Guide: Stand Lighting for Indoor Exhibitions

Assa Abloy exhibition stand lighting

You might not be able to control the lighting levels at your next conference or indoor exhibition venue, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore lighting features on your stand. From your stand layout, graphics and product displays, down to your brochures, interactive screens and lighting, everything has to be carefully planned to attract attendees and convey your brand effectively.

Many exhibitors don’t consider lighting as an essential design element and in brightly illuminated venues, adding extra light sources might feel redundant. However, with careful use and planning, moderated light sources actually improve visuals such as graphics. Research suggests that using lighting on your display system can increase awareness of your exhibition stand by 30 – 50%. You should see it as an effective method to highlight your marketing messages and increase traffic.

Highlighting certain areas of your display means that the visitor’s eye will automatically be drawn to particular products or services. It will often be the first thing they see, meaning your marketing messages will be communicated to your audience much quicker. If you’re launching a new product, or have an interesting display, shine a light directly onto it to show it off. In our previous blog post, 6 Ways to Improve Your Exhibiting Experience, we mentioned that visitors will decide whether to approach you or not in the first couple of second of seeing your exhibition stand. This is why well-lit, clear branding is extremely important and will help you make that great first impression.

Design is subjective. And while a good exhibition stand designer can create a stunning and interesting display, there is always a possibility that someone will be more drawn to your competitor’s stand. To avoid that, you have to ensure your stand has all the essential elements, including lighting, to maximise your traffic. When you plan your exhibiting space, you have to remember that humans are naturally attracted to light spaces. They tend to drift towards light, whether it‘s a longer sunny day, a well lit store, Christmas lights or an exhibition stand. Here are a couple of useful facts:

  • Brightness can help focus attention, which is especially useful when creating focal points on your exhibition stand. Increasing the brightness contrast between your stand’s focal point and the surrounding will create a bigger impact.
  • Did you know that people prefer to face walls that are well lit? Studies show that people are ‘attracted to spaces with wall luminance’. They like to see brightness.

Both points show that illuminated graphics of backdrops, displays or stand features are an essential design element in any exhibition stand. Not only do they brighten the images on the graphics, but also draw the eye due to the contrast it creates with the rest of the stand and even the show hall. The PictureCube exhibition system shows how you can easily use focuses on different aspects of your business. The system features large backlit graphics that create a clean, streamlined look. They’re perfect for making smaller exhibiting spaces visible in a busy exhibition hall. To extend your visibility even further, you can use tall PictureCube towers or ceiling-hung cubes. Units suspended above your stand can really add a ‘wow’ factor and make you stand out from the crowd.

A good exhibition stand designer will be aware of the best lighting practices. They will know which surfaces work best with light; how different light sources will appear in daylight, their light distribution and level of illumination. Your designer should know where to place lights and how to manipulate them to create different impressions depending on your brief. For example a low level, non-even distribution of wall lighting creates a relaxed space, and uniform lighting makes the space appear more spacious. Lights not only make you more visible, they also set a mood. To have a successful exhibition, you have to consider the atmosphere you want to create within your stand and how your lighting will effect the visitors. Do you want to create a warm and private atmosphere? Use dim, warm lighting. Do you want to make your stand feel more modern and public? Use bright, cool lights. Whichever option you decide to incorporate into your stand, the right lighting solution will make it look more impressive and professional.

Coloured lighting can also have a significant effect on the mood of conference attendees. Regardless of colour’s relationship to your brand – which will no doubt be chosen for a specific reason, you shouldn’t be put off adding other colours to your stands.

Your specific colour choice should be made carefully. Red can have a powerful impact, encouraging creativity, demanding to be noticed. The varying effects of red can be very much dependant on the shade you then choose. Bright red lighting will make people think of warning or danger signs. A pinker hue will suggest fun and creative collaboration. Similarly, blue can either be cold, calming or reassuring.

The Institution of Lighting Professionals is the UK’s largest professional lighting association. Dedicated to promoting excellence in all forms of lighting, they know the crucial role lighting plays in everyday life, including exhibitions and events. ILP chose to work with Skyline Whitespace, because we offer a wide range of lighting solutions that effectively enchance displays. We understand the importance of lighting within a trade show setting. Our diverse and skilled team were able to provide a design that met all ILP’s requiremnts and truly transformed their exhibiting space. We focused on lighting ILP’s entire stand area using orange light sticks and diffusers in between each section of their stand. This matched ILP’s colour scheme and created a stunning overall lighting effect that complimented the fabric graphics. The Inliten exhibiting system used by the Institute of Lighting Professionals allowed for a sleek and elegant design. Steel frames of this system can easily accommodate any coloured lighting on both sides of the graphic panel. Inliten also packs down efficiently to maximise your event ROI.

Your stand contractor should be able to successfully incorporate a lighting solution into your exhibition stand design without hugely increasing your overall stand cost. It’s important that you choose a stand supplier that will help you save energy and decrease the CO2 emission. Here at Skyline Whitespace, we specialise in low consumption energy lights. We use low voltage CMH (Ceramic Metal Halide) and LED (Light-Emitting Diode) lights that give an impressive high light level and offer many environmental benefits. LEDs help you reduce carbon footprint and use 90% less energy than standard light bulbs. Here are some of the advances they provide at indoor exhibitions:

  • LED lights use little power, so their temperature stays much cooler than incandescent bulbs or halogens, which get very hot, very quickly.
  • LEDs can be safely handled even after they’ve been in use all day. This is much safer in a trade show environment. The danger of attendees accidently touching and burning themselves while on your stand is completely eliminated. It also means that the lights are much more flexible – they can be placed very close to your stand graphics or products. (Be very careful when using lights that can get very hot such as halogen lighting. If you do use this type of lighting, make sure it is well out of the way of customers.)
  • LEDs and CMH lights draw less power, and help you save money. One socket can run 10 LED lights at low heat, meaning you will not have to purchase multiple sockets from the show organisers, which can often be expensive and significantly bump up your stand costs.
  • Another advantage of LEDs is that you get the full brightness instantly. There is no need to wait for you lights and your stand is ready as soon as you arrive at the venue.

Skyline Whitespace will also ensure that all the cables are safely hidden and out of reach of the visitor. Our project managers will check showroom lighting restrictions and ensure your lights meet health and safety regulations and guidelines.

Lights serve many benefits in an exhibition environment. They maximise the impact of your exhibition display giving you the edge over your competitors, make a flawless first impression on potential customer and help you clearly communicate your key marketing messages. Here at Skyline Whitespace, our talented team of designers have plenty of experience in creating eye-catching, effective exhibition stands of all sizes to display your brand at its very best. For more information, or if you’d like to chat to us about your requirements, contact us today.