Booth on a Budget: Creating a Trade Show Experience for Less Money

Does your client have a shoestring budget? Create a quality display by adopting a few essential practices

Helping a client figure out the right trade show display on a budget can be extremely stressful if they’re running low on resources. Trade shows by nature inspire competition, with many booths trying to outdo the surrounding ones to get noticed.

Try not to panic too much. Budget is not a bad word and a client spending less money on whirligigs, and flashing lights doesn’t mean you can’t help them make an impact. You can still create a quality trade show display on a shoestring budget by adopting a few essential practices. Here are my favorite tips to do just that.

Decide on a focal point

As with any display, if you focus attention on one central portion of the booth, you can cut corners on the rest of it. Create a stunning, textured, or unusual backdrop that the eye is drawn to feature the client’s best offerings. You can also go minimalist-chic with plain surroundings and a vivid digital sign display.

If the main portion of the trade show display is eye-catching enough to draw visitors’ curiosity, they won’t pay attention to the far corners of your booth. As long as the focal point is well-planned and executed, that’s how the booth will appear to clients and their competition.

Durable display items

One of the easiest ways to save budget when it comes to booths and displays is to use quality materials. Sure, the client may wince at the price of heavy fabric table covers emblazoned with their logo now. However, that same trusty table cover unfolding from the display supplies five years from now will be a welcome sight. The longer these materials last means the customer saves money year over year. Make sure you stress this when pitching them options. They can then funnel those savings into other parts of their display.

Let your exhibit and retail customers know they should invest in a few key items to build their displays around:

  • Durable table covers
  • A backdrop
  • High-quality print sign or banner

Chances are they’ll use these every time, no matter what the other components look like.

Dazzle with graphics

Another handy way to camouflage a shoestring budget is to dazzle the audience with high-quality graphics. The eye naturally draws to bright, vivid colors. By planning and printing quality foam core or mounted graphics around a trade show or retail display, it’ll quickly make the booth or display memorable. Consider incorporating products into 3D graphics displays or telling a story around the space with printed characters.

One of my favorite trade show displays was a floor-to-ceiling graphic line drawing of a boy walking along the road. One of the products sold, a backpack with several keychains, was mounted directly on the boy’s back, so it seemed to emerge from the booth. Incorporating graphics and a pinch of creativity can make something truly memorable come to life. The best part is, your customer doesn’t have to blow their entire budget on the latest tech or lighting rigs to collect leads!

Kristen Klingensmith

Kristen Klingensmith is the content manager for Nonstop Signs & Graphics, a printing and design company based out of San Diego, California. She holds a degree in entrepreneurship & venture management from the University of Oklahoma, and enjoys creating practical content for readers in the realm of business, marketing, and finance.

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