Funny, you don’t think of tradeshow graphics as actually working. Like, doing a job. More like you just hire a designer to put a nice logo up with a spiffy enticing photo and perhaps a photo and call it good.
But if that’s all you do, you’re probably not getting your money’s worth.
Your graphics should be doing a JOB. A BIG job. The biggest in your booth.
First, your graphics should stop people in their tracks. Admittedly, in a crowded chaotic tradeshow floor, it’s asking a lot of those graphics to actually stop people. But if you can get your graphics to at least slow someone down enough to see what your booth is all about, that’s probably enough. After all, most people at a show are there to learn and see what’s new and are actually looking to be engaged in show-stopping stuff.
How to get your graphics to stop someone or slow them down? A wild beautiful photo; a bold, engaging statement; a challenging question.
Next, your graphics should qualify and disqualify show attendees as much as possible. If your graphic is inviting EVERYBODY to your booth chances are a lot of those people are NOT potential clients or customers. But if you ask the right question and show the right photo, illustration or graphic, the visitor can quickly deduce if your product or service works for them. They’re qualified or disqualified before they even enter the booth. Job well done.
Finally, your graphics should appear in a hierarchy of most important to least important. You’ve seen all of those expensive overhead hanging banners? They almost always are of a recognizable logo or brand. The overhead banner helps shout out your name from the rooftops. Literally. It helps people find your booth from halfway across the hall.
So: top of the hierarchy: Your logo. Next: the important tagline or question that engages the mind and helps to qualify or disqualify.
Third: the sub-headline, which supports or complements the main headline. Often this appears as the last item – beyond three you’re getting into the kind of text and verbiage that most people won’t read unless they’re your absolute target market. Does this mean you shouldn’t include it? Of course you should – if you have room and it makes overall sense and is still engaging to your core target.
The fourth and final part of your graphic package in the hierarchy would be any supporting literature. In rare cases it might be a set of graphics with more detailed information, such as bullet points, that add to the overall description.
One additional piece which a lot of companies now add is the video element. Even though the video likely has a soundtrack, in most tradeshow environments the sound will either be ignored or lost in the ambient noise. It doesn’t mean that the soundtrack should be ignored or thought of as a throwaway piece of information, because it can be useful in other situations. It just means that as part of your overall tradeshow graphics package, the video should have strong images and an engaging storyline without having to rely on the soundtrack or narrator.
One final aside: it’s common for people to underestimate the cost of their graphic design and production, and because of that end up cutting corners.
If you really want your graphics to do the job they are capable of doing, be realistic about the budget and give them the impact they deserve.