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Trade Show Graphics – Too little or Too Much!

Visit any trade show and you would think the key to a successful trade show exhibit design is displays with large format graphics. Big fat juicy graphics to cover every conceivable inch of booth. Visit any convention center exhibit hall and you’ll have visual sensory overload.

fabric trade show display
Large format fabric graphic displays are good choices for exhibitors in medical, banking and other service industries.

Have we gone too far? For companies selling services like insurance or banking, conveying a message through graphics is a great idea. There has been a huge uptick in fabric structure displays with large format graphics.

What about graphics for companies exhibiting at product driven trade shows? Conventions like SuperZoo, ASD, ABC Kids Expo and other consumer product trade shows. The buyers at these conventions are big box retailers like Walmart and Target, online specialty stores, gift and museum shops, boutiques, etc. These trade show attendees and buyers are motivated by products, not graphics.

Study after study proves the number one reason buyers attend trade shows is to find new products. Articles that appear in Forbes and other business publications encourage retailers to attend shows to locate new products. Trade show buyers and attendees want to touch, shake, squeeze, sniff and maybe even lick your product. They want to see packaging and how the item may appear on a retail store shelf, hook or other fixture. They want to see product – not pictures!

So when did the focus on large graphics overtake the importance of the actual product? The ugly answer – when exhibit companies began to realize there is a lot of money to be made selling large format signs and graphics. The more exhibit sales people can convince their clients to change and update their graphics, the more profits can be generated by servicing the same client. If you plan on using large format graphics, carefully consider the message.

For companies exhibiting consumer products, the purpose of signs are to identify your business or brand. Don’t allow large graphics to take away form valuable real estate on your trade show display wall. Save that middle or meat of your exhibit for product.

Trade Show Product Displays

snap panel display
Lightweight plastic slatwall panels are great for displaying products. A simple company sign is all this exhibitor needs.

What options are available to display products. Metal grid wall is often used at trade shows. Gridwall is inexpensive and looks like it. Gridwall should not be used at national trade shows. Gridwall has a local craft fair or flea market look. The same is true for pegboard displays.

Slatwall is a great option for displaying products. Wood or MDF slatwall panels can be heavy and usually must be shipped in crates. These MDF displays are expensive to ship to and from trade shows, not to mention the cost of material handling fees.

Trade show exhibitors are finding new solutions to display products. There are several options, but many displays are still heavily focused on graphics. One great option is lightweight plastic slatwall panel displays. These panels allow for fast, easy, one person set up, and breakdown with no tools.

The Right Mix of Graphics for your Display

The next time you attend a trade show look at individual exhibitor booth graphics. In two seconds, what products or services does the exhibitor sell? Does the display have too many signs? Not enough?  Too busy or overwhelming? Too boring? Would more or less signs be better? What key information would you like to see on the signs? Now do the same research for your trade show display!