EXHIBITORLIVE Session Preview: Trade Show Exhibit Design Best Practices

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Trade show Exhibit design trends and best practices approach 2

To entice you to come to our educational session at EXHIBITORLIVE, we’re sharing a preview of our session.

Exhibit Design and Marketing: Best Practices Applied, which will be presented on Tuesday, March 1 at 8 a.m. by our own Nicole Genarella and Lisa Sinicki, will delve into examples of design, engagement and marketing tactics that can be utilized by exhibitors of virtually any size. One of the techniques we’ll examine—that can enhance brand, communicate your message and enable attendees to understand your capabilities quickly and effectively—is to express your brand or message dimensionally with your exhibitry.

How to Express Your Brand or Message Dimensionally with Your Exhibitry:

Approach 1- Fabricate Your Exhibit From Your Product

trade show exhibit design approach booth made out of product

One example of this technique applied is Trindo—a company that makes 3D printers. Trindo used its printers to cut out intricately sculpted panels with an airy texture somewhat resembling that of a sea fan. Then it adhered those panels to lightboxes to create a unique finish texture that highlighted its capabilities.

Can you think of a better way to demonstrate what your product does than to integrate it into your exhibit as a building material?

closeup trade show booth made out of product

Adapt this approach to your product by asking yourself questions:

  1. Can your product or any aspect of it be displayed in an artful way?
  2. Can what your product or any aspect of it be displayed in an artful way?
  3. Can your product or a component of it be used to create cabinets, furniture or other physical elements?

Approach 2- Demonstrate the Extent of Your Capabilities

Another way to express your brand or message dimensionally through your exhibitry is to create a continuous-running demo that shows the far reaches of your capabilities. Do it right and you’ll both surprise and delight attendees.

Festo, a company that creates process automations, demonstrated the far extent of its capabilities with robot jellyfish that swam in a plexi cylinder in the middle of its 10’x20’ exhibit.

These intricately-detailed and fluid-swimming robots testify definitively to the degree of precision and complexity Festo can handle in its automations.

So how do you adapt this technique to your own exhibit? Start by asking yourself:

1 . Is there a surprising way we can demonstrate the far extremes of our capabilities?

2. Can we create a demo that will show our products in a new way that will take people’s breath away?

3. Can we position/stage our demo to make it into a booth attract?

Ask enough questions and you just might stumble onto a unique solution that communicates exactly what your brand is trying to say.

Approach 3- Theme Your Exhibit To Reiterate Your Message

If there is an environment where your product delivers results, consider recreating it in your exhibit. This could be a retail space, a residential kitchen or in a medical lab. For example, Hill’s Pet Nutrition exhibit amplified that its canine weight loss products work at home—by creating an exhibit that resembled a suburban residence.

Approach 4: Integrate Product Into Lifestyle Vignettes

This can be a full immersive environment—or just a few props added around your product that help visitors to imagine how the product would look and function in their own home or business. Learn more about why integrate vignettes into your exhibit and how to integrate vignettes into your exhibit.

Approach 5: Integrate An Aspect Of Your Corporate Culture Into Your Exhibit

If you really want attendees to get a feel for your brand, weave an aspect of your culture into your booth. For instance, if your office has lots of cool art on the walls—bring some of it to the show to adorn the walls of your exhibit. Or if your team does most of its thinking with the help of white boards, integrate those into your exhibit.

If you’re hungry for more, please come to our session. Or even better, visit us at our EXHIBITORLIVE booth (#1345). Schedule a 20-minute meeting with us at the show and we’ll help you brainstorm how to apply these and other trends and best practices to your exhibit.




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3D Exhibits Joins Conference Faculty at EXHIBITORLIVE!

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Nicole Genarella 3D Exhibits trade show exhibit design

Nicole Genarella


This year, 3D Exhibits will contribute to EXHIBITORLIVE! in a whole new way. In addition to our exhibit, our own Nicole Genarella and Lisa Sinicki will be part of the conference faculty.

Nicole, our senior v.p. of marketing—and Lisa, our content and metrics specialist—will present “Exhibit Design and Marketing: Best Practices Applied.” This session, based on 3D Exhibits’ popular Tips & Trends blog, brings some of our most popular content to life through examples across multiple industries. The session has been designed to both educate and inspire attendees to try new approaches in their own exhibits and will be held Tuesday, March 1 at 8:00 a.m.

Nicole and Lisa will also moderate two roundtable discussions. “Strategic Development: Create that Big Idea!” shares the techniques Nicole uses when she conducts creative brainstorming sessions with 3D Exhibits clients and is offered on Tuesday afternoon.

A second roundtable on Wednesday afternoon, “Tips and Tools for Managing Your Busy Life,” will give attendees the opportunity to share the apps, stress reduction techniques and time management approaches they use to handle their stressful schedules.

Lisa Sinicki trade show exhibit design

Lisa Sinicki

“Over the past five years we’ve amassed a huge repository of great insights, best practices and ideas. It is time to share it beyond our online presence,” says Nicole.

We hope you’ll join us for our sessions. And, if you’d like to take this a step further and hear our recommendations on how you might apply these best practices to your own program, we invite you to schedule a 20-minute meeting at 3D Exhibits booth. “We’ve got something BIG planned,” teases Nicole.

We’ll be at booth #1345. Hope to see you there!


