A Simple Formula for Getting The Best Trade Show Booth Design

What does your designer need to know when he or she sits down to create your exhibit? What can you do to make the process go more smoothly, solve problems more creatively, and increase your chances of getting a successful design from the start?

30x40 trade show rental display with double deck and custom tension fabric graphics

30×40 Trade Show Rental Display

As the head of an exhibit company that creates everything from small pop-up displays to large, extravagant booths with lots of moving parts, I wanted to give you a list of questions you can begin answering yourself that will give your designer the information he or she needs to come up with the most suitable exhibit for you and your company.


Question #1: Why are you going to this show? Believe it or not, your answer to this question will have an impact on all the other decisions you make about your exhibit. Answering this question will allow you to determine your target audience: What percentage of the total attendance do you hope to reach? Since you can’t reach everyone—and you really don’t want to—how do you decide who your best prospects are? This leads logically to the next step: defining your objectives. Out of all the possible opportunities you’ll have on the show floor, what do you want to do?

  • Educate attendees?
  • Write contracts?
  • Get leads?
  • Introduce a new product or service?
  • Conduct market research?
  • Engage in public relations

Question #2: What does your booth have to do? Here, you’ll get into the engineering aspects of your exhibit.

10x30 island trade show rental exhibit

10×30 island trade show rental exhibit

  • Exhibit size:
  • Current size?
  • Planned size for new display build?
  • Any plans for increasing size over the exhibit’s lifespan?

List the products you plan to display:

  • Product name or model number
  • Dimensions
  • Weight
  • Quantity

List any additional support material that will be required:

  • Type of equipment
  • Dimensions
  • Location in relationship to products displayed
  • Which equipment should be visible to booth visitors, and which should be hidden?

Determine electrical requirements:

  • Which products require wiring, and what type of wiring (power, internet, specialized)?
  • Where should wiring be run (under carpet, under raised floor, overhead, through exhibit panels)?

Will there be a presentation or product demo area? If so, what are your requirements for this area?

  • Stage or platform?
  • Any Digital Displays?
  • Lighting?
  • Product display podiums, shelves, racks, etc.?
  • Graphics?

Question #3: What are your overall requirements for graphics? This question relates to everything from your logo to the typestyle you prefer for signage. What elements of corporate identification will be included in the design?

  • Logo
  • Unique Selling Position (USP) or corporate tagline
  • Corporate colors? PMS Callouts?
  • Preferred colors for the exhibit itself
  • Colors to be avoided in the exhibit (competitor’s corporate colors, colors unpopular with management, etc.)

What elements of graphic support are required for:

  • Describing your product(s)
  • Identifying your product(s)

Question #4: What amenities do you require? Many exhibits benefit from special space requirements, from conference rooms to storage for purses and laptop bags. Will your booth require any of these:

OTM-bamboo-collapsible-trade-show-table-and-chairs

Bamboo Collapsible Trade Show Table and Chairs

  • Conference area? If so, number of areas and sizes?
  • Seating area(s)? If so, number of areas and sizes?
  • Storage area(s)? If so, number of areas and sizes?li>
  • Reception area?
  • Office area?
  • Refreshment area?
  • Literature distribution area?

Question #5: Budgetary parameters? An architect can’t build your dream house until he or she knows how much you want to spend, and the same holds true for your booth supplier.

  1. What is your total budget for the new structure?
  2. Can you estimate your annual budget for new graphics?
  3. Can you estimate your annual budget for refurbishing structure?

Question #6: What corporate image do you want to portray? An exhibit’s design can definitely say something about your company and its position in the marketplace. Thinking this through will allow you to plan for the image you want booth visitors to walk away remembering. Can you develop a list of descriptive terms that express the image you want for your exhibit?

  1. Can you describe the personality of your company in the marketplace?
  2. Is this exhibit intended to (A) support or (B) change that personality?
  3. Do you have buy-in from management and other stakeholders?

Question #7: What else? This question takes into consideration all those things you wish your exhibit might be able to contain or accomplish. There may be roadblocks in the way to accomplishing these possibilities, but it can be helpful to think of what could be, if the stars aligned. Answer the question, “If we could, it’d be great to…” Ask this question as often as you want, and then let the designer’s creativity and your budget dictate what can—and can’t—be done.


This appears to be a daunting process to walk through. But until you think about your exhibit with this level of specificity, things may end up not working the way you hoped, or as well as you hoped. Every exhibit company should have some kind of document or process that helps you envision all the things your new exhibit can accomplish. If your supplier hasn’t offered you their own version, please feel free to download a copy of this list! [optin-monster-shortcode id=”mpjrt2ihmy-post”] So if you’re looking for help designing a booth that doesn’t just look good, but also meets all your needs, call us at (425) 556-9511 or email [email protected]