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Exhibit design is all about the details

Photography, furnishings, models, and even flowers/plants
can bring the booth together


Essentials to consider for creating a good booth environment are photography, furnishings, models, interactive media technologies and even flowers/plants.
Photo provided by Oscar Einzig President Mark Bailey

The tradeshow, as with anything worth doing well, has certain protocol for creating successful outcomes; having the right accessories is crucial to success. There are numerous details to consider in designing the perfect meet and greet/sales environment.

Trends in the exposition industry consistently fluctuate with changes in technology, changes in sales techniques, and in fact, with the simple deviation of venues. Keeping up with the ever-altering procedures can be confusing and downright overwhelming.

Specifics seeming like the most basic or obvious choices can be detrimental if overlooked, or worse, if the wrong selections are made. Essentials to consider are photography, furnishings, models, interactive media technologies, green procedures, and even flowers/plants.

Choosing a photographer can be tricky if one doesn’t know what to look for. An efficacious exhibitor knows he/she needs images which make the meeting look dynamic and well-attended.

“Hiring a good convention and event photography company is an important decision that will reflect on you; you get what you pay for and you don’t want to regret it later,” said Don Parnall, owner of Costellphoto.

According to Mark L. Bailey, president of Oscar Einzig, a division of Oscar & Associates, Inc. and a provider of photography and video services, reviewing expertise in tradeshow photography is essential, as opposed to conferences, special events, and weddings, since those specialties constitute only a subset of skills necessary to provide professional photography to exhibitors.

One of the latest trends in the industry are images that make tradeshow photographs look more like ad pieces than realistic coverage of the way the show looks.

“Strong photography provides invaluable visual marketing tools, which convey more immediately than words, the energy, value, excitement, beauty, and professional networking and communications which are unique to the positive experience of attending tradeshows and conferences,” said Bailey.

There are a number of furniture rental companies to select from in the event industry, but electing the correct furnishings is just as important as having the right supplier.

“The right furniture choices and provider are critical; they go hand in hand with exhibitors goals for the show,” said Mark Greason, director of events and tradeshows, AFR Event & Trade Show Furnishings. “Booth furniture should align in style and color with the overall booth design and company image. A poorly designed booth can be worse than no booth at all. Exhibitors are making a big investment by participating in the show and they should use providers that are passionate about servicing their needs.”

According to Greason, exhibitors are utilizing more creative ideas to control traffic flow, and also using lighting and branding options to keep the focus on their brand as attendees visit their booths. Spring season trends include more creative lighting and bar options, and also the exhibitor’s ability to brand mostly any category of rental furniture.



According to Jaki Baskow, owner of Baskow & Associates, the newest trends in exposition modeling are innovative, attention-getting and exciting.

Having the appropriate sales team is indispensible; however, so is obtaining the right spokesmodels. First impressions are everything and having the proper representation can mean all the difference in the success of the show. The ideal model introduces a company with prestige and panache.

“A very attractive, classy model that can sell and that has a magical personality is sometimes better than a sexy looking attractive young girl,” said Jaki Baskow, owner of Baskow & Associates, a provider in total event, meeting and destination management services. “Different shows require different things. For example, SEMA likes gorgeous sexy models; their clientele is men that come to look at cars and accessories and like to have a signed poster of the models. For medical and more corporate, we have bilingual, attractive spokespeople; sometimes a recognizable speaker that memorizes information and does a presentation at the booth.”

According to Baskow, the newest trends in exposition modeling are innovative, attention-getting and exciting. For instance, what are being referred to as “living tables,” is a showgirl with a blackjack table attached to her.
In addition, new requests include unusually costumed people, celebrities and reality show people, and all have become major attractions.

“I recently had Holly Madison at G2E, there was a three hour wait in the booth,” said Baskow. “Our Jay leno look-alike is a big hit. We have a desk and interview with cameras like on the TV set, and the latest and greatest trends are for the people to come and be seated in the audience, during show times; a big hit. Sometimes I have the real Jay Leno.”

Interactive Media
Technology also creates a divide between the “haves” and “have nots.” In the ever-changing exposition world those who have; do, and those who have not … well, they don’t do as well.

According to Sparks, a global event marketing agency combining creative, production, management, marketing and measurement services, interactive media experiences anchor tradeshow, event, retail and corporate environments. Graphic panels are being replaced with video-driven LED surfaces, product displays are replaced with augmented reality installs and brand experiences are being connected to customer’s pockets in the form of mobile applications.

“Interactivity is the bridge to ongoing customer involvement, spanning the gap between their physical and digital lives” says David Lentz, vice president of Sparks’ creative division. “It’s amazing to see the proliferation of interactivity. It’s only natural that it becomes a powerful tool to enhance our clients’ ability to communicate to their audiences.”

The recent greening movement in the meetings and event world is socially responsible, as well as fashionable; the once careless inefficiency of the tradeshow is now becoming the antithesis of wasteful.

As Exhibit City News author of The Green Piece Haley Wilson astutely points out in a recent article, “Follow the trail of green footprints, and you will find that the exhibition industry is on the path to sustainability.”

The “green” exhibitor leaves a reduced carbon footprint and contributes to cycle of products which may help his/her bottom line in the future when purchasing items for future events.

Floral arrangements can contribute the finishing touch of elegance to what could be a sterile environment if left without plants. Large plants accentuate larger sitting areas; however the smaller the booth, the smaller the floral consideration should be.

Though they create an aromatic atmosphere that is generally pleasing to the eye, the wrong floral choice can be detrimental to a sales pitch if the client is swatting a five foot banana palm leaf from their face due to poor placement, or too large of a plant in too small of a booth. Flowers are always in style, especially in the spring, so common sense and decorating flair can make all the difference in the show.

Top pitfalls to avoid
Choosing the wrong provider can result in receiving work so late that it can’t be used for its intended purpose, or even be used at all. Also, make sure the provider understands how to photograph exhibits and has the proper skillset for tradeshow photography.

Choosing a provider that does not routinely service tradeshows. They must understand how critical furniture design, competitive price points, and service are to the overall success of the show experience.

Make sure the model is the “right fit” for your business. Models need to be pretty but user friendly, and should not intimidate other women or people. They shouldn’t be too sexy, sexy can be understated and still be pretty.

Itis not about keeping up with the Jones,’ it’s about observance of the times. Having the appropriate technological advances for the company’s capabilities is a sound decision for any exhibitor. Appearing as though the company is more advanced than it is speaks to the eventual trust issues which are bound to develop between exhibitor and client. Keeping the “right” technology shows the company is up-to-date and capable.


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