The Case for Simplicity in Custom Trade Show Exhibits: How Less Can Be More

Getting and keeping the attention of your target audience at a trade show is usually the primary goal of a custom trade show exhibit. Whether you want your audience’s attention in order to raise awareness about your brand, engage them in a product demonstration, generate leads, or close sales, you first need them to be willing to listen to you.

At the same time, you are usually competing for your audience’s attention with many other exhibitors. The noise, lights, graphics, and sheer number of displays make it easy for your custom trade show exhibit to go unnoticed. To counteract this problem, many exhibitors try to dress up their displays with as many flashy elements as possible.

The problem is that flashy does not always equal better. In fact, a simpler design can often be more effective and engaging than an overly busy look.

Simple custom trade show exhibits put the focus on your message.

Flashy design elements might get the attention of trade show attendees, but it is your message that will get them to stay. And you don’t have very long to deliver that message: The average human attention span is less than 8 seconds, and most attendees spend less than that looking at a custom trade show exhibit.

If you have multiple messages, numerous graphics, loud music, or flashing lights, you make it harder for attendees to understand your central message in such a short amount of time. And those attendees are not likely to take the extra time to decipher your custom trade show exhibit: They will simply move on. Simplicity, on the other hand, creates a single, focused message that is easy to digest within a few seconds. And that message is more likely to get you visitors than are overcrowded graphics.

Simple custom trade show exhibits make better neighbors.

Another problem with overly designed custom trade show exhibits is the fact that they can be downright annoying, especially to your exhibiting neighbors. For example, a common culprit on the trade show floor is noise coming from the booth. Loud music or audio from digital presentations and videos can make it hard for anyone near the booth to hear themselves think.

Not only will the racket make it less appealing for people to enter your booth (and make it more difficult for the enterprising few who do enter to hear your sales team) but it could break trade show guidelines. Most trade shows have noise regulations that do not allow for excessively loud presentations and trade show displays. If you break the rules, you could find yourself forced to pack up an essential element of your custom trade show display.

Simple custom trade show exhibits are more appealing for stressed out attendees.

The noise and busyness in the exhibit hall, combined with the stress and fatigue caused by numerous meetings and presentations, can wear trade show attendees out. The batteries on their mobile devices run low and need to be recharged; the attendees themselves grow hungry and thirsty; their feet hurt, and their minds are stretched thin by the amount of information they are being exposed to.

A busy or flashy custom trade show exhibit, under these circumstances, can be less than appealing. You might find, especially as the day or the trade show wears on, that fewer people want to enter your booth. Sifting through the busyness in your trade show display might feel like too much on top of an already busy day.

In order to help attendees focus on your booth, consider making it a place of refreshment. A simple design, a clearly stated message, space to recharge mobile devices, food and drink to recharge attendees, and even a quiet area where sales people are not allowed to go, can all help attendees to relax. And, once relaxed, they may be more willing to learn about your business.

Simple custom trade show exhibits can stand out as much as flashy ones.

Perhaps the strongest reason to consider a simpler custom trade show exhibit is the fact that you can have all of the benefits of simplicity without compromising on appeal. Some of the most successful booths have been the ones that built their exhibiting presence on that a single idea or a simple design concept.

Think about what might catch your attention in a busy room. The lights and noise and graphics begin to blend together. The multiple messages become hard to distinguish from each other. But, a trade show display that is quiet and focused might just stand out, if only because it offers something completely different from what everyone else is doing. By standing out because of your simplicity, you can keep attendees’ attention just as well as your flashier counterparts can.

Combine simplicity and creativity for maximum appeal in your custom trade show exhibit.

Finally, don’t make the mistake that some exhibitors make of going too far in the opposite direction. A bland and boring custom trade show exhibit can be as bad as (or worse) than an overly flashy one. If you don’t have any reason for attendees to pay attention to you, they won’t. And, if you don’t have anything interesting to say to them, they will move on.

Instead, strive for balance in your trade show display. Your exhibit company’s design services can help you to achieve this balance. They can take your vision and message and turn it into a custom trade show exhibit that is clear and engaging without being over the top.

There are many reasons to pursue simplicity in your custom trade show exhibits. These displays can allow your message to stand out, allow you to be a better neighbor in the exhibit hall, appeal more to stressed out attendees, and engage with your audience as much as (or more than) flashy displays. And, with the right balance, you can create a custom trade show exhibit to remember.

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