Around 50 years ago Kelly Johnson, an aircraft engineer for Lockheed Martin, was said to have formulated the KISS Principle, or “Keep it simple stupid.” Now the principle can and has been applied to almost all projects regardless of industry. Trade show booth design is no different.

With that being said, what are the benefits to keeping it simple? Well, the most important reason is that it is more appealing and comfortable for attendees. When attending a tradeshow people are in an overwhelmed state already with all of the people, booths, sounds, knick knacks, brochures etc. They will naturally seek an environment where they have a feeling of respite. Secondly, it saves the exhibitor money. Everything about trade shows has a price, and usually a hefty one. Avoid some additional costs for graphic design, exhibit design, additional accessory pieces, etc. by simplifying. Lastly, cleanliness (in terms of look, design and feel) gives the impression of higher quality. Think about the booths of the largest brands at the most recent show you attended. More than likely the graphics in the space consist of little more than logos and maybe the tagline in spots.

Several Ways to keep it simple:

Use clean, broadly messaged artwork for graphics

Often we see artwork where essentially the corporate brochure is typed out on the trade show display itself. That is too much information. Let the attendee know which company’s booth they are seeing and what that company does. The specifics can be filled in by the booth staff. Some large, crisp photos or generic design elements can be used instead of text to brighten up the graphic area.

Have a good grasp of the size of your space

I have talked to clients who have great, very exciting visions for their space, but it ends up being more than the size of the space will allow. Then it seems like the vision becomes compromised to make it fit. Work with an exhibit house initially to build your vision from the ground up within the confines of whatever space is being used. Make sure that there is the right amount of staff, product displayed, branding etc. without crowding the space.

Utilize technology

Monitors can be exceptional for rotating through photos of products and projects, as well as highlighting show specific messaging. They can also run live streams from content experts, employees or even a company’s production line. The bright screens have a natural way of grabbing attendees’ eyes and can easily be updated show to show. Computers and tablets can be used for lead retrieval, digital giveaways and emailing digital brochures. This cuts down on clutter in the space.

Have the attendee commit to visiting the space BEFORE they walk by

I have touched on this many times, but again the real key to success is winning over the attendee before they’re walking the floor by utilizing some form of pre-show marketing. An exhibitor will survive with a more simplified space if they don’t have to fill it with things to grab the passerby, but just enough to announce themselves to those who already planned to come.

Our staff by the nature of our business looks at trade show displays and booth designs continually, and the ones that we unanimously enjoy are those that have a simplified designs. Maximize the potential of a space by minimizing what is in it and see how the attendees respond.