One of the keys to the success and longevity of professional trade show exhibit design companies is their willingness to constantly uncover and analyze new design trends. The same logic applies to exhibitors: If you’re planning an upcoming trade show appearance, keeping current with trade show trends is a great way to make sure your display doesn’t get overlooked by audiences searching for the next new thing. While the best design tactics for your exhibit will vary depending on your product or service, your industry, and your show goals, exploring this year’s notable trends may give you some ideas as to what might give a boost to your trade show strategy.
Trade Show Trends 2018: Immersive Experiences
A fast-growing trend that has moved to the forefront in 2018 is the idea of a display as an immersive experience that gives visitors the feeling of being transported off of the trade show floor. In lieu of a standard booth emblazoned with signs and logos, more and more exhibits are designed to surround visitors in a sensory experience. For retailers, this might mean creating an exhibit that serves as a functional pop-up store, or building an exact replica of a full-service cafe that serves coffee and other treats to hungry show attendees. The only limit is your imagination.
More and more, trade show exhibitors are thinking beyond the venue floor by placing their displays in unconventional locations. While this is not always going to be a practical option, it may be worth your while to consider all possible avenues. Instead of a standard booth, maybe your display would work better as a mobile exhibit that could travel from venue to venue and be swiftly set up in a parking lot. Or perhaps holding a memorable event would be the best way to introduce your target audience to your product or service. Hosting an after-hours cocktail party during the trade show or planning a themed outdoor event might be a great way to reach potential customers and spread the word about your brand.
Intensely customized displays are very much on trend for 2018. Instead of reaching for the same old cookie-cutter booth design they’ve used in years past, more and more exhibitors are seeking displays that serve as an accurate and specific reflection of their brand and their values. Working with a professional trade show exhibit design company with decades of experience in creating custom exhibits is the best way to ensure that your design lives up to all the rigorous demands of trade shows while being wholly unique.
Trade Show Trends 2018: Going Back to Nature
While trade show exhibitors often want to use the latest and best technology to help them accomplish their show goals, an ongoing trend running counter to this is the use of fabrics in unconventional ways. Fabric can be a lightweight and flexible surface on which to print all your large-scale graphics, while fabric screens are a simple and effective way to partition off a semi-private meeting area within your booth. Touches such as carpeting the floors and covering the walls with fabric can give booths a softer and more tactile look and feel, which helps visitors feel right at home in the middle of a crowded and bustling trade show floor.
Although a display utilizing Apple-esque stark white surfaces and sharp lines might still be the best choice for some industries like medical devices, those clean and clinical aesthetic choices won’t suit every brand. These days, some of the best booth designs use organic materials such as natural wood and real greenery to drive home their authenticity. Using wood in the floors, walls, and furniture can lend your booth a rustic, artisanal air, which is very on trend these days. ProExhibits used this approach in a prize-winning design for Stikwood, using a mix of greenery and the brand’s own reclaimed wood wall coverings to build an exhibit that looked like a cabin in the woods.
Trade Show Trends 2018: Leading-Edge Technology
Projection technology has grown by leaps and bounds over the last few years, and trade show exhibits have been quick to see the potential. High-quality, high-resolution projectors have shrunk to sizes that enable them to be placed almost anywhere, while a wide variety of surfaces and material types may be used as screens. Exhibitor Online produced a great showreel of some of the most eye-catching uses of this tech. If you want to create an immersive visual environment and set the mood when presenting your brand, projections are a great way to do it.
Attention-Grabbing Video Installations
A video is worth a thousand words—at least. This video wall ProExhibits designed as part of a display for the data management company Vexata at Oracle Open World ‘17 is a powerful and dazzling focal point of the exhibit.
Dazzling LED Lights
High-quality LED lights are a simple yet surprisingly effective way to add hyper-bright pops of color to any display. Their ease of use, versatility, and intensity can help you draw visitor attention to certain aspects of your exhibit.
Remember how cool Microsoft Surface tables were when they debuted? That type of touch-and-interact technology is being used in all kinds of ways—not just on tablets, but in large-scale touchable installations that are more like sculptures than screens. If you want attendees to get up close and interact with your brand, this is a great way to do it.
Trade Show Trends 2018: The New Frontier
Virtual and Augmented Reality
Although you might not want all your exhibit visitors to be off in their own virtual reality space, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are great for demonstrations—particularly since the near-universal usage of smartphones means your visitors arrive at your booth already equipped with augmented-reality gear. Augmented reality is especially useful for brands whose products are large and cumbersome: While it may be impractical to cart a full-sized tractor or MRI machine from show to show, augmented reality gives you the ability to place a to-scale 3D model right in front of your visitors. They’ll be able to check specs, parts, features, and other product information at their own pace without requiring you to lug the physical product onto the trade show floor.
Millions of consumers now talk to Siri and Alexa in their homes. These and other artificial intelligence—often referred to as AI—technologies can supplement your booth staff, letting attendees learn about your brand as quickly as they can ask questions. However, this doesn’t mean you can plug in an Amazon Echo at your booth and call it good. If you want to incorporate an AI into your display, think about the types of interactions that will make visitors glad they participated. AI is a chance for you to create programs and experiences specifically designed to augment your presentation.
Trade Show Trends 2018: Partnering With Professionals
Staying on top of design trends takes time and effort. Designing a display can be difficult, while executing your vision can seem like an overwhelming task. Unless you have a dedicated in-house trade show design team and a robust production facility at your disposal, you’ll most likely want to partner with a professional trade show design company when designing an exhibit for your next show or event. ProExhibits has stayed on the cutting edge of trade show trends for more than 30 years. Regardless of your brand or product, our team of world-class artisans and craftspeople is ready to help you make the best impression possible.
ProExhibits has helped the world’s best brands influence audiences worldwide. If you have a show on the books or are planning your event calendar, let us know. Whether you want to incorporate the latest trends through state-of-the-art technology, rugged authenticity, or a blend of both, we’ll help you make it happen. Contact us today.