Year after year, brands gather for expos and trade shows throughout the country, and with vast pre-event marketing efforts deployed to secure the highest possible footfall, exhibitors understandably work hard to stand out from the crowd.
But as we look ahead to the final quarter of 2018 – and beyond – what’s the secret to making an impact in the packed aisles? Where are the biggest successes being seen? And what’s new in the exhibition stand market?
Leach Impact’s graphics specialist Matt Smith, offers his thoughts…
Trends come and go of course, but there seem to be a number of recurring themes when it comes to exhibition stand enquiries at present.
The Hunt for movement
One of the most popular briefs at the moment – from both end user clients and exhibition stand contractors – is for something a little more engaging than a flat graphic. The creation of movement is an obvious starting point, but very few customers want to invest in a full AV wall – and understandably so. The cost is often astronomical, and the image resolution is typically far lower than that of a photographic-quality fabric graphic.
The answer to this brief, is a dynamic, LED lightbox with clever programming to create the feeling of movement through sequential illumination. I have seen this work well to mimic the effect of a car driving down the road for instance, with street lights illuminating in turn, or a moonlit sky with stars twinkling one by one. On more informative product-specific graphics, the illumination could even perhaps highlight one key selling point after the other, to draw a visitor’s eye to the detail the exhibitor wishes to convey.
With dimmable options, black and white to RGB colour transition, and pulsing/flashing light options, the number of movement effects is vast.
Size doesn’t matter
It may seem an odd statement to make as we’ve always been told that size does matter, but in an economy of often dwindling budgets, stand designers and exhibition partners have been encouraged to think outside the box when it comes to optimising the use of space.
Key to this is maximising every square metre. From eye-catching floor graphics to canopies and structures hanging overhead, it’s therefore important to look beyond walls alone.
In bustling event halls, these suspended graphics can also help sign-post visitors to an exhibitor’s stand, especially if a staircase connects one hall with another and provides a handy vantage point.
It must be noted that event organisers often have strict rules as to how the hanging unit is put together, and weight restrictions are common (depending on the size of the stand). But on a 9m² stand, for example, an ordinary lighting rig will accommodate 500kg per corner, which will hold an aluminium framed tension fabric graphic with ease.
Expanding on the previous point about space utilisation, one of Leach’s most popular display solutions at the moment, is the Product Wall. Integrating merchandise, visually striking graphics and LED illumination, this innovation doesn’t just make an impact in the retail space – it can create an added wow factor and capture attention when displaying products at an event too!
‘Build and burn’ timber solutions remain common in the exhibition world, because they enable brands to showcase something bespoke at every event. But many organisations are developing a growing ‘eco-conscience’ and seeking something reusable as a result.
The old faithful shell scheme still has a place because of this environmental driver. It is a tried-and-tested, familiar option which presents the ability to vary the graphics that fill the scheme, each time. This helps to explain why is so successful.
A happy medium, between the two, which also merits consideration, is the investment in bespoke, robust hardware such as lightbox frames. These solutions – by their very nature – accommodate different graphics for an updated look and feel, without the restriction of only being used on a stand with certain dimensions.
Acoustics are gradually featuring in more enquiries too. Admittedly more sought after on larger stands with somewhat separate conference/meeting areas, sound-proofed booths provide a private space. After all – exhibitors want to have meaningful conversations with visitors, and not all will want to disclose the details of their projects or requirements publicly, especially if their competitors are close by.
The challenge is how to plan the stand’s space without unintentionally pocketing off areas and obstructing the flow of traffic. But this is something that any competent exhibition stand partner will be able to advise on.
These are just some of the hottest trends emerging in the exhibition space. To discuss your exhibition stand requirements, or to ensure your brand environment stands out from the crowd, contact our team today!