How to Optimise Your Exhibition Stand Design

You’ve booked your place at the venue, you know your objectives, but how can you best optimise your exhibition stand design to reach those targets?

As an Exhibition Stand Designer and founder of Arcade Design, I’ve been designing exhibition stands in the UK and in Europe for over 30 years now. I’ve seen trends come and go, but there are some truths about exhibitions that will always be relevant.

Here are, in my experience, the key things to consider that will best optimise your exhibition stand design at your next big event:


  1. Budget.

This dictates where to start. The stand space alone is pricey, but the bulk of your budget should be reserved for stand design, installation, staffing and other resources. Make sure you have the budget to see your vision through before you book a spot at the event.

Remember, the stand design needs to reflect your brand and your products. That includes how big a space it takes up and what it looks like. Think about your positioning in the market as well as your physical positioning at the exhibition venu.

  1. Ask a lot of Questions.

Before you book, your questions should be: is this exhibition event right for me and my brand? Who else is exhibiting? What are my objectives and are they SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound)? Will my customers be attending? Where will our stand be located and will I be getting a steady flow of traffic to it?

After you’ve booked, the questions can get more specific: what kind of stand do we want and who are we benchmarking? Do we want a themed stand? What will make us stand out?

  1. The Hook.

This is something that will attract people to your stand, even if it’s a bit gimmicky. I’ve seen opulent water features, American diner interiors with waitresses on roller-skates, dancing production line robots and much, much more.

You don’t have to go crazy, but it’s good to think outside of the box. An air conditioning brand that I designed for had an unusual bar theme with a DJ area. It was rammed for the whole duration of the show because people want to be where the party’s at.

  1. Lighting

I cannot emphasise the importance of this enough. Lighting has to be the most overlooked element of exhibition stand design and it really makes or breaks a stand. You can have the most beautiful exhibition stand design the world has ever seen, but if it isn’t well lit, it was all for nothing.

Just like moths and magpies, people are attracted to bright, shiny things. You don’t need a full rock concert light show on your stand, but at the very least your products and branding must be very well illuminated – these are the reason you are there.

  1. Ditch the Shell Scheme

In my opinion, if you’re going to exhibit at a show it’s worth the investment to get out of a shell scheme. A shell scheme isn’t unique and it doesn’t stand out. What is more, you lose traffic in crammed spaces, especially as visitors tend to walk down one side and might miss you.

You’re better off doing something bonkers and cheap in a bigger space. Whether that’s a bright carpet or making an exhibition stand out of cardboard (I’ve seen it happen), at least someone will look at you.

A great alternative to a shell scheme is a Foga System stand. This is essentially a shell scheme ‘on steroids’. It’s a physically bigger structure than a shell scheme and it’s relatively cheap. If I was to design a budget exhibition stand for my own brand, I’d do Foga and block it out with quality graphics and good lighting.

  1. Learn from your Mistakes

Always follow up. Monitor your success at the show, figure out what worked and what didn’t and how you can improve for next time.


  1. Work the Aisles.

My biggest tip is to work the aisles. Don’t sit in a corner waiting for people to come onto the stand – stand on the edge of your stand or in the aisle, relax and be friendly. It’s amazing what a simple smile will bring.

So, that’s our advice on how to optimise your exhibition stand designs. The team at Arcade Design and myself really understand how important it is to make an impact at an exhibition.

Let us design a stand to match your brand. However large or small your business is, we excel when it comes to making you stand out.

Read testimonials from brands who have found success with our designs, take a look at our exhibition stand case studies or call us for a chat on 0121 354 8884 to talk more about what we can do to help you achieve your targets at your next big exhibition.

– Allan Ward, Exhibition Stand Designer, Arcade Design