Design Principles for Trade Show Displays

blank tradeshow booth displayWhen designing trade show displays, it’s very important to keep basic graphic design principles in mind. Effective trade show marketing using the fundamental rules of design can help elevate companies over their competition. To bring your convention marketing ideas to fruition, you’ll need to combine a variety of elements – from your trade show booth, to your design, to your trade show giveaways to your trade show attractions.

With all of these elements, it’s critical that you’re trade show booth doesn’t look like a hodge-podge of ‘stuff’ Having a clean-looking, well-designed booth with a cohesive look and feel is an integral part of attracting customers to your trade show display.

To produce well-designed trade show displays, there are three critical factors that you need to consider: balance, emphasis, and unity.


Balance refers to an equal distribution of weight, and in the design field, this refers to visual weight. We’ve all seen pieces of art or rooms in a home that seem imbalanced; often, too much information or too many pieces of furniture are on one side of the canvas or room. This can make the viewer feel uncomfortable. When doing convention marketing, ideas like this must be considered.

The size, color, and shape of marketing materials or objects in your booth all contribute to the visual weight of your display. One way to achieve balance is to have more or less equally interesting things distributed throughout the trade show display. For instance, don’t stack flat flyers, business cards, and contact sheets at one end of your table, and have taller, more colorful, physical representations of your company’s products all on the other end. Intersperse these objects throughout your booth.


Emphasis implies importance given to certain objects or areas of a piece of art – in this case, your trade show marketing display. A designer should stress only some of the visual elements of a piece, guiding the viewer’s eye to the areas of importance. This can be achieved in three basic ways: through isolation, contrast, and placement.

Emphasis through isolation in trade show marketing is obtained by setting one piece or element of your trade booth display apart from the rest. Unique convention marketing ideas like tradeshow giveaway ideas would achieve this, since they are set apart from the rest of your display. When creating trade show displays, if one element contrasts with the rest of your piece, this also will bring attention to it.

If your company’s colors are blue and orange and the majority of your display is in blue tones, have stunning orange piece – it will surely attract attention. Emphasis by placement is achieved when one object is arranged so that other things in the composition point to it. Consider lining up smaller objects on your table to point toward a bigger, more central, sign or product.


It’s important to have your convention marketing ideas to be united with a common theme. Unity implies that all elements of your design or trade show display have a cohesive look. An easy way to achieve this is through similar color choices and brand consistency. Your trade show marketing pieces should reflect the color scheme of your company. And when considering convention marketing ideas, make sure the overall feel of your exhibit matches the branding on your promotional products. It’s important to leave trade show attendees with a solid, consistent image of your company.

By making use of these standard design principles when considering convention marketing ideas and trade show displays, your company will reap the lucrative benefits of trade show marketing.