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What You Should Know about Trade Show Services

September 12th, 2023 1 COMMENT
trade show services

Your trade show success hinges on your preparedness and experience. This article will explain trade show services in order to best prepare you for the big event. Whether you’re a trade show expert or a newcomer, this guide will help optimize your trade show experience.

Onsite Trade Show Services vs. Offsite Trade Show Services

Onsite trade show services include services available at the convention center, exhibition hall, or meeting space. General Service Contractors (GSC’s) typically provide these services for show management.

Several months before the show, the GSC or Show Management will email exhibitors a link(s) to show services. The website will list the available services prices, ordering, and deadlines. In addition, the site will explain the services the exhibitor must order from the GSC or subcontractor and the union regulations at the show site. Details matter. Not every show or every venue has identical regulations and ordering processes. If in doubt, contact the GSC or show management with any questions. 

Finally, the deadlines for ordering services are not arbitrary. The GSC’s have early bird prices to encourage exhibitors to order them weeks, even months, in advance. It allows the GSC to plan for the equipment they’ll need and to schedule the appropriate number of employees. Ordering early not only saves the exhibitor money but it also gives the GSC the opportunity to contact the exhibitor if they see any issues on the order form. 

Trade Show Onsite Labor

Show management contracts with the GSC to provide the show site installation and dismantle labor services (I&D). The GSC labor company may also provide the decoration (pipe and drape, aisle carpet, and registration counters). They are responsible for ensuring each installation is completed on time and the facility is cleared after the event.

Using onsite labor is convenient but not mandatory. Exhibitors can contract with any labor company as long as the labor company complies with the local rules and regulations as well as the show policies and procedures. These independent companies are called Exhibitor Appointed Contractors (EACs). For a list of North American EAC’s, see

The onsite labor contractor has a service desk onsite, and their labor forms are conveniently included with the show forms. If you need more labor on the show floor, you can easily request it. Many exhibitors use the show labor since it is convenient… Those that don’t use onsite labor generally have a working relationship with an EAC labor company. 

At a union-regulated show site, the unions define what you can do during set-up and dismantle. Generally, there is a ratio of a few laborers to one company representative. You are permitted to handle all your products. The labor crew is responsible for handling display components, power tools, and ladders. However, most crews are flexible if you demonstrate good faith.

Planning is very, very important. Remember to schedule time for flooring and electrical before you schedule a set-up crew to assemble your booth. Likewise, plan for a delay in getting your crates delivered to your booth space at the end of the show. It may take the GSC several hours to deliver all of the crates so coordinate labor and freight appropriately.

Trade Show Onsite Electrical / Internet

The GSC also provides electrical services. Only licensed electricians can set up and dismantle electrical wiring and connections in your exhibit. In the most literal sense, this includes screwing in a light bulb, but most exhibitors take this to mean the wiring and circuitry. Electricians review the wire grounding and the breaker loads and look for exposed or unsafe hacker wiring and connections. Electricity is the primary threat on the show floor. High power runs everywhere. Fires are a real danger when you consider all the wood, carpet, and plastic concentrated in an exhibit hall. 

Internet services are typically handled by the show hall. Basic Internet service may be available at no charge, but high-speed service, either wireless or wired, must be ordered. A warning regarding Internet connectivity. Exhibitors often assume the Internet connection during installation will be the same speed during the show. It’s not. During the show, the hall will be packed with exhibitors and attendees, all tapping into the wireless connection. If your marketing and sales presentations in the booth rely on a stable Internet connection, you would be wise to spend a little extra for a secure, high-speed connection.

Trade Show Electrical Requirements

The online services website will include a form for ordering electrical services. You will need to specify outlet location(s) with a floor plan, along with the total watts or amps. Most people are unfamiliar with how to add up all their electrical needs, but it’s less complicated than it may first appear. Monitors, LED light fixtures, and computers have published watt and amps. For other equipment, consult with your internal experts or contact the GSC’s customer service team. 

Wiring between outlets to fixtures and electronics poses the most obstacles. Exhibits in the US require grounded power cords (3 prongs), which translates into larger wires. Hiding these wires can be challenging if you don’t prepare in advance. Buildings hide wiring under the floor, in the roof, and in the walls. Exhibits don’t always have that option. They hide wires under sub-flooring or carpet padding or drop power from the ceiling overhead.

