Trade Show TalesBlog

Posts Tagged ‘Exhibit Design’

Trade Show Design Support: Your Design Staff Will Thank You!

March 28th, 2022 COMMENTS

Trade show design

Trade Show Exhibit Design isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s a specialized craft learned over years of training and projects. Some designers transition into 3D exhibit design after starting as graphic designers. Others begin in industrial design. Still others simply love the trade show industry and are naturally creative. They become successful exhibit designers by working with other industry professionals. 

For others, studying exhibition design starts by attending a college or university. Both  Bemidji State University in Minnesota and the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC offer either undergraduate or graduate degrees in Experience and Exhibition Design.   

Trade Show Design Requests

Trade Show Design requests come to us in a multitude of ways. Sometimes they’re simple napkin sketches. Other times they’re 3D CAD drawings complete with measurements, material specifications, and building recommendations. All are welcome… but the more details and directions a client or distributor provides, the more likely we’re able to hit a bulls-eye on the first pass. 

However, hitting the bulls-eye can be elusive when clients are unfamiliar with trade shows, don’t have well-defined goals, and are unsure of or unwilling to share their budget. The exhibit designer might as well be blindfolded, holding a plastic bat, and trying to crack open a pinata. When a designer has to guess, it almost always means multiple iterations. Iterations equals more time and more times adds to the cost. 

exhibition booth design

15 Important Exhibit Design Questions

Every designer wants happy clients who enjoy the process and are excited about the final product. That requires gathering information before any design starts. And while every project is unique and every designer different, there are questions common to any exhibit design project. The 15 Questions listed below may not be fit to every situation, but they’re an excellent tool to start the process. 

Design Questions 1-5

1.  Does your company have branding guidelines/logo or graphic files/website address?

2.  What size is the exhibit? Do you plan to reconfigure the exhibit for other shows? If so, what sizes?  

3.  What is the budget?  Still undecided about an exact budget? The next best option is a workable budget range. No exhibitor wants to be surprised with a beautiful booth outside their budget or underwhelmed by a booth designed for a lower budget.

4.  Purchase or rent? Or a combination of both? This assists the designer in choosing materials and designing to a specific budget.

5.  What physical properties does the exhibit need to have? For example, workstations, counters, slatwall, semi-private or private conference area, monitors, storage, etc? 

Design Questions 6-10

6.  What type of display has the client used in the past? What did they like or not like about the previous booth?

7.  Are there any materials or construction methods you prefer? Many experienced exhibitors have a strong attraction or aversion to specific materials.

8.  Are there any unusual dimensional restrictions? Some trade shows or events have unusual restrictions for the height of the booth or setbacks from the aisle. 

9.  Do you show product(s)? What are the dimensions and specifications? Will they require display cases, counters, shelves, hooks, etc.?

10.  Do you want a  portable, modular, or custom trade show booth? Or some combination. This will guide the use of materials, and casing  options.

Design Questions 11-15

11.  Who will assemble the display: show labor or your own team? 

12.  Do you have any images of design elements you like? Even if these “inspiration images” are not trade show related, they are very helpful. For example, architectural elements, finishes, colors, natural elements, retail environments, etc.

13.  Design due date? Typically, designs are completed within a week. However, every project and every client has their own timeline. 

14.  Show opening date? Creating the design and then building it depends on the time frame. Designers can make material selections which will go a long way toward meeting a three-week vs. a three-month window.

15.  Are there any descriptive words you use to describe your company? What do you want visitors to your booth to “feel” about your company? From “opulent” to “bad-ass,” we have heard some interesting descriptors, and this gives the designer the insight to craft a personalized, experiential space.

vendor booth display ideas

Are You Looking for Vendor Booth Display Ideas? We Can Help!

For any Exhibit Design Department, the busy season can be chaotic and stressful because good design takes time. But if you are a Classic Distributor, we have helpful solutions that will save you time and close your sales faster.

Exhibit Design Search (EDS). With over 1500 designs, Exhibit Design Search is the most comprehensive display site in the world. There are 32 galleries ranging from Islands to Inlines and Counters to Charging Tables. It contains purchase and rental solutions along with green/sustainable designs, hanging signs, tablet stands, hand sanitizer solutions, and so much more. 

EDS is a great place to start gathering ideas about features, capabilities and prices. Since every design can be customized, it offers the added benefit of mixing and matching designs.. Do you like the shelving from one design, the workstation from another, and the backlighting from a third? No problem. We’re happy to assist you with creating the perfect exhibit to meet the client’s trade show objectives. 

Photo Galleries: There are four photo galleries in Exhibit Design Search


These galleries are an outstanding place to see photos of actual design builds. The Past Five Days gallery is linked to kits in Exhibit Design Search making it easy to compare the rendering to the build.  

Exhibition Booth Design Support

At Classic Exhibits, we support Distributor Partners with design requests in several ways. 

