Exhibitors who are new to trade show planning will frequently underestimate how involved the trade show booth design process is.
A good rule of thumb? Start the process at least 6-9 months before the show date. While it’s possible to produce an amazing booth in less time, it leaves little room for adjustments and puts you at risk for missed deadlines.
Not sure what to expect? Let us walk you through the steps of the design process:
1. Design Requirements
- Define your trade show goals and needs
- Determine your booth requirements. Do you want a booth that you can easily take to multiple shows? Would an inline booth design that can easily fit between other booths suit your needs, or are you looking for a two-story booth that will really stand out?
Once you’ve answered these questions, compile your booth expectations and relevant show information in a request for proposal (RFP) to submit to potential exhibit houses.
2. Trade show booth Design Renderings
After you’ve explained your concept and brand identity to prospective exhibit houses, they’ll send you back proposals detailing how they could make your vision a reality.
In some cases, they’ll provide line drawings of their initial concept as the first step. After you’ve reviewed and provided feedback, you’ll see a digital rendering of the final design. This rendering should give you a much clearer view of what your booth will look like in the trade show space.
3. Getting your booth Quoted
Along with your rendering, prospective exhibit houses will submit their pricing for turning your digitally-rendered booth into reality. A solid quote should break down exactly what is included in the price.
If an exhibit house doesn’t explicitly lay out what’s covered in the quoted price, be sure to ask for clarification.
For example, does the quote include booth fabrication, shipping, installation, storage, etc.? If you receive a quote that includes only the design, a seemingly-lower bid may actually cost you more money (and time) in the end.
4. design process and Fabrication
Once you choose your exhibit house, your project manager will coordinate with you during all the stages of the design process. This should include graphic design mock-ups for your approval, as well as an on-site client preview and walk-through of your booth when it’s nearing completion.
If you’re unhappy with the way your booth is looking structurally, or if you want to modify the smaller details, now is the time to make those changes.
5. Show Logistics
Throughout this process, your project manager will help you finalize details about the particular show you’ll be attending. This will include:
- Booth related deadlines and requirements
- Shipping and transportation arrangements
- Installation and dismantling arrangements
- Storage before and after the exhibition
- Electrical and technology requirements
In fact, your exhibit house is an ideal resource for any other questions you may have about the show. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if they aren’t directly related to your booth.
6. Show launch
Once your booth has been constructed and you’ve considered show logistics, it’s time to ship your booth. These details are among the most commonly overlooked necessities.
- Determine how, when, and where you want your booth to arrive.
If you choose an advanced warehouse option, for example, it may arrive up to 30 days before the show begins. Or, you may prefer to ship directly on an assigned move-in date. Either way, there are specific rules and restrictions associated with each option, so review these carefully with your exhibit house.
- Prior to the show, the trade show vendors and labor you’ve contracted will unpack your booth and set it up in your reserved exhibition space. The electrical or technology components will also be installed at this time.
- Upon completion, a walk-through will give you a sense of what attendees will experience when they interact with your booth. This is also the time to make any minor last-minute changes, so you can hit the ground running on opening day.
7. After the Show
Like the saying, “What goes up, must come down”, you’ll need to prepare for the post-show breakdown of your booth. Your team will dismantle, pack, and label each part of your booth so that you can use some (or all) of it again.
This means you will need to arrange for storage ahead of time during your design process. Many exhibitors choose climate-controlled warehouses designed for protecting trade show booths.
Trade show exhibiting gives you a whole new realm of possibilities for generating buzz around your brand. However, the trade show booth design process can be complicated with a lot of moving parts.
Need an exhibit house that will take care of everything, from designing a realistic rendering to the storage space after your first trade show? Let Exhibit Options be your trusted partner and contact us today.