Six Exhibit Design Trends
When it comes to trade show booth design, six trends have dominated for inlines and islands over the past five years.
- Large Tension Fabric Graphics
- LED Lightboxes with Backlit Fabric
- Rental Inlines and Islands
- Sustainable Materials
With the exception of basic portable displays, modern trade show exhibits are bigger, brighter, and curvier than ever. Even traditional square and rectangle booths have gotten more upscale as customization has gotten easier and more affordable. Rentals included. Gone are those basic and battered booths so common from show organizers and general service contractors (GSC). Now, it’s nearly impossible to tell a purchased booth from a rented one from most exhibit houses. In other words, trade show booth design, construction, and ownership are more flexible and beautiful than ever before.
Getting Started with Trade Show Booth Design
Every perfect trade show booth design starts with identifying your audience, marketing goals, and trade show budget. Exhibit designers use this information as the first step, then they’ll ask additional questions to fine-tune the booth to your specific requirements. For example – they’ll identify whether you need storage, meeting areas, overhead signage, and accessories like monitors, literature trays, charging stands, etc. They’ll even determine if you’ll need rental furniture like office chairs, sofas, and end tables and suggest styles to match your graphic design.
The 15 trade show booth design examples below show recent design trends in custom, modular, and portable displays, along with sustainable exhibits and rentals. Don’t be afraid to drill down on what works (and doesn’t work) for your booth design vision. Then share them with the exhibit designer.
6 Trade Show Booth Ideas & Examples (Islands)
1. GK-5153: Island Exhibit
A well-designed trade show island exhibit should be attractive, inviting, informative, and practical. The GK-5153 does all that… and more. It combines a casual meeting space with functional counters for product samples. The design includes a reception counter, also with locking storage. Throughout the island, there are large graphic opportunities at multiple angles to attract attendees from every aisle, including a 16 ft. tower.
Many of the flat panels are from the patented Gravitee System, which connects without tools or loose parts, making assembly much easier than traditional panels. The Large Aero Overhead Hanging Sign pulls it all together with internal and external graphics.
2. GK-5147: Island Exhibit
It’s the complete package. The GK-5147 island maximizes the available space with double-sided curved panels. The design includes iPad workstations, monitor mounts, and a presentation area. There’s an attractive custom reception counter with a backlit graphic and LED accent lights. In addition, the islands have multiple seating areas all with USB charging ports so your clients can charge their phones and tablets. All the curved panels are from the patented Gravitee System, so individual panels connect without tools and there are no loose parts or pieces.
3. RE-9091: Island Exhibit
An island exhibit doesn’t have to stand tall or be overly complicated. It simply has to fit your tradeshow marketing needs… and get noticed. The RE-9091 rental island has two eye-catching double-sided SuperNova lightboxes. These lightboxes assemble quickly and are always the star attraction in any booth space. The RE-9091 has a large full-size closet along with storage in each reception counter.
In addition, the closets do double duty, serving as lightboxes on the two longer sides and supporting a monitor in the lounge. High above, there’s an Aero Triangle Hanging Sign so you’re sure to attract attention from across the show hall.
4. RE-9139: Rental Island
The RE-9139 Rental Island goes way beyond a pretty picture. We’ve incorporated key features such as large graphics, private and semi-private conference rooms, towers with locking storage access, and workstations and reception counters with secure storage. Not enough? Then add product shelves, large and small monitors for presentations, a variety of light fixtures, and hanging signs for high visibility from anywhere on the show floor.
5. ECO-4094: Sustainable Island
Looking for a big bang on a modest budget? Plus a sustainable design? The ECO-4094 doesn’t disappoint with (3) double-sided backlit towers, fabric graphics, ample meeting space, and an amazing reception counter with locking storage. The open format allows for multiple entries into the booth, which can often be a challenge for an island exhibit. The 12 ft. tower can support a large monitor and there is enough space for presentations. All that and built with eco-friendly materials.
The ECO-4100 Sustainable Exhibit takes a traditional square design and transforms it into a more inviting space with curves. There are two demo stations facing the aisles, a backlit counter with storage, and a cozy lounge in the middle. The large overhead attached sign ensures you’ll be seen from any angle on the show floor. You go to trade shows to be seen… so be seen with the ECO-4100 20 x 20 island booth.
