How to design an exhibition stand & exhibition stand design templates

The process of designing an exhibition is often overwhelming, with so many options it’s hard to know where to start. Below we’ve pulled together our thoughts on how to design an exhibition stand, as well as providing some exhibition stand design templates for you to use (and download, if you’d like a PDF!)

Tips for exhibitions - establish a brief & commercial objectives

We recently shared a blog on the value of setting your objectives before an exhibition. Take the following into consideration - if your aim is to sell products at an exhibition, then your stand design will be completely different to a stand with an objective of raising brand awareness. 

When you’re at the start of the process and ask how to design an exhibition stand, if you tie this into your commercial objective you stand a much better chance of success.

Pick the products and services that you’ll focus on

You’ll have an idea of which products and services the visitors at your exhibition will be interested in, so go into detail as to why they would buy from you. 

Is your product already established as the market leader? If so, it’s likely visitors are aware of its qualities already, so your stand needs to communicate the value in your brand.

In contrast, if you’re a challenger brand then your stand design needs to be bold, capture the attention of visitors, and immediately communicate why your solution is better than anyone else in the room.

Pick a display method that complements your objective 

There are three main solutions on the market currently, pop-up banners, modular exhibition systems and bespoke displays. 

For those on a budget, pop-up banners are the tempting option. However, in our opinion, they very rarely instil a sense of quality in the mind of visitors, which is understandable considering the price of these displays. That being said, pop-up banners provide you with custom graphics that are easily transportable to different shows and events, should you be looking at a cost-effective way of gaining exposure.

In complete contrast, bespoke stands are used when brands are looking to make an impact at an exhibition. The world of display is at your feet, you can choose from any material or display method available. Working with an experienced exhibition designer, you’ll be able to integrate many of the most effective features of a successful exhibition stand, such as meeting spaces, high-visibility signage, and expert use of material.

What we find, is that exhibitors often go for something that provides the best of both worlds - a modular exhibition stand. Modular stands have improved immeasurably in recent years, with a huge range of displays available to integrate into profile systems. We love modular displays for its integration of tension fabric - which provides exhibitors with an easily updated graphic, that can be folded and stored in the smallest of spaces.

Modular stands offer the most flexibility for exhibitors, especially ones that are looking for a solution that will last at least a couple of years, without sacrificing on quality. 

Can your graphics help visitors? 

Now you know how to design an exhibition stand structure, you need to consider the messaging on your stand. 

One of the main criticisms from sales teams regarding exhibitions is that there were a lot of ‘time wasters’. Qualifying leads in such high-pressure environments is difficult, so can your exhibition stand help? Communicate your product, what type of business it’s for, and why they should use it before they start talking to you, and you’ll end up with leads knowing exactly what you provide. 

Also, think about the psychology of your visitor. This has been covered extensively by multiple designers, however this was something a marketing expert Guy Levine championed - if you can get to grips with the psychology and traits of your visitors, you can create graphics that appeal to them. 

Are they adventurous? Are they charismatic? They may well respond better to images of your product and service in-situ, with curated lifestyle-esque shots.

Are they reserved? Or maybe more logical? They could respond better to images of your product on a neutral background, allowing them to fully digest the benefits.

Innovative products - save space

Getting all of the above into a few metres of fabric or graphic panels can be a challenge. Luckily there are some great innovations out there that can help communicate your message. 

Take the Kinetik lightbox for example. This takes a traditional LED Lightbox and integrates dynamic LEDs, meaning you can animate lighting behind a printed fabric - perfect for capturing attention and highlighting product features.

Magnetik is also another product display that can help both save space and communicate messages more effectively. Magnetik integrates a repositionable magnetik track system into an LED Lightbox, meaning you can have multiple products alongside your display. 

Lighting

A major consideration is lighting at an exhibition. It’s hard to control lighting closely as a result of all the other exhibitors in the room, therefore it’s worth considering your own light source to show your products in the best light. Our friends at Unibox shared their thoughts on exhibition stand lighting, where they noted :

Not only does lighting help to capture attention, but it also contributes towards increased dwell time and improved conversion rates. Retailers understand that customers react best when they can properly see goods, and to make the most of their stands, exhibitors should take a lesson from merchants.

Stand build

Finally, one of our top tips on how to design an exhibition stand - invest in quality stand build. A recent survey reported that 40% of exhibitors noticed differences between their design and seeing the stand in person.

By working with an established stand builder, they’ll know the potential pitfalls when it comes to stand build, and deliver your stand exactly how it’s supposed to be.

Exhibition Stand Design Templates

We have a huge range of exhibition stands that have been designed to help you catch attention at trade shows and events. From compact portable displays to custom-built modular exhibition stands, our designs can be adapted to any situation you have in mind.

View them here or download a PDF