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We spend a lot of time at exhibitions (well, that’s hardly surprising considering what we do!) so, we can tell you that 90% of exhibition booths look pretty much the same. They do the job – nice graphics, product placement, takeaway gift and a friendly team but, and this is a big but, how are you going to stand out from the crowd and entice people in if you blend into the other booths in an exhibition space?
We’ve never been ones for fading into the background and relish a design challenge, so here’s some ideas to whet your appetite and give you some inspiration.
10 creative exhibition booth ideas for your next exhibition
1. Do the unexpected
It can be extremely effective to surprise your prospective audience with something unexpected.
For beeer brewing company Budvar, exhibiting at London Craft Beer Festival, Tobacco Dock, was all about creating an immersive booth experience. The vaulted exhibition booth area was transformed into a quirky interactive experience. Central to this immersive experience was ‘Czech Your Pour’. A wall mirroring the brewery, 3D tank complete with a beer tap gave the appearance visitors were pouring straight from the brewery tanks.
Nothing brings out the competitive streak more than a beer pouring competition. A steady stream of groups entered, ready for judging by the Budvar brand ambassador.
Whilst friends battled it out, visitors were welcome to watch from the bar areas on custom seating.
When casino affiliate marketing specialists, Leo Vegas came to us wanting a creative booth, they wanted designers who would add creative flair and excitement to their ideas. We ripped up the rule book and built a jungle and tropical-inspired theme to match their desire to be ‘King of Casino’. Guests socialised in a tactile and fun environment that conveyed the feeling of sitting in the jungle (without the mosquitos of course!).
2. Don’t be afraid of minimalism
Most people are under the impression that they need to pack as much in to their booth as possible: bar area, interactive displays, products, light boxes, exciting features etc. These things can work really well and there are always situations where a busy, intimate booth can work.
However, by providing an uncluttered, calm space in the midst of a frenetic exhibition environment, you can attract visitors to an area with space to breathe, so that you can engage with them.
3. Create a feature piece that can be used again
If your budget is tight, but you still want to pack a punch, it might be worth creating something that can be used again. For Luxfilms, we created a standout illuminated sign and custom engineered desk that they continue to use as a centre piece in their offices.
4. Play with textures
Stands don’t need to be metal, plastic, foam boarding. Most of them are. But, if you brave it with something different using textures, recycled and natural materials, you can give your visitors a totally different experience.
Recently, we designed a stand for Inside Out Toys, creating a tactile feel using different textures and treatments for a rustic, natural look. This was a totally bespoke build that required plenty of engineering, CNCing and woodworking to create a booth that reflected their beautiful range of wooden toys and can be repurposed in the future.
5. Create an experience/Immerse your visitors
Instead of telling your booth visitors about what you do – let them experience it for themselves.
Here’s a rather extreme example to illustrate the point. To promote its latest film “BURIED” at the Comic Con convention, Lionsgate designed a fully immersive experience by allowing attendees to relive the movie in real life. As the entire film takes place in a buried coffin, they set up a walk-in black box complete with disturbing and creepy sound and lighting effects and filmed the reaction of participants being trapped inside it. The video could later be shared via social media and created a powerful buzz around the movie.
6. Use VR creatively rather than an extra
VR is increasingly popular and is getting cheaper all the time. Rather than a side attraction, why not make it the central feature? This can work extremely well for sports and leisure – instead of displaying a tent set up for a camping brand, why not let visitors experience it using VR?
7. Put visitors in control
AR is a great way to showcase products without bringing them to your exhibition booth. Danfoss enabled visitors to their stand to scan a QR code and access 3D models of products, allowing them to spin them around and look at them in detail at their own pace.
The QR code activated demonstration created a buzz around the products which drew more people in.
8. Make it interactive
What’s the difference between interactive and immersive – well, with interactive – the views, actions etc. of your booth visitors inform your exhibition rather than just offering them an experience.
Something to intrigue guests passing by, easily be involved in, personalised (beyond cutting and pasting their name), wow enough they want to share on social and reflects your brand. Sound impossible? Definitely not.
One of our favourites is still Honda’s storytelling booth from the LA Auto Show in 2017, where they brought visitor dreams and their slogan “Your dreams power our dreams” together.
9. Play with colour
Most booths will stick with brand colours, which is fine. However, you can use colour cleverly to create a mood/influence your visitors. Red for hunger and creativity, green for the environment etc.
Just using one colour can really pack a punch, set the mood and really help you to stand out from the crowd.
10. Use lighting creatively
Lighting can be used creatively to highlight your products or features of your booth and create a mood. For inspiration, check out pop-up stores like Tiffany & Co they never fail to disappoint.
At Motive, we love being creative with lighting. From natural lighting to create cosy spaces to fully lit backwalls. We went one step further for our client, Testo where we included a thermal imaging camera and heat map demonstration, using lighting in a very different way.
need more exhibition stand inspiration?
Not sure where to start with an exhibition stand? From outdoor exhibition stands to large island exhibition stands; we’ve put together 25+ inspirational ideas and examples along with tips on how to make the most of your exhibition stand.
‘Motive were amazing from start to finish. I approached them with a stand design for an exhibition and they listened to exactly what we needed and then added some brilliant elements to really make it amazing. We had so many positive comments about the stand.
The customer service was second to none (after a few bad experiences with other companies this was a welcome relief).
From talking to David about what we needed, to discussing the design with Ed, the administration staff and then having it all set up and taken down by Ed and Max, it was faultless.
Genuinely lovely people who put everything into it and were just easy to work with.
Thanks so much, we will be using Motive again!’
Tillie Mabbutt, LuxFilms
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David Hennessy is our Managing Director and co-founder of Motive Exhibitions. Based in St Neots we help businesses across Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire exhibit across the UK and beyond.