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The Building Blocks of Exhibition Design

What work is kept behind the scenes of exhibition design? Probably more than you think (if you had the time to think about it!)

“Great to meet you, looking forward to successful collaboration”. We know the main reasons companies exhibit is to grow sales, connections, and brand exposure.

But what goes on behind the scenes to ensure this happens?

“15 Exhibition Design ideas”, “How do I make my booth stand out?” “10 Exhibition stand design tips”, “Exhibitions-stand out from the crowd”, “How do I make my stand look beautiful?”

A simple Google search will give you loads of ideas on how to get the best out of your exhibition stand. However, it’s the attention to detail from the very beginning of the process that will help you get the best results.

It’s not about getting your stand bigger, brighter, or making your stand look expensive…. it’s about how to make your stand successful for a particular show. A well-designed stand requires good research, clever exhibition design, and attention to all details. Each exhibition stand is a collaborative effort including; exhibitors, marketing and branding agencies, designers, engineers, project managers, and the people physically bringing the stand to life.

How do we go about achieving this at Formation?

Research – we like to start by understanding your business, learning your goals and aims. Then understanding the purpose for attending the exhibition, and getting to know your product or service. But it’s also important to know the show itself. The type of companies attending, who are the potential visitors, where does it take place, and at what time of year.

Location – before designing anything we take time to exam the hall map, positioning of the entrances and aisles. Understanding the most likely flow of visitor traffic; where will they be approaching the stand from? How many open sides does the stand have? Is the stand situated to the edge of the hall or in the middle? All the positioning differences need to be considered in the design.

Layout of the booth – your customer journey is crucial to the success of the stand. Here we like to understand the experience you want your customers to have and more importantly what information they need to leave with or action you want them to take.

You might want a reception desk from which to direct your visitors, if so, the position needs to be considered so as not to obstruct the visitor flow. You might prefer an open, welcoming space without any barriers but how do you ensure your visitors experience your stand as intended.

Is there product to display? We like to learn about the product to be able to advise on how best to display it. A well displayed product can speak for itself, leading to more in depth conversation.

You may require meeting spaces. Some clients think strategically and choose nice but less comfortable seating for productive quick conversations which should follow one after another. These areas can be open or closed depending on the nature of the meetings to be held.

Or it may suit your needs more to choose more relaxed seating for meetings or to create hospitality areas. Walking long aisles all day is tiring and spotting a nice comfortable area automatically invites you to the booth!

Visitor refreshments are always popular. By understanding what part you want this to play in your visitor journey we can advise on how best to make it work. Whether that be a quick coffee pit stop or a premium drink experience, you could even add nibbles (or my favourite, cupcakes!) we can make this work for your space. Every detail such as lockable cupboards, hidden bin space, open shelving for quick and easy access is very important to discuss prior to build.

Bring your brand to life – the whole space of your booth becomes a 3D version of your brand. This is where our understanding of your brand and the exhibition is key, how do you want to appear at the exhibition. How do you want your visitors and competitors to view you?

Every single element of the stand will visually communicate your brand. Straight lines vs curves, colour vs a clean pallet, a modern finish vs more traditional elements…the list goes on. We work with you to create the perfect representation of your brand.

Lighting is crucial and can really bring a space to life. It can help direct your visitor flow, highlighting key focal points on your stand. Making your hero products or services really stand out. Clever lighting can also add a premium feel, immediately elevating a simple space to something quite striking.

You can get your brand noticed from the far aisle by using hanging structures. Interesting shapes and clever usage of the space in the air could play an important part of your stand design. However, it is important to remember about safety, regulations of the venue and time it might take during installation period…

Rules and regulations – Each venue has its own rules which every exhibitor needs to follow. Some halls won’t allow hanging structures, some only get to accept real plants. Reading through each manual, before design commences, is one of the most important parts of the project.

Happy exhibitors = Happy visitors – The exhibition stand must also work for people who will be manning the stand. Exhibition days are long days! Therefore, thinking about details such as storeroom facilities, shelves and coat hooks, arrangement of the storeroom in the booth itself, even space where exhibitors can have lunch.  Is all key to the layout planning of any booth.

Footfall – you may have created the perfect stand and customer journey…but how do we entice visitors onto your stand. Giveaways are often relied upon, but now seem to be commonplace. And remember they need to be relevant to your brand, able to assist you in starting a conversation, and actually desirable. Who doesn’t love a coffee when trailing the exhibition halls?! Refreshments always go down well and serving fresh barista coffee or premium soft drinks will always keep your stand busy. But again, they must spark conversation.

On the other end of the scale we can suggest VR and other event technology to bring your product or service to life and create a sense of intrigue for the visitor. We can suggest event tech that will expand the knowledge of the product or service you offer rather than take attention away. The experience on offer should play be a tool for you to showcase your product or service rather than just amuse people with the actual interest to VR experience.

In summary 

Every exhibition design, no matter how big or small, is a bespoke project which requires a lot of attention to detail. From filling in the paperwork, planning the space and design, knowing the venue and its rules, working close with the brand agencies, delivering final information and technical drawings to contractors, negotiating the prices, sorting the orders, setting up deadlines and finally handing over the stand. All which leads to that hand shake between exhibitor and visitor.

Contact us to find out more about our bespoke process.