Q&A: What does excellent trade show signage look like?

What does excellent trade show signage look like? Is it simple? Colorful? Digital (narrowcasting)? Branded?
Jan-Burger Troost, Owner, Wester ExpoGraphics

Your exhibit and trade show booth graphic elements must powerfully reflect who you are and draw visitors to your booth in the midst of a loud, crowded exhibit hall filled with distractions and competitors…

That said… it would be counter-intuitive to design your booth to blend in with the cacophony around you. Simple is always better, in my mind. People are attracted to clean, refreshing design… and if it’s situated in the midst of a sea of loud, tacky and overcrowded competitors, yours will stand out as an oasis of calm professionalism.

As a general rule of thumb, you have three seconds to make an impression on those walking past your display. Your overall design that includes each trade show booth graphic and sign must be simple and meaningful enough to compel attendees to walk in and learn more.

The content on your signage should simply and very clearly communicate — in as few words as possible — the benefits of your product. It is also wise to consider the impact of other important elements such as lighting, and even smell.

If you are hiring a professional design firm to create your tradeshow graphics for you, you should look for the following:

1. A style of creativity that is both engaging and clean
2. Understanding of materials and how they are best used
3. Ability to communicate ideas clearly and precisely
4. Understanding of structure
5. Understanding of graphic techniques (typography, photography, etc.)
6. Understanding of technical requirements for large scale print
7. Awareness of marketing trends and their relations to your objectives
8. Ability to effectively research your target market for the event
9. Trade connections in the print industry always help!

Of course, if you’re doing it yourself, then you should have the above all confidently checked off in order to come away with a successful result.

Sage Media is an international corporate design firm based in Ottawa, Ontario.

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