Creative and Engaging Trade Show Exhibit Design Ideas

Creative and Engaging Trade Show Exhibit Design Ideas

Since you’ve established a successful career, you probably haven’t thought much about lackluster job fairs…but you should! Believe it or not, those memories can help your career today.

Take a second to recall foam presentation boards, sad brochures on printer paper, pens, maybe a keychain, all on rows of folding tables.

While the point of the career fair is to get visitors excited about new career opportunities, you don’t see many smiles. Who wants to spend time in a dingy high school gym that looks anything but professional?

Trade show exhibit design

Now, think about your last trade show exhibit design. Did it have much in common with those career fair memories?

As pathetic as career fairs often are, their audiences are always motivated—They need jobs! What motivation do trade show attendees have to pay attention to your business, let alone choose it over competitors?

You won’t convince them by making your trade show booth cheap, quick, and with minimal creativity. All that amounts to is a depressing job fair display.

Approach trade show preparation the right way and you’ll be happy with the results. Check out these engaging trade show booth designs.

1. Make Visitors Thirst for Your Business

Concession stands and other places to buy food within conference centers are rare and overpriced. So, any trade show booth featuring free snacks is an instant hit. Plenty of trade show participants know this trick and take full advantage, offering food ranging from candy to sandwiches and beyond.

What only the savviest booth designers realize is that access to drinks is also sorely lacking.

Walking around a trade show for hours is tiring and visitors get thirsty as they browse the exhibits. Water fountains are few and far between at most venues, so offering water is popular.

A range of options, with drinks like soda and juice, garners the most attention. People will engage both while waiting in line to grab a drink and, in some cases, while enjoying their beverages.

2. Try the “Sit and Chat” Strategy

Many trade show exhibits focus on giving visitors information without drawing them in. You do want to inform, but the best trade show booths truly engage attendees.

When your trade show exhibit is a simple information booth, people look for a second and leave. They’re bored and grab only a little information before moving on.

In an ideal scenario, they’ll stick around to learn what your organization is all about. You’ll have more success if your booth attendants strike those who approach as friends instead of as impersonal business representatives.

Keeping chairs at your exhibit helps you chat with trade show attendees. Everyone wants a break now and then to rest their feet while exploring rows and rows of trade show booths. Not everyone will want to talk, but you’ll have more conversations and make more contacts when people can sit for a while.

If you want to take it a step further, a charging station is a creative option. Folks stick around while giving their phones some juice. You can cover the power strip with your logo and information to make a strong visual impression.

Trade shows effective offline advertising method
Image Credit: popculturegeek/Flickr

3. Make Your Trade Show Exhibit Design Photo-Worthy

Finding ways to stay memorable is a huge challenge when planning a trade show appearance.

Branded swag is one method, but it can be hard to impress what your organization does that way. A pen with your logo could make people remember your company’s name, but they may never look it up to recall what your work is. Plus, let’s face it, a visitor leaving a trade show with ten different keychains will put most if not all of them in a drawer to never again see the light of day.

So, what’s the perfect way to ensure visitors don’t forget your company? Getting your booth featured in selfies, of course! People are always looking for photo ops, even at trade shows.

If you make an interesting photo booth featuring your logo, you’ll not only stick in the visitor’s mind but will also reach an extra audience when they post the picture online. Even better, add a booth or props that show what your work is so attendees won’t need Google to remember you.

4. Look Like What You Do

If your work ties to an interesting visual representation, latch onto it and never let go. For example, a tire manufacturer could set up shop below a giant tire made of cardboard. A chicken farm could table inside a rooster, cancer research groups often build walk-through organs, and other industries can take similar routes.

If you have a uniquely shaped exhibit, attendees will want to see what you’re all about. A creative design shows you care about the impression you make on potential clients and business contacts.

This kind of custom trade show exhibit design works well with the prior concept, too. A bold, quirky booth is the perfect background for a trade show selfie.

5. Match the Mood With Music

Playing music, either live or from a recording, can help get people excited about your organization. Yet, be careful: Misreading the mood makes your booth awkward and unappealing.

Booths overuse obnoxious, loud, peppy music that’s most appropriate at few trade shows, like fitness, the party industry, and some parts of the entertainment business. Even in those cases, most people don’t want to stick around at a booth that seems more like a carnival stall than a professional exhibit. If you do take that route, turn the volume down and have a diverse blend of songs.

Exhibits also overuse live music like harps and pianos. With few exceptions, its proper place is with the highest-class and most serious trades such as jewelry, religious products, and the funeral industry.

Those are a few mistakes you should avoid when picking music for your trade show exhibit. When you get the mood right, attendees will feel comfortable learning about your organization while enjoying the tunes.

Trade show display

Explore New Tactics and Opportunities

These creative trade show exhibit design ideas are a helpful place to start planning your next trade show booth.

After you complete all the tasks on your trade show checklist, take a look around this site for more business ideas and opportunities. We have all the tips and tricks you need to be a successful entrepreneur, so don’t wait to click on another article and start learning.

Ivan Widjaya

Ivan Widjaya is the Owner/Editor of, as well as several other blogs. He is a business blogger, web publisher and content marketer for SMEs.