There's no doubt about it. Exhibitions are big business. Global exhibition spending is set to reach £40 billion by 2025, so it's no wonder that they continue to increase in popularity as a business development opportunity. Whether you're a B2B or a B2C company, exhibitions present you with the opportunity to showcase your latest products and services, hopefully impressing key decision-makers and valuable customers in the process.
But you won't leave much of an impact on the visitors to your stand if it's boring, drab, or dull. You need the wow factor if you're to stand any chance of standing out from your competitors. But how exactly can you achieve this outcome? What are the factors that go into a successful exhibition stand design that really 'pops'?
As it turns out, the best place to start is with your objectives.
Start by Deciding Upon Your Objective(s)
Before you even think about entering the design phase of an exhibition stand, you need to take a step back and consider what your aims are for the event(s) in question. There's no point having a flashy and eye-catching stand to attract attention if your brand values revolve around understated modesty. By contrast, if you're a startup that's trying to take over an industry, you will need to opt for a design that turns heads and piques interest.
Therefore, assess what your angle is for this event. Are you launching a new product, for example? If so, shall you go for a colour scheme that represents the product as opposed to the parent brand to garner maximum attention? By contrast, if you're looking to meet plenty of fresh faces and generate leads for your business, you might want to create a stand that looks welcoming and conversation-friendly.
The point is that your exhibition stand design should be led by your overarching goals, rather than designing the stand first and trying to fit your goals to your design retroactively. By doing so, you'll undoubtedly increase the return on the investment you make in your exhibition stand.
Consider Your Venue and Space Restrictions
Obviously, the design of any exhibition stand is limited predominately to the space allocated to it. You'll already be well aware of this since event organisers often charge based on square footage. It's no good having an expansive idea in your head if you've only paid for a 3m x 5m exhibition stand. That's not to say that you can't create an impactful design within these specifications. Instead, it means you need to build feasibility into your plans.
Many events have standardised stand sizes across the majority of exhibitors. In which case, how can you stand out, when everyone has the same size space? A neat trick we've pulled off more than a couple of times now is by elevating our client stand designs – literally.
While you are limited to the floor space, in many cases the height limit on a stand is the ceiling. What that means for you as an exhibitor is that you go higher than your neighbours, with suspended props, elevated signage, or a taller physical structure. This trick is brilliant for catching the eye of wandering attendees on the other side of the venue who can see your stand before anybody else's, piquing their interest.
Pick Your Type of Exhibition Stand
If you're new to the exhibition industry, you may not yet be aware that there a multiple different display types when it comes to your exhibition stand. At this moment in time, there are three predominant setups used for exhibition stands: pop up banners, modular exhibition systems, and completely bespoke stands.
Pop up banners are popular with companies who are perhaps limited to a smaller budget, or who only apportion a small percentage of their marketing costs for exhibitions. While popup banners can support custom graphics and easy assembly on-site, they don't exactly scream quality when displayed at your trade show.
At the complete opposite end of the spectrum, bespoke or custom-made designs are all-singing and all-dancing showpieces that have no limitations on the use of materials, props, set pieces, or audio visual equipment. We really enjoy working on bespoke exhibition stand projects for our clients. From the initial sketches to witnessing the look on people's faces when we come towards the end of the assembly, there's nothing quite as exciting as starting with an exhibition stand project with a blank canvas.
However, not all businesses require this level of service. For instance, the size of the stand could render a completely bespoke stand design an ill-advised choice, or the budget might not stretch to cover a completely bespoke service. Either way, an excellent cost-effective alternative is opting for a modular exhibition design.
The beauty of these designs is that they are prefabricated, making for easy assembly and packing away. However, they can be completely decked out with your custom branding and your choice of exhibition audio visual equipment.
This style is especially popular with companies who use exhibitions as one of their primary sources of new sales leads and business because they are manufactured to be reused numerous times across various venues. They are easily scaled up and scaled back in line with venue restrictions, and they can be easily updated with new graphics and branding as they change during the course of its lifespan.
