How to Design an Awesome Trade Show Display

Don’t just “show up” to a trade show that you’re exhibiting at, make a statement! You can stand out from the crowd by having a display that looks great and that grabs the attention of attendee’s.

We know that designing a trade show display can be overwhelming (there’s so many choices!) but we are here to help. Here are some tips on how to design an awesome (AMAZING, BRILLIANT, ASTOUNDING) trade show display.

1. Have a clear idea of what you want your message to be. Whether you will be designing your own display or you’re having someone else design it for you, it’s a good idea to brainstorm on what message you’re trying to convey. By knowing what you want, you’ll save yourself both time and money (and possibly stress) along the way.  Think about what your goals are and the type of audience you’ll have and tailor it to them. For example, if an airline company is recruiting pilots, the display would have a different overall message than if the airline company was trying to attract new customers. 

2. Answer the most important questions. By glancing at your display, passerby’s should be able to to tell who you are, what you do, how you can benefit them and how they can get in touch with you. Although this sounds obvious, we have seen displays where they have a beautiful, stunning picture but then we don’t know anything more about the company. It’s important to catch their attention but your display also has to be informative.

3. Don’t go font crazy.  We usually recommend using two fonts, three at the most, on your display. This will give your display some variety and add to the overall design. Karyn Savory from Verdin Marketing says “Find two or more fonts that are visually distinct, but work well together. Some things to consider are differences in style, size, weight, and form.” 


4. Choose your color scheme. Many people want to design a display that will “POP” and there’s ways to do that without going overboard. Choose colors that contrast, such as a black background and white text. Use colors that go with your overall brand as well. For example, our logo is pink, green and blue, which is why we use these colors so frequently. 



5. Less is more. You need to give attendee’s relevant information but don’t overwhelm them with text or pictures. According to, you should “Prioritize visuals over text. Try to convey your messages with images whenever possible. Use one or two large images instead of a variety of small images, which can make your design seem cramped and disorganized.” You don’t want your display to look cluttered. If you’re going to have text, make short statements instead of writing your life story. No one has time to read long text at trade shows. 

6. Choose placement of pictures and text carefully. The placement of your information will vary on the types of displays you choose. Therefore, you should map out the graphics and text you’re going to be using. Unless your display will be standing on a table, you shouldn’t put any important information below knee level, otherwise people will not be able to see it.  If it’s a large display, make sure you know where the panels cut off and meet. You don’t want to have any small text at the creases of the panels, otherwise, if you’re setting up, it will be more difficult to align them exactly. 

7. Give yourself time. They usually list trade shows months in advance, therefore, as soon as you register you should start working on your display. Don’t procrastinate because you’ll need to Give yourself enough time to design it, find a company that can product it, and then enough time to ship it (if the print studio is not in your area). You’ll have other things to worry about for the trade show and worrying about your display shouldn’t be one of them. 

8. Get the correct files. If you are going to be sending design files, make sure you send them as high res PDF files or vector files. If you aren’t sure what type of files you need, call the designer and ask them and they should be able to walk you through it. The files you are sending make a difference because although the picture you have might look good on your screen, it might not look as good once it is blown up. 


Our tip to you is work with a professional company.  Choose a company that knows what they’re doing. You can have the most amazing design idea but if the company you’re working with can’t see your vision or the quality of the display isn’t great, it will all be for nothing.



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