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Creating a Trade Show Booth Part 2: Mockup

It’s been a few weeks since your first meeting with the exhibit design company, and you’ve been anxiously waiting to hear that they’re ready for you to review their first mockup of your trade show booth. What should you expect? If you go into the mockup review with the right frame of mind, the right people present, and the right set of goals, you’ll have a productive and successful meeting that will get you a giant step closer to the booth you have in mind.

My Place or Yours?

First, choose whether you want to have the meeting at your own offices or at the exhibit design company’s location. If you’re working with a remote company, teleconference is likely your only option. If the company is local to you, however, there are pros to meeting at either location. If you have a large number of people involved in the trade show process for your company, then having the mockup review at your own offices is likely more efficient. If your event team is smaller and more mobile, then a meeting at the exhibit design company’s offices is a great way to see how their operations are run and get a feel for their workload and capabilities.


TIP: You’ll also need to decide who should be involved in the meeting. Too many people, and it’ll be a circus; too few, and you might miss out on valuable insights. It’s best to include at least one person from the management team for decisions, one person from the team that will be at the trade show itself for practical input, and one person from the design team if you have an in-house graphics department.


When you sit down for the mockup review, don’t expect the first draft to be a Michelangelo-worthy masterpiece. This is meant to act as a general guide to make sure that you and the booth design company are both on the same page — you’re likely to see a lot of black and white line drawings or basic shape renderings to show placement of different booth elements and further discuss the esthetics. You’ll be able to see the bones of your trade show booth, including wall, counter, storage, product display, and table locations. If you have any special features such as a projection wall or interactive display, this will be the time to nail down where you’d like that to be.

Help Them Help You

If you see something that you’d like changed, speak up! Now is the time to convey any alterations you’d like done to the booth design, because from this point forward the booth design company is likely to start placing orders and begin initial building operations for your trade show booth.

When giving input, refer back to the three-to-five-point list we recommended creating in Part 1: Ideation. This list will keep you focused on why you’re attending the trade show in the first place and what you hope to get out of it, which will be the ultimate input needed for your trade show booth design. It’s important to refer back to this list of priorities at each stage of the trade show booth design and execution process to make sure you’re accomplishing everything you’d like to achieve through this booth.

Trade Show Booth Layout

Think through the flow of your booth and how you want attendees to move through the space. Does the design showcase the products you want highlighted? Do you have enough storage for the catalogs, t-shirts, hats, stickers, and any other giveaways you’ll be bringing? What about refrigerators or lighting or even a place for your employees to charge their electronics — do you have enough outlets? These are just a few of the things you’ll want to double check while reviewing the trade show booth mockup.

Another thing to consider is security; does your booth contain sensitive or expensive items that need to be locked up at night? Or should your products be secured to the booth in such a way that attendees can’t potentially take them away as a souvenir? Trade shows are a prime time for products to “walk away” while your employees are distracted — make sure you’re not taking unnecessary risks with the way your products are displayed.

What Comes Next?

Based on how much feedback you gave and how much needs to be changed, you’ll likely have at least one or two more mockup reviews prior to actual construction beginning on your booth. This back-and-forth with the exhibit design company is a crucial time when you can make sure that your ideas and desires are understood so that the end result is the trade show booth you’ve been imagining.

After the mockup reviews comes one of the most exciting parts of the whole process: the walkthrough. We’ll cover that stage in our next blog entry — stay tuned!


Ready to get started or have some more detailed questions on the booth design process? Give mackenzie EXHIBIT a call at 801-621-7500 or email us here.


 

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Creating a Trade Show Booth Part 1: Ideation

Exhibiting at a trade show is a big decision — the time, effort, and monetary commitment are all things that you’ve taken into consideration and you’ve decided that this a worthwhile investment in your company’s future. Now that you have the green light to exhibit at the show . . . what’s next?  It’s time to design and create your dream trade show booth that will highlight all of the aspects of your company that set you apart from the competition. A well-designed and executed booth is an amazing opportunity to make your mark and establish yourselves as major players in your industry.

In this four-part Creating a Trade Show Booth series, we’ll review the different stages of booth design, creation, and installation to guide you along the process.

Set Your Budget

The first thing you’ll need to outline is your budget. Having a clearly-defined budget before your first meeting with the exhibit design company will allow you to make smart decisions when it comes to certain elements you want included in the booth. A firm budget will also give your exhibit design company clear parameters to work within so that you both can make the most efficient use of your time. After all, the deadline to ship the booth to the show will be here before you know it!


TIP: When establishing your budget, there are a couple things to consider. First, will this booth be multi-purpose? If your booth pulls double-duty as both a place to display products and to hold meetings, then you won’t need that extra conference room you’ve reserved and can put that extra money toward your booth design. Second, will this booth be single- or multi-use? If you plan to reuse this booth over multiple shows, it might be best to give more wiggle room in your budget for a booth that is able to evolve with your changing needs for each show.


Consider the Space

Now that you know what your trade show booth budget is, let’s start thinking about the physical space you’ll be occupying at the show. If you have a 10’x10’ space, simplicity is key; you’ll likely have a lot that you want to cram into a small amount of square footage, but resist the urge to go overboard. A smaller booth that is stuffed to the gills with product samples or distractions will hinder your company’s ability to clearly define itself to the passers-by.

