Tradeshow exhibits make great forums for connecting with attendees and highlighting various products, but proper lighting and sound can transform an exhibit into an immersive marketing experience that goes beyond simple informational exchanges.
“Aesthetically, light brings everything together and sets the mood. It makes the environment come to life,” said Brandon Wright, sales and marketing director, Light Craft Manufacturing. “If you are looking for ‘warm and inviting,’ lighting creates that, not the graphics.”
While lighting is an important element of an effective exhibit, many exhibit designers do not give lighting the full weight of their consideration when creating an exhibit.
“Many people overlook lighting altogether,” said Wright. “What type of environment they are looking to light can determine everything: brightness, beam angles, color temperature, focal points and, of course, what type of light source. The environment desired will determine the lighting needed.
“One very important aspect would be the quality of the light source and the quality of the light fixture itself,” said Wright. “There is a lot of lighting out there that is not what I would consider quality. Being an American manufacturer, I would, of course, push domestically made lighting that can be customized to the specific designer’s application needs.”
Halogen lights are the most affordable type of lighting available for most exhibits, but new advancements are reducing the cost of more versatile lighting options.
“Traditional halogen lighting is still the least-expensive option,” said Wright. “But with the advancements in LED, the costs are coming down considerably. In the long run, LED is actually much cheaper.”
And LED lighting gives a wide range of design options for tradeshow booths and exhibits.
“Personally, I would choose LED over halogen in every application,” said Wright. “They give you more control over color temperature, not to mention the huge energy savings and lifespan of LED. There are numerous ways to use LED lighting from stem and recessed to cove and back-lighting solutions.”
While LED lighting would seem to be the lighting of choice for most exhibit designers, new products are coming.
“You will continue to see a huge increase of LED lighting used in almost every lighting application,” said Wright. “Also, without giving away details, battery-operated lighting could be coming sooner rather than later.”
While lighting is a critical element of a successful booth, lighting and related sound equipment can require a significant amount of cash and training to get everything working smoothly and efficiently. Fortunately, recent advancements in common consumer electronic products are creating affordable new options for tradeshow exhibitors wanting to combine lighting and sound displays for a truly immersive experience in their tradeshow exhibits.
“As audio-visual technology becomes more common in society with the integration of iPads and tablets, many people become more familiar with what is available and what can be done,” said David Fairman, technical project manager, AV Dimensions. “I have seen many well-produced presentations done using just an iPad, Apple TV and great media. So I know it can be achieved.”
While new sound and visual technology is becoming more affordable, a degree of technical skill is still required to ensure a successful show.
“The problem exhibitors will always face with new technology is that there is always a learning curve and new problems to face,” said Fairman. “Exhibitors today are probably more equipped than ever to handle technology and high-end equipment, but I recommend they completely understand the equipment and test it before any big show. You never want to open a new piece of gear on the show site only to find out its broken or too complicated to use.”
And taking chances with sound and lighting gear during presentations very well could cost much more than just the cash spent to obtain the equipment.
“If there is any doubt that a show may crash and cost exhibitors important clients because they couldn’t work the equipment properly, they should hire a professional to provide peace-of-mind and help guarantee a successful show,” said Fairman.
With lighting and sound systems no longer requiring complicated electronic components to run, it’s becoming more affordable for exhibitors to create a fully immersive marketing experience and boost the effectiveness of their tradeshow events as well as their profit margins.