If you have a lot of electrical requirements in your booth, then consider adding a list of the items to the electrical floor plan you send with your order. Better yet, indicate on the floor plan where the electrical items will be needed. Electricians are very good at reading and extrapolating electrical information. They frequently catch errors and make adjustments on the fly, thereby saving you time and hassle during the exhibit set-up.

If you have questions, call the GSC. These are routine questions for them.

Wiring Your Trade Show Booth Space and Exhibit

Visionary Designs DM-0264 Trade Show Exhibit

You have two options. Power can be run beneath your flooring or dropped from the ceiling. If you choose the floor, you will want your flooring to hide the wiring. Carpet padding combined with plush carpet conceals most wires. Other flooring such as wood and flooring tiles require a channel routed in the underside of the material for the wiring. Whenever possible, request that the electrician use flat cords rather than round cords.

An electrical ceiling drop is more expensive than running wires across the floor but may be necessary depending on the booth configuration and power load requirements. If you are considering a ceiling drop, contact the GSC to discuss the ceiling configuration over your booth space. Also, discuss the option of floor outlets. The GSC can help you determine which is best for you.

When you select an exhibit to purchase, make sure you understand and are comfortable with how the booth will be wired at the show. Just as important, make sure you communicate where you expect electrical devices in the exhibit, including all lighting fixtures. Be proactive about wire management and discuss with your exhibit consultant during the design phase. It’s much, much cheaper to add grommets, electrical covers, and wire management during the build process than at the show.

Onsite Trade Show Audio/Visual (A/V) Rental

You can rent computers, monitors, LED video panels, touchscreen kiosks, projectors, and much more. They’re available from the show A/V contractor, independent A/V providers, and often from your exhibit house. And while renting A/V equipment can be expensive, it’s not nearly as expensive as purchasing the equipment. In addition, A/V providers often have a service desk onsite to assist with any issues before or during the show. For many exhibitors, monitors, video walls, tablets, and touchscreen kiosks are critical elements of their trade show presentation. Finally, shipping any A/V equipment requires custom packaging to prevent freight damage. Renting eliminates that cost and headache.

Your online show forms will have forms from the show A/V contractor. There is typically a discount if the equipment is requested in advance. Better yet, contact your exhibit house and ask them for their recommended A/V provider.

Onsite Trade Show Housekeeping Services

To keep your exhibit looking great throughout the show, there are two options. You can arrange to have your exhibit cleaned during the show with an onsite housecleaning service, or you can bring a vacuum and cleaning supplies and perform the task yourself. Onsite housekeeping companies contract with the show decorator to provide the service to exhibitors. Your online show services website should have a form for ordering this service. Cleaning typically includes vacuuming the carpet and emptying the trash. Cleaning fingerprints from windows and laminate surfaces remains the exhibitor’s responsibility.

Consider having plastic (called Visqueen) placed over the carpet during set-up. It isn’t cheap, but it is effective against spills, trash, and forklift tire tracks. Remember to remove the plastic immediately before the show opens.

Trade Show Booth Cleaning Tips

Vacuuming your booth daily is a good idea if you have any kind of plush carpet, especially if it is very light or very dark in color. If your carpet is new, then plan on heavy fuzzing for the first few uses. Whether you use a cleaning service or do your own booth cleaning, it’s a good idea to have a cleaning kit packed in your booth that travels from show to show. Below is a list of items to include in a cleaning kit.

Trade Show Cleaning Kit Contents:

  • Glass cleaner
  • Laminate polish
  • Paper towels
  • Scissors
  • Knife, razor, or box cutter
  • Velcro
  • Multipurpose screwdriver with flat and Phillips heads
  • Finger polish remover (acts like lacquer thinner for removing adhesive gum)
  • Clear packing tape
  • Carpet tape (in case you need to tack a corner down)
  • Duct tape

Onsite Trade Show Exhibit Security Services

Exhibit halls can be a magnet for pilferage and espionage. If you want to guard against either of these, show management or the exhibit hall can assist you in securing your exhibit area. The onsite trade show security provider can post a security officer in your booth for the times you specify. 

Pilferage can occur from labor, attendees, or employees. Because shows are known for giving away free stuff (incentives), some folks simply take this invitation a half step further. It’s a nuisance when pilferage involves promotional incentives, but it can be catastrophic if it is a product or prototype that will be missed by attendees if it is gone.

