Tips and Trends

Show Don’t Tell: Intuitive Trade Show Product Displays Speak Volumes

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


Show Don’t Tell: Intuitive Trade Show Product Displays Speak Volumes

Somethings are better left unsaid. While the age-old advice from “Miss Manners” is intended to ensure polite conversation, it applies to trade show exhibit design, too. That’s because people are more likely to remember information that they discern on their own as compared to information that they hear or read.

For this reason, we recommend that our 3D Exhibits customers communicate their messages non-verbally whenever possible. We’ve seen the results in increased comprehension and retention by attendees.

Here are seven tips for making intuitive displays more effective.

  1. Create the user environment. When attendees see your product in the environment where they’ll be using it, their understanding of what it can do for them increases. By constructing a standard height garage opening within its exhibit, this motor vehicle manufacturer demonstrates that its van can, in fact, fit within a standard garage. The vignette, both relatable and memorable, visually communicates how this van makes the customer’s life easier. 


  2. Incorporate motion. If you want people to view your product from multiple angles, you’re likely to get the most attention if the product does the moving rather than the attendees. For example, when LG unveiled its ultra-light, wallpaper-thin TV screen at CES 2017 it used a row of rotating product prototypes to attract attention and highlight the key product attribute. When viewed from the front, attendees experienced the screen’s vibrancy. Then as the screens rotated, attendees were amazed to learn how stunningly thin this monitor is.

  3. Fill in the details. A good way to show how the size or capacity of your product compares with competitors’ offerings is to create a visual comparison. Line the products up side-by-side or use lines or props to indicate the differences. For instance, this toilet manufacturer used some simple dotted lines and a floor mat to reveal the small footprint of its product versus other models. Clever graphics, not words, do the job.

  4. Go head-to-head with the competition. Nothing demonstrates confidence like a real-time, side by side comparison of your product and your competitor’s. Mohawk Flooring used heat lamps to prove that its vinyl tiles retain their shape when warm, while the competitor tiles warped. Seeing is believing.

  5. Use a “Before and After” approach. For products that don’t lend themselves to real-time demonstrations, before and after samples are an excellent way to illustrate a product claim. Mohawk Flooring proved that its carpet was stain- and wear-resistant by putting it in a rhino’s cage for two weeks and then cleaning it. The results speak louder than words.

  6. Give attendees x-ray vision. Attendees love cutaways because they reveal the unseen in a way that pictures or words cannot. Exhibit staff can use the cutaway models to point out product features that would otherwise be out of sight, and out of mind. For instance this log home manufacturer uses a cutaway to demonstrate the composition of its outer walls with varying levels of insulation.

  7. Put the product in context. Canon visually communicated the most important selling feature of this video camera by placing it underwater. By immediately defining its application, the company pulled in its target audience. The addition of aquarium rocks and plants draw even more attention.


Have you used intuitive product displays in your exhibit? We’d love to see them.


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