6 Dos and Don’ts on designing large-scale trade show graphics that get results
By Daniel Chaddock, president of E&E Exhibit Solutions
Great trade show display graphics are hard to miss. Eye-catching, bold and exciting, they create an impact from across the room—even in the busiest convention center or exhibition hall.
Unfortunately, knowing how to create show-stopping graphics isn’t as easy as spotting them. Many experienced designers know little about large-format trade show booth graphics—and without the proper guidance, getting it right can be difficult.
So if you’re investing in a new trade show graphics display or considering whether your current graphics really get the job done, consider these six tips for ensuring your trade show exhibit graphics get the attention your business deserves:
1. Don’t assume that brochure graphics will work in a display. Even the best-made brochure or print ad design is unlikely to function in your trade show displays. Why? Because trade show display graphics are generally several times larger than your other collateral pieces. While you can use some images and content from your other collateral pieces, be careful when repurposing your designs – keep headlines trim, images large and written content short and easy to read. Putting too many messages, hard-to-read fonts or competing images in one graphic display will only confuse people and make them disinterested.
2. Do keep it simple. Effective trade show display graphics are like highway billboards—they must communicate three key things in three seconds or less: who you are, what you do and why a customer should choose your product. If your prospects were driving by at 65 miles per hour, would your graphic message clearly answer these three questions before it was out of sight? If so, you have just designed yourself an effective large-format trade show graphic.
3. Don’t trust just any printer. The best trade show exhibit graphics come from printers who are skilled in large-scale design and have the tools necessary for picture-perfect results. Look for a printer who specializes in trade show displays and graphics, has a high-quality printer designed for the job and has invested in color management software.
4. Do proof your artwork in its final size. Not only will it make it easier to check for problems with your image resolution, but it will also give you a better sense of the impact your trade show exhibit graphics will make.
5. Don’t use images you pull from the Web. They might look great onscreen, but they’re unlikely to reproduce well in large formats. Instead, expect to need graphics that will have at least 100 dpi at their final output size.
6. Do enlist the help of a trained professional. If you’re overwhelmed by the requirements of trade show exhibit graphics—or if you just want an expert to provide guidance and advice—don’t be afraid to ask. Because as anyone who’s had a graphics disaster can attest, getting sound advice before your artwork goes to press is priceless.
Trade show display graphics are one of the most important aspects of your entire exhibit. After all, no one will notice your exciting multimedia presentation or innovative new product if your graphics don’t first stop them in their tracks.
Whether you’re designing your graphics in-house or using a professional trade show exhibit company, remember these six tips to success with trade show graphics—and discover the difference great trade show exhibit designs can make.
Since 1994, Daniel Chaddock has consulted on effective trade show exhibit designs and use of displays for trade show marketing. He is currently president of E&E Exhibit Solutions, a trade show displays company with expertise in custom portable exhibits and custom modular displays. You can reach Daniel via email to Daniel@exhibitsusa.com or call 800.709.6935.