#17 Designing tips for trade booths

Trade shows are a low priority in the marketing budget at times for some small companies. But here are some pointers to help your client get the best return on their investment:

1. Adhere to a one-benefit-per-panel rule.

2. Readability: The six-by-six rule states no more than six elements per line and no more than six lines per panel. The average person’s reading rate is about 250 words per minute. Therefore, signs that will only be seen for a few seconds should include no more than six items.

3. Lists: No numbering of bulleted lines. It throws people. No asterisks. They are associated with footnotes or ”fine print”.

4. Avoid placing copy over images. It usually ruins the photo and the type simultaneously. Position copy in a separate border or block near the image panel.

5. The field or cone of vision for signage covers a 60-degree angle. Consistency in the height of signs in a system reduces the viewer’s need to search for information.

6. Readability: Keep the fonts simple and use basic colors for lettering (black and white are best).

7. Legibility: Make type 1 inch high for every 3 feet back. To read copy 12 feet away, the letters should be about 4 inches tall.

8. The average height of a viewer’s eye level, measured from the ground when standing, is about 5 feet, 6 inches. When sitting, it’s about 4 feet, 6 inches. Make sure no table in front will cover text content.

A few other things I’ve learned over the years for keeping booths low-budget:

1. Make the best use of color to attract attention. But keep it real simple. No more than three main colors.

2. Use one large graphic image. Not many small ones.

3. Use lighting of some sort on the panels whether it’s clip lights pointing down or floor lights in containers pointing up or both. It makes a big difference.

4. Rent some potted plants for your booth to make it more inviting. We always used a floor palm and a table mum. It’s worth it.

I’ve learned these suggestions also apply to web home pages. Same problem: limited attention. The viewer is cruising just as speedily and has to absorb info fast.

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