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How to Craft an Effective Trade Show Booth Exhibit

If the most important step in a thousand-mile journey is the first one, then equally important is the direction in which it is taken. Determining which way to embark should be the intellectual consideration before the physical exertion. Charging down a path that will lead to the wrong destination can needlessly exhaust resources. To save time, we borrow from Dr. Stephen Covey, “Begin with the end in mind.” So, the first step to crafting an effective trade show booth is to think about what outcome you wish to achieve.

Step 1: What is Your Trade Show Goal?

What is your goal? Is the exhibit meant to draw attention, to tell a story, to anchor a brand, or to create an experience? It may be a combination of some, or all of these goals. The main question to be answered is “What is the purpose of this activation?” Through clarifying the goals and developing a picture of where “there” is, we can create a map, and a plan, of how to get from here to there.

Consider who is the target audience for visiting the booth. Customers, prospects, partners, media, or some combination of these personalities? Should all visitors have the same experience, or should their welcoming journey be specific to their role and your goals? Additionally, answer what experience you want your booth visitors to walk away with. How should they think and feel after meeting you? These answers provide the guardrails around the experience and help focus energy on the most important things.

Step 2: How Can the Trade Show Booth Design Help you Achieve Your Goals?

Now that some major questions have been addressed, it’s time to delve into the trade show booth design. An exhibit’s design variables include structure, furniture, graphics, and lighting. However, the design is also more than this sum of parts. Specifically, an effective trade show booth design arranges these elements with thoughtfulness and purpose. Similar to a composer arranging notes, everybody has access to the same building blocks; putting them together to make the space sing is an art.

Does the trade show booth layout create good use of traffic flow to various areas within the space? Will the areas for brand impressions be visible from a distance? Design is an ongoing process, and rarely does the very first version remain unchanged. Be open, be flexible, and be communicative about what looks right, what needs to change, and if anything should be eliminated. The most important detail of this step is that it will take time.

Good trade show booth design is not something that can be delivered overnight. The collaborative nature and process should be given room to breathe life into the exhibit. The larger the project, the more time should be allocated. This process can take as little as two to three weeks or even two to three months depending on the size and importance of the event.

Step 3: Trade Show Booth + Exhibit Implementation

The final step of crafting an effective trade show exhibit is the execution of bringing your vision to life. Your goals have been defined, your design is exciting, and all that’s left is everything. Fabrication, construction, delivery, supervision, installation, application, etc. There is a lot to do before opening day. Rely on a trusted team or partner to see your visions brought to life.

Before the floor opens, your goals are clear, your booth is set, and your staff has trained. Marketing and sales teams have done their best to drive traffic to the space. Take a deep breath. Ready, set, show!


About ASTOUND Group

ASTOUND Group is an experience design studio with world-class production and fabrication. For two decades, they have been crafting epic experiences for the world’s most aspirational brands. They live at the intersection of a creative, experiential, digital, and fabrication studio to provide clients with seamlessly integrated brand experiences with an end-to-end solution. As collaborative partners, ASTOUND Group’s holistic model has uniquely positioned them to deliver more results and less costs to meet brand needs, while delivering exceptional experiences tailored for today’s evolved consumer. Whether it's an immersive retail pop-up shop, in-store experience, live event, mobile tour, trade show exhibit, VR/AR experience, or an enchanting retail façade, we approach each project with unwavering passion and attention to detail.

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