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Top 3 Trade Show Display Design Mistakes

December 21st, 2008 · 6 Comments · Trade Show Marketing

I puzzled, and puzzled, till my puzzler was sore… about what to write for this post. The following is what I came up with. It seems that with the end of the year fast approaching, there will be a lot of lists coming out, so I thought I’d beat the rush and get my list out now. Being the trade show guru, I also thought I ought to write a list about a trade show related topic. “Mistakes” is always a catchy word to have in a title (probably the word “mistakes” is even more popular than the word “secrets“, but not as popular as “free“). Top 3 lists always seems very popular too. So I added these thoughts all together and came up with the title: Top 3 Trade Show Display Design Mistakes.

The top 3 trade show display design mistakes all have to do with the overall message of the design. A good trade show display design needs to have a clear, focused message. The design needs to state in no uncertain terms who the company is, what they do, what they can do for the customer, and offer some credible proof to back up their claim.

MISTAKE NUMBER ONE ~ Being too vague.
If you look at a trade show display design and you have no idea what the company does or why you should talk to them, they have blown it. While there is nothing wrong with a big captivating picture and a clearly visible company name, it that’s all there is to the design is, it is too vague. The design needs to include the message above, and cover who, what, and why.

MISTAKE NUMBER TWO ~ Being too specific.
Nearly as common as the the mistake of a design being too vague is the mistake of a design being too specific. Some people get carried away with their message and write a novel. Every word on the display design should be read and digested in under a minute, or less. People aren’t going to stop and read 1,000 words, and if you have that many words (or more), the font size is probably going to be so small that they’ll need to get within a foot of the display, blocking it from everyone else’s view.

By the way, here’s a bonus design secret: keep most if not all of your text on a trade show booth display design on the upper third of the display. This will insure it is visible over the heads of the crowd that will be at your trade show booth… the crowd you’ll have because you know about the importance of planning for a trade show, right?

MISTAKE NUMBER THREE ~ Missing the boat.
Having a short, concise message isn’t enough if the message is focused on you and your company instead of on your prospective customer. The message needs to tell the customer what’s in it for them. You need to tell them how you’ll make their lives easier, solve their problems, or save them money. Your claims need to be believable and you should offer credible testimonials to back up the claims. Your design must have a clear message, and it must be all about the customer and their needs.

So there you have three major trade show display design mistakes (and a free bonus secret!). Feel free to leave a comment below if you have another design mistake to add to the list. Perhaps we can make this a top 10 list instead of a top 3 list!

And of course if you’re looking for a trade show display, you can’t go wrong checking out the trade show displays at the company I work for, including this easy pop up trade show display. Are you still struggling to come up with the Ultimate Christmas Gift? Maybe you should consider how a nicely wrapped trade show display with a big bow on it might look under your Christmas tree? Of course, you’ll probably need a pretty big Christmas tree to fit a trade show display under it. 🙂

Movie question follow-up:
On my last post, I asked the following question: The other night we watched a movie with a turtle guru in it who said, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery. But today is a Gift, which is why it is called the Present.
Does anyone know what movie we watched? Tim guessed “Finding Nemo” and Will guessed “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – We Wish You a Turtle Christmas”. Both good guesses, but both wrong. So the question still stands. Does anyone know what the movie was?

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