Are Your Modular Trade Show Displays Ready for Trade Show Season?

by Alicia Peregory on June 19, 2014

If your business wants modular trade show displays that stand out in a sea of competitors, you will first need to have some basics – like a great product or service and friendly, approachable staff. But, what you’re selling and who is selling it can only do so much. Your modular trade show display and other signage needs to be eye-catching and effective. The first point of a modular trade show display is to make passersby stop and look twice before moving on. After all, if you can’t grab the attention of potential customers, your business doesn’t stand a chance.

trade show display

Contrary to what some may say, having an effective modular trade show display isn’t about flashing lights or crazy graphics. Another way to think about this is to say that being loud isn’t the same thing as being heard. At a trade show, it’s best to have a fresh, crisp design and clear message. You want your signage to be easy to read, and make a powerful statement. When your content takes center stage in your modular trade show display, potential customers will undoubtedly want to learn more.

It’s understandable that not every business has a graphic designer who can design their modular trade show displays. While there are companies who offer this service, it’s best to understand the fundamentals and best practices in modular trade show display design so you can take it as far as you can on your own. For example, you should always use fonts and colors that are easily seen from a short distance away, such as 10 to 20 yards. Fonts like Arial and Helvetica may not seem exciting, but what’s the value of an exciting font if it can’t be read? Also, avoid using pastel colors and instead aim for primary colors which are also within your organization’s brand guidelines. A clear font in a light color will also do you no good, so make sure that not only the fonts but also the colors are legible in your modular trade show displays. Also, make sure that the text and background colors are different from each other – if your background color and text colors have similar tones, this may be difficult to read for some customers. When it comes to visibility, contrast is best!

It’s also best to limit your typefaces to one or two fonts, maximum. These fonts should also be within your company’s brand guidelines. Having more than two fonts on a modular trade show display will clutter the space and confuse the eye, so the viewer won’t know where to look. Streamlining the typefaces to one or two fonts will cause less strain on the eye, making it easier for passersby to stop and read or talk about what you’re offering.

Remember that, just like always, content is king. So your messaging for your modular trade show displays must specifically target the audience at the trade show. One way to wrap your brain around this concept is to think about your modular trade show display as a billboard, with one focal point and a clear message that speaks directly to the needs of your target audience. If you can’t catch them when you have a captive audience such as a trade show environment, your message may not be clear or succinct enough.

When you’re researching the type of modular trade show displays that are at your disposal, consider the event spaces where you’ll most often be. Is it a narrow hall, or a vast auditorium? If you have lots of vertical space, hanging signs or header signs could be a great option. If you want to take up more space on the floor, freestanding banner stands could be the best option. Lighting is key too, so make sure you understand the lighting of the space before you get there.

When in doubt with what messaging to include on your modular trade show displays, keep it simple! You can always have a stack of take-away flyers with lots of relevant information and key facts. However, if you try to give away all the information you have in your modular trade show display, you’ll likely end up overwhelming the potential client instead of enticing them – and they’ll walk right by your booth. Remember that your modular trade show displays should function in the same manner as a billboard, and stick to that principle. Also, resist the urge to fill up the entire display with text. Would you read a billboard chock-full of text? Of course not! So don’t expect your audience to read a modular trade show display full of text. Instead, entice them with a gripping headline and graphic. If you just don’t know what to include on your modular trade show displays, consider this: your company logo, a strong headline, and perhaps a smaller tagline are all you truly need for an effective modular trade show display.

When it comes to deciding on the color scheme, layout, and overall look and feel of your modular trade show displays, do your research before making any permanent decisions. After all, most modular trade show displays are used repetitively, so it’s important to get the most bang for your buck by doing your homework. The upfront research you perform now will help you make a more informed decision about how the modular trade show displays will best be used. This means that you should understand your company’s brand standards and how those standards play out in a large-scale display such as a modular trade show display. Also, you should keep in mind some basic color psychology, which is concerned with the effects of certain colors on mood or behavior. For example, did you know that blue typically brings to mind tranquility and peace, while red stirs up feelings of passion? Understanding how your modular trade show graphics could affect your audience is crucial to your success!

A clear, visually appealing modular trade show display combined with a friendly, professional staff and enticing message are an unstoppable force. Consulting with a designer or modular trade show display vendor could be helpful as you design your trade show graphics, since their industry knowledge is invaluable. If you work hard to understand your audience and create a trade show booth that will inspire them, you’ll truly be light-years ahead of your competition.  

This post was written by...

– who has written 79 posts on Signarama Blog.

is a marketing coordinator at Signarama headquarters in West Palm Beach, Florida, working in all facets of the marketing department. She has been with Signarama since she left college, but has also had internships in business development, a consumer product launch, and events and trade show coordination. She frequently writes about issues and developments in the sign making industry, the Signarama company, and its franchisees.

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