For exhibit and event professionals  

All Trade Show Graphics Are Just Ink on Paper, Right? Think Again.

July 2, 2018 By Editor

These days trade show graphics are more than ink on paper.

It’s the time of year when planning trade show exhibit designs and program strategy for the next trade show season is underway. It’s also time for a step back to assess your current exhibit graphics design and look at new and interactive ways graphic design can bring wow to your trade show booth. Today, graphic design goes beyond the old ink-on-paper.

Here are eight ways a visionary graphic designer can help create excitement for your trade show exhibit.


Click on any image for a larger version.


Layering is the merging of 3D design and 2D design to make the flat surface more dimensional. Layering can mean applying graphic elements to the back and the front of a translucent surface. Using standoffs between surfaces and offsetting graphic elements on each layer enhances 3D effects. Combining tinted translucent surfaces with tone-on-tone vinyl creates texture.

Translucency and Reflection

These two properties work hand-in-hand to give depth and sparkle to an exhibit partition, wall or backdrop. This is a great technique for a logo or map or vision statement.

Alternative Reality Murals

With the advent of AR, a mobile device can become a channel for product details, statistics or company messages. The seemingly traditional graphic mural is peppered with hotspots that deliver content to the attendee’s smartphone app on demand.


Escalating costs and ubiquity of the hanging sign in an exhibit can be replaced with floor standing attractors. In one case we even saw a super-sized company logo perched on the carpet like sculpture. After all, attendees don’t look up anymore, they are looking down – at their smartphones.

Fabric and LEDsThe Marriage of Fabric and LEDs

There’s a lot of design opportunity when fabric structure and LEDs meet. Behind a fabric wall, an LED monitor screen can float seemingly in midair. Make that monitor motion activated and the wall comes alive as attendees pass by. And, LED ribbons behind fabric deliver graphic content, wayfinding, and design accents.

Profile Cuts

If you do go the “paper” route, graphics don’t have to be square or rectangular. Profile cuts shape graphics to telegraph the content.

transparent screenTransparent Monitors Meet Touch

Imagine an empty fish tank. Now place a transparent monitor in front of it and play a video of fish swimming. Voila! An aquarium comes alive! Transparent monitors can integrate complex content with booth properties for demonstrations and “how did they do that?” displays. Add in touch activation and a clear monitor screen comes alive with content selected by the attendee.

Low Tech is High Touch – Flip Screens

Touch is a graphic byword these days. And flip screens are a good example. What might have been a stack of video monitors and a Concentration-style game, becomes a personal exploration as graphics and messaging – back-to-back – on rotating tiles beckon attendees to flip and discover what’s is hiding on the other side.

Exhibit as a 360-degree surface for graphics

An exhibit is three dimensional. We all know that. But we instinctively limit our graphics to walls. The floor, the space above, the sides of properties are all ripe for the right graphical treatment. Graphics that create flow and entice attendees to learn and explore.



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