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3 Standout Trade Show Exhibit Designs from CES

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Today 3D Exhibits’ own Jon Horn shares some of the best custom trade show exhibit design from CES 2016. Here are a few of the exhibit environments that caught his eye–and the design strategies employed to make it happen.

The takeaway here is that it’s not always the largest exhibits that are the most visually dynamic! Any of these techniques can work in virtually any sized exhibit.

1. Unique curve. Hubsan Technology drew attendees’ attention by accenting its exhibit with elements sculpted from atypical organic curves. The freeform geometry creates a soothing yet distinctive presence.

trade show exhibit design unique shape


2. Unexpected angle. The precarious lean of this pylon implies that it might fall over at any time. The result is visual tension that draws the eye.

custom exhibit design visual tension


3. Honeycomb enclosure. This honeycomb grid defines and encloses this entire exhibit–without impacting sight lines or creating a boxed-in feeling. The resulting space is light, airy and creates the perfect merger of open and closed-off.

custom trade show exhibit design open and enclosed




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Seven Ways To Highlight What’s New in Your Booth

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featured product displays

Attendees sprint down the trade show aisles, giving each exhibit a cursory scan as they pass. What are they looking for? The want to see what’s new.

The question is, as they pass your exhibit can they tell what’s new? Are you making it obvious enough that they can tell—with just a quick, second-long glance? And even better—if they can tell what’s new, are you making your offerings so attractive that attendees can’t help stopping to learn more?

Here are seven ways to make sure attendees at your shows notice what’s new when they approach your trade show exhibit:

  1. Resist the urge to stuff every item you offer into the exhibit. Being selective about what you display—and how—will create an uncluttered exhibit. And the less you have to distract visitors, the more likely they will be to notice the things you do bring. (Empty space around your displays gives the displays more importance and visual weight—much like a mat around a painting does.)

Alternatives to displaying EVERYTHING include storing some products in drawers, using an electronic interface to display products and options that aren’t physically present—or just leaving some of it home.

  1. Spell it out. Creating signage that calls out what’s new is one of the simplest solutions you can employ.

new sign trade show exhibit

  1. Leverage lighting. Spot lighting from above—or accent lighting below both draw visitors’ eyes exactly where you want them.

carpet new product highlight

  1. Put it on a pedestal. Even a small platform will indicate that a large item is important. In the case of a smaller item, display cases that elevate the item to eye level will do the trick.
  1. Employ a presenter. Add an audible cue that something is new by employing a professional presenter to articulate the benefits of your offering. The trick here is to focus the content and keep it short so visitors who stop by only for a minute hear your most important message.

new product display cases

  1. Reach out to attendees pre-show. Most attendees create a must-see list before they leave for your show. Use this to your advantage by reaching out by mail, email, phone or in person to issue an invitation.
  1. Host an unveiling. Create a mystery by shrouding your product and issue invitations to the in-exhibit unveiling. You just may find your exhibit standing room only-full!


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Five Simple Ways to Correct Trade Show Marketing Mistakes

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trade show booth invite

The Pareto principle—also known as the 80-20 rule—says that generally, roughly 80% of effects come from 20% of causes. Think 20% of your sales team generating 80% of your sales—and 20% of your customers generating 80% of your revenue.

Interestingly, the 80-20 rule seems to ring true when making improvements to your trade show marketing tactics. Select the right handful of elements to improve (the 20%) and you’ll likely see those items make a bigger difference in your results (the 80%) than all of those other opportunities to improve combined.

The trick is to identify those specific opportunities that will make the biggest difference. Here are five things to assess about your exhibit to get you started. If you are currently making any of these mistakes, take action. You’ll be surprised by the difference your actions will make.

  1. Failing to reach out to attendees pre-show.

The vast majority of trade show attendees we speak with when 3D Exhibits does audits for its customers tell us that they make a list of which booths they want to visit before they leave for the show. Get your company on their “must-see” list by reaching out to them pre-show with direct mail, eblasts, phone calls or with a marketing promotion.

  1. Expecting visitors to get the point through the clutter.

Many companies believe that the more products and demos they bring to the show, the more likely visitors are to find something that interests them. But in fact, the opposite is true. Instead of packing your exhibit with everything you can possibly fit, eliminate the clutter and narrow your focus to one, or no more than a handful of, key products. Then leave some open space around your featured graphics and displays. The open space will act the way a matt does around a painting and help direct visitors’ attention exactly where you want it.

  1. Thinking your displays and exhibit can convert visitors to leads all on their own.

An intriguing graphic, demo or vignette might grab people’s attention. But unless you use your exhibit staff to engage and document the visitors who slow down, you still won’t be converting these attendees to leads—or sales.

  1. Not giving your booth staff adequate breaks.

Your exhibit staff’s behavior and attitude directly impacts attendees’ perception of your brand. If your staff looks engaged, enthusiastic, alert and interested—visitors will identify those traits with your company. Likewise, if your staff appears, tired, disinterested and lazy—these will be people’s perceptions of your company. The answer is to make sure booth staffer schedules are designed to fit your team’s stamina level. If your people look tired, you can try shorter shifts or more frequent breaks. Get creative. For instance, you might try giving your team members two two-hour shifts a day rather than a single four-hour shift.

  1. Neglecting to follow-up in a timely manner.

Your exhibit staff worked hard to make a positive impression on your visitors. But that momentum can easily be lost if you don’t follow up fast—ideally within a week (or two at most) of the close of the show. Instead of letting those leads languish, prove that your company really is service-focused by reaching out to your prospects right away.




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