  • Use us as your design staff if you don’t have in-house designers.
  • Use us as your overflow design staff when your internal designers are beyond their capacity.
  • Have us on phone calls with your clients. We are happy to be introduced as YOUR designer. Hearing what the client wants first-hand ensures the best design quickly.
  • All those nice-looking designs in Exhibit Design Search are available to you as 3D files. At no charge.


So the next time you need to create a 20×20/10×20/10×10 design in one day, don’t stress. We can easily show you ten different Classic designs with that capability. We’ve done the legwork, and these kits are ready to sell.

trade show graphics

Support with High-Quality Trade Show Graphics

Most Classic Distributor Partners have in-house or contract graphic designers. Here’s how we assist them with printing, file prep, and quality control.  

1. When it comes to choosing the right printers, we’re pretty picky. And we have multiple options. For most tension fabric graphics (SEG or Velcro), we process them in-house using our dye-sublimation printers. We do, however, use other suppliers with a long history of quality and reliability. For direct print graphics, we print both in-house and (mostly) at local printers in the Greater Portland area. 

2. Before your graphics go to the printer, they are pre-flighted by Classic Exhibits. This minimizes any mistakes and allows us to identify issues quickly and return them to you for corrections. 

3. Nothing leaves our facility without being staged and photographed. That means we see and inspect every graphic and ensure that the graphic fits perfectly. Whether it’s a purchase or a rental, EVERYTHING is STAGED. We’re happy (in fact eager) to share the photos with you once they’re available. Keep in mind however, these are staging photos in our shop and not show photos, which means the lighting isn’t ideal and the backgrounds may be messy or cluttered with other projects. 

Classic Exhibits and Trade Show Design

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. 

With over 200 Distributor Partners throughout North America, there’s a Classic representative close by. Contact us today whether you need a durable hand sanitizer stand built to last, a rental display guaranteed to attract trade show attendees, or a custom 30 x 40 exhibit with all the bells and whistles. We’re not just different. We’re better.

Why This Exhibit Design Works!

February 28th, 2022 COMMENTS
Why This Exhibit Design Works

Like you, we see thousands of exhibit designs each year. And because we’re human, we have opinions about each and every one. For example, we may like a particular fabric graphic or a custom counter or the clever way a bridge connects to a backwall.

What Makes an Exhibit Design Effective?

What if someone asked you to describe “Why a Particular Design Works?” We accepted that challenge. Below are 4 Symphony Portable 10 x 20 designs, each organized into three categories:

  • Structure Design
  • Branding Opportunities
  • Function

We ignored the existing graphics because graphic designers can get pretty mean. And no one wants that. 😉 We assumed the basics about Symphony, like tool-less assembly, SEG graphics, and portable shipping so those aren’t listed in the descriptions.

SYK-2018 Symphony Portable

Imagine the backwall without the counters along the aisle. Everything is balanced. The frames, the workstations, the iPad mounts, the monitor, and even the graphics. The SYK-2018 is a sophisticated design with satisfying shapes and practical accessories. It’s comfortable and compelling without appearing portable. Now add the counters and the package is complete.

Symphony Portable Display SYK-2018 Exhibit Design

SYK-2004 Symphony Portable

If it’s hip to be square, how about a rectangle? Of course! The SYK-2004 takes three rectangles and shifts them into unfamiliar places. The large frame is left aligned, and the smaller frames are shifted right and staggered. Yet, the off-center monitor provides visual balance while creating two overlapping zones.

Symphony Portable Display SYK-2004 Exhibit Design

SYK-2023 Symphony Portable

If you crave symmetry, then SYK-2023 may make you uncomfortable… at least at first glance. However, the curves complement one another, and the stair-step footprint gives the inline complexity not found in a typical flat portable display. Lots of branding opportunities and practical accessories.

Symphony Portable Display SYK-2023 Exhibit Design

SYK-2025 Symphony Portable

As a design element, peaks are peaking right now. The SYK-2025 offers portable clients a non-portable look with some serious branding opportunities: (2) backwall graphics, (2) workstations, a counter, and a charging table. The mix and match approach isn’t for everyone which is why peaks can be paired with curves in Symphony.

Symphony Portable Display SYK-2025 Exhibit Design

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. 

With over 200 Distributor Partners throughout North America, there’s a Classic representative closer by. Contact us today whether you need a durable hand sanitizer stand built to last, a rental display guaranteed to attract trade show attendees, or a custom 30 x 40 exhibit with all the bells and whistles. We’re not just different. We’re better. 

Explore Over 160 Exhibit Designs from Under $3000 to Under $75,000

November 30th, 2021 COMMENTS

With over 1500 designs, Exhibit Design Search can be intimidating for many exhibitors when searching for a new display. So we’ve created a convenient first step with our Under Sheets. These sheets feature 168 trade show exhibit designs from Under $3000 to Under $75,000.