5 Custom Trade Show Booth Ideas
1. Travel Portland Custom Booth
A city known for its vibrant culture, arts, food, bicycling, festivals, and nightlife, Travel Portland wanted to present a multi-sensory experience of the city. This island exhibit needed to flex for use at three shows per year in a 20×20 or 20×30 configuration. One requires an informational experience, one focuses on setting meetings with destination planners, and one is focused solely on the attendee’s sensory experience. The ability to change out graphics easily for each show was paramount. Travel Portland requested lightweight components to reduce shipping costs and a modular structure that was easy to assemble and easy to reconfigure between 20×20 and 20×30.
2. Google’s Custom Booth
Google wanted a fun, creative, almost childlike atmosphere in their island exhibit, similar to the vibe in Google offices around the world. Google had a long wish list of functional requirements: multiple seating areas, interactive spaces including a selfie wall, storage for swag, a tall visible structure, a distinctive hanging sign, a prominent reception counter, and strong digital moments. All of which had to fit in a 20×20 space without feeling cramped. Finally, the 20×20 had to be easily reconfigurable into larger booth sizes at future shows.
3. Custom Booth for Slate
Slate wanted a welcoming, attention-grabbing, and professional atmosphere that incorporated a Seattle theme where the event was held. They needed multiple meeting spaces, product demo workstations, and large-scale eye-catching graphics. They reserved a unique 20×60 space that spanned the windowed atrium between the two show halls. Slate’s nature-themed design in the arched atrium complemented the space and appeared to extend far beyond the 20×60 footprint it occupied.
4. Home To Go Custom Exhibit
As a first-time exhibitor in the US market, Home To Go wanted an impressive presence at their industry’s largest event. Throughout the year, they exhibit in 10×30, 10×20, and 10×10 shows, requiring their exhibit structure to be flexible yet visually consistent. Home To Go’s strategy for increasing visibility was to “glow.” They chose an expansive 30 ft. back wall lightbox with a surrounding wood frame. The outside of the frame is covered in a dark woodgrain laminate, and the inside is laminated with Home To Go’s signature purple, which further reflects the light from the backlit graphic.
5. Custom Booth for Odyssey Foods
Odyssey Foods wanted attendees to sample their unique products in an intimate yet approachable experience that mimics an authentic Seattle bistro. An effective chef demo was critical, including seating for buyer conversations and a large menu board to showcase recipes being prepared. This demo area needed easy access to a private prep and storage area. Additionally, the client required real and engaging display areas to showcase the array of Odyssey products. The ongoing menu and product updates required multiple large areas for signage that could be easily changed.
5 Vendor Booth Ideas & Examples (Inlines)
1. GK-1013: Inline Exhibit
No corporate exhibitor wants a generic exhibit. They want a modern display tailored to their message and tradeshow marketing mission. The GK-1013 is ideal for serious exhibitors who want to show products and big images. The exhibits include shelves, monitor mount, and storage, including both walk-in and counter storage.
The Gravitee One-Step back wall assembles quickly with modular panels. Graphic choices include tension fabric or direct prints depending on your preference. Best of all, the 10 ft. inline can be expanded to a versatile 20 ft. display.
2. VK-1354: Modular Exhibit
Striking the right balance between aesthetics and performance is crucial for any trade show display. The VK-1354 blends them two perfectly with bold graphics, backlighting, practical features, and convenient storage. This exhibit offers a large backlit graphic for high impact along with direct print headers. In addition, there are shelves to showcase products and back wall storage with an internal shelf.
The VK-1354 includes the MOD-1702 backlit counter with storage… There’s no question . . . this exhibit will be the star of any trade show.
3. VK-4030: Backlit Inline
Clean, dynamic, inviting, and practical. The VK-4030 strikes the ideal balance of large backlit graphics, tablet/monitor(s), and casual seating, all in well-defined spaces with appropriate social distancing. The large backlit fabric graphics create a seamless visual presentation whether in the 10 or 20 ft. inline configurations.
