an exhibition is a good idea and this booth concept made reality helps to highlight the security products that are on display by the vendor.
Why it works: this simple but effective demonstration shows that the powerful security camera can capture details at speed as well as having great zooming capabilities.
Bonus tip: the design of the booth itself encourages attendees to learn more and the green strip lights draw your eye to where you should be focusing your attention.
Credit: Repa Dizayn
2. Hand Out Custom Swag
Handing out swag is a classic trade show booth idea. By letting attendees put their own unique stamp on your merchandise, you decrease the probability that it will end in the trash. Bring a screen printer on site to make t-shirts, tote bags, etc. Let the visitor choose from a few design options and colors.
Why it works: people like getting free stuff, of course, but they especially like it when they can say they had a hand in designing it.
Bonus tip: by giving your visitors choices, you’ll ensure that your goodies are shared on social media and with friends.
3. Keep Them There Longer with Awesome Ambiance
This Heineken booth provides a lower bar and an upper balcony to enjoy your beverage.
Why it works: it keeps attendees at the booth longer and allows them to spend some time above the crowd.
Bonus tip: create artisanal cocktails or mocktails to further differentiate your booth from the competition. Serve each one in a souvenir cup.
4. Draw People in with Space-Age Technology
This exhibition stand design for Panasonic combines sleek, futuristic lines with intriguing lighting. Its size (roughly 8,000 sq. feet) means attendees can’t overlook it.
Why it works: this looks nothing like a traditional exhibition booth. It more closely resembles something from a sci-fi movie. Different means more traffic.
Bonus tip: with a booth like this, look to be on the outskirts of the exhibition hall. Traffic will come to you, but make sure your booth is accessible from all four sides.
5. Hook with Entertainment
Having a live band as we mentioned above is not always feasible, but some entertainers can easily blend in your booth. For example, hire a magician to blow your visitors minds with close-up tricks, or opt for a speed artist to create large portraits or caricatures in minutes.
Why it works: it’s difficult not to get hooked by a talented magician, and portraits or caricatures are items people love to bring back home.
Bonus tip: make sure your entertainers go from corner to corner of your booth so that they can attract as many people as possible.
6. Provide an Exciting Introduction to Your Brand
Mazda is known for cars that are fun to drive. They used that reputation in their driving simulator as well.
Why it works: the virtual driving experience drove a remarkable increase in leads.
Bonus tip: you might not have the production capabilities to create a driving experience but you can still drive leads with an exhibit demo that is fun to do/unlock with a badge scan.
7. Meet Attendees’ Needs: Mobile Beverage Service
Guests can work up a thirst on the exhibit floor. Few enjoy leaving to go get a beverage. It’s hard to find their way back again. This hurts the guest experience and the vendors.
Why it works: nobody has to leave the exhibit area and you are seen as a company that intuits customer needs.
Bonus tip: mobile drink server outfits can reflect your brand, the show theme, or a comical tribute.
Sound-responsive and interactive lighting can create choreographed lighting displays or lights that seem to interact with your audience.
Why it works: this display involves multiple senses for a more memorable experience, not to mention a beautiful one.
Bonus tip: share your display on video so even those who couldn’t make the event can enjoy it. Don’t underestimate the power of beauty when it comes to social shares.
9. Go Vintage
Bonus tip: just make sure that you’ll be allowed to drive it into the event space.
10. Use Design Visuals to Remind Attendees of Fun
Why it works: Splashtacular Entertainment used Skyline Exhibits to create watery reflections within its cylinder booth, which reminded attendees of the fun of being inside the tube.
Bonus tip: If you can’t bring your business to the trade show, consider creating an effective design element or using virtual reality to transport your attendees to your office or business location.
Interactive Trade Show Booth Ideas
Don’t just be present; involve your attendees.
1. Incentivize Action with Gamification
Playing games at your booth can be a light-hearted way of encouraging interaction and participation and this idea is perfect for those who want to stay on message as well. Incentivize participation at your both using a reward system that recognizes participation or the achievement of specific objectives with either material or social incentives. For everyone who can correctly state your four product verticals, offer them an item. For participants who complete all the requirements, enter them to win a trip.
