TEAMWORK EVENTS BLOG
5 Ways to Elevate Your Trade Show Booth
No two events are the same. And your trade show booths shouldn’t be either. So how can you maintain creativity and avoid stale event design? We asked Teamwork Events creative lead Bill Lyons for his advice on elevating your next trade show booth and staying ahead of the curve…
In his role as Design Director, Lyons’ work has run the gamut––from registration, outdoor areas, seamless LED tunnels, bookstores, lounges and more. “We do design work for a range of sponsorship packages, from smaller booths to large scale projects, from ten-by-ten booths to booths the size of half a football field,” Lyons said, “it’s my job to make the most out of that space, no matter what the dimensions are.” In Lyons’ role, the key to success is unwavering creativity. Here are five tips for event profs hoping to level up their design game:
1. Seek Inspiration
“Lately I’ve been addicted to Pinterest. I also watch a lot of YouTube, especially things to do with the Makers movement and homebrew machinery like cnc, 3D printers and lasers. That’s not necessarily related to trade show design but it can be incorporated and helpful to know,” Lyons said. It’s important to remember that inspiration doesn’t only live on industry blogs and catalogs—it’s everywhere.
Another source of inspiration? Your team. “Our design has improved across the entire company because we’re truly gelling as a team,” Lyons said. “We’re getting feedback from the guys at the shop and people on the show floor. That’s how we learn and grow.” Working across disciplines and across skillsets has improved output as well. “I have a new designer, Stephanie Latzanakis, working for me and what’s good is that she’s a fresh set of eyes. I collaborate with her and we brainstorm together. It’s great to work with someone who has a different perspective than I do.”
It’s also important to reflect on what’s already been done by your team. It can spark creative ideas that are rooted in something you already know was successful. For example, one of Lyons’ favorite past events put on by Teamwork was the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago. This included a 120 by 50 foot install with a helicopter, racecar and industrial robots, as well as two giant LED screens and a lot of machinery.
2. Keep Track of the Latest Technology
Technology has made finding event design inspiration easier, and it’s also improved the overall design process. It changes quickly, and it’s important for event professionals to keep up––regardless of whether they work in sales, planning or execution. “Technology is always changing so every time something new comes out you want to find a way to best incorporate it,” Lyons said.
Teamwork harnesses the latest event technologies to create better experiences for clients, which leads to a better experience for event attendees. “We have a brand new system that has really elevated our design capabilities. It’s a structure system for building the actual booths, which provides an initial skeleton of the design.” Technologies like these make it easier for Teamwork to show clients what they’re planning before things are finalized.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Talk Money
Etiquette rules may say that discussing money is rude, but for event professionals, it’s a must. The sooner your budget is finalized, the more time there is to play around with fun features that set your exhibit apart and attract attendees.
“When we put a design out there, it’s totally a collaborative effort with the customer,” Lyons said. “We want their feedback and are super open to it. If they come back with expensive requests, that’s OK. We’ll tailor it to what their budget is and hope to arrive at something that meets all or most of their expectations.” While you can’t afford to ignore a client’s budget, understanding their dream booth will inspire a variety of design options.
4. Optimize space and signage
Trade show booths are all about creating inviting environments that people will want to spend time in. That often includes A/V features because no one wants a static backwall. In order to attract visitors, you’ll need to make the most out of the space you’re given with standout signage.
Lyons also mentioned the importance of creating a seamless flow for attendees. “Accessibility is crucial,” he said. “Elaborate facades are neat, but not if it’s blocking what’s inside. Attendees shouldn’t have to guess whether or not they’re going to want to come into a booth.” Great design is inviting and intriguing. “Don’t make a trade show booth that looks exclusive, it has to be welcoming to everyone,” Lyons said.
Another key element to any great event is signage. Have you considered adding height to your booth? “Getting your brand up in the air using towers and banners can help get your customers attention,” said Lyons. Optimizing your signage means thinking beyond the typical poster or backdrop.
5. What’s Old Is New
Think your next booth design is going to be the same old, same old? Think again. When you allow yourself to dream big, you open yourself up to a world of possibilities.
For instance, your booth probably includes a digital screen of some sort, but what if you took that to the next level? “A booth I designed recently used LED screens that linked together. We’ve had screens that are 24 tiles across and 10 tiles high––a monster of a display. We’ve made tunnels out of them too,” Lyons said.
As you plan the design for your next trade show booth, be sure to keep these tips in mind. By designing a focused, creative trade show booth, you can help your client attract and retain customers, because great design gets noticed. These 5 insights from Lyons are great reminders to consider when designing your next booth. What tips would you add to this list?