We see it happen way, way, way too often; Event managers stressed, unmotivated, disinterested, and just plain disgruntled with what it took to get a decent convention booth design. Just the process alone is enough to wear out the average project manager.

What often blows the project out of proportion is the overall design process itself. Simplify this and resources can be allocated elsewhere, including your sanity. Convention booth design needs to begin with clearly organized broad strokes and comes together with the all the nitty-gritty details just before final fabrication.

Step 1: Purpose of the Exhibit

The exhibits purpose is the most basic and important step in development. Is the exhibits purpose to build brand awareness, roll out a new offering or expand on a prior one? Is the purpose of the space to showcase your brand, or is it to close sales right then and there?Obviously, attendees have a tendency to skip over booths where they think they’ll be pressured or hassled. In this case, a more open layout exhibit to showcase your offering is preferable. Multiple entrances and exits should also be a consideration for those “reluctant attendees” that fear they may be cornered.

Is high sales volume the goal? Meeting space and greeting counters should be molded in for a more engaging visitor experience. There are of course circumstances, which call for both scenarios. It is possible but with limited booth space, careful exhibit design including proper space segmentation should be a priority.

Step 2: Show Specific Considerations

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What trade show(s) are you exhibiting at? Are they big shows? What are the booth sizes? What’s needed to stand out? Not sure? Well…what are competitors doing? These are all questions that should be considered, off the bat, during booth design.Top trade show exhibit designers usually have the knowledge to look show by show and uncover vital design elements in relation to size, show and competition. It doesn’t hurt to glimpse at past designs and mull over any ideas you may be tied to as well.

Step 3: Preliminary Designs

Start the Sketching! Now’s a good time to commit to how you intend for attendees to move through the space. Will you use interruption marketing techniques, or have them stroll through for a more subliminal exposure?

Most of the time, whether it’s sales or awareness oriented booths, we notice going for the gusto gains the most attendee attention. Almost every day a new exhibit fabrication method or tech innovation becomes available. Best bet here is to ask the exhibit company. They should be 100% up to date on the latest exhibiting trends in the industry. From living signs to augmented mazes, anything really is possible. Just keep in mind, booths are usually designed around key features. So collaborate on ideas early on.

Step 4: Top Down Rendering

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This is the best visual to “get inside” the trade show booth. Although it’s not the 3d CAD model that can literally get you inside the booth, it is a chance to see exactly how traffic will flow through the booth, what that traffic will see, when they will see it and any roadblocks that may arise during fabrication. We frequently find this exhibit design the most informative when making final adjustments.

Step 5: Final Details and 3D Renderings

With your favorite top down rendering in hand, now’s the time to start pouring on the details. At this stage, you should be absolutely confident in the sizes, colors, textures, lighting, signage, displays. Everything within your convention booth design should be as close to final as possible, as this is the final stage before pre-fabrication.

The Final Jump

Some exhibit houses make a valiant effort to keep renderings set in stone for obvious reasons but although this seems like a measure to keep the process simple, it is in the interest of the exhibit house themselves. A true custom convention booth designer should provide you with options well beyond final renderings including: wall graphics, lighting, counter tops, display cases and monitors.

Take the time to find a company that completely adheres to your concerns. They are out there and they WILL make your life much, much easier!