The goal is to create a trade show display design that is eye-popping and will grab people's attention in that very short window of opportunity when they're walking by your booth. You typically want to avoid having too much text on your display (and focus more on a strong visual that will stand out in a crowd.) Bullet points and tag lines are ok, but most people don't want to stop and 'read' your display.
You have about a 2 second window as people are walking by your booth before they're thinking about moving on to the beer garden or the next aisle. You typically want to avoid having too much text on your trade display and focus more on an eye-popping, attention-getting layout.
Bullet points and tag lines are ok, but most people don't want to stop and 'read' your display. The goal is to draw people into your booth with a strong visual, and let your literature/brochures do the rest.
So how do you go about creating that visually stunning display that will literally stand out in a crowd?
A.) Finding the right photo(s) can go a long way to conveying your message and getting peoples' attention. If it's specific to your product or service you may want to consider hiring a professional photographer, or else take your own pictures with a good camera. The goal here is something clear, crisp, high resolution, vibrant colors.
Alternatively, you can find a stock photo on a third party library like shutterstock.com or istockphoto.com where you can search on any subject. Many designs incorporate a single image stretched across an entire display combined with other elements in the foreground, or a collage of different photos. Also something else to consider, some of the better displays I've seen do not incorporate photos of any kind.
B.) Consider your overall theme - do you have a specific color scheme in mind? Contrasting or complimentary? There are many unique ways to tie your different elements together, but sometimes less is more. A layout with a lot of curves can affect how the eye will follow your message, depending on how your layout is designed this can work for or against you.
The trick is to try several different ideas, then narrow it down through process of elimination. Your choice of color scheme and design elements can have a huge impact on the impression your graphics will make. Some designers get really imaginitive, others find the simple approach works best for them.
In part two we will explore other various considerations for planning the layout for your next booth, and how every little detail can make a huge difference.