Monthly Archives: September 2016

The Psychology of Successful Trade Show Booths


Are you a trade show exhibitor looking for a high-impact, low-cost way to improve your success at trade shows? Trade show booth psychology, specifically colors and booth setup are completely controllable assets that can significantly impact your trade show success, positively or negatively. It often gets overlooked and it doesn’t have to cost you extra money.

Layout: One of the easiest things any exhibitor can control. If you’ve ever watched any of the home remodeling or flipping shows that are wildly popular, the one phrase you constantly hear the interior designers repeat is “open concept.” Why? The “open concept” is inviting and gives people a reason to come in and have space to walk around and feel comfortable. That’s what you should want attendees thinking when they come to your booth. They feel welcome to come check it out and look around at what you have to offer.

Ditch the table: What better way to create an open or welcome environment at your booth than having no barriers to entry. You or your staff standing behind a table talking to an attendee puts a physical and implied barrier. If you want to come off as a company that’s accessible and customer service friendly, ditch the barrier. Even if this seems a little progressive, try it at one or two shows if you can and measure if there is any difference.

Carpet or flooring color: Believe it or not, the wrong color flooring around your booth could cause people to stay away. Harsh, negative color associations can put up a psychological barrier to your booth as well. Easy to look at, soft and inviting colors will do wonders.

Light it up: When designing trade show exhibits, don’t forget lighting accessories. This is an easy, yet overlooked idea when thinking about trade show booth psychology. Well-lit displays get noticed and are easier to read. Plus they show off the awesome graphic design work!

Send people other than sales reps: This might not directly apply to typical trade show booth psychology, but sales reps for your company usually have a different mindset. Customer service reps should know the products and service tier levels as well as your sales reps and might even be more in tune with what customers want from them. Customer service reps hear the compliments and complaints about each individual piece of your company so they can sell the positives and ease the pain points.

Graphics: As a rule of thumb your trade show exhibit design should have roughly 40% empty space. Trade show attendees see hundreds if not more booths each day at shows. Overwhelming them with too much text or too many images is not a good idea.

Font: You think your unique font will make your trade show booth stand out from others. It might, but not the way you think. Stick with simple font designs. People might be talking about your booth as they walk away but it will be in phrases like “That was hard to read.”

Consider color psychology: This is a bit trickier because when it comes to colors, you want to stay on brand as much as possible. Working in certain colors where possible can be effective.

  • Blue evokes trust (think Twitter’s verification checkmark)
  • Colors can have an industry association (white/blue make people think winter – perfect if you’re selling winter coats/apparel)
  • Yellow is a mood elevator – it can have a positive effect, just don’t overuse it
  • Black is seen as a powerful color – it’s also very easy to accent
  • Many restaurants use red and yellow to evoke excitement – just like the winter example, food industry exhibitors can tap into this color for success