Store your incentives in a lockable storage cabinet. If you don’t have one, the next best place is behind the booth or anywhere out of site.

Wait until just before the show opens to set out your incentives. Many staffers from other exhibits prowl the aisles before the show opens collecting incentives. Pack incentives or any valuable product or electronic equipment in unmarked inconspicuous boxes. Consider sealing them after each opening especially if they are not under lock and key.

Espionage can be the double-edged sword of business-to-business exhibit marketing. While everyone is working to impress attendees with breakthroughs and innovations, they run the risk of providing proprietary technology to direct competitors. Make no mistake about a competitor’s willingness to take a quantum leap at the expense of a rival. There are a number of tips for protecting proprietary information. Consider having a security guard posted in the booth every day before and after show hours. The presence of these security officers will stop wandering competitors from trespassing.

Trade Show Freight ServicesOnsite Trade Show Freight Services

Onsite trade show freight shipping refers to the shipping company subcontracted by the GSC to provide inbound and outbound freight shipping service. Like all show services, onsite freight shipping has the advantage of convenience. The onsite freight company maintains a service desk at the show. They will be most familiar with the receiving and sending aspects of the show and facility. If you use a different shipping company and your company does not arrive to pick up your freight after the show, your freight will be “force shipped” with the onsite shipping company at your expense.

Most major carriers are familiar with shipping to trade shows and the general marshaling process that occurs as trucks line up to unload their exhibit freight on the docks of the show facility. Whatever means you use, you will want to provide clear instructions to ensure that your freight is received at the show facility and delivered to your booth space.

Freight is priced by dimensional and actual weight depending on the service. For exhibits shipped ground freight, the crate contents rarely exceed the dimensional weight formula. However, for exhibits shipped via air freight, there are limits in size and weight. Actual weight can easily exceed dimensional weight just as shipping a large box with light contents can incur an additional oversized charge. Freight companies are set up to provide instant quotes based on the shipment’s size and weight, your zip code, and the final destination zip code. These companies extend significant discounts on standard rates according to a company’s annual shipping volume.

Trade Show Freight Insurance

Regardless of how you ship your exhibit, you will want to insure it for its full retail value. Without insurance, if your booth is lost or damaged, the standard protection from the carrier is approximately .50 per pound. Consider this. If your $100K exhibit is lost in transit and it weighed 3000 lb. and shipped in three crates, you would be paid only $1500. Alternatively, if you paid the insurance, you would be reimbursed the full $100K with proof of value such as the invoice. Don’t take the risk. There is a good possibility you will experience some kind of freight loss or damage over a number of trade shows.

The Value of Offsite Trade Show Services & Support

Given the cost of trade show marketing, exhibitors are tasked with making wise financial decisions to ensure their investment is successful. One of those decisions is whether to use onsite or offsite providers for products and services. Offsite suppliers include rental furniture, A/V equipment, installation and dismantle labor, flooring, lead management, and even the design and build of your display. 

In most cases, the service will be comparable between onsite vs. offsite providers. However, onsite providers are focused on that specific show whereas offsite providers are more interested in your long-term business. They want you to contract with them when you have a show in San Diego or one in Chicago or your BIG SHOW every year in Las Vegas. 

Let’s use labor as an example. An offsite labor company that handles your exhibit multiple times learns the tricks and tips of your booth and your specific requirements. As a result, there’s a good chance they’ll not only be able to assemble it faster, but they’re also more likely to be extra careful when packing it. After all, they’ll be assembling it again and the last thing they want are surprises when opening your crates. In time, they know what to expect and the experience is less stressful for everyone, which is the gift that just keeps giving.

Trade Show Management Services

What are “trade show management services”? It’s less straightforward than it appears. We’ve already discussed “services” in earlier sections. Who handles them can vary, not only from show to show but also depending on the venue. 

Exhibition, Convention or Show Hall Management:  Every exhibit hall or event venue has a team who handles sales and marketing, schedules shows, maintains the facility, and negotiates contracts with unions, food vendors, and janitorial services. They are responsible for the management and success of the building. For smaller shows, meetings, or events, they may even serve as the show management. 

