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Trade Show Displays – “Design With the End in Mind”

Those of us in the trade show exhibit design business like to think of ourselves as rather creative.  When we sit to design an exhibit we want you (the client) to think we’re just the Picasso’s of the trade show floor, blowing you away with some cool concept you’ve never seen before.  We want to give you something you can stand in front of at the show and proudly display your products and services, impressing your prospects, customers, co-workers (especially the boss) and making your competitors jealous over your “cool” booth.  BUT, if we design to impress you (and ourselves) but fail to effectively reach the attendee, we’ve both missed the mark.  So, when we sit to design with you our list of questions will be something like:

  1. Tell me the optimum experience you want the trade show attendee to have.
  2. What do they see from a distance?
  3. Who is the first person to engage them at your booth?
  4. What is the clear, compelling message communicated in your graphics?
  5. How long does the attendee stay at your tradeshow booth?
  6. What do they do while they’re there and what do they leave with as they go?

The answers to these and other related questions will all go toward determining the final design.  The exhibit must first meet your functional requirements (workstations, storage needs, meeting spaces, etc.)  and then appropriately express the graphic marketing messages you want to convey to that particular audience.

Finally, the best designs are those that can fit a variety of needs and environments.  If we’re designing a 20×20 for instance, have we also considered the ability to reconfigure the architecture to an inline 10×20 or 10×10?  Can we peel off a small part of the exhibit (perhaps even just a workstation) for use in your lobby or at a small private one-day event?  Have we met your criteria for things like ease-of setup and the ability to refresh your graphics easily?

These are the fundamental questions to consider before we turn on the computer and start a rendering.  So the next time you ask us to “build me a pretty booth” be ready from some probing questions.  The answers will serve us both well as we “begin with the end in mind.”

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About the Author

During his 30+ years with Skyline Exhibits, Glenn’s role has ranged from Director of Sales Training to National Sales Manager at Skyline corporate headquarters in Minnesota, as well as General Manager of Skyline South in Atlanta. Glenn has conducted over 400 seminars throughout North America helping companies better manage their trade show and event marketing programs. Glenn is currently the Owner and President of Skyline Genesis Event Marketing in New York City. He gladly assumes the ultimate responsibility for customer satisfaction and the quality of their New York trade show displays and the most effective marketing package that will strategically meet or exceed their objectives.

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