According to recent trade show industry research, the average attendee spends less than a day at an event. During that time, there are literally hundreds of exhibits, each vying for the most precious commodity going: the attendee’s time and attention. From high-tech interactive displays to scantily-clad models working the show floor, there are countless vivid stimuli to catch the eye, entice the ear, or even tantalize the nose.
In this highly competitive environment, you have approximately 2–3 seconds to grab an attendee’s attention. If you miss this critical window of opportunity, you miss everything. The attendees are already past you, on their way down the aisle to the next exhibit.
What can you do?
There are two graphical elements you can use to attract attention and capitalize on the two second window open to you. These elements are headline copy and product graphics.
Headline copy is the text used in your
graphic. Brevity counts: you want to limit
your text to a few words. The more clear
and concise your text, the more likely the
attendee is to actually read it. Remember, in
the chaotic environment of a trade show or
other display event, no one is going to take
the time to read great blocks of text.
Instead, you want to aim for clarity. You
want your audience to understand instantaneously, almost intuitively, the message
you’re attempting to convey. Reduce your
message to its simplest elements: a few
words and simple to understand imagery.
At the same time, you want your headline
copy to be visually compelling. This means
an emphasis on bold and simple. Forgo
fancy fonts that are difficult to read, or small
text that cannot be perceived at a distance.
In addition, highly contrasting color schemes
are desirable, interesting and inviting.
The conventional wisdom says: “One
picture is worth a thousand words.” We’d
even take it a step farther, and say that “one
picture should replace a thousand words.”
There’s often a great temptation to add
secondary copy to display graphics, further
enriching the content and adding detail
to the display. However, yielding to this temptation results in a cluttered, busy display
which can, more often than not, visually
alienate your viewer.
Embracing the ‘Less is More’ approach
gives you room for images or logos, which
can communicate your message just as
effectively and often more efficiently than
text. Make sure that any imagery used reinforces both your brand and your marketing
message. Again, simplicity carries the day.
Clean, easy to understand design makes
your exhibit easy to understand at a dis-