Graphic Design for Exhibits 101

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Everyday we have the opportunity to design artwork for different trade show exhibit structures, and other large format settings. In doing so we run across a number of design faux pas that limit the impact of the graphic. Of course all designers have their own unique styles, but there are certain things that seem to be universally accepted. We recently designed a small, portable display for our company, and had the chance to once again experience designing from the client side. Here are a few of the considerations we made when designing our display (pictured to the left):

Hierarchy – Keep what is most important, most prominent. For exhibits this usually means put your logo at the top, then work your way down with your tagline, then any broad details. Keep in mind also, that people typically will not look at the bottom 3-4 feet of your exhibit. For that reason, make sure that you keep anything important above this point.

Limit copy – Your exhibit should not become a large brochure. Attendees will more than likely not want to stand at your exhibit and read for ten minutes. Use the graphic space to bring attendees to you, and let your booth staff discuss the details with them.

Use attention grabbing images and design elements – People love photos. I would be willing to bet that if you put two exhibits side-by-side, one filled with irrelevant photos, and one with lines of relevant copy, there will be a line of people intrigued by the photo display. In fact, we regularly see people enhance the look and feel of a more economical exhibit just with their use of photos and design.

Stay Consistent – Sometimes we get artwork and design requests for exhibits that stray far from the normal look and feel of the brand. If an attendee is discovering your brand for the first time at your exhibit space, make sure that when they follow up on you on your website for example, that you are delivering a consistent experience. Same with those who know your brand prior to coming to your exhibit space, make sure your space is delivering a consistent experience.

We recognize that often times design ideas for displays are often conceived and approved by a number of employees in a given organization. Though this can become a challenge, please try to keep the design simple, and consider the above points. Also, be sure to allow time to review different options. Doing all of this will increase the impact, as well as the probability of a positive ROI on your display.

Author: Chase Howells

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