14 Captivating Trade Show Booth Ideas

Exhibits Northwest | Trade Show Trenches
January 6, 2023

Nothing is more fun than delivering a custom exhibit design that meets all the client’s needs: functionally, aesthetically, and fiscally. Most clients are not immersed in exhibit booth design, so the process can be challenging. But it doesn’t have to be. We all come from different levels of experience in design and trade shows.

Over the years, we’ve learned there are three keys to a winning trade show booth idea and a happy customer.

  1. Understand Your Trade Show Goals and Have a Budget in Mind.
  2. Work with a Trade Show Professional Who Can Guide You.
  3. Whenever Possible, Communicate Directly with the Designer.

Getting Started with Trade Show Booth Ideas

Occasionally, we get an ambiguous request that requires us to practice mind reading. Which is understandable. We all come from different levels of experience, and learning how to pre-qualify takes practice. 

Most exhibit designers will start by asking the basics just to establish a path forward. 

  • Design Due Date
  • Show Opening Date
  • Size of the Exhibit 
  • Budget, Including Graphics
  • Images of Current or Previous Exhibits
  • Images or Examples of Exhibits You Like
  • Any Unusual Dimensional Restrictions
  • Special Requirements (overhead signs, colors, components, A/V, storage, conference room, etc.) 

Every marketing campaign should have quantifiable goals. While that may seem obvious, you would be surprised how often both new and experienced exhibitors participate in trade shows with fuzzy goals, like “get more business.” To be honest, “more business” is a worthwhile objective, but it’s more akin to a weak beef broth than a hearty beef stew. 

When an exhibitor identifies and lists their goals, they are providing an exhibit designer with a guide. For example, let’s say the exhibitor wants to discuss sales objectives with their existing clients. Those meetings typically take time and require privacy. The exhibit designer would create a meeting space(s) with walls and a door. Or, say the exhibitor is introducing a new service that requires a presentation, perhaps to a manageable group of 20 participants. The designer would then create space for a stage where a speaker could present the service. 

4 Creative Trade Show Booth Ideas

1. Wag Central (10 x 20)

Inline exhibit with dye-sublimated fabric graphics, adjustable shelves on the back wall, reception counter with locking storage, and a double-sided product kiosk.  

wag central trade show exhibit ideas

2. PWCC (20 x 20)

Custom hanging sign, display showcases with locking storage, reception/auction tables, meeting room, and secure storage. 

pwcc display ideas

3. Clear Capital (20 x 20)

(3) Custom peak frames with backlit fabric graphics, dimensional logos, reception counter with backlit graphics, lounge seating area, demo station, product shelves, and full-size closet storage. 

clear capital Trade Show Booth Ideas

4. Charin (80 x 50)

Large Island with (8) demo kiosks in two configurations, extensive counter and closet storage, catering counter with kitchen, lounge/meeting area, and a 20 x 20 hanging sign.  

charin trade show display ideas

5 Trade Show Booth Ideas to Attract Visitors

1. GKN-5124 | Island Exhibit. The GKN-5124 Gravitee Island is a contemporary exhibit with large graphics, practical accessories, and mostly toolless assembly. Available for purchase and as a rental. 

trade show booth ideas to attract visitors

2. VKN-5146 | Backlit Island Exhibit. This stunning island has two double-sided lightboxes, elegant custom counters, a hanging sign, and locking closet storage. 

manu trade show booth ideas to attract visitors

3. ECON-6084 | ecoSmart Sustainable Island. Be the star at your next show with the ecoSmart 30 x 30 island exhibit. It includes backlight graphics, double-sided kiosks, storage, a can’t miss hanging sign, and a conference room. 

intuit trade show booth ideas to attract visitors

4. VKN-2972 | Inline Lightbox. This modern backlit hybrid display combines vibrant tension fabric graphics with distinctive aluminum extrusion frames to create a versatile and attractive inline exhibit. 

port 2 port trade show display ideas to attract

5. VKN-4023 | Custom Lightbox. Create a buzz at your next trade show with the VKN-4023 Custom Lightbox Exhibit featuring backlit LED graphics, shelves, and a dramatic reception counter. 

