Newbie's Corner: Your Booth Design Part I

This is part one of an ongoing series (Your Booth Design Part II) of tips, lists and other info to help new exhibitors and veterans alike.

Your display is a primary selling point and your first impression to your customers. You want to put just as much time, thought and energy into it, as you do your created works so that they are exhibited in the best possible manner.  Do all you can to create an inviting warm atmosphere that people will want to linger and shop  And remember, you will be packing and unpacking your display materials (sometimes after a long drive), so keep that in mind when planning your space.  It is never a bad idea to go to one or two shows to examine other artists' displays and get a feel for what works and what people are drawn to.   All ideas mentioned in this article are for indoor exhibits.

- Booth Sides & Back:  To have sides or not to have sides, that is the question.     Before you decide to wall up both sides of your exhibit, remember this...  customers will not be able to see your display until they are right in front of it.  (That is why so many exhibitors ask for a corner booth.)  You might consider only walling off the back 2/3rds of the booth so customers can see you from up the isle.  If you do decide to put some sort of partition up between you and your neighbor, you have several options.  If the promoter offers it, ask for solid colored side panel drape so that your products displays well in front of it.  Depending on your product, you may want to create your own drape in a pattern that compliments your booth. In this case, you will need an extra side pole to place your drape on, so that a solid neutral color is the backdrop of your neighbor's booth.  See photograph below.  Remember that whenever you bring your own panels to surround your booth, they need to look customer friendly on the opposite side. It is very frustrating to exhibit beside someone that is using unattractive pegboard as the panels that surround their booth, and your customers first impression is an unfinished and unprofessional backing to your booth.  (Another selling point for bringing your own panels or ordering extra drape.  You never know what your neighbor's display will look like!)

- Placement of Tables or Surfaces:  You will want to create an inviting shopping space within the booth dimensions. Cover your tables all the way to the ground. It presents a professional look and can hide all your storage materials and packaging underneath.  Keep an open layout so that customers can easily enter the booth and experience your work.  Blocking off the booth can feel alienating for customers and keep them at arms length. This type of set up can be effective if you are a high-end jeweler, and need to protect your work for security reasons. You want the customer to enter your booth and peruse around.  They are more likely to commit to a purchase if they can get closer, feel it and look at it from different angles.