Graphics are often the most instantly noticeable element of your trade show booth. Backdrop banners and hanging signs alert visitors to your location from across a crowded trade show floor. Up close, backlit graphics and tabletop displays draw prospective customers in to learn about your product or service. Custom graphics are a key part of achieving your trade show goals—and they’re something all the best trade show exhibit designs have in common. Whether you’re trying to attract as much booth traffic as possible or target specific people for direct pitches, all the visual elements of your trade show display should support your goals.
Even if you have skilled graphic designers on your staff, they may not have the experience to work with custom booth graphics. Trade show booth graphics come with their own unique concerns, owing to their scale and their specialized purpose. If you’re planning an exhibit for an upcoming trade show, consider the following:
Custom Trade Show Graphics: Design and Layout
Balance Text and Imagery
When planning your trade show graphics, it’s important to maintain a careful and thoughtful balance. Your message must be clear but succinct. You don’t want to overwhelm visitors with too much information too soon. Graphics should have a strategic ratio of text to empty space that keeps your messaging short and sweet while inviting booth visitors to learn more.
Consistency Is Key
You also want to be sure your signs give visitors an accurate impression of your brand or product. Whimsical fonts or a mixture of fonts are poor choices for a brand that wants to convey sophistication or solid professionalism. If your brand messaging already uses a particular font, it’s best to stay consistent and use that font in your trade show booth graphics too.
Consider Your Audience
Consistency is important, but it’s also important to consider the event and your target audience. At a business-to-business (B2B) event, streamlined graphical imagery communicates competence to a professional audience. At a consumer-focused event, you might use modern, colorful, dynamic imagery to appeal to the public.
A Good Layout Can Add Clarity
In this part of the world, we read from left to right and from top to bottom. It’s important to keep this in mind when designing trade show graphics: Ensure your layout is consistent with what viewers are used to. It’s even more important when graphics contain detailed or complicated information. A good layout makes it easier to read and understand the information in the graphic.
Custom Trade Show Graphics: Scale and Placement
Size and Distance
Pointillists compose images using individual dots of color, resulting in a design that looks different up close and far away. The same principle can apply to trade show graphics. This means that graphics have different uses and effects depending on their placement relative to the viewer. For instance, it’s best to use your largest graphics for general messaging intended to reach the whole venue. You can then reserve specific information for smaller graphics that are viewed up close.
It’s also important to consider where your large-scale graphics are best placed within the booth. If you’re using graphics that should be viewed from a distance, the best place to put them is typically overhead. In that overhead space, hanging banners are mostly invisible to people inside your exhibit, leaving them free to focus on what’s happening there.
Location and Content
Placement and size also influence what kind of content is most appropriate for those trade show graphics. Large overhead signs and big, hanging fabric banners are the visual version of shouting into a crowded room. It’s a one-way communication, so they’re ideal for snappy slogans and messaging that’s designed to get attention.
Of course, once people are in your booth, it’s no longer effective to shout at them. Rather than huge hanging banners, you’ll use smaller booth graphics, such as wall graphics, A-frame signs, or tabletop displays. These graphics are smaller, with smaller fonts and more information.
Then there are ceilings, walls, and entrances to consider. Determining the best scale and placement for signs and banners in these locations requires careful thought. You’ll benefit from the skills and experience of a professional trade show booth design company that’s used to working on the scale required for an impactful display.
Custom Trade Show Graphics: The Materials
If you’re designing and constructing your booth on your own or with your in-house team, you may find that the types of materials you can use for sign printing are a little limited. This is just one reason it’s beneficial to work with a professional trade show exhibit design and manufacturing company. Some trade show graphics use materials that need specific skills and machinery to create. Often, only specialized professional teams have the ability to design and make them. Going professional means you have the full range of materials to work with and more graphics options than design and construction work in-house.
A professional trade show booth design company has the equipment and graphics expertise to print high-quality signs and banners on a variety of materials—from flexible fabrics to rigid surfaces. By partnering with a professional design company, your graphics will be customized to your precise booth space, in any shape you can imagine. A double-sided circular banner that may be suspended from the ceiling and is readable from all angles, for instance, will create an impact you’re unlikely to achieve on your own.
