10 Tips for Creating Show-Stopping Graphics for Your Next Tradeshow

1. Make them stop and look

Graphics are used to create interest, focus attention and tell visitors about your product or service. In just three to five seconds (statistically it is 3.8 seconds), graphics should communicate who you are, what you do and how customers can benefit. Graphics are often the first impression an attendee has of an exhibitor at a tradeshow, so it is important to make the right statement and create a lasting impression.


2. Consider your show goals

Consider how to convey your show goals graphically. Aim to grab attention with full-blown, interesting and vibrant graphics. Utelize large format printing to make graphic images life-size for the greatest impact. Ensure your graphics can be viewed at a distance of 5-15 feet/2-5 meters or more.

3. Project the right image

Understand what image you want to project: traditional, hi-tech, dependable, etc. Your company’s image will dictate choices in typefaces, artwork, color, etc.   Be sure to stay away from trendy colors as they may look outdated quickly.


4. Design for the audience

Design your graphics to your target audience. Focus on customer benefits. Use your graphics to show how your company differs from the competition. Design images to stimulate your viewer’s imagination to think beyond the conventional. Avoid designing down to particular audiences, e.g. white for doctors, diagrams for engineers. Convey technical information using good design principles and carefully planned graphics.   Remember, design your graphics from a “baby eyes” perspective – for the target audience who may not already know who you are, what you do so they can fully understand through your graphic message(s).

5. Use different types of graphics

There are a variety of graphic solutions available to convey your message including front and backlit photographs, digitally printed images, murals or detachable signage.   See which solution is best for your company.

6. Have an integrated approach

Plan to use your graphics on other collateral material for a thematic, integrated look. Help prospects remember you by using color rather than black and white.

7. Use photographs

Attract more attention by using photographs instead of illustrations or other artwork. Photographs attract the eye first, are more believable and better remembered. When used, illustrations and other line art should be rendered in an easy-to-understand style. Tell a story with your pictorial elements.

Convey technical information using good design principles and carefully planned graphics.

8. Include special effects

Pull in your audience with graphics coupled with other effects. Attract attention with movement. Consider adding an LED message sign to your display or using 3-D imaging.  If your target audience is the younger generation or high tech, then be sure to  use interactive signage, lighting, technology, etc.


9. Limit copy

Limit the total amount of copy as people rarely spend time reading a mass of type on a graphic panel. Use simple language. Write copy in short sentences and keep your paragraphs short. Proofread the copy carefully. For final proofing, an impartial third party is the best way to catch errors.

10. Avoid…

Superlatives, or the “brag and boast” syndrome, clichés and overused metaphors, superimposing copy on your illustration or reversing out large amounts of copy (white type against a black background), and periods at the end of headlines as they stop the reader from reading any further.  Test your unique selling proposition to be sure it works on some of your existing customers or people you know, but may not know what you do.


One thought on “10 Tips for Creating Show-Stopping Graphics for Your Next Tradeshow

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s