20+ Exhibition Stand Ideas: The Ultimate Guide

Need help choosing an exhibition stand and have no idea where to start? Well, you’re in luck.

We’ve got the ultimate list of exhibition stand ideas packed in this helpful guide. Learn from our many years of experience designing powerful, high impact exhibition stands.

Need more help with your stand? Contact the team

In this post we’ll discuss the following:

What makes a good exhibition stand?

Synamedia @ NAB 2019 - Las Vegas Convention Centre
Synamedia @ NAB 2019 – Las Vegas Convention Centre

Firstly, to understand the good from the bad, let’s start with the bad.

We’ve all been to a trade show, and after trudging through brochures and pens, and taking home the odd meaningless free gift we can’t really remember much of our exhibition experience. This is a bad scenario.


As an exhibitor, you want your stand visitors to enjoy visiting your stand. As a result,  you want stand visitors to walk away feeling as though they have gained something or learnt something new.

This may seem like a challenge. However, discovering a way to stand out from the crowd can often be hard – but it doesn’t have to be.

Exhibition stand design ideas

Large exhibition stands

Large exhibition stands can be modular or be highly customised and bespoke designs. If your budget allows, custom / bespoke stands are ideal for large scale product launches or other one-off events.

Bo Concept - large exhibition stand exmple
BoConcept @ Ideal Home Show 2017 12.75m x 3.5m large modular exhibition stand

As an example, we built an exhibition stand for Smart Shake to showcase the brand’s two different characters and products. You can read more about this in our previous post, Two Brands, One Stand.

 

SmartShake exhibition stand at BodyPower
SmartShake @ BodyPower Expo 2015 large exhibition stand example

Large exhibition stands can be impressive, but do you really need all that space to reach your marketing goals?

Browse our portfolio of large stands

Small exhibition stand ideas

When it comes to exhibiting and events, bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better.

Gaming Innovation Group (GiG)
Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) small exhibition stand example

Here are a few points why small exhibition stands might be a better solution for you and can make an even bigger brand impact.

More to spend on marketing

Large stands can be expensive. When you spend nearly your entire budget on a large space and stand expenses, you won’t have enough left to market effectively to your target audience.

Bayer @ BNMS 2017 4m x 4m small exhibition stand example
Bayer @ BNMS 2017 4m x 4m small exhibition stand example

Getting a smaller booth means you can spend more on:

  • Marketing campaigns
  • Email promotions
  • Pre-show promotions
  • At-show promotions

These efforts will help you drive more traffic to your stand which will result in more leads and sales.

Empty space

Large stands can make some people feel intimidated. Many exhibitors will tell you that they have seen pretty large stands that haven’t been used to their full potential or were just too big for the size of the show.

An empty looking stand with insufficient visitors or staff will look lost and unappealing to attendees. There’s no point in wasting your money on a big stand if the space will never be used.

Hamaton @ Autopromotec 2017 12m x 9m large exhibition stand example
Hamaton @ Autopromotec 2017 12m x 9m large exhibition stand example

Intimacy

Exhibiting is all about generating quality leads. Smaller stands give a great opportunity to interact with everyone that visits the booth. They’re a perfect place for intimate conversations and private product demos. You can make sure that you pay attention to all visitors.

Broadbean small exhibition stand example
Broadbean at BETT 2019 – small exhibition stand example

In addition, group demonstrations can save you time and allow you to communicate with a large group of people at once. However, they’re not as effective. Not many people will approach you afterwards to discuss your product further. A smaller audience allows for more intimate engagement.

Number of attendees

Don’t assume that the show will be as successful as the year before. Do all the necessary research to find out how many people will attend. Assuming the turn out will be greater or even the same as the previous show is not good enough. You might end up having a stand that is too large for the number of people attending. This will result in your stand looking empty and you will spend money on something you don’t need.

KPMG @ Business Show 2017 6m x 4m small exhibition stand example
KPMG @ Business Show 2017 6m x 4m small exhibition stand example
Browse our portfolio of small stands

Before you blow your budget on a big floor space, consider different ways you can reach your goals and generate leads. Think carefully about what you want to display and the overall look and feel of your stand.