Show Management:  Whether it’s a local boat show or the annual trade show for the American Cardiology Association, the “show” is owned and managed by a company or an association. They are responsible for everything associated with the show without necessarily handling every activity. For example, they identify the location for the show and negotiate space and services with the facility management. They also contract with a General Show Contractor to handle drayage, electrical, pipe and drape, signage, labor, etc. However, the show management devotes much of their time to marketing the show, developing education sessions, scheduling speakers, creating social events, soliciting sponsors, and registering attendees and exhibitors. 

General Show Contractor (GSC); Most exhibitors interact primarily with the General Show Contractor and often confuse the GSC with both Show Management or Show Hall Management. As mentioned before, the GSC handles a variety of functions for exhibitors, depending on the show. These may include moving and storing freight, electrical services, cleaning, labor, sign rigging, rental furniture, and in some cases even renting exhibits. The GSC has a contract with Show Management and when an exhibitor hits a wall resolving a problem with the GSC, they should contact Show Management, who typically has a temporary office in the show hall. 

Expert Trade Show Services with Classic Exhibits!

If you’ve made it this far and are still confused, you are not alone. It’s very confusing, which is why working with exhibit professionals is a must. Classic Exhibits has over 200 Distributors throughout North America who are trade show pros when it comes to onsite and offsite services. They’ll guide you through the trade show maze so you can concentrate on achieving your marketing objectives. For more information, contact Classic Exhibits at  

Building a Trade Show Booth: A Professional’s Guide

September 6th, 2023 COMMENTS
Building a Trade Show Booth

Could you build your own trade show booth? Of course. But, let’s be honest. Do you really want to design and build a structure engineered to assemble quickly, pack efficiently, display graphics, and survive shipping? 

That’s not to say you couldn’t do it, but why reinvent the wheel when there are specialized exhibit houses with ten, twenty, or even fifty years of expertise in engineering displays for portable, modular, and entirely custom trade show booths?

If there’s one “truism” in trade show marketing, it’s that experience matters and mistakes are costly. You’ll avoid the most common pitfalls by conducting research online, asking questions early and often, and working with a trade show professional. That professional could be an exhibitor in your industry with years of experience, a local exhibit house, or an exhibit industry consultant who can guide you through the design, build, marketing, training, and lead management process. 

How to Go About Building a Trade Show Booth 

As with any marketing project, your trade show design and build should start with a comprehensive strategy. What are your goals, your budget, and the expected outcome? Your strategy will evolve. It does for everyone. Internal stakeholders, like sales, customer service, research and development, and your senior executive team, will share their distinctive perspectives on what success looks like for them. 

It goes without saying that most organizations want to increase sales and find lucrative clients. Challenge them beyond that. What else represents “success” for the team? Meeting with existing clients, sponsorships at educational sessions at the show, insights about competitors, or even team building. Finally, consider both quantitative and qualitative goals. For example, sales leads could be a quantitative goal. Meeting new people at the show’s opening reception could be a qualitative goal. 

Building a trade show booth is a process. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never participated in a trade show or you’re a seasoned trade show professional. Getting it right takes time and requires the input and expertise of people both within and outside your organization. 

Once you’ve established your goals, you’ll need to decide on a booth size or sizes. The size will depend on the number of shows you plan to participate in this year and whether the size of the booth will vary depending on the show. For example, your industry may have one major exhibition. At that exhibition, you want a REALLY BIG presence. Say a 20 x 30 island. Then, there’s another show three months later, which while important, doesn’t require as large of a booth. In this case, say a 10 x 20 inline. It’s time to make an important decision… which we’ll discuss in the next section. 

Planning Your Exhibition Booth Design & Layout 

It’s time to either surf the web for displays or meet with your exhibit house account executive and designer. Or both. The direction you take may depend on your budget, your knowledge of trade show booths, or your timeframe. Endlessly scrolling through display websites has its benefits. You’ll see a wide range of designs, sizes, and prices, which may narrow down your choices. It may also clarify whether you want to work with an online supplier, a local exhibit house, or a portable/modular distributor. Let’s assume you’ve chosen the second option. 

Your goals, strategy, and budget will serve as the foundation for the design. The exhibit designer will then dive deeper. Often much deeper. The designer will strive to understand your branding, your culture, your current marketing, and your products and services. They also ask about your previous trade show experiences and examples of what others have done that you admire or that make you cringe. They’ll also request a  budget, which can be a specific number or a range. Many exhibit designers won’t even begin the process without a budget. It makes no sense for them to create the perfect $85K booth only to discover your budget is closer to $30K. 

