Be the Center of Attention this Trade Show Season: 8 Signage Tips

booth with lighting inside the trade show pavilion

Trade shows are a perfect time to meet potential clients face-to-face, generate interest in your product or service, and see what the competition is up to. However, whether you’re attending or presenting, a trade show floor can also be an intimidating space. For instance, if you’re a business owner, chances are your storefront isn’t surrounded on all sides by your direct competitors. At a trade show, you’re often not so lucky. So, if you’re a home renovation company attending a Home & Garden Expo, how can your signage or displays stand out from the visual noise and attract attention to your booth?

  1. Read the fine print. Every trade show or convention is slightly different. They may vary by the resources available to use, the times allotted for set-up and the booth size options. So before preparing your trade show display, read all the information provided carefully – especially measurements. Just like Goldilocks, you want the size of your displays to be just right. If your sign is too big, for example, you won’t be able to hang it properly. And if it’s too small, no one will notice it.

For an example of how much time and effort goes into booth displays, check out this video timelapse of the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association 2015 tradeshow.

  1. Think modularly. If you go to many trade shows you might want to plan your display a little more strategically. By treating your visual elements as modular pieces that can work together in multiple ways, you can successfully size up and size down your displays to fit small and large spaces effectively.
  1. Build the hype. First off, let people know you’re going. You can put an announcement online and advertise in-store with eye-catching signs and flyers. Add a map of the trade show floor highlighting your location so customers and clients know where to find you. To create some extra publicity during the actual event, you can hand out branded freebies or hold a contest. Fear not, the prizes don’t have to be as extravagant as a vacation getaway. People just love free stuff. At Topmade, for example, we have created custom gifts like vinyl decals or engraved plaques.
  1. Cover all your bases. We’ve touched on basic rules of graphic design before in previous articles. What’s unique about trade shows is that you need:
  • Large signs to attract attention from far away. You want to dazzle these folks with interesting imagery and very basic information. This includes your brand name, a tag line that clearly explains what you do, and a method for contacting you. These signs should be hung higher, so they are visible over the crowd.
  • Medium-sized signs for people walking by. Roll-up banners are perfect for this role as they are at eye-level. In addition, the vertical format allows for information to be presented in an easily digestible list format. You can go into more detail about what your business or product can do on these signs, but you should still keep it to short sentences. These signs act to facilitate the moment where your knowledgeable staff can step in to answer any questions.
  • Smaller signs for visitors at your booth as well as take-home material that is neatly displayed. By entering your booth, a trade show attendee has demonstrated that they want to know more. Therefore, you can give a lot more information on these signs without fear of scaring them off.
  1. Read the room. If you are at a conference that caters to industry experts, then focusing on the neat technical features of your product might be helpful. But if your trade show is B2C, or even B2B if there are many different types of businesses represented, you should avoid technical jargon. Instead, illustrate how your product or service will improve the lives of your potential customers. Customer testimonials are also helpful to display on your signage. They establish trust and create a personal narrative around your product or service.
  1. Be Social. Of course your booth staff should be friendly, but it’s important for your signs to be social as well. By this we mean you should prominently display your social media profiles at your booth via your displays. Unlike traditional methods of contact, like a website, email and phone number, social media is about instant, and public, engagement. And if you have a memorable booth, or an exciting new technology, chances are convention-goers will tweet about it. If they can successfully tag you, that’s great – and free – advertising!
  1. Keep it on-brand. Show off your personality with strong brand cohesion. The graphics and colors used throughout your booth should reflect your company. This includes more than just your signs – how about custom table cloths or colorful chairs? A high level of personalization really sets a booth apart from the others. It also projects an image of professionalism and attention to detail.
  1. Think outside the box. Don’t feel like you have to have the traditional booth setup. Why not remove the imposing table and let attendees enter the space? This opens up the possibility for large digitally-printed graphics to be displayed along the walls of your booth. You could even use smaller signs and displays to break up the space and guide users through an engrossing narrative.

If you’re worried your booth display is getting lost in the crowd, there are a lot of easy ways to hone your message, and boost your visuals, to create more impactful signage. If you’re looking for a helpful guide during your sign design process, give us here at Topmade a call. Beyond just manufacturing your sign, we offer expert signage consulting to help you decide what kind of sign is right for you.

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