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Creating Art Work for Exhibition Stands and Trade Show Displays

Many exhibitors restrict the conversation about art work for their exhibition stands and trade show displays to relative terms such “beautiful”, “wow effect” or "eye catching". With many years up his sleeves assisting exhibitors creating art work for exhibition stands and trade show displays Director of NVP Exhibits Gill Keinan has put together this article discussing the most effective way to approach the subject:

Get the order right

many exhibitors approach the design of their exhibition stands and trade show displays in a very restrictive manner considering first the look of their stand with relative terms such as wow effect, high impact etc.

If one truly wants to get the most of his / her investment, my suggestion is to get the order of importance right.

1  Why Are You Going - Goals and Objectives

Think first what do you want achieve and why do you want to attend at all?

Write down and set up your measurable objectives. (You can read more about it in our article: Setting Up Objectives.)

2  Which Shows Will You Attend

Now that you know what you want to achieve, think about which specific shows you attend already or want to attend. Consider spaces available to you or that you desire to have as well as the type of exhibitions you attend: horizontal (broad base), vertical, national and /or regional.

3  What Do You Want The Stand To Do

The next step is to think about what you need your stand to do.

We are still NOT talking about exhibition stands or trade show display art work. Just the mechanical requirements for your future exhibition stand such as space for branding, meeting areas for staff members, audiovisual requirements etc. See below for a full list of points to consider.

  1. Do you want to use your stand one of or many times for the next 3-5 years? (think about your budget)
  2. Do you want to be able to change graphics?
  3. Do you always use the same booth size?
  4. Do you always use the same configuration?
  5. Does your stand need to be adaptable and reconfigurable?
  6. Do you want to do your own installation and dismantling?
  7. Do you need audiovisual integration?
  8. Do you need meeting room or meeting area?
  9. Do you have access to adequate storage?
  10. Does your stand need to be portable?
  11. What will it cost to transport your stand?
  12. Allocation for multi branding or single branding

4  What is the Appropriate Display Technology

At this point you know:

  • why you are attending,
  • the pattern of your attendance and
  • what you want your stand to do for you.

Now is the time to consider the display technology available for exhibition stands and trade show displays and decide what is right for you. Please read our full article: Available Display Technologies if you want to know more.

Now that you have gone through the previous 4 stages and made a decision about which is the best display technology for your purposes, are you ready to talk about the art work.

Artwork Considerations

  • KIS – Keep It Simple. Many exhibitors tend to elaborate with a lot of text and images trying to say and show everything they do.  This practise is best avoided entirely! Keep in mind the 3 seconds rule – in a busy exhibition environment you have 3 seconds to get the attention of your potential target audience. Stick to one or two main messages supported by one or two relevant images. The perfect design for your exhibition stands will be the one that tells your target audience who you are and what you do within 3 seconds. The time to elaborate and provide detailed information is once they have stepped in to learn more. See below for a quick example of effective and ineffective art work for trade show displays and exhibitions stands. Can you tell the difference?

Soy Candle - Exhibition Stands

Soy Candle - Exhibition Stands 2

  • Brand consistency – The ongoing exhibitor may attend 2- 20 shows every year at various configurations and spaces while targeting different audiences. This does not mean that your exhibition stands need to look different every time. Picking the correct display system technology that will allow for brand consistency with the ability to change messages and images is critical. Your brand should be recognized, promoted and consistent where ever you go. Brand consistency = trust and credibility.




  • The target audience: every trade show and exhibition is different and a typical ongoing exhibitor may attend a number of shows with a different target audience for each one. The most effective exhibitions stands and trade show displays will have art work specifically designed for the target audience per show. Think about your target audience: what do they want to achieve? What are their requirements? Who is their competition and where are they located?  What are the competition's objectives? Identify a typical difficulty or a concern and address it clearly by presenting a solution offered by your products or services.   


  • Three quick tips to give your stand an edge:
  1. Floor graphics: Floor graphics are a quick and easy way to give your stand a lift. There are several ways to create floor graphics either as a one-off or ongoing solution. Contact NVP Exhibits to learn more.Exhibition_Floor_Graphics
  2. iPad Stations and kiosks: the iPad Kiosk stand is pretty much the replacement for the dated brochure holder. It adds a slick, modern look to your stand, increases attendee engagement and offers an interactive experience to your audience. To see our full range of our iPad stations click on the image.

    Exhibition iPad Stations and Kiosks
  3. Overhanging banners: Overhanging banners can have a dramatic impact to your space, making your exhibit stand out in the busy exhibition environment. See the full range by clicking on the image.

    Overhanging Exhibition Banners
  • Understand the technology behind exhibition stands and trade show displays before starting the design process – A very common mistake made by designers and marketing managers is to spend a lot of time and resources designing a stand only to realize at the very end that their design cannot completed within budget (find out more about budgeting here) or that it is not possible to create the exhibition stand design at all. There are numerous display technologies available and it is best to have a good understanding of what is suitable based on your requirements and objectives before approaching the design process. Click here to read the full article discussing available exhibition display technologies

3m Stands ----------- 6m Stands ------- Island Stands ---- Modular Stands

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    Feel free to contact NVP Exhibits if you require assistance creating artwork that works for exhibition stands and trade shows.