The individual sections work as modules, allowing exhibitors to grow or adapt to their changing trade show schedule. In addition, there’s ample locking storage and optional charging stations built into the counters and tables.
4. VK-2979: Modular Inline
Get comfortable with the VK-2979 Series. They feature large, bold graphics, curved structures, and casual seating for 10-12 in the island version and 6 in the 20 ft. inline version. While relaxing your guests can charge their smartphones or tablets with the MOD-1430 coffee table charging stations.
Each charging station can be branded and comes with an attractive LED perimeter glow. You also find ample storage with a full-size closet and a reception counter with a locking door and shelf. Not enough? There are monitor options, downlighting, and uplighting.
5. SYK-2002: Symphony Portable Display
For too long, portable displays have sacrificed elegant design for visual simplicity. Not anymore. Introducing Symphony, the first portable/modular display to blend easy toolless assembly with elegant design and clever accessories.
With Symphony, there are no compromises and no tradeoffs. Simply a beautiful upscale display at a price that’s thousands less than most custom modular exhibits.
5 Rental Exhibition Booth Designs
1. RE-1060: Rental Inline Booth
You want a distinctive custom design, easy to assemble (without tools), lightweight construction, and modular reconfigurability. Welcome to Gravitee! The RE-1060 Rental Inline Booth features panels that connect without tools or loose parts, SEG or fabric graphics, fully assembled flat or curved panels, and a wide range of accessories, like lights, shelves, and monitor mounts. The entire display packs in a fabric-lined, fully jigged custom crate. Each component is numbered for effortless assembly.
2. RE-2124: Lightbox Exhibit
Lights combined with colorful graphics may be the single most important key to attracting attention on the trade show floor. The RE-2124 turns the table on traditional lightbox designs by “stepping” (5) 4 ft. x 8 ft. individual lightboxes. The stepping creates visual depth and interest while allowing an exhibitor to tell a compelling story through a sequenced graphic presentation.
The design includes ample room for a casual meeting space (which can be a challenge in an inline) and the charging table with LED accent lights creates a casual yet business-like setting. The RE-1567 reception counter has attractive backlit graphics and locking storage. Plus, the RE-2124 assembles quickly and packs flat in a wood crate for convenient shipping.
3. RE-2128: Rental Inline Exhibit
A well-designed inline exhibit maximizes the overall space. The 20 ft. RE-2129 rental does all that and more. It includes multiple counters and workstations, all with locking storage and LED perimeter lights. For additional visual “pop,” there are (3) double-sided SuperNova LED lightboxes with fabric graphics. The back wall has (4) monitor stations for demos. There’s even a small bistro table with wireless charging for casual meetings with potential clients.
4. RE-9167: Peninsula Rental
Many exhibitors prefer an island peninsula configuration with three-sided entries into the booth (rather than four in a traditional island) The RE-9165 Peninsula Rental comes with a 12 ft. H x 9 ft. W storage tower with graphics and a 12 ft. archway and graphic header. It includes (4) double-sided SuperNova lightboxes with SEG fabric graphics. There are 5 monitor mounts, one each on the lightboxes and one on the tower. There’s a walk-in closet storage and (4) laminate counters and (1) reception counter all with locking storage. For casual meetings on the show, there are also (3) bistro charging tables with LED accent lights.
5. RE-9162: Rental Island Exhibition Booth
Occam’s Razor states: “The simplest solution is almost always the best.” The RE-9162 Island manages to be both beautiful and welcoming while maximizing the 20 x 20 floor space. It features multiple large format graphics and an overhead hanging sign to draw attention from across the show hall. There are several open entrances along with a contemporary curved reception counter (with branding). The two counter/kiosks stations are perfect for sales presentations, and the large comfortable lounge and charging table makes it easy and convenient to relax with clients. It’s simple, straightforward, and inviting.
5 Sustainable Trade Show Booth Ideas
1. ECO-1127: Sustainable Exhibit
The ECO-1127 Sustainable Exhibit offers exhibitors an upscale presence on the show floor with a booth built with eco-friendly materials. This includes a lightweight aluminum frame, green printing materials, LED lights, and FSC wood construction. Features include a large monitor mount, shelves, a curved canopy, a reception counter, and locking storage.