Armed with that information, the designer will get to work. Ideally, the initial booth design will fulfill all the requirements and “Wow!” you, but it’s not unusual to go through several iterations to fine-tune the exhibit design. Once you’ve decided on your design, it’s time to begin the next step – building the booth. 

trade show booth construction materials

Comparing Different Types of Booth Displays 

The expression “You can’t see the forest for the trees” comes to mind. It would be all too easy to get lost in the nuances between different types of booth displays and even between similar displays from multiple manufacturers. Let’s keep this simple. There are four basic types of booth displays. The differences are pretty straightforward.  

Basic Portables

Basic or budget portables are inexpensive displays designed primarily as a carrier for graphics. Think banner stands like the Pronto or a pop-up like the  V-Burst. Generally, they assemble quickly and are designed to ship via UPS or FedEx. Basic portables are not engineered for long-term use and replacement parts can be difficult to obtain. Not surprisingly, quality varies depending on the manufacturer. 

Portable Displays

Like the budget versions described above, portable displays are engineered to assemble quickly and ship via UPS or FedEx. Portable displays, however, are designed to perform for years. Although they’re still primarily graphic carriers, they often include practical accessories like counters, monitor mounts, literature holders, and even iPad mounts. See the Symphony SYK-1023 for a 10 x 10 version and the Sacagawea VK-2114 for a 10 x 20 version. 

exhibition booth design

Modular Exhibits

Modular = Reconfigurable for most exhibitors. There are portable modular displays, modular wall systems, and even custom modular exhibits. In other words, it’s less about budget or price than it’s about the ability to redesign a booth into multiple configurations. For example, The VK-5124 Island has all the necessary hardware for the 10 x 20 VK-2400 and the 10 x 10 VK-1362

Even if you don’t need modularity, there’s a good chance your booth will be built with modular components. That’s convenient for several reasons. Replacement parts are readily available and most labor companies are familiar with modular systems. 

Custom Exhibits

The term “custom” has two meanings in booth design. When someone says, “I would like a custom exhibit,” they usually mean a design unique to them and/or a booth constructed primarily of wood. In reality, custom or customized booths can include everything from a 10 ft. inline to a 125 x 250 ft. double-deck island. While wood construction may be a significant percentage of the construction, it’s just as likely that engineered aluminum walls with tension fabric graphics will be the structure. Either way, it will ship in wood crates and include both fully or partially assembled components.  The VK-1362 10 ft. inline and the VK-4017 20 ft. inline are excellent examples. 

trade show booth construction

Selecting Quality Trade Show Booth Construction Materials 

Wood Construction. Trade show exhibits are more like Hollywood sets than permanent buildings. They’re expected to look amazing but assemble quickly and easily. Wood panels with cam locks and fully assembled counters, workstations, and pedestals are ideal for a truly custom exhibit. 

Aluminum Construction. Lightweight, durable, and versatile aluminum extrusions are the backbone of modern trade show exhibits. Sometimes, they’re visible, but more often they’re the hidden structure for fabric graphics, lightboxes, monitors, shelves, and storage. Modular wall systems, like Gravitee, and LED lightboxes, like SuperNova, are ideal as rental structures. 

Laminates. Thank goodness for laminates. They offer exhibit designers unlimited colors and textures at a fraction of the cost of paint, stains, wood, and metals. 

Tension Fabric Graphics. Fabric graphics, specifically dye-sublimated fabric graphics, are the material of choice for most inline and island exhibits. Need backlighting? Fabric graphics are the best choice. Need a large image with vibrant colors? Choose fabric graphics. Need something lightweight, durable, and nearly indestructible? Yep, fabric graphics are the best choice. 

Direct Print Graphics. Colorful, easy, widely available, and cheap. Direct print graphics are ideal for both smaller prints on counters or pedestals or larger images on modular wall systems. 

