Though technological innovations such as touch screens and virtual reality have progressively transformed the way trade show marketers engage with clients, there are certain exhibiting features that vendors tend to overlook. To learn more about the latest trends and tips in exhibiting, we spoke with three exhibit design companies.
With over 30 years of experience, APG Exhibits specializes in designing dynamic exhibits for clients of all backgrounds, from Fortune 500 companies to local business owners. Condit Exhibits designs, creates and installs custom-made exhibits and display structures for companies around the world. Based in Chantilly, Virginia, Exhibit Edge Inc. designs exhibits and visual marketing systems for trade shows, museums and other industries. Here are a few of the trade secrets they shared.
Conference centers are notorious for lackluster carpeting, so adding a cheap, rollable floor beneath the booth can make a substantial impact on its aesthetic.
“When an exhibitor has flooring, it’s like night and day compared to the other exhibitors,” said Matthew Baron, president of APG Exhibits.
One of the most popular styles now is faux wood flooring with padding underneath, creating an attractive, modern-home look. Exhibitors can also take advantage of faux marble, metal and other materials to give their booth a sophisticated appearance at a minimal cost.
Another major trend in the trade show industry is the switch from hard-surface panel graphics to lighter weight tension fabric graphics, which can cost up to a third less than their counterparts.
“It’s easy to ship, lightweight and relatively inexpensive to change fabric if you want to rebrand it,” said Kevin Trainor, design director at Condit Exhibits.
Whereas hard graphics are limited by size, fabrics provide more versatile arrangements by stretching them across larger surfaces. One product many exhibitors enjoy using is the b62 aluminum frame system by beMatrix, which supports standard panel graphics as well as fabrics.
Several years ago, a high-resolution, dye-sublimated fabric called Silicon Edge Graphic (SEG) fabric hit the market, and it works well with the b62 frame system. SEG fabric features small silicone notches along the edge of the material that slide right into the frame, making it easy to pull the graphic taut and create a clean, unwrinkled surface.
“It gives the graphic a great look, and designers love it,” said Kevin Gray, director of opportunity at Exhibit Edge Inc.
Lighting is a fundamental aspect of any event, including trade shows. Thanks to the development of LED lighting, it has never been easier to add that finishing touch to your exhibit.
“We used to have to use incandescent lights, which were expensive and difficult to set up,” said Trainor. “LED has really changed the exhibit world a lot. It’s a much lighter, easier, faster way of doing a graphic.”
Now, exhibitors can use lightweight metal frames with preinstalled LED lights, often covered with a fabric skin that features the company logo. Since some conference centers may not provide adequate overhead lighting, making the graphics pop is essential.
“When you walk through a conference hall, most of the exhibitors have traditional pop-up booths,” said Baron. “Companies that add two LED lights to their backdrop are going to stand out from 50 percent of the exhibitors.”