15 creative trade show booth designs that will inspire you

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Before you bring out a foam finger that says “fascinating brand right here, come take a look”, first let’s try the more strategic routes to advertise for your brand in a trade show.

Start by asking your trade show organizer about the event technology they are using & think about jumping in on that instead.

Directing attendees to your booth using event technology

Event apps are a simple way to accomplish some level of recognition and draw people to your booth by using their indoor- based location feature. This will help you accomplish better visibility for your tradeshow booth by:

  • Providing your attendees with interactive indoor maps, which makes it easier for them to navigate exhibitors. 
  • Send in-app notifications to direct attendees to your booth or guide them to any life demos taking place. 
  • Send attendees the offers or discounts that you might be running at your booth. 
  • You can even take advantage of the lead-retrieval technology to ensure a seamless streamlined lead capture and retrieval process. 

Read also: Why lead retrieval is essential for your trade shows

But of course, event technology is just one factor. What if people reach your booth and then simply yawn and move to the much more exciting exhibitor to your right? You want to make your booth compelling, engaging and on-brand.

Trade show booth design goals

In order for your booth to drive it’s desired effect, you must first define the desired effect you want! Start with the simple, yet effective approach of writing down the goals your booth design needs to achieve. One booth can’t simply do it all, try to stay focused and pick one goal and design your booth around accomplishing just that. 

The most frequent tradeshow design goals are 
Lead generation

With this one, you should focus on 

  • Having various smaller booths throughout the event to get maximum exposure and visibility. 
  • Making your design clean-cut and professional. 
  • Positioning your booth at the top of the sales funnel. This means designing your booth around sending attendees to a website to learn more. For example, install a computer terminal or tablet station where attendees can input their email address.

Read also: 5 methods to collect leads at trade shows

Brand awareness

With this one, you should focus on 

  • Using a booth shape that conveys the brand personality. Include the company logo at least 3 times all over your booth. 
  • Creating a memorable interactive brand experience through promotional activities
Product launch 

With this one, you should focus on 

  • Positioning your booth as a vehicle for a product demonstration. Create a space where people can interact with your product. Deliver an experience where the product is touched and examined.
Networking with customers or partners

With this one, you should focus on 

  • Dedicating a partition off for a meeting space where you sit down with prospects and clients to solve their problems and strengthen your relationship.

15 creative booth designs and why they work

1. In-booth activation featuring coffee

NewsCred opted for a sleek and simple booth design. The booth displayed the company’s logo several times, the graphics were clean, consistent, and included messages that answered the question of “who are they” and “what do they do”. The booth included a space for displaying sales demos, a coffee bar, and a lounge.

Why it works:

This one might not be “flashy” but it’s accommodatively creative. The booth was positioned in a place that stands out and could be seen from anywhere. The design itself might not be much but it had an engaging in-booth activation. Nobody would simply pass up the offer of free good quality coffee, so as people stopped to get their coffee, they also had a space to enjoy it as they engaged with the brand and its messages.

Pro tip: Your in-booth activation doesn’t have to be over the top, it should be something in need, something anyone would grab without a second thought.

2. Go Green

What better way to position yourself as a leading company in environmental practices than a giant green wall? Replacing one of your booth walls with a vertical garden is a great way to draw attention to your booth, as well as position it in a very positive manner. 

Why it works:

A giant green wall indoors is eye-catching, visually appealing and naturally fits into your narrative. It will also help you create the perfect environment for the right kind of conversation. 

Pro tip: You can build your wall with a couple of dozen succulents, then give them away to attendees on the last day of your exhibition.

3. A Cinematic Debut

It doesn’t get more immersive than asking a film focused production design house to design your booth. This might sound too fancy, but if we break it down, this whole booth was done only using reflection, light, texture via glossy black surfaces, LED-lit structural elements, and head-turning walls draped in a copper mesh. 

Why it works:

The booth didn’t rely on any flashy colors or gimmicks to draw attention, yet the design looked like its own space and was able to make the booth distinguishable among the rest. The Mailchimp team felt like the booth was a natural progression of their company culture which enriched the whole brand experience.

Pro tip: Don’t go for a traditional trade show booth designers. Instead, go for designers outside of your industry. Encourage them to merge their own perspective & backgrounds with your industry & brand, using less common trade show material.

4. Powered by Paper

Going eco-friendly has become the anthem of the past few years and rightfully so. Tradeshow booths are often used once and then discarded, this creates a draining burden on the environment and its resources. By creating a booth that is made of 100% recycled cardboard, you eliminate that completely. 

Why it works:

You get to be a refreshing and striking visual in the mindset of a trade show full of booths that use the same materials. Your company would be promoting and advocating a waste-free culture, positioning you as a culturally sensitive business. This is all done in the most cost-effective way possible, you’re basically just using paper.

5. Don’t just recycle, upcycle

Upcycling is about reusing discarded material in a way that you would create a product of higher value and quality than its original material. That’s what Google where able to accomplish with this booth, made from wood that came from shipping pallets, with plant pots made of tires from discarded bicycles and flooring made out of old rubber tires, they totally transformed all that waste into an outstanding brand setting.

Why it works:

It’s not just that this booth can make the same claims of sustainability as any recycled booth but it also looks effortlessly stunning. Even the strategically placed digital screens play an important part in the booth’s sustainability. By displaying Google branding and presentations on screen, they don’t have to print out product flyers or create signage that will be thrown away.

