Designing a knock-out exhibition stand

April 2, 2009

Exhibition and display specialist, Scan Display, has developed the following guidelines for designing a powerful exhibition stand:

Plan in advance
Planning early ensures exhibitors have time to clarify their objectives for the exhibition and give the stand designer a detailed brief. Designing an effective stand is a lengthy process, with the designer and exhibitor working together to refine the design.

Consider the stand’s position in the hall
The traffic flow in the exhibition hall has a bearing on the layout of the stand. One has to consider how many sides of the stand are open to visitor traffic. Is it an island stand or an end-of-aisle stand?

The general rule-of-thumb is that the design should maximise visitors’ access points onto the stand. However, the stand objectives may dictate otherwise.

Keep it simple
An important stand design lesson is based on the axiom of ‘less is more’. Stand designs should be kept simple, without clutter and excess messages.

The most common stand sizes are 3m x 3m and 3m x 4m, only slightly bigger than the average bathroom. Therefore it’s important not to crowd the space with excess furniture and equipment, especially if you want to encourage visitors onto the stand.

The text on graphics should also be kept to a minimum: passers-by can only digest a limited amount of information as they move past a stand.

Lighting is a key element
Today’s stand designer has a range of innovative lighting products at his disposal: there are lighting products that create a daylight effect; halogen lighting can bring graphics to life; and backlighting is another powerful tool.

Make an impact with AV equipment
As the cost of technology comes down, exhibitors can use audiovisual equipment very cost-effectively. LED (liquid emitting diodes) screens, with their sharper images, are starting to replace plasma screens.

Think tall
While the designer is limited by the fixed floor space of a stand, he can extend the stand upwards into the space above the shell scheme. By using height, the designer ensures that the stand is visible throughout the exhibition hall.

A double storey stand doubles the booked area and increases the visibility of the stand in the hall, drawing visitors to the stand.

Use a variety of materials
Designers should consider alternatives to the usual stand materials like aluminium, wood and perspex. Materials like paper, nylon and plastic can make a bold statement. Fabric is a familiar material that creates a feeling of intimacy on an exhibition stand.

Experiential’ stands are the winners
Exhibition stands that use creative elements to encourage visitors’ participation on the stand are making the greatest impact at shows. Exhibition stands compete for visitors’ attention and stands have to be really interesting to draw visitors.

During his visits to international exhibitions, Scan’s MD, Justin Hawes, has seen some very effective experiential stands. A stand at the 2006 Exhibiting Show drew visitors with a computerised penalty shootout game. This was especially effective as the show coincided with the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

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