Choose Your Accompanying Exhibition Audio Visual Equipment
Once you've got the shape and style of the physical structure nailed down, it's time to turn your design focus to the audio visual equipment. You can design the best stand in the world, but if no one can see or hear it, then it's not going to draw in any passers-by.
While the scope of audio visual equipment and services is quite broad, the most likely starting place is lighting. Sometimes overlooked, lighting is crucial to the overall aesthetic of your exhibition stand. Just a few creative lighting touches can completely alter the mood and feel of your design.
LED spotlights, moving head fixtures, and uplighters are all likely to feature prominently on your list of lighting requests. You might also want to consider gobos. These devices are stencils that overlay a light fixture to effectively project a motif or a pattern (such as your company logo) across the floor and walls of your stand, adding a touch of class to your stand. Bright and dazzling colour washes are also going to draw attention, which is always the goal at a competitive trade show.
Moving away from lighting, you've also got to consider your sound. These requirements are a little more varied and depend heavily on the industry. If you're a B2B business and your goal is to have conservations with new leads and prospects, then a booming sound system might not be what you're looking for.
By contrast, if you're a B2B or B2C business that is planning to regularly carry out product demonstrations throughout the exhibition, then you are going to need to hire audio equipment and factor it into the design process. Retroactively-fitted bulky sound equipment (such as PA speakers) isn't the best look. However, innovative design that incorporates sound requirements into the stand can have your stand visitor wondering where the sound is coming from.
In terms of the equipment itself you're going to need technology such as wireless radio mics, a PA speaker system, and potentially a mixing desk to get the levels right between the demonstration background music and the microphones on your presenters.
Then you need to account for any other audio visual equipment you may want to incorporate into your exhibition stand design. By far the most common aspect in this regard is the use of LED video walls or screens. They are so prevalent in large part due to their versatility. They are just as comfortable running company-branded footage during a demonstration as they are providing a stunning visual display backdrop for your entire stand.
Remember that Exhibitions Stands Don't Build Themselves Overnight
Remember that even during the design process, you need to ensure you have allowed enough time for the 3D rendering, making tweaks, and adding graphics and branding. Don't forget the time that goes into manufacturing and building of the stand either.
If speed is an essential consideration for you, then you may prefer to go down the modular exhibitions stand design route. With this type of stand, once you have selected your design, our team of designers walk you through the final touches, including the colour theme, printing and branding, and audio visual requirements.
Once the planning is finalised, the structure is then hand-built and completed by our in-house manufacturing team and delivered ready for your event. All in all, we probably need at least two weeks to turn this kind of project around.
On the other hand, for the highest-quality bespoke exhibition stands, you will have to allow extra time for the stand design and build process. For this type of build, we insist on a site visit so we can discuss all the design ideas face-to-face and to go through all the audio-visual integrations personally.
Once that's out of the way, we move on to working on custom CAD drawings and 3D renders to give you a full visual perception of what the stand will look like on the day. Once you've made the necessary tweaks and given us the go-ahead, our skilled manufacturers transform the concept into reality ready for installation. Given the increased complexity of projects of this nature, we do request at least four to six weeks lead time.
Why You Should Choose On Tour Events for your Exhibition Stand Design and Installation
Here at On Tour Events, we've been providing our exhibition stand design and installation services to some of the UK's most prominent brands. From the ExCeL in London to the NEC in Birmingham, we have experience in completing projects in all major conference and exhibition spaces, including the Manchester Central Convention Complex (formerly known as GMEX).
Whether it's your first-ever exhibition stand or you're industry veterans, we give you our total commitment throughout each step of the process to ensure your exhibition is a stunning success. Better yet, being a leader in the audio visual industry has also enabled us to incorporate cutting-edge technologies into our designs, giving our clients an eye-catching display guaranteed to stand out amongst other vendors.
Whether you require a bespoke one-off exhibition stand and or wish to choose from our catalogue of 'off the shelf' modular exhibition structures, On Tour Events always combines the highest quality finishes with top-class on-site installation.
If you would like to discuss your vision for your exhibition stand with us, don't hesitate to give us a call or email us using the contact information displayed below. We can't wait to hear about your next event!
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