If you have a larger amount of room to work with, for example a 30’x30’ or bigger, then you can start to get a bit more creative. Does your exhibit hall allow for two-story booths? If so, you might be able to place a meeting space on top of your booth to make the most of your footprint. A larger booth space also allows for on-site storage of catalogs, employee personal belongings such as bags, giveaway items, etc.

Before your first meeting with the exhibit booth design company, give some thought to what you want to include in your booth space from a practicality standpoint. Do you want storage? What about lockable displays? Is meeting space crucial, or is your booth purely to display products? Having a clearly-defined wish list before your meeting will help your exhibit booth design company to understand exactly how to meet your needs.

Trade Show Booth Flow

If you have an in-line 10’x10’ or 10’x20’ trade show booth space, flow isn’t something that you’ll need to consider as much because attendees likely won’t be physically entering your booth. If your booth has depth to it as with a 20’x20’ or larger, you’ll need to think about the path people should take when entering your booth. Do you want to clearly define an entry and exit point so that they travel through the booth on a path, or would you like for them to feel comfortable milling about and taking their time perusing your products?

A defined path is a good idea when you want attendees to follow either a development process or timeline — for example, if you want to show them the different iterations a product went through to arrive at the final result. You can also use this flow method if you want attendees to start out at your more entry-level products and move through up to your higher price point items. Booths with entry and exit points or a defined path require a lot of thought and careful execution, as they can create pinch-points and traffic jams when the show is at its busiest.

A free-flowing booth has a fairly open construction that allows the attendees to enter and exit the space from numerous sides of the booth and is great for companies who want to create a space with a “come in and stay a while” feel. High-top tables where sales people can walk clients through this years’ catalog or a picture wall for attendees to pose with products for Instagram are elements that you can consider incorporating into a free-flowing design.

Remember the Why

Finally, let’s think about the biggest reasons that made you want to exhibit at the trade show in the first place. Is this your company’s big entrance into the market? Have you been in the industry for quite some time, but want to really make a splash now? Do you have a new product that you want to unveil?

Make a list of your top three to five reasons why you want to attend and what your goals are for your trade show booth, and then keep referring back to them as you move through the booth design process to ensure you’re keeping your eye on the prize and focusing on the “why”.

Keep an Open Mind

As you meet with your exhibit design company, keep in mind that they’ve likely been doing this for decades and have learned the tricks of the trade along the way. When you present your initial list of wants for the booth, they might offer a different viewpoint or have some suggestions. Remember that they are offering this input to make your trade show attendance as successful as possible. By combining your dreams with the exhibit design company’s experience, together you can create your ideal trade show booth design.


Ready to get started or have some more detailed questions on the booth design process? Give us a call at 801-621-7500 or email us here.


 

How to Create an Eye-Catching Trade Show Exhibit

When designing your upcoming trade show exhibit, you have to think about more than just the function and messaging your space will provide. It won’t exist in a vacuum; rather, it will be surrounded by the booths of like-minded vendors and brands who will be fierce competition once the showroom floor opens. Because what is the most important thing you will be competing for at any trade show? Attention.

Striking the balance between a glimmer and a glare is tricky. Same goes for the balance between a gimmick and a truly on-brand way to catch the eye of a passerby and keep it long enough to make them remember you. We enjoy this part of the process, and have gathered a few tips that help us help you create your most beautiful, eye-catching trade show exhibit possible.

Consider Color Choices

The colors you choose for every design element – graphics, wall color, and even the product you set out – can decide whether your exhibit will command attention, or push it away. It’s not even as simple as using bright colors; some vibrant shades might be “eye-catching,” but can also be overbearing and invoke a sense of chaos and clutter. We start with your traditional brand colors and help you select accent tones (as well as organize them around some surprisingly eye-catching empty space) that help give your piece an effective focal point.

Estimate the Flow of Traffic

You only have a few seconds to catch attention, so think about your booth placement. Are you located on a corner? At the end of a row? Though there’s no real pattern to the paths of trade show guests, you can expect a lot of passersby to pass closely from the “right lane” and experience your exhibit from its frontal right side to its left. It’s important to consider this when designing the space, and placing any digital elements or assertive graphics closer to the frontal right side can help you significantly to attract more visitors.

Never Skimp on Lighting

A well-designed lighting setup will truly make all the difference in a world for your exhibit. Good lighting not only draws the eye to where you want it, it also has the power to create the tone you want for your space. Cooler colored lights are brighter and tend to pop more, but you can also attract attention with a warm lighting setup if you’d like guests to mingle and browse through your product for longer.

Your brand story is important. Telling your brand story in the most organically attractive way is your ticket to pulling all your visuals together and, as a result, pull passersby in for a closer look. We enjoy helping you find that delicate balance, and hope to build you up to be a top showroom competitor! Feel free to give us a call at 604-422-0025, email us at carmin@nullmackenzie-exhibit.com , or fill out a form on our website to receive a quote any time.