To design and build the right trade show exhibit for your needs, you need to balance a variety of factors. Your booth needs to be large enough to fit your purpose, but still fit within your budget. Not sure what will suit your company best? Check out these creative trade show exhibit ideas to understand what your options are.
When choosing a booth, you have two primary decisions to make:
- Choose a footprint – This refers mainly to the size of the booth.
- Choose where on the trade show floor the exhibit is located.
These two decisions are linked because some booth sizes are only available in certain locations in an exhibit venue. For instance, in-line booths are usually around the perimeter of the venue, while peninsulas and islands are in the interior.
In the U.S., booth spaces start at 10×10 feet and size up in increments of 10 feet. The most common booth sizes are 10×20, 10x 30, and 20×20 feet. Of course, for big-budget brands that take a peninsula or island footprint, they can get much bigger.
This is the most common space available, as well as the most affordable. These spaces are arranged along the perimeter of the event area, or in the interior of the event space in double-sided rows. They’re enclosed on three sides, with the front of the booth facing the aisle.
Most in-line booths are 10×10 or 10×20 feet. They are smaller and less costly than most other footprints. As a result, they’re favored by startups, small businesses, and first-timers.
The peninsula footprint is designed for placement on an aisle, rather than around the perimeter of the display area. This kind of exhibit is placed with three of its sides exposed to the aisle. The fourth side backs up to the adjacent peninsula exhibit. Together, two adjacent peninsulas typically take up an entire aisle. The standard peninsula size is 20×20 feet.
An end-cap is a modified version of a peninsula. In this footprint, the rear side of the end-cap backs up to the rear of an adjacent in-line booth.
An end-cap is typically 10×20 feet in size. With its three exposed sides, the end-cap is a step up from the standard in-line booth. But its smaller size and less prominent location makes it more affordable than a peninsula.
Island exhibits are the largest, most prominent booths at trade shows. They’re at least 20×20 feet and are often much larger. Typically reserved by the biggest corporate brands, these exhibits tend to be the flashy booths that attract attention galore from trade show attendees. Islands are completely free-standing, and depending on the booth design, may allow access to foot traffic from all four sides.
Like the name suggests, double-decker exhibit designs are laid out over two floors. This can be a good way to add more room to an exhibit without increasing its footprint. It’s also quite eye-catching.
Not all exhibit types can accommodate a double-decker design. Typically, a booth needs to be at least 20×20 feet to be able to support a second floor. Another issue is that some shows limit the amount of vertical height you can use. Before you start exploring double-decker trade show display ideas, confirm with the show managers that there’s enough height room available.
Types of Exhibits
If your company is exhibiting at a trade show for the first time, chances are you’re working with a pretty small budget. Using a tabletop display can help you avoid overspending. While these displays are small and have limited “wow” potential, they can easily meet the needs of most first-time exhibitors when much of your reason for attending is just to get your name in front of leads.
Portable exhibits are useful for first-time exhibitors because they’re both lightweight and convenient to set up. Ease of set-up and dismantle means you can probably do them yourself and save on set-up costs. And because they’re lighter, you also save on shipping and drayage.
The main downside of portable displays is that because they’re designed for simplicity and convenience, they lack the features that give larger displays their impact. But, for the money, they do a great job. And a well-designed portable display can make a good impact and help you get your brand message out there.
The mobile exhibit takes portability to the next level! With this kind of exhibit, you have the chance to take your brand out of the exhibit hall and on the road. A mobile exhibit is a vehicle such as an RV or van, customized to be a travelling exhibit. Larger exhibits are in the form of an expandable trailer, hauled by a semi-truck. Once parked, the trailer is expanded to provide lots of exhibit room.
A well-designed mobile exhibit can be a highly powerful tool. It allows you to take your message wherever you want, any time. You’re not constrained by an exhibit schedule or location. The entire vehicle—inside and out—can be fully customized to promote your brand. They can even be customized for different functions, such as:
- Video conferencing and media screening
- Sales demonstrations
- Classroom sessions
Modular exhibits are exhibits that are made up of separate components. They can include a range of different pieces, including display shelves and cabinets, demonstration tables, banners, and more.
The modular exhibit doesn’t fit into a specific footprint. Instead, you choose the footprint and then select components to fit the space. This gives you a lot of flexibility to decide what your trade show display needs. Another plus is that a modular booth is easy to up- or downsize according to the space you have available.
Pre-Fabricated Rental Booths
What about when you want a large or elaborate booth but don’t want the expense that comes with it? One possible solution is a pre-fabricated rental booth. This exhibit has been made to fit into a particular space and comes with a set list of components. You pay the rental fee and get everything that comes with the booth.
This can be a highly convenient way of getting a well-made, eye-catching trade show display at a fraction of the purchase price. And if the rental company is willing to take care of shipping, drayage, and set-up, all you need to do is show up at the exhibit ready for the event.
If your exhibit philosophy is along the lines of “go big or go home” and you have the budget to match, why not consider a custom exhibit? Whatever your needs are for a trade show exhibit, going the custom route ticks all the boxes. It’s built according to your own specifications, so you know exactly what you’re getting and how much it will cost.
And just because you choose a custom design doesn’t mean you’re committed to a single footprint. A good design company can work with you to design an adaptable trade show booth that can fit into multiple different booth footprints.
Note that while many companies choose to have a custom exhibit purpose designed and built, it’s possible to rent a custom exhibit too. For instance, at ProExhibits, we have a large selection of exhibit rentals that we can retrofit to your specifications. This gives you a custom exhibit, without the higher outlay of a custom design.
Choose the Right Booth to Make the Biggest Impact
Choosing the right exhibit for your needs isn’t easy, especially if it’s your first time at a show! When you’re considering trade show booth ideas to attract potential customers, first think about what you need your exhibit to achieve. Then balance that against your budget to give you a starting place for exploring options.