ILLUSTRATION: MARK FISHER
Where can we find inspiration to make sure our next exhibit is truly one of a kind?
Whether you're building an entire do-it-yourself exhibit or simply adding flourishes to an existing stand, imaginative displays can set your booth apart and communicate your company's unique vision. So to help you identify a fresh design perspective, consider the following sources of inspiration.
Art and Design Shows –
If your exhibit and that of your competitors all seem like subtle variations on the same theme, it may be time to visit other industry shows to ferret out a novel approach. And few industries put the "C" in creativity quite like the arts and the interior design sectors. A Google search for "architecture and design trade shows" should bring up a lengthy list of shows in these industries. Or use Skyline Exhibits' Trade Show Selector Tool (www.skyline.com/learn/calendar) and search by industry name, such as "art, music, culture" or even "textiles" to identify a handful of key shows to attend. Another option: Simply peruse the shows' online photo galleries for at-home inspiration.
Even if you don't view Pinterest as a marketing tool nor personal-entertainment medium, it presents a massive catalog of visual inspiration. Search for terms such as "trade show exhibit," "event marketing," "exhibition stands," and more. From reclaimed or textured elements that contrast with modern booth construction to display materials made from repurposed household or industrial objects, Pinterest has countless ideas for adding unique furnishings and materials to your booth.
Museum curators are constantly crafting permanent exhibits to delight and surprise visitors. So take an afternoon or two and visit local museums, particularly those with interactive elements, e.g., science or children's museums. But instead of merely looking at the artifacts, consider how they're being displayed and what draws you in and/or repels you from each display.
Coming up with creative booth elements or entire DIY stands doesn't require a master's in fine art. Rather, the best approach is to literally "step outside the box" of your own booth or industry and learn from the successes of other exhibitors.
— Deanna Sealey, senior marketing consultant, Skyline E3, Lenexa, KS