Double Deck Display Design: A Beginner’s Guide

Standing twice as tall and shining twice as bright as standard exhibits, double decker trade show displays are the envy of every single-booth exhibitor at a trade show. They are visible from all areas of the trade show floor, and if designed well, they work like a magnet, drawing in prospective clients as well as curiosity seekers.

If you’re like most businesspeople, you like the idea of converting to a double deck truss system, but the execution and logistics may seem overwhelming. While it’s true that designing, shipping, setting up and tearing down one of these impressive giants is a lot more complicated than your basic 10×20 booth, with the right amount of planning and with expert guidance from a professional trade show marketing firm, the entire process goes a lot more smoothly than you might imagine.

In this article, I’ll walk you through a list of floorplan, layout, and design considerations so that you can create a double decker exhibit that not only reflects well on your brand but also functions like a small satellite office or mini retail space for your sales team.


Let’s begin by taking a look at the functions of each of the two levels. It’s important to plan ahead and visualize your customers and salespeople moving throughout the space. What activities can you see them engaging in on the lower level versus the upper deck?


For most businesses, the upper deck offers a nice area where sales staff and prospects can hold private or semi-private meetings, negotiate pricing, and offer in-depth presentations and demonstrations. If that’s your strategy, then your upper deck can be built with short walls to create partially enclosed work spaces. Moving your more serious prospects to the upper deck frees up extra space on your lower level and allows more room for pass-through and casual traffic.

Bear in mind that when it comes to design, the upper deck is every bit as important as your lower level. People will still be working with all 5 senses, whether they’re on your lower level or standing up top! So when you’re designing your upper level, be sure to include areas for food and drink, artwork and tabletop decor, comfortable seating, and music and/or plasma screens. Don’t think of it as just a meeting space; think of it more as a lounge or as an extension of your office lobby. It should be comfortable enough to make people want to stick around a while.



You can choose one or two stairways for accessing the upper level, but most businesses choose two. With only one stairway, there are legal capacity limitations that will force you to keep the number of second-floor visitors to, say, 9, whereas with two stairways, you can double that number and still be in compliance with convention center codes and regulations. Note that all bridges, stairs, and decks offered as part of standard double deck display kits are pre-engineered to meet most convention center building requirements.


If you’re upgrading from a simple 10×10 or 10×20 booth to a double decker display, you won’t necessarily need to throw away your existing display items and start from scratch. Portable one-off items like banner stands, media walls, table and chair sets, and information counters can easily fit into your lower level design. However, since double deck exhibits are basically islands that allow foot traffic to enter your space from multiple sides, you’ll want to put some extra thought into your floorplan, and design your space so that your salespeople can easily collect metrics as prospects enter. Some businesses prefer to wall off part of their lower level with product display shelves or plasma screens in an attempt to corral visitors into defined spaces and have more control over traffic flow.

An added bonus to consider is that with larger double deck kits, you can break down the individual components and use them in smaller displays — so you have the option of scaling up or down as your trade show strategy dictates.


If you’re looking to make a big splash at your next trade show or conference, a double deck exhibit is definitely the way to go. With vibrant, high-contrast colors and graphics, dazzling lighting, and a well-thought-out design, your double deck display will make a strong branding statement and provide your sales team with an awesome space for acquiring new customers.


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