Alternatively or concurrently, create a sense of competition by allocating points for performing desired activities and broadcasting a leaderboard.
Why it works: gamification uses the same mechanics that make video games so addictive, like short and long-term gratification structures, competition, and a sense of accomplishment, to encourage people to complete business objectives.
Bonus tip: make prizes relevant to you and your brand in some way so that they’re more memorable and everything ties together nicely.
2. Create Attendee Memories with Interactive Walls
Encourage attendee participation with installations that make them stop, think and interact. You could incorporate giveaway codes or hidden prizes or merely make a fun activity to keep them entertained.
Why it works: the active component entices people to participate and think about your installation. Creating an active experience makes your booth one they’ll talk about.
Bonus tip: add a leaderboard for healthy competition. Provide a prize for the overall winner of the day to create follow-up opportunities with attendees and keep them coming back to check on where they stand.
3. Educate Attendees in Areas Designed for Learning
This modular design shows a booth that accomplishes a lot, including functional areas set aside for group learning or instruction.
Why it works: This design provides a comfortable learning space and more intimate one-on-one areas for multiple uses.
Bonus tip: large crowds can use the classroom instructional design but if you find your audience is not filling up the space, move them to a more comfortable booth area. Base your use of the space on the conversation as well. General talks work well in the larger public area, while more sensitive conversations and questions, or people further along the buying cycle may enjoy the one-on-one.
Credit: Design Foundry
4. Create the Ultimate Interactive Experience with Virtual Reality
While this example is not a VR experience from a trade show, it shows how you can immerse your guests in a live experience unlike any other.
The Sky Circus experience is a trapeze-like attraction that lets you glide over VR Ikebukuro, one of Tokyo’s multiple city centers.
Why it works: people are eager to try new technologies, and most have heard of VR but have not had the chance to try it. It’s very likely that offering such an experience will draw quite a crowd to your booth.
Bonus tip: VR headsets are now easily available; you only have to find the content that will fit with your branding. Design VR experiences that let people use your product. If your product isn’t conducive to an exciting VR experience, use it to reinforce your brand. Have you done any interesting CSR activations lately? Check out what Tom’s Shoes did.
5. Create a World of Your Own by Creating a Nested Effect with Lighting
We saw previously how this type of modular design can remove attendees from the hustle and bustle of a trade show. Now, add customized lighting, and you’ve created a world of your own.
Why it works: this experience may remind some people of that zany 80s show Mork & Mindy starring Robin Williams, but it’s incredibly effective at creating a den atmosphere that is at once stimulating in its modernity and yet strangely soothing (like Mork’s egg home).
Bonus tip: face the entrance in a direction people least expect. They’ll be super curious about how you get in and will circle your booth until they find it.
6. Increase Booth Traffic with Fun Vending
Rent or design a vending machine that spills out everything from product samples to trade show horoscopes.
Why it works: vending machines can be used for social media engagement or survey collection, answer a question, get a prize. Plus, there’s something about the anticipation of what you’ll get that is almost as great as the prize.
Bonus tip: film a few of the prizes, especially if you have some funny ones in there or offer people a chance to “make a deal” based on what they received from the machine and what’s behind curtain number one.
7. Make an Impression by Going Big in Tech
Reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland, giant iPhones or iPads are so much more enjoyable to use for demos than the regular handheld size. Best of all you can rent them. They’re user-friendly and easy to see.
Why it works: giant iPhones and iPads have the same interest-grabbing effect that iPads and devices had when people first started using them at conferences. They made surveys and registrations fun to fill out. These clown-sized devices have that same novelty.
Bonus tip: pairing these items with other oversized things in your booth, like giant chairs or cups.
8. Capture Attention with Interactive Flooring
Remember the piano mat in the movie Big? It’s been replicated many times at trade shows, and for good reason. People can’t help but play with it.
Why it works: it takes a dull idea, something we walk on and creates an opportunity to interact. Plus, with more and more people staring down at phones, an interactive floor can still get their attention while they text.
Bonus tip: use as many senses as possible with lighting, sound, vibration, etc.
9. Turn Attendees into Rock Stars with Carpool Karaoke
This idea involved putting participants in front of a green screen and creating a video of them singing in the car.
