India's Pioneer Media on TradeFairs

“Before You Hit The Venue” – Chapter 7 – Good & Bad Stand Design!

Stephan Murtagh, the Exhibition Guy in his book titled Before You Hit The Venue gives insights on all aspects of Exhibiting in an Exhibition.

The book will be published in TFT in a series for the benefit of its reader. Enjoy and do write back to us with your feedback.

Chapter 7

Good and Bad Stand Design!

Stand design and layout is a very personal thing and what’s good for one company may not work for another. It’s important that you give some real thought as to what you are trying to achieve. The whole reason you are exhibiting is to meet potential customers, so the key marker is that you make the stand inviting and accessible. You can have a lovely looking stand and lots of product but if it’s an obstacle course for your visitor to get onto the stand they simply won’t! When thinking about writing this section I thought about putting in lots of lovely pictures of stands highlighting what is good and bad…. I decided against this as what I consider to be good or bad may be completely the opposite of what you think. Good and bad is objective…. also, if you take two stands that are the same, one may be brilliant for a service business that has no physical product but may be a disaster for a company who need to show lots of products and demo the product. Rather than tell you what is good and bad, it may be better for you to consider these simple questions about your stand and what you are trying to achieve…

  1. How much actual wall space for graphics do you need
  2. What colours and graphics are the right fit for our brand
  3. Where is the key point of our stand that people will see walking down the aisles
  4. What stand decor do we need and how do we make it simple
  5. How can we position everything so that our open sides are inviting for visitors
  6. Where on the stand can we position our personal materials/brochures etc
  7. Is our company name clearly visible from 15 feet away
  8. Is the stand number clearly marked on our stand for the visitors
  9. Is their a clear meter around any free standing units we have on the stand
  10. Have we put our brochure stands clearly in reach of visitors
  11. If we are using a raised floor, is it clearly finished and accessible for visitors


At the end of the day the stand is the first thing your visitors see so you want to ensure it’s:
  • Presenting the right perception of your company
  • Uses the colours that best represent your message
  • Is clearly inviting and accessible for visitors
  • Has a simple layout with little clutter
  • Is comfortable for your Exhibition team to manage and work on
  • Has lots of open space
  • Enough but a limited amount of furniture

One area which you should also give good thought to is the whole area of lighting. You need to ensure that your graphics and any physical product are well lit up. I would recommend using just one colour lighting. I have seen many stands trying to utilize lots of different colour lighting and this doesn’t generally work. Think about the key areas of the stand you want to focus on and ensure the lighting is right to really show off your product or graphics. I have found over the years that many companies put on too many lights on the stand and it can be a bit over powering. Depending upon where you are in the hall the ambient lighting can be good, so my advice here would be to really think about how much lighting you need. Additional lighting can be expensive and, not necessarily needed. Exhibition lighting comes in many forms from 150kw spotlights and halogen lamps which are great for rugby stadiums but maybe not what you need at on an exhibition stand. Too much lighting can be over powering and too little can be dull so give it some real thought. The best place to start is to focus on the 3 key things you want to “light up” on your stand and work around this. Do talk to the electrical contractors for the show to get some advice but best in mind that they are selling a product too. Also find out what’s included (if anything) from the organisers as from experience lighting and electrics are something that are just ordered with no real thought by companies exhibiting and can add a lot of money to your final stand costs. There is often an early bird rate for companies booking their lighting and electrical requirements so check your exhibitors’ manual for details on this.

It’s a good idea to talk to the Organisers and see if they can give you any pictures from the previous show of stands which will give you a good idea of what other people have done and how you can get some ideas as to what’s going to work for you.

Google good and bad stand design and print off some pictures…take 3 ideas from the good ones.