You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade to a more recent browser for a better experience.

Exhibit Booth Ideas You Can Steal to Stand Out on a Crowded Show Floor

By Katherine Zimoulis


  • Clean & simple design
  • Crowd-sourced creative
  • Scale down
  • Get immersive

A trade show exhibit exists to highlight your brand, tell your story, showcase products and services, and provide a space for meaningful interaction with customers and prospects.

Is that too much to ask from the small footprint of one exhibit booth?

Sure, checking off all these goals in a single space can feel overwhelming, but sometimes all you need is a little inspiration! To get your creative juices flowing, we’ve compiled three recent exhibit success stories where challenges became opportunities. Each example is unique, yet ripe with possibility — with ideas ready for the picking.

Use these ideas as a launching pad to stimulate discussion and ideation when planning your next trade show appearance.

Clean & simple design

Just like in your home, organization is key to creating a welcoming experience for visitors. Nothing can turn attendees away from your booth faster than a cluttered, dysfunctional space.

And when you are a global manufacturer of home organization products, this approach is even more important.

That’s the thinking behind the award-winning neatfreak! booth design for the International Home + Housewares show. The brand ditched product-packed areas in favor of a clean, simplified space that symbolized the brand promise and strengthened its presence at the show.

A double-decker structure, the 30’ x 60’ retail-inspired space was washed in the brand’s signature hue and decked out with large-scale proprietary hangers (designed and constructed by neatfreak!) dangling from above. The lightweight SmartPanel™ framework offered an airy, adaptable foundation while reusable fabric panels highlighted neatfreak!-designed imagery. Through it all, clean lines and simple design helped to showcase the brand in a powerful way.

Crowd-sourced creative

How can a 90-year industry veteran make a splash with a new brand message?

For this example, we turn to… ourselves!

Yes, that’s right. Even the leading brand experience company faces challenges on a crowded show floor.

At IAEE Expo! Expo!, we wanted to embody a new brand story in front of an audience that’s known us for quite some time. The goal was to create an immersive experience that left attendees inspired and motivated with revived trust in Freeman and new insight about our capabilities.

Taking cues from the art world, we created a bright and engaging booth concept incorporating light-generated visuals while also representing our strategic, creative, and digital prowess through two interactive, digitally based activations that focused on the visitor experience.

  • On a central screen wall, guests watched their personal “constellations” come to life with unique information provided through digital questionnaires.
  • Nearby, pre-programmed animations generated artful light patterns (and the Freeman logo) across the matrix. Using motion-capture technology, visitor movements transformed into 3D choreographies providing a user-generated light show.

The 20’ x 30’ space came to life thanks to unique input from booth visitors (with the help of 26,304 LED lights).

Scale down

What happens when you have a large-scale custom booth that, for whatever reason, just won’t work for an upcoming trade show?

That’s exactly the situation the team at LAV, a Turkish-based glassware brand, found themselves in leading up to the International Home + Housewares show, where the brand would have about one-third the footprint their Europe-based booth would allow.

A new build, designed and fabricated in the U.S., was in order.

The new build needed to emulate the original, maximize the smaller footprint, showcase future objectives, as well as pay homage to the brand’s powerful expertise dating back to 1948, and beautifully showcase and introduce LAV products to a U.S. audience.

All of these goals needed to be accomplished in a compact 20’ x 50’ space!

A focus on functionality was paramount to achieving a wow factor in the smaller space. Designed with the same modern architectural design as the original, the new booth was built with the SmartFabric™ system of lightweight structures and custom overlays to deliver an eye-catching exhibit, complete with flexible options for graphics, messaging, and product display.

Crisp, clean fabric-covered structures created an architectural backdrop to display multiple lines of glassware on lighted shelving units and custom display tables. The mirrored bar with overhead atrium served as a networking and refreshment area. The custom track-lighting system on the faux ceiling illuminated a trendy, upbeat vibe.

Get immersive

There's no better way to get people excited about your brand than letting them truly experience it. Immersive exhibits let attendees dig in and discover what makes your brand tick.

Thanks to continuing advances in digital technology, exhibitors can offer hands-on demonstrations of products and solutions that would be impractical, expensive, or otherwise impossible in times past. A great example of this is Sprint at Mobile World Congress. Sprint needed an imaginative way to reveal their future plans for a 5G network and demonstrate the benefits in real-life scenarios.

Helios, a Freeman company, created 3D models and animated a series of four vignettes that illustrated how Sprint’s future 5G network would support a “Smart City.” From high-flying drones that map city traffic flow to optimized signals and GPS routes, to “smart” agriculture vehicles that recalibrate farming needs based on weather patterns, Sprint’s future 5G network could support it.

Want more strategic tips for your next exhibit booth?
Request a consultation today!
Contact us

Read next

Your Guide to Boosting Booth Presence: Brand Experience Strategies for Exhibitors Guide

Energize your exhibit with cost-saving tips, digital direction, and measurement know-how

Five Cost-Effective Ways to Deliver the ‘Wow’ Factor Brief

How to Produce Buzzworthy Events

Exhibitor Decisions: Renting vs. Owning Your Trade Show Booth Inspiration

Ask these questions to determine the right route for your booth

First-Time Exhibitor Checklist Best Practices

Check off these priorities to ace your first trade show

Exhibit Booth Tips to Make Your Brand the Center of Attention Best Practices

Five best practices to wow audiences at your next trade show

Measurement & ROI for Trade Show Exhibitors Guide

Build booth success with a clearly defined measurement plan

Back to Top