Planner's Workshop: On Site: Make the Most of Exhibits and Displays

From general promotion of an organization to a company seeking future business prospects, the quality and types of exhibits and displays featured at special events and trade shows can directly affect the desired outcome of exhibitors. With the vast variety of products in the marketplace and the ever growing competition for customer business, companies must make an effort to create a memorable awareness and stand out among their competitors.

It's not always about finding the latest and greatest invention—but taking something tried and true and infusing it with new ideas. Growing sign and graphic technologies make it easier for companies of all sizes to make the most impact possible with their displays, while keeping cost and effort low.

What are some options your exhibitors should consider when assembling displays at your next trade show?

Pop-up displays are ideal because of their quick and effortless setup. With the advances of printing technologies, eye-catching graphics can now be printed directly on fabric, attached to a plastic display structure, and stretched out to a smooth surface. Setup takes seconds, and when finished, the display can be reduced to a fraction of its size for easy transport.

Flexible and easily portable, retractable banner stands remain a favorite when it comes to exhibits and displays. This display option allows for constant transition through the use of full-color banners and posters, created and easily changed out on the stand to coincide with specific exhibitions and events. From snap-open clamps to Velcro, improvements in the construction of the stands make it easy for exhibitors to incorporate graphic changes almost instantly, with a wider variety of materials to choose from than in years past.

In addition to props and display items your exhibitors already have, encourage them to think outside the box to come up with effective and memorable options that will attract the attention of trade show attendees through visual movement and stimulation.

They can capture curiosity by applying eye-catching floor graphics that lead foot traffic to their exhibits. Banner stands continue to evolve from simple static display pieces, and are good for framing your booth and table displays. Generate visual excitement with motorized banner stands that rotate vibrant, well-designed banners and are more likely to retain the attention of a passerby.

Move beyond the traditional, and help increase awareness by doing away with the standard rectangular banner hung above the booth. Instead, consider hanging a three-dimensional banner, a large, multisided hanging structure that comes in a variety of shapes, above the booth, with key messages or product photos displayed on each side of the form. These constantly moving displays help create visual interest and direct consumers' eyes up and directly at your display.

In the past, using high quality graphics for exhibits and displays was only within the budgets of large companies. But now, as cutting-edge technology continues to become more affordable, and new products or new styles of existing products are introduced, the quality and range of display options available have improved, and so will your bottom line.

Drue Townsend is the senior vice president of marketing for FASTSIGNS International Inc. She may be reached at [email protected], or visit

Originally published November 01, 2007

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