The individual components are numbered for easy assembly and the booth ships in a jigged crate with numbered components. All that and a contemporary modular design that can be expanded to a 10 x 20 display.
2. ECO-2060: Modern EcoSmart Exhibit
Does your company have a green sustainability initiative? Consider a modern ecoSmart trade show exhibit. The ECO-2060 is built with an aluminum frame and green fabric options. It includes (3) monitor mounts for demos and presentations, cabinets with locking storage, LED lights, and frosted ECO-Glass accents.
The step design provides both stability and privacy. Plus the open floor plan is ideal for meeting space with rental tables and chairs.
3. ECO-2054: EcoSmart Inline Display
The ecoSmart Inline Displays are design-driven, reconfigurable, and user-friendly. Using the most sustainable materials on the market, these displays prove that you don’t need to look green to be green, and you don’t need to spend more either. You’ll always get the best of both with an ecoSmart. The ECO-2054 features large backlit LED light boxes and fabric graphics with a curved header. Accessories include literature holders and (2) modern counters with locking storage.
4. ECO-4094: Sustainable EcoSmart Exhibit
Looking for a big bang on a modest budget? Plus a sustainable design? The ECO-4094 doesn’t disappoint with (3) double-sided backlit towers, fabric graphics, ample meeting space, and an amazing reception counter with locking storage. The open format allows for multiple entries into the booth, which can often be a challenge for an island exhibit. The 12 ft. tower can support a large monitor, and there is enough space for presentations. All that and built with eco-friendly materials.
5. ECO-4100: EcoSmart Island Exhibit
The ecoSmart Island Exhibits are design-driven, reconfigurable, and high-impact. The ECO-4100 Sustainable Exhibit takes a traditional square design and transforms it into a more inviting space with curves. There are two demo stations facing the aisles, a backlit counter with storage, and a cozy lounge in the middle. The large overhead attached sign ensures you’ll be seen from any angle on the show floor. You go to trade shows to be seen… so be seen with the ECO-4100 20 x 20 island booth.
5 Portable Trade Show Booth Ideas
1. SYK-1045: Symphony Portable System
For too long, portable displays have been both perfectly functional and perfectly boring. Not with the Symphony Portable System. Choose from 8 SEG frame shapes and 17 distinctive accessories to create an elegant portable display that assembles without tools. Best of all, the modular designs lets you reimagine your trade show marketing from show to show. Personalize your Symphony Display with attractive counters, workstations, floating graphics, iPad clamshells, and monitor mounts. Add floating graphics for additional visual layering and branding.
2. VK-1228: Sacagawea Portable Hybrid Design
The affordable Sacagawea Portable Hybrid is a contemporary display designed with lightweight engineered aluminum and vibrant tension fabric graphics. Using knob-assisted assembly, the Sacagawea sets up quickly, typically in less than 40 minutes for a 10 ft. display. All components are individually numbered and packed in durable roto-molded cases with custom die-cut foam packaging. Options include workstations, pedestals, fabric canopies, headers, iPad accessories, and monitors.
3. VK-1960: SuperNova Lightbox Design
Not all lightboxes are the same. SuperNova Lightboxes are brighter, bolder, and more durable. When combined with our HD fabric graphics, no lightbox is more vibrant or attracts more attention. The VK-1960 is an attractive, practical, and portable lightbox display designed for the serious exhibitor. It includes SEG fabric and direct print graphics, shelves, and a monitor mount.
4. SYK-2028: Symphony Booth Design
Symphony is the first portable/modular display to blend easy toolless assembly with elegant design and clever accessories. With Symphony, there are no compromises and no tradeoffs. Simply a beautiful upscale display at a price that’s thousands less than most custom modular exhibits. Unleash the designer within you. Create the perfect 10, 20, or 30 ft. display by selecting from stylish back wall shapes and distinctive counters and workstations. The mix-and-match flexibility encourages unlimited design possibilities.