Why it works: this spin-off of James Corden’s popular videos at the Cadillac booth at NAIAS 2018 was a lot of fun and quite the crowd-pleaser.
Bonus tip: if technology is not in your favor, and a green screen and professional video are more than you can handle, you can create a campy version by placing a car seat in front of a backdrop or positioning two chairs side by side and hanging fuzzy dice from the rigging.
10. Transform Attendees into Action Heroes
With this idea from Ford, attendees get behind the wheel and are featured in their own movie poster and trailer with the help of the Ford movie experts. You’ll need Ford’s budget, though, to pull it off. The estimate from the NAIAS Technology Report is that it costs the car company $250 per person.
Why it works: you make them the star of the show.
Bonus tip: a more frugal idea would be to use a backdrop screen and a smartphone.
Trade Show Booth Design Ideas
These trade show booth examples pay a lot of attention to the elements of design.
Incorporate the weird and wacky into your booth to get attendees talking. Illusions such as this make it very memorable, causing most attendees to do a double take when they pass by.
Why it works: it grabs attention by causing the guest to wonder what’s going on. That natural curiosity provides the perfect opportunity to get to know someone.
Bonus tip: add a prize wheel to draw a crowd.
2. Pique More Interest Using Multiple Angles
Depending on the size of your booth and the show, it’s important to understand how the attendees will approach it. A design that appeals from every angle is a good, solid strategy that will help you use the same booth in multiple shows. This practice creates interest from the outset.
Why it works: This booth for Ivanhoe Cambridge has a variety of external media to attract guests, like touch screens for more information. These large external screens showcase and stream video plus transparent windows help others to see inside and get a feel for the atmosphere.
Bonus tip: If you’re creating a fear of missing out, you need to give them a good experience once they enter.
Credit: Maverick Exhibits
3. Garner Attention and Interest with Jellyfish Displays
Why it works: these jellyfish-inspired pavilions are ideal for showcasing products when you still want them partially shrouded in mystery.
Bonus tip: for a dreamlike experience or unveil. Play up its luminescent quality with lighting.
4. Make the Most of Each Event with Sustainable Modular Designs
This is similar to the Lego-like design featured earlier, but it is not intended to look like snap-together pieces. This exhibition booth can be disassembled and reassembled differently to meet the demands and specifications of the exhibit.
Why it works: at each show, you can create unique layouts to tailor to your attendees and target demographic. It has enough flair to be noticed, and with the 3D walls and protruding shapes, it’s an attention-getting design. Best of all, it’s sustainable.
Bonus tip: This block build’s flexibility means you can even use it back at the office.
5. Immerse Attendees in a Brand Box for an Undisturbed Experience
Creating immersion like this is a cool way to integrate your brand and avoid having it diluted by others. The exclusivity created by this box makes curious minds want to peer inside and walk through.
Why it works: Daikin does this by using its main brand colors and product concepts in the design. This limited palette stands out more than a multi-colored booth.
Bonus tip: when inside, attendees can wear headphones and experience different elements in the powerfully lit interior.
6. Showcase Your Message with Blue Highlights
Using lighting to your advantage to create cool effects is a clever idea, and this Total stand at the 2017 Astana Expo highlights this well. With a view on sustainable living, their statement involved the earth and sustainability, and they used their available technology to project ideas and proposals to attendees.
Why it works: Creating a darkened environment with blue lighting makes attendees concentrate and engage more with content in a cinematic experience. Perfect if you are trying to get important messages across.
Bonus tip: You needn’t use blue, but every color evokes an emotion. Make sure you work with a designer or understand how your color choice may affect mood and perception when it’s one of the focal points.
Credit: Krafthaus MENA
7. Grab Attention Through Interesting Design Elements: Falcon’s Nest
Take inspiration for your brand from nature. This exhibition booth inspired by a falcon’s nest creates a cozy environment for visitors. The different elements and textures incorporated in the design make it unique, while steps that lead to an open discussion and networking area create more interest than a mere table. But, there is also a private meeting area to have more in-depth discussions.
Why it works: The nature elements, like the greenery wall, are juxtaposed against modern LED brand signs and digital screens for added interest. It’s the perfect combination of nature and technology.