Custom Trade Show Graphics: The Colors
Color is hugely important in designing trade show graphics that work. Using color lets you create visual “shortcuts” that make your graphics more recognizable, visible, and effective.
That’s why it’s vital to use color strategically and to reinforce your visual imagery by taking advantage of colors from your company logo and other brand messaging. That consistency is key to promoting brand awareness in the long term.
Color can also be used to influence what values or attributes people associate with your brand. Want trade show attendees to think of your brand as steady and reliable? Use neutral shades, navy, and other solid colors. Harness dramatic or high-contrast colors to convey excitement. Earth tones and greens have natural or environmental associations.
Working with professionals has big rewards even when it comes to choosing and using color. Graphic designers have a strong working knowledge of the ways colors may be used and mixed to create moods or produce specific visual effects. But that’s not all: They also understand the technical side of color. There’s an entire scientific industry dedicated to the precise measurement of color, and it’s important to get it right.
Colors can look very different on a computer monitor or when viewed under various kinds of lighting. Guessing at the exact shade of blue to match your booth design or logo, for instance, will set you up for disappointment when your signs are printed. If you’re not entirely sure about how to match your colors, you will want to enlist the help of experienced design professionals.
Custom Trade Show Graphics: The Resolution
Professional designers will also ensure that the graphics that look great on your monitor will look just as stunning as finished banners, signs, or displays. Resolution is much more important than most people realize, and it’s easy to make mistakes that result in unusable trade show graphics.
This issue arises because, while computer screens are now powerful enough to display high-quality images, resolution does still affect website loading times. Sites with lots of high-resolution images take a longer time to load, so most websites minimize image resolution as much as possible.
This means that an image that looks great on a website may not look as good when it’s printed for a trade show fabric display or sign. It all depends on the resolution of the original image and whether it’s high enough to still look sharp at a larger size. As a result, computer-derived images are often unsuitable for large-scale trade show graphics.
For trade show signs and displays that are crystal-clear at any size, you’ll need to work from high-resolution images. Graphics professionals are experienced at working with images at the resolution you need. Plus, they can scale visuals up or down more quickly and more accurately. This means all your custom trade show graphics look great at the sizes you need them to be.
Custom Trade Show Graphics: The Execution
You’ll want your pros to have a dedicated design and fabrication facility to streamline booth production and keep up with your schedule. ProExhibits’ 65,000-square-foot headquarters gives our teams just such a place to build your trade show display and create the graphics your brand needs. Whether it’s a striking visual presence meant to draw approving looks, a lush natural environment that communicates your brand’s sustainability ethos, or something unique to your company, we have the knowledge, experience, and resources to make it happen.
Custom Trade Show Booth Graphics: The Professionals
A strong argument in favor of using trade show booth graphics professionals is to ensure that all your signs and banners look exactly right when fully installed. They’ll see to it that you’re showing only your latest logos. They’ll fight the temptation to cram too much visual information into too small of a space.
Pros bring experience and perspective to your exhibit’s entire visual strategy, and you can see the difference in attendee responses. If your visual presence is overwhelming or displeasing to the eye, people won’t venture in, barely registering your brand’s name on the way to your competitors’ displays.
One element that’s helped ProExhibits get the graphics just right for exhibitors over the years is our dedicated team approach. It’s one of the reasons our customer satisfaction rate has topped 99% for decades. A custom exhibit from ProExhibits, complete with expertly designed graphics, is one of the best ways to help you achieve your trade show goals. And whether you need tabletop displays, hanging signs, fabric or vinyl banners, or any other trade show booth component, you can count on us for excellence in design and construction.
ProExhibits has created award-winning trade show designs for more than 30 years and has been named on EXHIBITOR Magazine’s prestigious Top 40 List, which recognizes the industry’s top exhibit producers, for 5 years in a row. Our world-class artisans make you look your best. Contact us today.