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How To Design A Small Exhibition Stand

Making sure you have a well designed and distinctive exhibition stand that makes your business stand out and  creates a strong impression, can be incredibly rewarding, but also has many factors to consider. Space restrictions, the size of the exhibition hall, budget availability and lack of planning can limit your visual impact and make it difficult for you to get noticed.

It’s imperative that your exhibition stand channels a “wow-factor”, to be instantly recognisable and create a strong impression. First impressions count, and can make a passer-by pause long enough to become a  potential long-term client and customer. Your company may well offer a superior product or service with a unique USP, but if you have little or no visual appeal, potential customers could steer away from you into the hands of your competitors.

So how can you stand out in a crowded exhibition and create a stand design for a smaller space? Let us share with you our top tip and professional industry experience...


This informative blog is written for all those new-comers and veterans exhibitioners with upcoming events and exhibitions, and a stand that may be under 3meters square. Space may be limited, but imagination has not limits.

The most important first step in designing your stand is setting goals.

  • What do you want to achieve at the exhibition?
  • What message do you want to send?
  • What type of visitors are attending?
  • What are your objectives?

You could design a great looking stand, but if it fails to convey your company’s values, objectives, products or services clearly, you're wasting time and resources. Always keep your goals in mind throughout the design process, and relay back to them if you start to go off-piste.


The booth you choose in the exhibition hall needs to be considered, some booths may seem restrictive, so it’s important to fully utilise the space you’ve been allocated. Make sure to double-check the dimensions on your booking, and with the event organisers. If their is no height limit as you're in a hall with a very high ceiling, consider adding to the height of your displays instead of the width!

If you're on an end booth (2 or 3 open sides) or a mid booth (1 open side), improve the flow of your display area by ensuring the booth has no obstructions, barriers that may stop event-goers entering your booth or accessing you for conversation.

Small booths won't allow for meeting areas or private spaces, everything will be on display, so everything from storage to panel or display design needs to be utilised and potentially service multiple functions.


"Less is more". When it comes to text on a small exhibition stand, you want to keep it short, consise and simple. Use about 80-90% of your graphics with visual aspects to catch the eye.

  • Avoid long sentences if single words can convey your message, or would an image do even better?
  • Sloguns can be memorable - Does your business use one?
  • Clear, large, easily readable fonts with high contrast background colour.
  • Text location. As English is naturally read left to right, top to bottom, text in the top left is normally read and seen first.
  • Place text on the top half of your stand, and think about your walls and not obscuring it with other stand aspects.
  • Powerful adjectives and action verbs work particularly well.


Build a complete atmosphere within your exhibition stand. Use a combination lights, textures, colour, layout and even scent. By stimulating the senses of your prospects you will attract more attention and stand out against your competition.

Business branding colours can have powerful emotional connections, use these to your advantage in your stand and highlight the features of your business you want to convey.


So we've covered your graphics. Now its time to add key elements that will add to your displays potential.

Often overlooked, is lighting. Powerful in its ability to highlight key features, we are naturally drawn to brighter areas of a display, so consider their role in the design of your exhibition stand. Lights can enhance aesthetic appeal, create different moods and add ambiance depending on the desired outcome.

Consider additional lighting and don’t rely on what’s supplied by the venue. Spot lights, up lights and coloured lights are also a great way to highlight certain areas within your exhibition stand, particularly if you want to showcase something in particular, such as a new product.

Coloured lighting is also a clever way to create a unique feel to your exhibition stand, especially when compared to the exhibition stands on either side. Subconsciously entice attendees into your stand by using angled light boxes at the entrance to draw them in.


Will the inclusion of tech help convey your message and business? As it plays such a large role in our modern day world, it is worth sparing a thought to see if you could fit something in your budget and stand.

An LCD Monitor mounted on a bracket to add to your current display, or embedded in a LCD specific banner stand. Your laptop running a video or image gallery on a counter, or even VR if it fits?

Think about how tech would enhance your exhibition potential, a laptop or tablet as a bare minimum so you can take notes from interested parties, send emails and show them your website should be included.


With limited space availability, consider if any of your equipment can serve a dual purpose, and be positioned on your stand to save trips to and from the car.

Convertible cases and plinths act as a brilliant way to not only store and protect your display graphics , pop-up displays, banner stands and hardware, they can then be converted into a handy exhibition counter, where staff can store their personal belongings inside without cluttering the stand. The graphic wrap can also mirror the larger graphic, or depict a key feature.


As with all exhibition and event investments, it is worth considering is your display for just the one event, or do you plan to re-use the stand for future exhibitions?

Graphics and wraps can be sourced in PVC-free alternatives, that hold just as much quality as their non-recyclable alternatives. If you are looking for one-off event usage, consider sourcing your prints in recyclable medias that still allow your exhibition stand to look fantastic, and can be responsibly recycled afterwards.

For exhibition set-ups you plan on using again and again, Creative Solutions is expanding its range of eco-friendly alternative materials to offer your business prints that do not cost the earth. These are equally as high-quality, but budget-allowance will need to be considered. For the price of saving the earth though, it is well worth the investment.


  • Identify your target audience.
  • Focus on concepts on their wants and needs.
  • Keep them in mind throughout the design process.

If you know who you are “talking” to, you can focus your concept on their wants and needs. Done successfully, interested parties will approach you, chat, and a relationship will form for future sales and partnerships.

Their wants and needs will form a base for the best way to communicate your message and present your product or service. The most aesthetically pleasing exhibition stand might look the part, have all the bells and whistles, but if your target audience haven’t been considered, you could be attracting the wrong prospects and ignoring the right ones.

By taking each of these tips into consideration for your exhibition stand design, you should be on track for a successful trade show.


So we've covered planning, graphics, layout, accessories and tech for your small exhibition stand design. now its time to put it all together, gather your team and discuss your ideas!

If you're in need of further assistance, we have a full in-house design team on hand to help with your graphic artwork, templates, and proof layout so you can visualise your stand in completion. We also offer a full range of exhibition products at competitive prices to enhance your stand.

Posted by Samantha on March 21st 2022

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