Bonus tip: Textures in your booth to grab attention and spark the imagination.
Credit: TAMM Abu Dhabi Government Services, Y-Solutions, Viola Communications
8. Capture the Flow with Curvature Viewing
An excellent way to draw attendees in along a journey and create a visual experience is to use something with a visual flow. This curved design at the San Francisco Wildcards Exhibition accompanying the ACADIA conference does just that.
Why it works: with plenty of space to play with the different elements of this curved display, it can showcase new ideas and feed one into another. The semi-circle can be used for grouping ideas, concepts, time periods, or other items. The different areas naturally lend themselves to different atmospheres while remaining part of a cohesive installation. The unique shape moves people along.
Bonus tip: Take the viewer on a journey or progression, as there’s a natural flow to the exhibit.
9. Get More Sales with a Large Atrium Design
This 150 sqm booth approaches things differently by enclosing the outer edges and creating a mini atrium with different seating heights in the middle. By using digital screens that are facing inwards, the brand can display different elements depending on the seating arrangement.
Why it works: It comfortably covers all stages of the sales funnel, from basic discovery to more in-depth conversations.
Bonus tip: don’t forget passers-by, who are going to experience your booth from the outside and have branding, signage, and brochure display options.
10. Attract the Ideal Customer with Ultra-Luxe Adornment
One of the best things you can do for your salespeople is to ensure they don’t waste time with those who aren’t a good fit for your product or service. If you sell a high-end product or service, creating a lacey showroom design that speaks to luxury and refinement will ensure customers self-select before coming in.
Why it works: Some vendors believe it’s good practice to speak to everyone at a trade show, but with limited hours and hands on deck, it’s most effective to speak with only the people in your ideal demographic. Creating a space that appeals to them will help attract your ideal client.
Bonus tip: Create a space that is attractive to your ideal audience.
Handshake Ideas for Booth Design
Make the most of your booth interactions and business opportunities with these ideas:
This design offers high, well-branded walls that create individual yet open areas without sacrificing privacy, as well as private presentation and meeting areas within the stand.
Why it works: Tt provides a good design and more in-depth discussion past the awareness stage.
Bonus tip:A booth like this works well when salespeople contact possibilities before the event to schedule sales consultations and follow-ups with those who have already shown interest. It’s ideal for signing deals as well.
2. Let the Product Sell Itself with a Product-Facing Design
Here, the focus is on the product- just what it needs to be. Sell more by placing it front and center so it does not compete with anything.
Why it works: This design creates good brand awareness and interest. It may also provide the emotional push needed to sign a contract.
Bonus tip: This design is best used with a sexy product that turns heads.
3. Create a Fear of Missing Out with Opaque Textures
This booth allows light in but provides a filter from noise and distractions. It also creates a fear of missing out among people walking past. They can see outlines of people inside but cannot see clearly what is going on there.
Why it works: It provides privacy but also the velvet rope idea, creating a VIP area that people are drawn to explore. They want to come in.
Bonus tip: Intriguing lighting.
4. Captivate Attendees with Luxury Materials
So inviting you can’t help but want to come in. Check out this pavilion made entirely of Italian tile by e+i studio in New York. The flow is inviting and reminiscent of a sweeping staircase, providing drama and interest. It also had a hidden information desk area behind the grand elevation.
Why it works: the design showcases the rich use of materials while still leaving an area for business.
Bonus tip: your access to luxe materials may not be as easily obtained as this tile vendor, but by creating a focal point, you can use high-end, dramatic materials for effect.
5. Land More Sales By Painting an Ideal
Sales are emotional. Creating a space that helps people envision the kind of life they’d like to lead can be a big winner. Check out this fun camping idea.
Why it works: Kurgo sells harnesses for dogs and while many of its owners will never do much more than walk Fido around the park, this Airstream trailer paints a picture of life on the open road with man’s/woman’s best friend, a very beguiling daydream.
Bonus tip: think about your demographic. What do they want? What type of lifestyle do they fantasize about? Create an image of that and place your product or service at the center.
6. Expand Your Brand Reach with Backlit Exhibition Stands
Backlit exhibition stands provide a natural looking light to displays. No glare or shadow to disturb your message. They appear to be lit from within.