Creative ideas for exhibition stands

Creative exhibition stands are both challenging and rewarding as discussed previously, in our post about creative musts for effective exhibition stands.

Affiliate Edge @ LAC 2017 9m x 3m creative exhibition stand example
Affiliate Edge @ LAC 2017 9m x 3m creative exhibition stand example

However, these fundamental ideas will ensure you truly reflect your brand and products:

  • Clear and consistent brand identity
  • Planned and well defined trade show strategy
  • Bold and effective graphics layout
  • Consider bespoke videos and animation
  • Integrate social media

Here are a couple more examples of creative stands that Whitespace Exhibitions has recently been involved in.

Waldorf Astoria creative exhibition stand example
Waldorf Astoria at ILTM 2018: creative exhibition stand example
The Wedding Shop creative exhibition stand example
The Wedding Shop at Brides: The Show 2018 – creative exhibition stand example

Unique exhibition stands

In this age, standing out and being unique is a key component to exhibiting success. We have the innovative designs and experience to make that happen. But, what does it mean to be ‘unique’ in this age of brands, likes and trends?

Zaha Hadid Architects unique exhibition stand
Zaha Hadid Architects at Passenger Terminal Expo 2019: unique exhibition stand
MAKFA at IFE 2019: unique exhibition stand example
Skyline Whitespace at Marketing Week Live 2019
Skyline Whitespace at Marketing Week Live 2019 creating replicas of visitors’ faces on chocolate lollypops

 

 

Dyson unique outdoor exhibition stand
Dyson unique outdoor exhibition area

 

Need more inspiration? Browse our full portfolio

Interactive ideas for exhibition stands

So, here are some ways to engage with your trade show audience and provide them with an experience they’ll remember.

Interactive marketing
Bayer at BNMS 2017 interactive exhibition stand example

Photo booths

Everybody loves a photo booth, and at a party – they’re the focal part of the event. So why not enhance that at your exhibition space?

Invite visitors to have their photo taken. In addition, ask them to create a caption for the photo that relates back to your brand. After the event, you can share these photos and captions online. This allows people to tweet and share them!

Q&A

Encourage your audience to ask questions via social media platforms, and host a Q&A session throughout the exhibition to widen your audience and also improve communication between customer and brand both online and in person.

Competitions

Sure, competitions are a commonly used tactic at exhibitions, there is always mileage for innovative competitions to take the stand. For example, incorporate social media networks prior to the event, and encourage people to get involved. Make sure the prize is something people will want and you’ll be surprised at the result!

Games

Games are also a fantastic opportunity to encourage brand awareness, as well as a fun and creative way to implement customer engagement. Introduce a game that visitors can play when they visit your stand, and after the event, make it downloadable as an app.

This will help you attract more people, and keep them engaged for longer. Why not display a scoreboard somewhere on your stand to encourage a competition between visitors?

Emarsys at eCommerce Expo 2017 exhibition stand game example

 

Read more about interactive exhibition stands

Design ideas from Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs’ innovation and creativity inspired numerous designers and entrepreneurs. He was a passionate pioneer and innovator of products that are now in the hands of millions all over the globe. Steve Jobs shared ideas that continue to inspire us – Here are a few key lessons from Jobs about design that we’ve learned:

Design is how it works

Steve Jobs always pointed out that design is fundamentally more than aesthetics:

“Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. People think it’s this veneer – that the designers are handed this box and told, ‘Make it look good!’ That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

Structural design

Exhibition stand design consists of more elements than just how it looks. Structural drawings and design calculations play a large role in the development of your exhibition stand. They ensure your stand is stable, safe and meets all electrical and height restrictions.

Our designers produce 3D renders with detailed plans to show how the exhibition stand will work for you as an exhibitor.

3D Exhibition Design

Ensure design meets objectives

Your stand needs to meet your objectives and accommodate all your requirements:

  • Brand representation
  • Messaging
  • Audio-visual equipment
  • Demonstration areas
  • Storage

SmartShake exhibition stand at BodyPower

The list is not exhaustive but all the elements need to be taken into account. A well-designed space should enable you to control the focus of your visitors’ attention and generate continued flow of traffic.

Steal great ideas

Steve Jobs famously said:

“It comes down to trying to expose yourself to the best things that humans have done and then try to bring those things in to what you’re doing. Picasso had a saying: Good artists copy, great artists steal.”