Vinyl Graphics. Like direct print graphics, vinyl graphics are colorful and widely available. They’re often used for accent graphics on counters, charging tables, and pedestals, but they can also be practical for larger hard structures where a specific color, pattern, or message is required.  

exhibition booth design

DIY vs. Professional Trade Show Booth Construction 

Whether you want to save money and/or you have the skills necessary to build your exhibit, building your own exhibit may be an option. Before starting, however, it’s important to understand the following:

  1. Does the show have specific regulations regarding the size or format of inline and island exhibits? Most do and the exhibit must conform to those regulations or the show organizer will require the exhibitor to make modifications onsite. If modifications cannot be made, then the exhibitor will not be allowed to install their booth. In those situations, which unfortunately do happen, the exhibitor won’t have a sales presence on the show floor, will still be responsible for all expenses, including paying for their booth space, and will own an exhibit that may not be able to be used at future events. 
  2. Is the booth designed to be shipped in cases or crates, assembled quickly, and durable enough to survive shipping? Display manufacturers have spent the past 50 years engineering structures designed to be lightweight, pack efficiently, and survive trade shows.
  3. Electrical and lighting for trade show exhibits must adhere to very specific guidelines. These guidelines are mandated by the convention center. In most cases, the convention center has a contract with local union electricians which defines what the exhibitor can (and cannot) do on the show floor. 
exhibition booth design

Building a Trade Show Booth with Classic Exhibits! 

The exhibit industry is nothing if not competitive and creative. Over the years, it has evolved to meet the needs of trade show exhibitors for high-quality displays in a wide range of styles, prices, and construction. 

Since 1993, Classic Exhibits has been North America’s leading builder of quality trade show exhibits for professional exhibitors. Browse through 1,500 contemporary displays or request a custom design personalized to your trade show marketing goals. 

Find success on the trade show floor with an exhibit that reflects your marketing message… at a price that will make your CFO giddy. For more information, see  

Save 15% on Symphony and Gravitee Kits

August 28th, 2023 COMMENTS
The Simply Spectacular Promotion on Symphony and Gravitee Designs
Save 15% on Gravitee and Symphony Designs

The Simply Spectacular Promotion! On Symphony and Gravitee

Question: What are the two most successful product launches in Classic’s history?

Answer: Symphony Portable Displays and Gravitee One-Step Modular. Both assemble without tools. Both include lightbox options and versatile accessories.

Effective Monday 8/21 on New Orders, ALL SYK- and GK- inline and island kits in Exhibit Design Search are 15% off. There are no qualifiers. No restrictions. Feel free to customize them. Buy 1, 2, or 4056.

The Simply Spectacular Promotion! is valid until October 31, 2023. Discover why Symphony and Gravitee are the INDUSTRY standard for portable and modular exhibit systems.

Symphony and Gravitee Simply Spectacular Promotion

Trade Show LED Lighting: Bright Ideas & Examples

August 24th, 2023 COMMENTS
Trade Show LED Lighting

Light Emitting Diodes (LED) have transformed trade show exhibits. For the better. Not long ago, LED trade show lighting was a luxury, reserved for expensive island displays or tech companies with unlimited budgets. Now, LED lights are everywhere, from tabletops to double-deck exhibits. As a result, the show floor is brighter, more colorful, and more engaging for attendees. 

Exhibit and graphic designers have gotten creative with LED lights. They use them for backlit graphics, hanging signs, halo-lit logos, and accent lights for counters, shelves, and flooring. Even faux neon signs are back in vogue using LED tube lights with RGB (red, green, blue) programming to add motion and variable colors. 

Trade Show LED Lighting: An Introduction 

If you haven’t purchased a new display for a few years, it’s time to review your trade show LED lighting options. Considering a portable display? LED stem lights or a backlit logo for a portable display can create a more upscale booth space and attract attention. 

Modular displays, both inlines and islands, are perfect for large backlit fabric graphics, which can be single or double-sided. Then add RGB LED lights to the pedestals, charging tables, and downlighting. These can be fine-tuned to your corporate color or programmed to create variable colors and movement.

Custom exhibit design typically starts with a blank canvas, which means the lighting 

LED trade show lights are durable, cost-effective, and last up to 25 times longer than incandescent or halogen bulbs. In addition, LED bulbs can use as much as 75% percent less energy than halogen bulbs. 

The Advantages of LED Lighting in Trade Shows 

Energy Efficiency: LED lights are more energy efficient than traditional halogen and incandescent lights. This can lower your electricity requirements, especially if your trade show booth has extensive LED  lighting.

Longer Lifespan: LED lights have a much longer lifespan which means you’ll replace them less often. And perhaps never. 

