Where can you look for ideas for your next display design?  Here are 5 places that may provide inspiration:

 Trade Shows. The obvious place to look!  You’ll be there anyhow, right?  Always look very closely at your competitors’ trade show booths to see how they differ or match your own marketing messages.  Then, assess your non-competitors as well.  If you can, walk the show before it opens, guessing which designs will pull in the most people.  Then come back during show hours to see if you were right — and see which booths actually do pull in the crowds.  Then try to discern why they were so successful.  Even better: walk a show outside your industry, so you can see how completely different exhibitors design their displays.

Billboards. Billboards are designed to quickly communicate a single message with big, bold images, and not much text.  Walking past a 3 metre display can be similar to driving by a billboard because you only have a few seconds to get the message.  If your boss wants to overload your trade show display design, take them for a drive and ask them to count the words on an attention grabbing billboard.  If you’re lucky, they’ll have an “aha!” moment, and you’ll have a new ally in making a more simple and effective display design.

Shopping Centres. While billboards can inspire back wall display ideas, retail stores provide inspiration for island trade show stands.  Walk a shopping centre and see how individual stores and kiosks have designed their space to get your attention.  Also ask yourself how the outlets have designed their space to handle traffic flow.  Pay attention to trends in color choices, surface materials, and how their staffers engage and talk with you and other customers.

Magazines. Although magazines are made for reading at a more leisurely pace, ads within magazines are made to get your attention fast.  Look for ads that have engaging, simple designs.  What imagery did they use?  How did they handle the headline?  Is most of the text big?  And look beyond the ads to the page layouts of the articles themselves.  Designers often create a billboard-like first-page spread for longer articles, especially for the cover story.  Check out the typography, the color combinations, photos, illustrations and textured backgrounds.  Once you start looking at magazines this way, you may forget to actually read them!

Online. With just a few clicks you can search for trade show exhibits and harness a bounty of images online.  It’s a quick way to look at lots of exhibits without leaving your desk.  Online is a great place to start when looking for new display ideas.  Visit our online portfolio for more Skyline display ideas. 

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