Tips and Trends

Trade Show Exhibit Design Trend #12: Gateways

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


A growing trade show trend is for exhibit marketers to make a strong visual statement by creating a formal entrance as part of their exhibit design. Think of it as your brand’s own Arc de Triomphe or St. Louis Gateway—a bit of structure that marks your presence and helps reinforce your story and stature.

Gateways can be stand-alone or attached to the perimeter walls of an enclosed exhibit. They can also be positioned along the aisle as an entrance—or located somewhere in the center of the exhibit. And they can be used to place your message up high without requiring rigging.

Some examples of gateways the 3D Exhibits team has seen at recent trade shows:


Non-Verbal Header. This housewares company cleverly created its gateway in the shape of a traditional residential home—then flanked it with two rectangles that resemble windows. This simple, two element treatment instantly communicated that the company markets home products and gave the exhibit a sense of place.



Thematically Integrated Gateway. This marketer carried its building block theme through to its gateway. And although the copy on the illuminated building blocks suspended below the gateway is a little small, using the gateway to communicate key offerings is a great idea.



Brand Stature Gateway. The bulk of this gateway structure non-verbally communicates strength and permanence. The use of just the logo mark without the company name at the top enabled the exhibitor to keep the look of this element simple and bold.



Product Display Gateway. This company composed its gateway entirely out of its product—stone veneers—to demonstrate exactly what it has to offer. Other companies, even those whose products aren’t building supplies, can use this technique by incorporating shelving or display spaces into their header. Really creative exhibitors can take this a step further by stacking or stringing products to create a structure.



Brand Identity Gateway. Gateways can be something you walk by—as well as something you pass under. This company understood that and opted to create a giant logo mark that sat along the aisle of its exhibit. Visitors instantly recognized the company—despite the absence of other tall exhibitry or a hanging sign.

Have you seen any interesting gateways on the show floor lately? If you have, we’d love to hear about it.


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