Trade Show Booths #1: The Importance of Sight Lines
If you have ever wandered a trade show as a consumer, the layout of the exhibit hall was probably the least important thing on your mind. You were looking for a specific booth, or a specific vendor, or maybe just the bathroom or the concession stand, but you probably were not thinking about sight lines.
If your company is exhibiting at a trade show, sight lines are critically important. Your display doesn’t do you a lot of good if nobody can see it from a fair distance away. Now, some aspects of sight lines you can control – buying a corner booth from your exhibition service, or buying an end-cap booth. Both guarantee that you will have a sight line that is visible from most of the pedestrian walkways of the exhibition hall. An island booth gives you clear line of sight from all adjacent spaces, but can be very expensive.
When setting up your booth displays, be sure to have someone walk out about 20 feet from your booth, and walk along the traffic areas in the likely traffic flow patterns, and make sure that your display is clearly visible. You want to put the most general information about your company at the top of your display, and make sure that it’s visible from the farthest distance possible. As you go down the display, the text can get a little smaller. Like a newspaper headline is used to grab attention to get people to read the story, your booth display is meant to do the same thing, with the added benefit that it lures people in, making them get closer to read the rest.
When laying out your booth, center it on your display. If it helps, look at the nave of a church, where everything draws the eyes in with parallel lines to the display behind the pulpit. You want the same general effect with your booth set up, focusing on your primary display. It is too easy to go overboard and clutter up your booth with more stuff than will do you good.
If you can afford two displays, have both of them set to “off angle” from the center of your booth so that they are visible from the floor. As the show progresses, have someone walk the floor and look at your booth from the usual direction of ongoing traffic, and look at how to adjust your display to maximize the effectiveness of your presentation – if someone has to be right in front of your booth before they can see the display, you will want to raise it or aim it out of the corner of your booth.