Under Sheets — $3K, $5K, $9K, $15K, $25K, $45K, and $75K

Arranged in 14 pages, the Under Sheets are a good starting point for counters, portables, lightboxes, and island exhibits. Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, the next step is exploring Exhibit Design Search based on your research to fully reveal the design possibilities available. Need assistance? Give us a call or send us an email whether you need a pre-configured design or something customized to fit your specific trade show marketing needs.

Trade Show Exhibit Designs Under $9000
Click to Download ALL 14 Pages
Trade Show Exhibit Designs Under $15,000
Exhibit Solutions Under $15,000
Trade Show Exhibit Designs Under $25,000
Exhibit Solutions Under $25,000
Trade Show Exhibit Designs Under $45,000
Exhibit Solutions Under $45,000

For Classic Distributors, the Under Sheets are unbranded which makes them perfect for email or social media campaigns. Simply add your logo and contact information.

Top 15 Essential Exhibit Design Questions

October 13th, 2021 COMMENTS
15 Essential Exhibit Design Questions

The Best Exhibit Designs Make an Emotional Connection

How do you create a design the client loves without multiple meetings and revisions?

Get the designer and the decision-maker to talk to one another. It works! It’s why the designers at Classic want to be on phone calls with our distributors and their clients. We are happy to be introduced as YOUR DESIGNER. In fact, we are your designers so there’s no need to pretend! If for logistical reasons it’s not possible to have a designer participate in a discovery call with the client, the next best thing is to Answer These 15 Questions (in no particular order).

DesignQuestionsBlogHeader

15 Essential Exhibit Design Questions

1. Does your company have branding guidelines/logo or graphic files/website address? Can you share these files?

2. What size is the exhibit? Do you plan to reconfigure the exhibit for other shows? If so, what sizes?  Knowing this will guide both the design and the choice of materials.

3. What is the budget? This is essential. Still undecided about an exact budget? The next best option is a workable budget range. No exhibitor wants to be surprised with a beautiful booth outside their budget or underwhelmed by a booth designed for a lower budget.

4. Do you want to purchase or rent? Or a combination of both? This assists the designer in choosing material and designing to a specific budget.

5. What physical properties does the exhibit need to have? For example, workstations, counters, slatwall, semi-private or private conference area, monitors, storage, etc? This information allows the designer to create a functional trade show design.

6. What type of display have you used in the past? Are you looking for something similar or different? What did you like or not like about the previous booth?

7. Are there any materials or construction methods you prefer? Are you looking for something similar or different? Many experienced exhibitors have a strong attraction or aversion to specific materials.

Exhibit Design Questions

8. Are there any unusual dimensional restrictions? Can you provide show regulations? Some shows have unusual restrictions for the height of the booth or setbacks from the aisle.

9. Do you show product(s)? What are the dimensions and specifications? How do you prefer to show the products? Display cases, counter top, shelves, hooks, etc.?

10. Does the display need to be portable or modular? Does it need to ship via FedEx or UPS or are you OK with packing in custom crates? This will guide our use of materials.

11. Who will assemble the display:  show labor or your own team? We have great solutions for both scenarios.

12. Do you have any images of design elements you like? Even if these “inspiration images” are not trade show related, they are very helpful. For example, architectural elements, finishes, colors, natural elements, retail environments, etc.

13. Design Due Date? Typically, designs are completed within a few business days. However, every project and every client has their own timeline. We do our best to accommodate requested timelines.

14. Show Opening Date? So very important! Creating the design and them building it depends on the time frame. Designers can make material selections which will go a long way toward meeting a three-week vs. a three-month window.

And My Personal Favorite:

15. Are there any descriptive words you use to describe your company? What do you want visitors to your booth to “feel” about your company? From “opulent” to “bad-ass,” we have heard some interesting descriptors, and this gives the designer the insight to craft a personalized, experiential space.

Are there any other questions on your “must ask” list? I’d love to hear them if you do! Leave me a comment or connect with me at Katina@classicexhibits.com.

Exhibit Design Search: Tips and Tricks Webinar

July 13th, 2021 COMMENTS
Exhibit Design Search Webinar

Trade Shows are BACK! And so are EXHIBITORS, all clamoring for the latest design ideas. At Classic Exhibits, we’ve been busy during the pandemic, updating Exhibit Design Search with new galleries and exciting inlines, islands, and accessories.

Hone Your EDS Skills

In this rapid-fire FREE review, we’ll show you how to navigate EDS quickly to find, save, and send designs to your clients. You’ll even learn how to include photos and trade show marketing articles in your My Gallery.

Come One. Come All!

Whether you’re a newbie to EDS or hardened veteran, you’ll discover new techniques to make your life easier. That’s a guarantee! Open to all Classic Distributors and all roles — account executives, project managers, designers, sales professionals, and owners. There will even be a drawing for free prizes.

Register NOW!

Spend 45 minutes with us. We’ll save you hours and hours of time this fall as you juggle requests and close deals 4X faster than your competition.