How to Build a Great Exhibition Stand


The main thing that will get you noticed at an exhibition is your exhibition stand.  You only have a few seconds to grab the attention of passers-by so it’s important to have a stand that they will notice amongst all the other stands.  The ROI of an exhibition will depend on how many people you can attract to your booth so you need a stand that is the best that your budget will allow.

To create a great exhibition stand you need to consider the following:

1. Objectives

What do you want to achieve at the exhibition?  Do you want to gather as many qualified leads as possible?  Make sales?  Launch a new product?  Or raise brand awareness?  The design of your stand should reflect your objectives for the show.  If you are launching a new product, make this clear in your graphics.  If your aim is brand awareness, the graphics need to reflect your brand.  How much are you willing to spend on your stand?  This will affect the type of stand you choose.

2. Audience

The audience will vary depending on the exhibition and the sector it is in.  You need to design your stand to appeal to the audience you are trying to attract.  You can get an idea of the audience from the event organiser or by attending the event yourself before you exhibit.  Ask yourself:

  • Will they be attracted to a more formal, corporate look, or will something vibrant and funky appeal more?
  • What promotional items will they like?
  • Will they want somewhere to sit and relax?
  • Will bright colours or something more neutral be appropriate?

3. Layout

You need to create a flow within your exhibition stand.  The layout must make sense.  Do you want somewhere for visitors to sit and discuss your products with you?  If so you will need tables and chairs or sofas.  Keep these to the rear of the booth to allow space for visitors to move around.  Make sure there are no barriers to entry, if you are having a desk, keep it to one side. 

How will you display your products?  Some modular or custom-built stands have the option of integrated display cases that can be lit up to draw attention.  Or you can have separate lit up plinths.

Think about lighting and flooring.  Relying on the lighting and carpet tiles provided by the exhibition organiser will not add much to your stand.  To really make an impression you need separate spotlights and back-lit cases to highlight specific areas.  You can have a photo floor too to enhance the look of your stand.

4. Type of stand

There are four different types of exhibition stand:

  • Pop up/portable

These are the most basic option, often used by those new to exhibiting who are dipping a toe in the water.  They consist of banners that roll up from a heavy base and fix at the top or basic fold out frames.  They can easily be assembled by one individual and are an economical way to customise your booth.  Simple to pack away and store, these are the cheapest option and typically used for smaller booths.

The downside of them is that they lack the wow factor and are unlikely to draw much attention.  If you are looking to gather as many leads as possible and make an impact, these won’t really help you make a success of an exhibition.

  • Modular

Modular stands consist of a number of pop-up aluminium frames that come in various shapes and sizes and link together for a customised look.  Graphics panels are hung on them via magnetic strips to give a seamless finish.  They have a number of benefits:

  • They are easy to assemble by one or two people with no need for specialist tools.
  • The end result is an impressive, unique 3D stand with seamless graphics.
  • You can have integrated product display cases or literature racks.
  • You can incorporate AV equipment into them to draw attention.
  • You can go tall to tower above the competition.
  • They pack away into boxes which are easy to store.
  • You can transport them easily in an estate car or small van.
  • They are reusable, so a sustainable option, and can be reconfigured for a fresh look.


  • Aluminium frame

These are sturdy stands made from a robust aluminium profile.  They are generally used for very large stands as they are strong and can easily be made double height to tower over your competitors.  They require teams of specialist contractors to build so they are not a cheap solution.  Whilst they can be reused, you will need specialist storage and a lorry to transport it, adding to the cost.  If you are after an industrial look they can be a good solution, but if you want a sleek elegant look, the aluminium frames are often on show, spoiling the effect.

  • Custom-built

For a truly bespoke look, if you have the budget, you can go for a custom-built stand.  These represent the top of the range and will give you a unique stand.  Generally constructed from wood, metal or plastic, they require teams of carpenters and other exhibiton contractors to build.  The end result is good, but they are a wasteful, unsustainable solution.  The materials and methods of construction make them very difficult to store and reuse.  You would need specialist storage and are unlikely to achieve the same look again.  You would also need a lorry to transport them, adding to the cost.  So these stands are often discarded at the end of the exhibition.

5. Return on Investment

The ultimate success of an exhibition stand is whether it has generated a good return on investment.  Asses this based on your original goals – did you achieve the number of leads that you hoped?  How many direct sales did you make?  Has traffic to your website increased?  A stand that can be repurposed for future events will always represent a better ROI as the cost can be spread across several events.


Creating a great exhibition stand is the best way to stand out at an event and achieve your goals.  The type of stand you choose will depend on your objectives and budget.  A reusable, modular stand represents the best option as you can achieve a custom look without the heavy investment of a custom-built stand.  The cost can also be spread over several shows.

For help designing your next exhibition stand, call us on 0800 019 2141 or email

Bespoke Design With Your Branding