5 Small Trade Show Booth Ideas

1. SYKN-1045 | Symphony Portable. The Symphony Display System is affordable, portable, and modular. The SYKN-1045 includes a peak frame, shelves, monitor mount, wireless charging, and a beautiful counter with locking storage. Also available in a 10 x 20 version. 

small trade show booth ideas digital bookshelf

2. TFN-523 | Hybrid Display. Big, bold graphics attract attention. The TFN-523 combines large graphics with practical accessories like a monitor mount, a back wall pedestal, a reception counter, and even an iPad swivel mount. 

AirGo small trade show booth ideas

3. VKN-1356 | Custom Lightbox. Small yet dramatic, the custom VKN-1356 is both powerful and practical. It includes backlit graphics, an iPad mount, a large monitor option, storage, and a bistro charging table with LED accent lights. 

smucker small display ideas

4. GKN-2023 | Gravitee LB Design. The GK-2023 Gravitee elevates any exhibitor to the next level with extensive product shelves, storage, and captivating backlit images. The 20 ft. inline version includes (3) Gravitee Lightboxes with SEG fabric graphics. SEG graphics are a breeze to install and allow for quick changes from show to show.

small exhibit display ideas

5. VKN-2400 | Inline Exhibit. Modular exhibits, like the VKN-2400, are designed to reconfigure to either a smaller 10 ft. inline or grow into a 20 x 20 island. The backlit graphics and modular construction make this an ideal exhibit for exhibitors with an aggressive trade show schedule. 

small trade show exhibit ideas

Trade Show Booth Design Red Flags 

When everyone is making a good-faith effort to get it right, the design process almost always goes smoothly.  And then there are the trainwrecks, which usually start with one of these four Red Flags. 

“I Need This by Tomorrow”

Good design takes time. Great design takes even more time. There’s a process. Not to mention there are other design deadlines already in the queue. It’s not that we can’t do it if our schedules allow. And we want to, but we want to do it right.

“I Want Five Completely Different Options”

Clients like to see options, and this can be achieved by showing them portfolio images, discussing their objectives, and defining a budget. In the end, the client is only going to buy one booth, one that matches their marketing goals and budget. One spectacular design is better than five OK designs if it is on point and includes revisions. 

“If I Like It I’ll Find the Money to Buy It, So Design with an Unlimited Budget!” 

No client has a truly unlimited budget. They might have lots of resources, but there will be a limit. We frequently toss out a number and gauge their reaction: $50,000 for a 10×10? Either they’ll nod and say “Go for it!,” or they’ll take a big gulp and reveal their actual budget — $8K, $15K, $25K. Perfect, now the designer can give them the best 10×10 they’ve ever seen within their budget.

“I’ll Know It When I See It”

Design is not a poker game where revealing your hand is a disadvantage. Most clients have an idea of what they want, or at least what they want to achieve. At a minimum, they know their product/service and how it should be presented. Every designer loves the opportunity to be creative, but a guessing game is the exact opposite of creative. Whether you are paying for design or not, there is a cost. The cost can be as simple as frustration, revisions, and unmet expectations.

Trade Show Booth Ideas with Exhibits NW

Consider working directly with an exhibit designer. It’s the quickest path to success. An exhibit designer knows which questions to ask regarding your goals, branding, show requirements, and budget constraints. The exhibit designers at Exhibits NW are skilled professionals with years of experience working on projects as small as table tops to as large as 80 x 50 custom island exhibits. And everything in between!

Whether you’re looking for a custom, modular, or portable display, or just a trusted partner to ensure your success, contact the Exhibits NW creative team so we can ensure you exceed your trade show goals!

Schedule a Call

If you’re ready to take your trade show exhibits to new heights, fill out this form, and we’ll contact you shortly.

Schedule a Call
If you’re ready to take your trade show exhibits to new heights, fill out this form and we’ll contact you shortly.