Durability: LED lights are durable, which makes them ideal for the harsh conditions of a trade show, including installation, dismantling, and shipping. 

Color Accuracy: LED lights produce a more accurate color rendition than traditional halogen and incandescent lights. This is important for trade show graphics that showcase your brand and products. 

Cost: Over time, the cost of trade show LED lighting has dropped considerably, while the quality has improved. Like any product, the prices vary depending on the availability and complexity of the lighting requirements.

Size: Most LED lighting solutions are smaller than their fluorescent or halogen equivalents. Size matters when designing trade show lighting and the smaller sizes of  LED tape lights, strips, modules, tubes, and bulbs allow for greater creativity. 

Options: There are a variety of LED trade show lights available, so you can choose the right lights for your specific needs.

Choosing the Right LED Lighting Accessories

An electrical product with the listing mark of UL, ETL or CSA means that the entire product and all of its components have been tested as they are used in connection with one another. This means that the entire product meets the applicable UL standard – not just one or some of the components (like the power supply or electrical cord).

Testing is completely documented in a testing report. The components used are listed in the report and are essentially registered for the applicable product. 

UL, ETL, or CSA are separate testing organizations and certification marks –  CSA or UL Listed Mark. They demonstrate compliance with widely accepted product safety standards. All three are recognized as NRTLs in the U.S. and, in a similar capacity, as a testing organization and certifying body in Canada by the Standards Council of Canada. 

LED wall arm for exhibits

LED Wall Washing Arm Light

  • Listed to Both UL and CSA Standards
  • No Exposed LEDs — LED Board is Recessed in Fixture Head
  • Draws Approximately 18.1 Watts of Power
  • Light Output of Generation 3 LED Board is Equivalent to a 200 Watt Linear Halogen Lamp
  • Custom Heat Sink to Properly Cool the LEDs
LED light strips

LED RGB Modular Strips

  • High-Quality RGB LEDs with Custom Selected Lensing and Drivers
  • For Single or Double-sided Lightboxes
  • UL Listed
  • 24V Plug and Play Design
LED track light for trade show displays

LED Track Light

  • 7 1/2″ High x 4 1/2″ Deep x 3 1/2″ Dia.
  • 18 Watt LED Fixture Available in Non-Dimmable Models
  • Choose From Spot, Medium or Flood Beam Angles
  • Warm White (3000K) Only
  • Fixture Available in Black, White or Silver
LED Puck Light

LED Surface Mount Puck Light

  • Designed to Deliver Soft Diffused Lighting to Desired Areas
  • Easy to Install With Plug and Play Connectors
  • Each Puck Includes 36″ Cord With Female Connector
  • Fixture Comes With Interchangeable Clear and Frosted Lenses. 
  • Available in Black, White, or Silver Finishes

10 Examples of Trade Show Booth LED Lighting 

The LED lightboxes are everywhere on the trade show floor, and backlit graphics have become the new standard for many portable, modular, and custom exhibits. Which means, the “same ol same ol” just doesn’t cut it anymore. Consider shapes other than standard rectangles or add practical accessories like shelves, monitors, storage, or programmable RGB edge lighting. These custom touches will elevate your display from the basic lightboxes and attract attention from attendees.

Inline Exhibits

1. VK-1356 | Custom Lightbox

Clean, dynamic, inviting, and practical. The VK-1356 strikes the ideal balance of large backlit graphics, tablet/monitor(s), and casual seating, all in well-defined spaces with creative lighting. Even the Bistro Charging Table has perimeter accent lights. 

custom LED lightbox

2. VK-1963 | Inline Lightbox

Big Lightbox with Vibrant Graphics. Check. Shelves for Products. Check. Locking Storage. Check. Modular Assembly. Check. This modern hybrid display combines vibrant tension fabric graphics and LED Backlighting with lightweight aluminum extrusion for a versatile and attractive solution at any trade show. 

inline LED lightbox

3. ECO-1038- B | Backlit Sustainable

This eco-friendly display has a large backlit fabric graphic with attached LED light modules.  The MOD-1701 Backlit Counter complements the design. There’s ample locking storage with a full-size closet and storage in the counter.

LED backlit sustainable display

4. VK-2971 | Inline Lightbox

The VK-2971 display with SuperNova LED technology combines vibrant tension fabric graphics with lightweight aluminum extrusion for a versatile and attractive solution at any trade show. The displays include storage, large monitor capability, backlighting, and standoff graphics. 