6. Build a Brand Box

Inside this brand box themed “time machine” Daikin was able to create an undisputed immersive experience for their audience. By making their brand a walk-in box where you get to exclusively be immersed in the brand through powerful lightening and headphones.

Why it works: 

The exclusivity created by the obscure box-like design makes attendees curious to peek inside and walkthrough. Also by sticking to their prominent monochromatic color and product concept as part of the design, it made it more memorable and distinctive.

7. Bring your product to life

If you are aiming for a big product reveal, make the product part of your booth design if not the whole booth. Nike integrated their shoes as part of their booth wall, they even repeated their product wall for more exposure.

Why it works: 

Repetition is a huge part of marketing. By repeating your product wall, you offer an appearance of bounty and endless choices. Drawing the audience in by the peculiar design as well as directing that same attention into focusing on your product.

8. Repurpose vintage vehicles

To celebrate the release of its new Uber Visa credit card, Uber hosted a dinner inside this double-decker bus. Having an actual vintage vehicle act as your booth design will definitely guarantee you a couple of wide-eyed spectators, after all a person who wouldn’t stop to check out a vintage car is probably no customer of yours. 

Why it works: 

Your booth design has a vintage vehicle as it’s center piece, can’t get more interesting than this!

Pro tip: If getting a car is a hassle, try using cool car parts and integrate your design around these parts. Just make sure that all of this is well integrated with your brand and its image.

9. Make an interactive wall

Integrating an interactive wall as part of your booth design will not only help your booth standout among others, it will also make the booth design itself integral to the brand experience. This will make your attendees stop, think and engage with your design. 

Why it works: 

By engaging your audience physically and mentally through active games or questions, you make them more invested in this experience your brand is providing and therefore more invested in the brand itself.

10. Photo Op

People love taking pictures, just ask the social media platforms dedicated entirely for serving this one purpose. Facebook was able to hack into that at the 9th addition of VidCon, their booth featured a series of rooms where fans could pose with on-theme props and backdrops.

Why it works: 

By going beyond the generic “pose with a frame & our logo” photo op, you can create endless possibilities of how to both draw attention to your booth and draw engagement with it. Just like offering free coffee, this photo op installation is something guaranteed to work each and every time, you just have to make it as memorable as possible.

11. Use lights to your advantage

Making lights your design’s focal point can be quite eye-catching. Just check out this Total booth at the 2017 Astana Expo, they wanted to make a statement involving the earth and sustainable living. Naturally, this made them opt for a darkened environment with blue lights to ideally project their message.

Why it works: 

The dimmed background coupled with the blue fluorescent light makes their booth more prominent and engaging to the audience. Giving it an almost cinematic atmosphere, their message was also complemented by being delivered through the sensory experiences of light and sound.

Pro tip: Make sure you use the colored light that will best work for your brand and your message

12. Add a digital portrait component

You see people using these digital portraits of themselves as their social media profile pictures all the time, so why not tap into that? Better yet make a whole aesthetically pleasing experience out of it. At this HP brand activation they offered people the chance to pose for a digital portray, of course the core benefit for them wasn’t just the cool decorations but actually showcasing their technology.

Why it works: 

It’s people-oriented, it actually can’t get anymore people oriented than this. You are giving your attendees a valuable memorable present. While also adorning your booth with this very live vivid digital art show, it’s bound to gain attention.

13. Go big, bold and add looming arches

With this one, Polaroid decided to go big with only a life size replica of their camera and colorful arches to mark their territory. It’s simple, yet profoundly unique. The playful touch of colors coupled with the photographs acts as both a product demo and as decorations.

Why it works:

The height of the branded arches and the big camera display increase the booth’s visibility significantly. While the stooping, stacking of panels make the space feel contained without turning it claustrophobic.

14. The devil is in the details

It only made sense that a Smart Home booth would look like, well, a miniature home. But what makes this one interesting is the amount of detail that went into it. A doormat printed with rave reviews, an open cookbook on the kitchen counter asking a rhetorical question, and framed photos of the people behind the products lent a homey vibe to the space while keeping the focus on the company’s offerings.

Why it works:

This is embedded product demonstration at it’s finest. Sure the overall house design might not be the most appealing of all but once you are inside, you can’t help but engage with and explore each item (product) just because of how interesting its demonstration is.

15. Go beyond with fabric architecture

Fabric is one of the easiest most practical materials for a booth. Through the use of fabric you can create eloquent booth designs without worrying about the cost or the rigidness in engineering that other materials impose. 

Why it works:

Coupled with the right lighting, this booth gives off an ultra-modern vibe that makes it look like a lot is going on when in fact it’s one of the simplest setups ever. You can get as creative as you want with the structure and prints of the fabric to take the ultra-modern vibe to out of this world standards.

Key Takeaways:

For your booth design 

  • Remember to communicate your brand through distinctive consistent displays, visuals, and graphics. Make sure to include these 3 elements in your booth design: Logo, marketing message & call to action.
  • Research the height restriction for your space, then design your booth so that your logo and some eye-catching elements are as tall and as big as possible.
  • Build engagement as a part of your booth design 
  • Opt for non-traditional booth material to draw the eyes

Conclusion

First start with determining the strategic goal of your booth, and then move towards making the interactive elements of your trade show booth as well as the booth design itself contribute to making these goals happen. After using this list for inspiration, try to module its main elements to fit your brand and brand message. Through lighting, texture, flow and design you can make a uniquely memorable experience for your audience.

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