Creating Effective Exhibition Stands

A guest post by who offer a bespoke exhibition stand design service

Providing exhibition stands for clients is a highly specialised service.  However, if you do not have an accurate understanding of their company then it will involve a great deal of guesswork.  Without knowing certain basics, you really will be just poking around in the dark. Answer the following questions:

  • What type of products is your client promoting?
  • What kind of image does their company have?
  • What (if any!) ideas does your client have about how they want their stands to look?

It is vital to know the answers to all of these questions!  After all, the ultimate goal in exhibition stand design is to attract as many visitors as possible within a very short space of time.  And this cannot be done without a good knowledge of your client and their company.

Logos and Branding

The best exhibition stands are the ones which make full use of a company’s logo.  This means they will be eye-catching and that any existing clients will recognise the company straight away. If the company have a particularly strong logo, then how about presenting it in a 3D, projected or illuminated format?  Many clients will really like the idea of this!

Reeling in Your ‘Catch’

Once you have ‘caught’ the attention of a visitor you will want to ‘reel them in’.  Make sure that plenty of your client’s contact details are easily at hand throughout the display.  Leaflets, business cards and flyers are great to have at hand throughout your client’s stand.

Getting the Message Across

Exhibitions have a tendency to be quite noisy locations, so a special attention to visuals is always a good idea.  Photographs, prototypes and diagrams will all do their job, however noisy the venue becomes!

Don’t overdo it with text though…  many people are very lazy when it comes to reading information and will not be prepared to stand around poring through reams of information about new products.  If you do have to use text, then try and keep it to a bare minimum.

Having a few short sentences will often deliver a far more potent message than any long and sprawling paragraphs!  If any visitors want to know the finer details regarding any products, they can soon pick up a few of the company’s leaflets instead or approach the friendly staff that will be on hand.

Choosing the Right Colours

Using the correct colours in an exhibition stand design can be a very tricky business.  They do not want to appear too dark, but they should also not be so bright that they give visitors a migraine either!

Some clients will have definite ideas about the colours they want to use, particularly if they have a colour-themed image to their company’s stationary and graphics.

For a really powerful display that will stop people in their tracks, complimentary colours are a serious consideration.  A background in one shade will cause the foreground to jump right out if it is presented in its opposite colour.

Creating a Model for Your Client

Presenting your client with a 3D scale model of a proposed display will make the whole business far more ‘real’.  Once they have inspected this you will have much more idea of what they do/do not like and whether you are working along the right lines or not.

This can also be a great way of ensuring that no expensive mistakes are made!

Some Effective Features

Incorporating a video screen or laptop into your client’s display can have a very beneficial effect.  A short video message of around three minutes can be highly informative and really grab the attention of visitors.


The correct use of lighting is very important in an exhibition display; it is all about creating a careful but effective balance.  It should not be too bright, but it must be light enough for visitors see what they are looking at!  Why not use some spot lights in the construction of your clients stand?  These can have a really dynamic effect on a display if they are situated cleverly.

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  1. Posted September 2, 2010 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Very complete yet useful tips. Just want to add something about logo and branding. If a logo is too complicated or has “too much” 3D effects, it may somehow reduce the effectiveness. Keep it simple yet easy to remember would be best to create a logo.

  2. Posted September 3, 2010 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

    Hi Tara,
    Nice post.
    No revolution, but works as a very good checklist, to make sure you got everything in your stand :)

  3. Posted September 6, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    I have seen all sorts of exhibits. From soda fountains to TV studios and some that just let you hang out and play video games. I had the opportunity to go to the PRSA, AdTech, Affiliate Summit and a few other conferences. It really does make a difference what your exhibit looks like and how you draw in attention.

  4. Posted October 28, 2010 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Some good comments Tara regarding exhibition branding and audience targeting.
    As exhibition stand contractors we are continually looking to bring new and fresh ideas to display our client’s logs, literature, products etc at exhibitions. Our website at fusion exhibitions has many examples of both custom and modular stands which demonstrate how effective company branding can be achieved through a number of varying stand design concepts. Our advice would be to keep things simple, make graphics colourful and eye catching without reams and reams of text. Bullet points are often a winner, and your sales people should do the rest. Hope this helps Andy

  5. angus
    Posted November 18, 2010 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    I am currently doing year 12 and for my major design project I am thinking of doing exhibition design. Other than the advice above what are the key features of any good exhibit

  6. Posted February 10, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Hi Angus,

    The exhibition industry is a very prolific and creative area of events so specializing in exhibition design is a very good idea. The points made by Tara are very pertinent and helpful, and I hope my point below will be of help as well:

    - the main feature of a good exhibit is to make the information intresting to the buyer, as the exhibition stand is one of the few points where the buyer and the seller meet face-to-face, have direct interaction. Mainly, making sure that the persons who run your stand at an exhibition are well-trained and very capable (I would say charistmatic) to send the message accross.
    - another important tip of a good exhibit is to market the stand in advance, by using incentives and social networks. Recent research shows that more than 75% of the people coming to an exhibition get their information nowadays from websites such as Facebook, Twitter etc.

    Hope this helps.

    Good luck!


  7. Posted December 19, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    Just re-discovered this post among my old bookmarks.
    Still working as a great checklist!


  8. Posted August 31, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    How has the industry been impacted by the economy? Tradeshows seem to have taken a hard hit for several years, but are making a comeback. Are companies buying new booths and displays, reusing existing ones longer or simply buying smaller less expensive displays in place of the more expensive ones?

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