5. VK-2311: SEGUE Sunrise with Fabric Graphics
Considering a lightweight portable display, then consider the toolless SEGUE Sunrise with fabric graphics. The Sunrise offers all the advantages of a portable display — affordability, ease of set-up, and a large graphic – with the benefits of a large format tension fabric graphic, durable aluminum frame, and no-tools assembly. Assembly takes less than 20 minutes for most kits. Best of all, the 7 ½ x 7 ½ silicone edge graphic guarantees a perfect fit every time, and the fabric graphics mean worry-free performance from show to show. You can even wash them. Made in the USA. Lifetime warranty on workmanship.
5 Small Trade Show Booth Ideas
1. VK-1959: SuperNova™ LED Inline
The innovative SuperNova™ LED Inline lightboxes combine exceptionally bright LED lights, modular engineering, an aluminum frame, and silicone edge fabric graphics into a brilliant eye-catching display. The SuperNova LED lights are attached to the frame which makes assembly easy and packaging a snap.
2. MOD-1617D: SEGUE Lightboxes
SEGUE Lightboxes take a familiar concept, lightboxes, and transform them into a two-sided billboard using lightweight aluminum and tension fabric graphics. Better yet, these are not ordinary graphics. They are silicone edge graphics or SEG. The shelves make this truly versatile at trade shows, events, and even retail spaces.
3. VK-1852: SEGUE Table Top Design
Any good table top display should be lightweight, attractive, and easy to assemble. SEGUE table top designs do all that and more. The SEGUE-engineered aluminum frame is durable and assembles without tools. The vibrant silicone edge fabric graphics fit into a simple groove, making the set-up error-free every time.
4. MOD-1458: Wireless Charging Bistro Table
Cell Phones have not only become indispensable to our lives, but they have also become indispensable to trade shows, events, retail environments, and meetings. Charging them can be a challenge. Charging Stations attract attention and are a popular convenience for potential and existing clients.
5. MOD-1489: Coffee Charging Table
When choosing the right charging station, consider how you will use it on the show floor, event, or in a retail setting. Is it for a permanent installation or a temporary meeting? Do the graphics need to change from event to event? All these options and more are available.
4 Trade Show Booth Ideas for Small Budgets
1. VK-1904: SEGUE Sunrise
If you are considering a lightweight portable display, then consider the tool-less SEGUE Sunrise with fabric graphics. The Sunrise offers all the advantages of a portable display – affordability, ease of set-up, and a large graphic – with the benefits of a large format tension fabric graphic, durable aluminum frame, and no-tools assembly. Assembly takes less than 20 minutes for most kits.
2. VK-1218: Sacagawea Portable Hybrid
The affordable Sacagawea Portable Hybrid is a contemporary display designed with lightweight engineered aluminum and vibrant tension fabric graphics. Using knob-assisted assembly, the Sacagawea sets up quickly, typically in less than 40 minutes for a 10 ft. display. All components are individually numbered and packed in durable roto-molded cases with custom die-cut foam packaging.
3. RE-1089: Symphony Portable Display
Inexpensive and upscale… that’s the beauty of a Symphony Portable Display. The Symphony’s engineered aluminum frame is designed to last years of trade show service and the SEG fabric graphics are lightweight, vibrant, and elegant. The display packs in a durable roto-molded case with wheels and includes die-cut foam packaging for secure shipping.
4. RE-1074: Symphony Portable Display
Budget doesn’t mean basic with a Symphony Portable Display. The RE-1074 is an exceptional rental display with gentle curves, LED lights, and a monitor mount. It even includes a backwall workstation with wireless charging pads for your phone.
Trade Show Booth Design with Classic Exhibits
Many new exhibitors don’t know where to start with exhibition booth design. Fortunately, Classic Exhibits has a vast library of past projects and contemporary exhibit designs to jumpstart the process. Sometimes the ideal booth has already been designed and built and only needs a few tweaks to match your vision. Other times, exhibitors will select ideas from multiple exhibits to create their perfect display. Either way, we’re ready to lend a hand and turn your vision into a reality.
Classic Exhibits has been designing and building solutions since 1993. We’ve been honored as an Exhibitor Magazine Find-It Top 40 Exhibit Producers and an Event Marketer Fab 50 Exhibit Builders multiple times. Along with numerous Portable Modular Awards.