How To Design Effective Trade Show Graphics

Here’s a fresh look on what it means to get sexy with trade show graphics and how you can improve on this yourself. Enjoy a fresh look at graphic design after the fold.

Spending time honing your trade show materials

Spending that extra time, to make sure the designs are just right, are one of the most important steps you can take in your pre-trade-show preparations or for any graphic work you’re doing for that matter. We’ll show you some things to keep in mind as you design your trade show graphics, or large signs or banners, that will help make your materials as effective as possible.

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Make some noise

Designing large-scale print items like banners and logos are a great way to get attention, especially in crowded convention halls, but they have some of their own considerations and strategies when it comes to design. Because of the size of these materials, you’ll have to adjust how you create them; Having a large, twenty-five foot banner with the same resolution and images you use on smaller materials, like pamphlets and brochures, is a sure fire way to give your printer a coronary and cause unjust strain on your computer.



As these materials are meant to be viewed from a distance, you won’t have to use the same DPI (dots per inch) as with smaller items, cutting down on your file size making it easier to work on and easier on your printer.  70 DPI is the average for large designs.  Using vector mapping instead of bit mapping will also make these large-scale productions much easier for everyone.

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Use your eyes, man!

No matter the size, whether a huge banner or a pen, you should always make sure your font is as clean and easy to read as possible.  While there might be some slight intrigue that results from a crazy font or design, chances are, if people can’t easily recognize your name or logo, your company is going to be forgotten.  Choose font that catches the eye but does not cause additional stress on the audience, likely already overcome by the flood of information.  When designing, always ask yourself if you’re making it as easy as possible on your audience; with the wealth of information at these conventions, people are going to look for any excuse to write someone off—don’t give them any.

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Because there is such an overwhelming amount of information, names, logos and products floating around these trade shows, sometimes details and memories get pushed out for new ones.  In order to avoid being one of the tragically forgotten or overlooked, it’s a good idea to have materials attendees can take with them in order to better help remember your company; the more functional or original, the better.  For example: a company is more likely to be remembered, and therefore given business, if attendees are using pens or chapstick tubes with your company’s name or logo on them rather than simply given a brochure—which will likely end up being tossed out with the rest of the brochures.  This also offers a great opportunity for originality; when possible, make materials you can hand out that specifically address your product or services.  Or make materials that someone is less likely to throw out: pens, earbuds, coozies, business card holders, etc.  The longer you can have your name involved in your audience’s daily lives, the better your chances of making a sale.


Trade shows can be overwhelming experiences for many attendees, in order to make sure you’ve got the most effective materials, choose designs that are not only compelling but easy to read and understand, with materials that are likely not going to be thrown out the minute the trade show is over.  Simplicity and longevity should be your over-riding key words when designing.  Keep that in mind, and watch the ROI roll in.

Have you worked on trade show graphics before? What do you like or dislike about this presentation style? What are some of your favorite examples? Let us know in the comments below.