There’s a lot that goes into determining what exhibits, displays, and booth elements you need for a show.

First, you have the show requirements and limitations to consider. What’s allowed per convention center regulations? What’s spelled out in the show manual?

You’ll also have your own objectives to consider. What are your goals for the show? What existing booth materials and exhibits do you have to work with and what do you need to tweak, upgrade, or improve?

Every show is different and taking time to assess your full scope of needs and design requirements is critical if you want to achieve your goals. 


Be Proactive, Not Reactive

Trade shows are all about the planning. Plan and prepare thoroughly, and you’re well-poised for a successful, lucrative outing. Scramble at the last minute, and you might not have a booth to show at all. It’s the picture-perfect depiction of that old adage “It’s not a marathon; it’s a sprint.”

If you have a trade show coming up, it’s vital to determine your exhibit requirements as early on as possible. Here’s why:

  • Trade shows have requirements. You need to first understand what your trade show allows before you can do anything else. Study up on the show manual, your contract, and the convention center’s regulations. No decision can be made until you do so.

  • Trade show design takes a while. Need displays or signage? The inception to completion process can take months. Need a full-scale immersive exhibit? Expect it to take even longer. Starting your planning sooner ensures you have the time necessary to perfect your booth and all that comes with it.

  • Practice makes perfect. In order for your team to best represent the brand, they need to be familiar with the booth, exhibits, and demos they’ll be running. Giving them some hands-on time before the show will ensure a more successful event. Don’t forget there are also logistics, storage, and other services to arrange for, and having a good feel for the exhibits and displays is crucial.

Assess Your Needs

So, you know you need to plan early, but exactly what steps do you need to take?

First, you need to have a solid grasp on the unique show you’re attending. Carefully read the show manual, as well as your convention center’s website for guidance. If you have questions about something specific, contact the show’s management for more personalized guidance.

A few other things to keep in mind:

  • Put your best face forward: The first step is to have a clear picture of your booth and where it lives on the showroom floor.
    Do you need an in-line booth or perimeter booth for that spot? Maybe an island or a peninsula booth? The type of booth you have will inform the displays and signage you’re allowed to have, as well as your entire strategy.

  • Identify your goals: You also need to have a clear understanding of what you’re looking to accomplish. What message are you trying to get across? What customers are you trying to attract? What booth elements would help you achieve that?

  • Evaluate your current booth: You should also have a good grasp on what your current exhibits have to offer and where they fall short.
    How does your current booth and exhibit options align with your show’s rules and the goals? What could improve your results? What should be removed, edited, or changed?

  • Think form vs. function: Finally, know the difference between your functional must-haves and the design nice-to-haves.
    What exhibits do you need to ensure the booth functions properly and adheres to show regulations? What displays would add to the design or make it stand out from the crowd?



It also doesn’t hurt to talk to a pro if you’re unsure of your exhibit needs. A full-service exhibit house has likely worked with the show or convention center you’ll be attending, and can help you identify what works and what’s acceptable for the venue, as well as the audience you’re trying to reach.

Need help assessing your brand’s exhibit requirements for the next show you’re attending? Get in touch with Exhibit Options today. We can help!

Tags: Booth Design