LED inline lightbox display

5. VK-4031 | SuperNova Lightbox

This contemporary Inline lightbox design blends exceptionally bright LED lights, aluminum SEG frames, and vibrant fabric graphics into a brilliant eye-catching display. The large hexagon LED lightbox frames the non-backlit SEG frames and acrylic accents. Upfront the MOD-1598 reception counter comes with both a backlit front graphic and locking storage. Plus there’s wireless and USB charging ports.

LED supernova lightbox display

6. RE-2128 | Rental LED Lightbox

This rental design with LED lightboxes and accent lights includes a custom reception with RGB programmable lights, backlit tension fabric graphics, and a casual charge table with LED perimeter lights. The SuperNova LED lights are attached to the frame which makes assembly easy and packaging a snap and includes integrated cord management.

led trade show lighting

Island Exhibits 

7. VK-5171 | Island Tower

The VK-5171 is a dramatic island exhibit with a 16 ft. backlit tower and lightboxes. Who needs an overhead sign when your booth shines bright and your logo can be seen from across the show hall? But it’s more than just a pretty face. It’s inviting, informative, and practical. 

led lighting trade show

8. GK-5154 | Gravatee Island

Throughout this island, there are large graphic opportunities at multiple angles to attract attendees from every aisle, including a 12 ft. LED Lightbox. 

trade show booth led lighting


9. MOD-1715 | Custom Counter

The attractive MOD-1715 counter with LED accent lighting and backlit logo offers a large countertop for brochures, promotional incentives, or as a product display. The counter has convenient locking storage and an internal shelf. Plus, the programmable RGB lights make it easy to dial-in your branding color. Or choose a sequential color rotation. 

custom LED counter

10. MOD-1590 | Backlit Counter

Reception counters should be attractive and practical. The MOD-1590 has a large backlit fabric graphic and locking storage. The colorful backlit graphic will draw attendees to the booth space and the convenient storage is ideal for literature, promotional products, or samples. Wireless charging pads are always a great addition to any trade show counter. 

LED backlit counter

10 Trends in LED Trade Show Lighting 

1. Backlit Fabric Graphics – Single and double-sided fabric graphics dominate trade shows and events

backlit fabric graphic trade show

2. Double-sided Lightboxes

3. Wall-mounted Lightboxes – Consider lightboxes for lobbies, conference rooms, training areas, and meeting spaces in a variety of sizes.

wall-mounted LED lightbox

4. LED Stem Lights

5. Edge-lit and Backlit Logos – Elevate your design with edge-lit and backlit logos

edge lit LED trade show exhibit

6. Perimeter Lights

7. Portable Backlit Graphics – See the Elegant Symphony Backlit Portable Exhibits

backlit LED display

8. Programmable RGB Lights – Upgrade your LED lighting with a full range of colors and programmable features

9. Puck Lights

10. Uplighting

uplighting LED display

Modern Trade Show LED Lighting Solutions from Classic Exhibits! 

Choose from hundreds of exhibit designs with LED lighting in Exhibit Design Search. Browse the following galleries:  Island Exhibits, Modern Inlines, Sustainable Islands and Inlines, Rental Islands and Inlines, LED Lightbox Exhibits, and Lightboxess and Banner Stands. 
Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufactures portable, modular, hybrid, and custom exhibit solutions, including Symphony Portable Displays. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or

Summer Savings on ecoSmart Sustainable Inlines and Islands

August 3rd, 2023 COMMENTS

Fifteen years ago, Classic Exhibits made a commitment to sustainable exhibits with ecoSmart Sustainable Displays. Our commitment hasn’t waivered with over 150 eco-friendly islands, inlines, and accessories.

We invite you to explore ecoSmart Sustainable this month. Our Summer Savings Promotion features over 25 contemporary eco-friendly designs. Effective through 8/31/23.

Summer 2023 Savings on ecoSmart Sustainable Displays
Summer 2023 Savings on ecoSmart Sustainable Displays

The sky’s the limit for our ecoSmart Sustainable Displays. All of our ecoSmart products are designed and constructed with the most environmentally-friendly materials available.

If you do not see a design that meets your specific needs, let us know. We have an exhibit design service. Allow us to create a unique, custom display that is specific to your needs.