Optimizing Space In Your Trade Show Exhibits & Displays

No matter how big or small your trade show exhibits & displays are, space is always at a premium. There’s always more stuff you want to show off, and more products that you want visitors interacting with. However, especially if you’re dealing with a smaller booth design, you’re just not going to have all of the space available that you’d want.

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Making the most of the space available is essential for a successful trade show display!

Ideally, of course, you want the most possible activities for visitors – things to do, materials to take home, products to buy, and so forth. Unfortunately, “cluttered” and “lived in” are both unpopular in trade show booth design at the moment. Light, airy, accessible, and inviting are very important goals for today’s expo displays.

That makes building them a careful balancing act – how do you have the most possible stuff while still keeping your booth design open and inviting?

Let’s take a look at some of the trade show display ideas you’ll need to consider when planning your expo displays and looking to optimize your use of floorspace.

How To Make The Most Of Limited Convention Space

Well, first and foremost:

I. Have a Theme

The theme is more than your brand. It’s like a rug, tying the room together. It creates an instant connection between everything in a trade show display, and reduces the need to repeat your story. This frees up creative space within the expo display for more information to be presented.

It’s best if this theme reflects something currently happening in your company – a move towards greener production methods, or a shift in philosophy. It could also be an expression of the new ideas behind your latest line, or just a common theme running through your products. Either way, it makes everything link together in a visitor’s mind.

This theme should also be reflected in the color design, which again, creates a single visual link between every aspect of your expo booth. A booth that’s making good use of space feels whole and complete, which a theme also reinforces.

II. Use Virtual Space

The ease of high-speed communications means that a lot of materials can be offloaded to servers, for visitors to browse at their leisure, download, or bookmark for later.

For example, you could have an entire library of materials available on a couple iPads on kiosks for people to browse. It would be easy to have them email anything they’re interested in to themselves, allowing you to have their name and email in the process, of course.

And the more virtual goodies, the better. If you have the budget, you might also investigate the possibilities of mobile apps to promote your product. They can be made for quite low rates, and are a great “giveaway” to visitors to your booth. In some cases, you could give the app out as an exclusive at a major trade show event before it hits the app stores.

III. Think Three-Dimensionally

Not everything has to be laid out on tables and podiums. Consider how you could add more elements that move up the walls, or even drop down from the ceiling.

Many of the most impressive entrants at this year’s CES had trade show exhibits & displays that used space in interesting and unexpected ways, such as an explosion of multicolored chairs across a back wall. Display items which are hung from the ceiling are visible from far away, and add “free” floorspace. Have you considered using “drop” elements, rather than podiums? It’s more expensive, but creates striking visuals.

Basically, if it can be moved out of the way of the customers walking, it’s probably worth considering for use in your booth design. “Impossible” shapes and creative bits of engineering are also in high esteem.

IV. Use Better-Trained Staff

We hammer on this one a lot, but don’t underestimate the value which well-educated staff can bring to freeing up floor space. After all, one of the main purposes of your trade show display is to meet and greet people!

So, make your staff into an integral part of your presentation. Give them plenty of training ahead of time, and ensure they have access to all the product and company information they could need. Ideally, there should be nothing a visitor to your trade show exhibits & displays might want to know that someone on your booth staff can’t tell them.

Live interaction is at a premium these days. People appreciate a bit of the human touch. Using a discrete lead retrieval device is another way to eliminate wasted space in the booth, allowing your staffers to quickly scan the visitor’s badge with a joke and a smile, so they don’t feel like a fish trying to get off the hook.

hybrid island trade show booths

V. Disguise Your Storage Space

Any area of your expo booth which isn’t going to be seen by the public should be harnessed for storage. Granted, this should be kept to a minimum, but you’re going to want to have at least a few items on hand.

Do a look around and keep an eye peeled for unused space. Corners, nooks and crannies, and areas behind desks, for example. These are the places to store anything the visitors don’t need to see, like your box of office supplies or whatever spare giveaways you’re keeping boxed up.

If you’re expecting high demand or need for significant space, consider designing your booth to hide one area discretely. Back corners are good for this. Take advantage of a printed table cloth or other distraction, to allow you to keep items in storage out of sight while still being easy-to-access.

Always Look For More Ways To Use Space

As a final parting note, you should always be looking for creative angles to free up space within your exposition display. Anywhere you can make it roomier or find room for more display elements, the better it’ll be for getting your message out.

If you’re struggling in the search for new ideas, there are lots of great reference sources, including “Make Space“, a new training tool for designers, based on work done at the Stanford Design School.

Bottom line, be creative! Be sure to look at your booth design from the visitor’s point of view. Your goal is to design inviting trade show exhibits & displays that your clients they want to explore, and then give them room to do so.

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