Why it works: the l-shaped backlit stand provides privacy for the group you’re speaking with and information for those on the other side helping with all aspects of sales from beginning to signing.
Bonus tip: dramatic images.
Copyright: Expand International AB.
7. Increase User-generated Content with a Leaderboard
This idea creates motivation for attendees to provide you with more user-generated content via a social leaderboard. The board can track most shares/interactions/mentions.
Why it works: user-generated content is much more valuable than crafted marketing messages these days. By motivating your audience to share content about you, you’re increasing word-of-mouth referrals and brand awareness.
Bonus tip: by awarding daily prizes for the most posts or the most correct answers or some other measurable category. Offering several prizes instead of one at the end incentivizes people to get involved throughout the event.
8. Master the Long Sell with Comfortable Surroundings that Meet Multiple Needs
If you have a “long sell” product or service, you can’t expect people to make a decision in 30 seconds so you want a booth that makes them comfortable. How about a kitchen, conference room, lounge and private meetings rooms, all within 150 sq. meters?
Why it works: It’s like a mobile version of your office but more fun and visually appealing.
Bonus tip: you can rent this space or host a drinks hour at your booth.
9. Use Nostalgia to Appeal to Your Attendees on an Emotional Level
Purchases are emotionally driven so connecting with the audience on an emotional level is a good way to secure more sales. Nostalgia is a powerful sway and that’s what’s so impressive about this design.
Why it works: harkens back to a time of enjoyable road travel with its older gas pumps. It’s very inviting.
Bonus tip: think of the type of nostalgic period that may work for your product and appeal to your ideal demographic.
10. Evoke Emotion Through Setting and Booth Design
The problem with many booths is that they’re bland. Even when they use evocative imagery and bright colors, they fail to elicit an emotional response. The exhibitors at Twitch wanted something dark and brooding yet enticing enough to draw people in.
The second booth is eye-catching and emotion-evoking. It incorporates feeling and a branded entrance in an “M” design. While the branding is the company’s, you can be assured that many people with a first or last name of starting with M stood underneath of it for a photo opp.
Why it works: using tone and setting can help you connect on a deeper level than branding can.
Bonus tip: think about lighting, materials, and imagery when considering the type of emotion you want to evoke. If you use a unique, branded element, like this M entrance, keep an eye out for it in social media streams. Share and comment on those who post pictures.
Vendor Booth Ideas
These designs and add-ons can make your trade show a more worthwhile experience.
1. Personalize Your Message with a Multi-Room Tunnel
The concept for this booth is massive and houses several different areas to accommodate traffic and different demographics for a large brand. Some rooms are in a meeting style while others have a children’s play area and relaxation chairs. The design itself is quite neutral and has a sky overhang.
Why it works The tunnel effect is interesting and the segmentation allows for brands that cater to different traffic types at once without falling short in any particular area.
Bonus tip: if the booth is segmented, you can offer a personalized experience in each area. Make sure each guest feels like you’re speaking directly to them based on their demographic.
Focusing on décor and high rises, this booth uses the branded arches as both a sponsorship opportunity and a way of attracting attention on the exhibition floor. With specialized meeting areas, guests can have one-on-one discussions away from the crowded floor. The foliage makes it more inviting and less sterile.
Why it works: height and branded arches increase visibility significantly. The booth also feels contained without feeling claustrophobic.
Bonus tip: special lighting on an arch can create a spectacular backdrop.
Some exhibitors don’t think about flooring, but they’re missing an opportunity to create a cohesive design. In this booth, even the carpet plays a part. The vivid blue of the carpet reflects that of the ocean and ties in with vivid images to attract guests.
Why it works: This design has a lot of open floor space, and it’s smart to capitalize on this.
Bonus tip: If you have a lot of open floor space, think about your flooring. There are carpet colors, printed wood laminate, and even interactive flooring that can help you make the most of this space.
Credit: Absolute Exhibits
4. Extend the Life of Your Booth (and get more value) with Good Design
There’s a lot of money in a trade show booth. Relegating it to a storeroom after the event is not a good return on your investment. Instead, opt for a design like this that has a second life in its corporate showroom after the event.
