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How to Create Over-the-Top Trade Show Displays: 3 Big Ideas

Crowd of people looking at booths in a large and ornate trade show hall.

Trade show attendees have a near-limitless selection of booths to visit and content to consume. After all, statistics gathered by Exhibit Surveys Inc. found that at each trade show, attendees spend an average of nine hours visiting exhibits. The right booth can ensure that more of that time is spent focused on your organization.

With so many organizations vying for their attention, many booths will go unnoticed. That's where these unique trade show booth ideas come in. With an eye-catching booth, you can boost your organization's exposure and attract the attention of hundreds of people.

If your booth is particularly fantastic, it might even earn you some good publicity. The Los Angeles Times published an article on the best booths at Comic-Con in 2018, and Digital Trends created a similar roundup for E3 2019.

A striking booth may also result in valuable social media exposure. The Twitter hashtag for MAGIC Las Vegas, a major trade show that draws tens of thousands of attendees each year, is full of photos of exhibitors' booths.

Read on to discover three show-stopping trade show booth design steps you can take to help your booth stand out from the crowd.

1. Choose a Fun Theme

When trying to capture attendees' attention, you can't go wrong with a fun theme. Here are some of our favorite themes for trade shows.

Vegas Casino

Large booth for the company International Game Technology (IGT) with several lit-up slot machines

Image source: BigPrintingLasVegas.com, "Trade Show Display"

Give attendees a chance to experience some Vegas glitz and you're sure to stand out. Besides designing a Vegas-themed banner or display wall, you can create an interactive booth by incorporating some fun casino-like items and games.

For instance, you might leverage the power of memorable trade show giveaways by passing out the Dice Stress Reliever to people that stop by:

Red stress reliever with white logo shaped like a board game die

Or, give attendees the chance to win covetable prizes by spinning the Winning Spins Prize Wheel:

Prize wheel mounted on tripod stand with black and white logo in center

Beach Retreat

Beach-themed booth for the company Parrot decorated with lifebuoys and palm trees

Image source: DisplayWorks.com, "Parrot Custom Exhibit"

Give attendees a break from the trade show chaos with a relaxing beach-themed booth.

To give your booth a seaside vibe, try decorating it with some colorful custom beach balls:

Blue and white striped inflatable beach ball with black logo

If you're planning on handing out swag bags, consider packaging them in a colorful beach bag with a matching towel. We're fans of the Striped Beach Bag and Towel:

Blue and white striped beach bag with multicolored logo and a matching blue towel

Eco-Friendly

Wooden trade show booth with recycle sign for the company Earth Rated

Image source: Boothster.com, "Custom Ecofriendly Tradeshow Booth Design for Earth Rated and Modern Kanine at the Global Pet Expo"

More and more people are becoming interested in environmental friendliness and corporate responsibility, so an eco-themed booth is sure to make a strong impact.

If you're giving out merch or selling products, try bagging them in the 100 percent recycled Eco Kraft Paper Shopping Bags:

Brown paper shopping bag with black logo

And, since trade shows can be tiring and dehydrating, eco-minded attendees will undoubtedly appreciate a custom reusable water bottle. We love the BPA-free 20 oz Breeze Bottle:

Silver aluminum water bottle with black lid, silver carabiner clip and a black and green logo

2. Play Some Games

Crowd of people cheering at a trade show booth for the company UniGroup Logistics

Image source: NimlokTradeShowMarketing.com, "How To Use Trade Show Contests To Drive Traffic To Your Booth"

Trade show booths with games and activities give potential customers a chance to interact with your display and representatives. If you want your organization's name to be remembered, these fun game ideas can help.

A bean bag toss is a whimsical option that trade show attendees will love. Easy to learn but hard to master, this game is great for giveaway contests:

Eight bean bags and two bean bag toss boards decorated with a full color logo and background

We're also big fans of the Office Time Basketball Hoop. This lightweight hoop can give attendees a chance to compete for prizes, or simply unwind after hours on the trade show floor:

White basketball hoop with black logo alongside small orange basketball

Finally, take a look at the Drop Winnings Board:

White drop game board with multicolored logo and prize labels

With customizable labels on each prize slot bucket, it's easy to create a polished game that you can use to give away t-shirts, swag bags, product samples or other items.

3. Incorporate Snazzy Decorations

Pop-up shop booth for the brand Kikkerland decorated with large red balloons

Image source: Houzz.com, "Kikkerland's Pop-Up Shop at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) at the Javits Center, May 2012," John Hill

Last but not least, don't forget to outfit your booth with plenty of stylish and eye-catching decorations and accessories.

To grab attendees' attention from a distance, you can't go wrong with colorful customized balloons. We love the Qualatex® Quick Link™ Balloons. With their cleverly designed top tips, they make it a breeze to create your own balloon arch or streamers:

Green and orange balloons decorated with black and white logos, linked together to form a balloon arch

If you're looking to draw in passersby, get creative with the Wooden A-Frame Chalkboard Display. Its full color imprint area and durable chalkboard insert are perfect for showing off your organization's personality:

Black wooden A-frame chalkboard sign with blue and white logo and white chalk handwriting

Want to increase your booth's visibility? Pick up the LED Display Light to highlight any part of your trade show display:

Black and white LED display light with long arm

We love its universal mount, which makes attaching it to any retractor kit a snap.

Trade Show Basics

Before we wrap things up, let's go over the essentials of any great trade show booth. A display wall is a great place to start. This will likely be the first thing that trade show attendees see, so you'll want it to be impressive.

The Eurofit Fabric Display Wall is a fantastic option for any booth:

Fabric display wall imprinted with a white logo and full color background image

Measuring eight feet wide and just over seven feet tall, this display wall features a large imprint area and weighs 75 percent less than typical pop-up displays.

If you're looking for a more three-dimensional display, check out the 5 Banner Geo Display. With space for five trade show banners, you don't have to choose just one design:

Metal display frame holding five full color banners

Made of lightweight aluminum and polyester, this display wall is easy to set up and store and packs a fresh visual punch.

You'll also need a sturdy and attractive table to show off your products, literature or giveaway items. The On-the-Go Portable Folding Table is an economical option that costs the same as a single trade show rental.

Then, dress up your table with a colorful throw, runner or skirt. We're especially fond of the Custom Table Top Banner:

Blue stretchy table covering and attached raised white banner, imprinted with a multicolored logo

With its attached full color banner, it's sure to make your booth pop.

Once you have your essentials picked out, it's time to get inspired by these three crazy trade show booth ideas. Don't let your organization's booth fade into the background. With these three tips, you can ensure that your next trade show display is anything but boring.

To learn more about exhibiting at a trade show like a pro, check out our roundup of insider secrets here. Or, click here for a handy trade show checklist you can use to stay organized.