Steve Jobs was shameless about stealing great ideas. But for him and many good designers stealing means learning, examining the aesthetic and construction and making it better.

It’s not uncommon for exhibitors to approach exhibition stand designers and say, ‘I want something that looks like this’.

How to work with your designer

Never ask your designer to replicate someone’s else’s work if you want to achieve great design. Instead, figure out what you like about other exhibition stands, what works for your competitors and which elements you want to incorporate into your stand.

Our exhibition designers will look at your inspiration, absorb the essence of it, adapt it to your requirements and take it that one step further that will set your brand apart from the competition.

Make it simple

“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

Remove clutter

Jobs was passionate about design and insisted that his products look perfect inside and out. He loved the uncluttered look and the deep simplicity that comes from complex engineering and hard work. For Jobs, the product needed to be easy to use and high tech at the same time.

Hoya Lens exhibition stand render

As an exhibitor, you have to be careful of your exhibition stand becoming a complicated, and as Jobs would say an ‘ugly’ architectural structure. It should be designed and built using the highest quality materials that will allow for a simple creation of a complex and bespoke exhibition stand.

Streamlined design

Your stand should look streamlined and simple with frames being invisible and connection systems hidden when possible. Uncluttered layout, crisp colours, clear messages and a strong structure are all elements that are going to make your stand a success.

Conrad Hilton exhibition stand

Steve Jobs will always be one of the most consequential figures in the design industry. He wanted to make products that were at the intersection of technology, design and liberal arts. Millions find his work inspirational.

Some may describe him as a crazy genius, but remember:

 

“People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

 

View our exhibition stand design services

Ideas to prepare you for your first exhibition

Getting ready for your first exhibition requires a lot of planning and it can be stressful. We have four tips for making your exhibiting experience more enjoyable and most importantly, stress-free.

Ask for discounts

First time exhibitors need to remember that designing and building the exhibition stand is not the only cost they’ll have to face.

When creating your exhibiting budget it’s important to count all costs including:

  • Stand space
  • Shipping
  • Storage
  • Promotional material
  • Any additional stand features

You can pay the fixed price for each of these items, but instead ask for discounts.

Show organisers will often provide discounts to exhibitors. Don’t be afraid to ask. You never know, they might say yes and you’ll save yourself money that you can spend on different aspects of your stand and its promotion.

Build relationships

Key to success is building relationships.

You have probably built strong relationships with your own customers and know that they drive the business. When you become a customer, it’s important to build a good relationship with your contractor and show organisers. This way you will be the first one they inform of any discounts, special offers and upcoming events.

You will have a better chance of getting your dream exhibition space at a lower cost. As you probably know already, simple things like saying thank you after the show and showing your appreciation will go a long way and will help you build a successful business relationship.

Watch the deadlines

Deadlines are important and can blow your budget.

If you miss a deadline with your exhibition stand or upcoming show, you could instantly increase your costs. Most show organisers offer early bird and regular prices.

Appoint one person from your company to keep an eye on:

  • Deadlines
  • Creating schedules
  • Planning for and meeting deadlines

If you’re shipping your exhibition stand, make sure you give yourself some extra time in case of delays. It’s also good to consider a local contractor or one with a global / nationwide network that can easily organise shipping for you at a lower cost.

 

If you’re shipping to USA, don’t forget about material handling, called drayage. This can be quite expensive, so make sure you plan accordingly. You can learn more about exhibiting in the USA and drayage here.

Have a Plan B

Even experienced exhibitors sometimes get stuck for ideas and need help.

When you’re attending shows, visit other exhibitors and get inspiration from their booths. Remember to have a plan B, and even C, in case some things don’t go to plan. You may not need to use them, but it’s important to have a back up plan to ensure everything runs smoothly and your exhibiting experience is stress-free.

As professionals of exhibition stands and trade shows, we understand the importance of creativity, and offer quality, modern and artistic modular exhibition stands as well as bespoke stands to meet our client’s needs.

Passionate about design, we’re proud to be one of the UK’s leading providers of quality, innovative and modern exhibition stands.

For further information or to speak to a member of our friendly team, please do not hesitate to contact us today.