Why it works: Repurposing your booth for use in a corporate showroom, office, break room, lobby, etc., means a lot more people can enjoy it, and you get more value out of your investment.
Bonus tip: Modular designs lend themselves to this sort of reuse, a pedestal can be used here, and iPad station somewhere else entirely.
5. Provide Relief to Tired Guests
Why it works: People who have been on their feet all day will appreciate the moment of relief you offer.
Bonus tip: Because massage is so popular, the line can get really long. You can provide a seating area for those waiting to receive a massage. Take it as a great opportunity to talk to people about your business.
6. Vary Your Message with a Touch Screen Display
The beauty of this stand is the versatility of design and touch screen technology. It makes a statement that your brand is modern and tech-savvy. It’s also appealing to look at and easy on the eyes. No need to squint at this large, colorful display.
Why it works: if your messaging is complex, you have video, or want the flexibility to run different content over the duration of the show.
Bonus tip: don’t treat this like an expensive brochure. Use its touchscreen capabilities to demonstrate and vary your information throughout the length of the trade show.
7. Keep Them Comfortable in a Minimalistic Setting
When is an exhibit booth not a booth? In this case. This example looks like an ultra cool lounge. In a sea of same, be different.
Why it works: its minimalist approach can provide a sea of tranquility in the business of an expo floor.
Bonus tip: comfort is key here. Since it doesn’t look like a booth, you need to give people a reason to visit and stay. It also works best for well-branded companies and customer advocates since the branding, while there, does not explain what you do.
8. Increase Social Conversion with a Social Media Display Wall
This idea needn’t be your whole booth but it is a nice addition that adds interest and an element of gamification.
Why it works: people love to see their name on a “wall of fame,” public recognition of others drives competitive personalities to work to get their name on the list too, and it serves as word of mouth marketing for you. Win, win, win.
Bonus tip: User-generated content should never go unacknowledged. Listen for it and comment to those who thought enough of you to mention you. Also, reuse their content in your own streams.
9. Create a Visually Intriguing Spot with Lighting
You can do amazing things with lighting fabric combinations. You create privacy and install a velvet rope where people see enough of what others are doing to want to be a part of it while the minimal barrier to entry also stirs interest.
Why it works: lighting and fabric can separate space, add visual interest, evoke emotion, and a lot more.
Bonus tip: decide what you’re going for: design, feeling, or privacy. Your goal behind the use of material and lighting will affect the colors and shapes you use.
10. Understand the ROI with Booth Analytics
This isn’t so much about a particular booth design as it is a smart booth design. Some booth manufacturers now have the capabilities of incorporating built-in booth analytics. No more relying on the exhibition planner to provide you with traffic estimates or using scanners to measure. Sensors can measure important analytics for you as part of your booth.
Why it works: footfall, hotspots, visitor dwell time, first time versus returning visitors, and team performance.
Bonus tip: data is great but in order for it to be of value, you need to use it. Before investing in this tech, ensure you have a good strategy in place to use your newfound knowledge. If it’s a multi-day event, don’t wait until the end of the trade show to review it. Look at it after the first day and make necessary adjustments to improve results for the remainder of the show.
Read more about the top tech ways to measure traffic at trade shows.
Table Display Ideas
For those of us with very little room, it can all come down to a tabletop display or similar space equivalent. Here are some suggestions for how to make the most of it:
1. Create an Inviting Space to Increase Traffic
This example shows how adding succulents combats a sterile-looking environment. They’re also no-maintenance ways to bring the outdoors in.
Why it works: succulents are very trendy right now in design circles. Live plants are an inviting way to break up/segment areas in your booth as well.
Bonus tip: hide something unexpected in your “garden” and offer a prize to those who find it.
2. Encapsulate Your Branding in a Large Object
This is obviously larger than a tabletop display, but the idea can be downsized. Use a 3D object to encapsulate what your company does. With this display, the attendee sees an egg and immediately realizes (at least) the broad scope of the business.
Why it works: Trade show attendees walk past a lot of booths. You have to find a way to differentiate yourself from other displays. Using an object to give a broad idea of what you do will help people decide more quickly if they’re interested in you. That means your sales team will spend less time with tire kickers or people asking what you do.
