Trade Show Graphics – You have 3 Quick Seconds to be Victorious

The general rule of thumb is that you have 3 seconds to attract attention with your trade show booth as eyes pass by it.

Trade show displays are designed to highlight your graphics, but there is only so much space for the graphics.

VK-2954 Visionary Designs Custom Exhibit with SuperNova Fabric Lightbox, Accent Lighting, Vinyl Graphics, and Closet Storage

VK-2954 Visionary Designs Custom Exhibit with SuperNova Fabric Lightbox, Accent Lighting, Vinyl Graphics, and Closet Storage

That means the graphic real estate on your display stand is at a premium.

Thinking back to when you were a child, can you remember which books interested you the most?

It would not be surprising if they were the books with the largest pictures. Remember those large coffee table books? You could flip through them endlessly.

It was easy to spend time marveling at the sights and imagining great adventures.

Magazines like Time and National Geographic were great too. They both mixed amazing photos with thought provoking text to clearly communicate a point.

Almost everyone enjoys looking at interesting photos and images.

It’s even easier today,  with the Internet and sites such as Pinterest or Flickr. Many people spend hours every day just looking at pictures.

People share fun and funny and nostalgic pictures with friends and family on Facebook. These shared photo’s typically communicate your message immediately, with little or no text required.

Designing graphics for a Trade Show Display should fall within that same element of imagery.

Regardless of your industry, avoid the temptation to load your trade show graphics with textual content.

Large, interesting graphics will attract attention quickly. Smaller images are harder to see.

And no one bothers to read your carefully crafted blocks of text on those graphics.

You are at your trade show to personally connect and communicate with the visitors walking the floor.

If you attract their attention, THEN you will have the opportunity to provide them with details of your business.

You can do that follow up on the trade show floor, during their visit, or by speaking with them after the show.

You do not need every detail of your business listed on your trade show display graphics!

No one will read it, and you’ll lose the chance to attract their attention.

Instead, one or two, large, striking images with a logo and slogan is most often the best solution.

VK-2124 Magellan Magic Portable Hybrid Display with Tension Fabric Graphics and MOD-1293 Pedestals with Storage

VK-2124 Magellan Magic Portable Hybrid Display with Tension Fabric Graphics and MOD-1293 Pedestals with Storage

Think back to those coffee table books.

Did you sit down and read the encyclopedias in the book shelf? Or browse through the books and magazines with lots of great pictures?

Small businesses often have the hardest time finding the right image to communicate what they do.

Typically they have very tight budgets.

Thus they end up preparing marketing plans and even trying to create trade show graphics in-house.

Many of their marketing efforts are prepared in house using non-traditional creative design software such as Word and Power Point.

These office applications format text and graphics for 8″ x 11″ formats. That software works great for emails, letters, and pamphlets.

But the images created are simply not designed to be printed 10 ft wide or 8 ft tall!

Therefore, when entering the world of Trade Show Displays, we recommend you hire a professional designer.

Find one that has experience working with large event graphics. Work with that professional designer.

Together you can explore design concepts that tell your company’s story with pictures instead of text.

Your goal is to create that picture book that everyone wants to look at and find out more about, with a picture cover that attracts them in 3 seconds!

If you have questions, or need help with your next set of trade show graphics, give us a call. We specialize in helping businesses communicate using trade show graphics.

We can help design the graphics, and also can help design custom trade show booths and exhibits to display your new graphics.


Jacob Norris is a graphic designer that specializes in large format design for Trade Show Displays. He worked with American Image Displays (www.American-Image.com) from 2001 – 2015.