Trade shows are back in full swing, and they’ve never been better. With a wealth of new ideas, company booths and exhibits are bringing in fresh signage and displays—and bringing in the business. We’ve done the rounds at the latest shows and conferences and can tell you what’s hot. Here’s your chance to make some changes that will reap big rewards at your next event. Let’s take a spin around the floor!

Related: 11 Insights to Kick-Start Your Tradeshow.

Create Show-Stopping Set-Ups

On a trade show floor where thousands of attendees are being enticed by an unimaginable array of bells and whistles, how do you break through the clutter to attract them to your tradeshow exhibit? Here are the winning ways that are trending right now:

  • Build an Experience: Think Disney here. They are masters of wrapping their riders in a complete world. By enveloping your prospects in your product, you can elevate their entire experience too. For instance, a recent National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) trade show featured a company that demonstrated their alignment and inspection services with real live cars that drove onto the floor. Attendees got an up-close look at exactly how the company’s equipment worked. Imagine the signage that could accompany this—you could pair a video screen of a car and have a real car appear behind it—or create a sign that the car drives through. You could also optimize your traffic with a modular trade show booth display—and make an impressive entrance.

  • Focus on the Senses: Similar to the Disney experience, the more senses you can engage in your tradeshow exhibit design the better. Lighting and visual designs are a start. You can incorporate LED lighting in your furniture and add interesting signage that is larger or hangs high to attract attention. Companies also have success offering fresh-baked cookies (for taste and smell), and plenty of chances to touch by interacting with screens or other exhibits. They can also employ sounds by playing quiet music in the background, or even using something more relevant to their business, like pots and pans that make a busy clang. The key to nailing the senses trend is balance. There is already so much sensory overload at a tradeshow that you’ll need to create a distinctive experience that brings your brand to life and is memorable, not just more “noise.”

Related: 4 Tips to Make Your Tradeshow Booth “Sense-Sational.”

  • Light It Up and Tech It Up! Companies are adding technology to help both them and their products shine. LED lighting and monitors dominate booths and exhibits everywhere. Many companies leverage screens to create virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) experiences, which can be accomplished cost-effectively. Rather than investing in a stage and expensive sound equipment, a simple headset will move people into your world. Monitors keep getting bigger and more eye-catching. They can highlight social media, video, and provide other media to draw people in. Balance this high energy, eye-catching format with signage that is simple and clean. Large format hanging structures and hop-ups with lightweight aluminum frames can provide visual balance.

  • Game On: The gamification of tradeshows is not a new thing. However, this strategy has leveled up recently in trade show exhibit design. Take the Baseball Home Run Derby, which gives attendees a VR headset and a bat. They can take a swing at motion-tracked home runs, which appear on the enormous screen for all passersby to watch. You can design signage to lead people to the spectacle, playing around with the baseball theme. Grab their attention outside the floor with a retractable banner stand that pumps up the anticipation early, and you’ll hit a home run on the floor.

  • Create Attractive Spaces for Meetings and Relaxing: One newer trend for companies that want to conduct business away from the din of the floor is to build separate meeting spaces and lounge areas. Especially as we return after the pandemic, people are still wary of being around large groups. The conference rooms include doors for quiet and privacy that can also be locked for extra security overnight. Lounge areas provide great ante-rooms for these private meetings, and also give attendees much-needed resting space. With modular trade show booth displays, these areas can be configured to meet your meeting needs. 

  • Make It Sustainable: For good reason, this trend is everywhere. On the tradeshow floor, it is achieved with lighter, versatile booth materials that can serve multiple purposes. In addition, companies are choosing to give away more planet-friendly promotional items. At your trade show exhibits, you can make sustainable choices by opting for giveaways like recycled paper brochures, recycled pens and notebooks, reusable bags, and a host of other eco-friendly options.

 Related: The 31 Best Conference GIft and Swag Ideas

Use Signage that Stands Out

If some of these trends seem unaffordable, don’t worry. You can always update your signage cost-effectively to make a real impact. Try some of the newest signs and displays to give your space a whole new look:

  • Truss Trade Show Display Systems: With almost infinite configurations, you can showcase custom graphics in a variety of sizes and shapes, including 360 degrees to catch everyone in the show. These are easy to change out for the next show too.

  • Pop-up Displays: Use these portable booths to showcase graphics on either one or both sides of the display, for a larger impact than tablecloths or banners. 

  • Hanging Structures: Anything that is suspended above will draw eyeballs from across the floor, help people locate you, and define your space as an innovative place.

Take Your Trade Show Exhibit Design to the Next Level

We are excited to get back to more in-person events and spend time with colleagues, customers and partners that we may not have seen off the screen for two years. These new tradeshow trends make the experience even better. Want to learn how to make your specific trade show exhibit design especially good? Talk with our expert tradeshow team about harnessing these trends and amplifying them with promotional products to take your tradeshow game to the next level. Welcome back - It’s time to make your re-entrance!

Booth My Booth

Written by John Lamon

Starting at Ironmark in 2020 as the Director of Business Development, John Lamon brings 35 years of industry experience helping customers maximize their brand and helping Ironmark's sales team to build success. John holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business from the University of Maryland and is passionate in trying to be the best at work, at play, and at home.