Bonus tip: With any type of 3D object, the bigger, the better. Why? Photo op, of course.
Credit: Exhibit Studios
We’ve all seen hand-drawn videos illustrating what companies do. You can create the same effect in your booth by cartooning your products or display. You don’t need a big area. Just some artistic talent or a company with some.
Why it works: it adds some whimsy to your booth and is visually appealing to visitors.
Bonus tip: have an art or design department at your company? Then, there’s a good chance you have in-house talent that could create a comic focal point for your booth.
4. Grab Attention by Displaying Your Product in a New Way
Envision things in a new way with creative stands and displays like this example with hanging donuts.
Why it works: when you do something at your booth that an attendee hasn’t seen before, it will make an impression and they’ll remember the display. Do something really different and they’ll share it with others.
Bonus tip: Look for ways you can surprise attendees in your display. You can use an unusual display, like in this example, or hide something unexpected.
Credit: Biscuits and Berries
5. Use a Sign with Visual Appeal to Draw People In
Nobody said your tabletop display had to be flat. Using an undulating, or curved, design adds visual interest and draws viewers in.
Why it works: when exhibit space is minimal, it shrinks the area in which you can use to stand out. At this level, a lot of tables begin to look the same. An undulating graphic will help you get noticed.
Bonus tip: there are a variety of shapes out there. This undulating shape works really well with products and services involving water because it mimics the wave design. Look for a shape that complements what you’re selling.
6. Create a Professional Statement with Your Signage
Earlier, we showed backlit designs on a larger scale, but they also have tabletop options. Check out this backlit sign with a display area.
Why it works: the marketing message and product needn’t compete for top billing in this sign. You see both together. Ideal for a small space.
Bonus tip: if you don’t have products to display, you could use this layout to showcase image-quote testimonials mounted on foam core.
Credit: Classic Exhibits
7. Add Focus Where You Want It With Lighting
These modular light-up designs allow exhibitors to bring the focus where they want it. These are bar-height LED columns.
Why it works: adding pizzazz to areas like tables and stands. Light focuses the visitors’ attention.
Bonus tip: if you light up an area, think of that as a spotlight, something to direct your visitors. Don’t light up a table just to dump brochures on it.
Credit: Bar Chefs
8. Create a Statement with an Artistic Focal Point
Harmonizing contrasting elements like this may bring people to your booth just to check out the art.
Why it works: This installation uses several non-complementary colors and materials to create a striking focal point.
Bonus tip: Exhibit stands can be pricey. You may be able to work with an artist/someone on Etsy to create something unique to your company for about the same price as an exhibit stand or table.
9. Surprise Visitors with a Visual Treat
At first glance, this appears to be just another table. But they’ve added an artistic flair and conversation piece on the side.
Why it works: it breaks up the space and adds something of interest. It also sparks curiosity. What is that zipper doing there? What does it mean and what is it hiding?
Bonus tip: maybe a zipper doesn’t say anything about your brand, but you can find some object that does. Incorporate it on your table in an unexpected way such as a graffiti image or trompe l’oeil.
Credit: G3 Glass Granite Group
10. Strengthen Your Marketing Message in Textures
We talked about how lighting and color can affect emotion and interest but textures can play a big role too. In this marriage of corporate messaging and design, you see the company message “Built for Durability” on a riveted texture that also communicates strength.
Why it works: the words match the visual and cement the idea in attendees’ minds.
Bonus tip: think about what adjectives describe your business and its offerings. What materials reflect that same idea. For instance, if the word is luxury, silk may be a good option or using satin may work. If the word is green, burlap may be a good choice or bamboo. Play with textures until you find one that fits your business.
Credit: Apple Rock Displays
So, there you have it: 100 ideas covering trade show tips for exhibitors and trade show booth design tips to ensure your investment delivers results.
Trade show booths and stands are becoming more creative and if you’re an event marketer you need to get inspired to give the best return on investment. Through lighting, textures, flow, and unexpected pieces you can create a booth that speaks to your corporate messaging and culture. Now you just have to figure out how to ship it.
Now onto you:
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Photo credit: IMEX / IMEX