How to design an exhibition stand: The Ultimate Guide


So, you’ve invested in exhibiting at an upcoming event, that’s great! You’ve probably found yourself on this page because you want to ensure that the event goes as well as it can possibly go, and creating a standout exhibition stand design is now firmly on your radar.

There are lots of things to consider when planning an exhibition, and the design of your exhibition stand is probably one of the most important of all. If your stand doesn’t appeal to the event visitors, then effectively it’s the equivalent of throwing that investment down the drain.

You want your exhibition stand design to stand out, attract your audience and ultimately be a contributor as to why being an exhibitor was a resounding success.

In this article, we provide some key things to consider when designing an exhibition stand..

Set some clear objectives

Exhibiting is not cheap, it’s an investment, so to maximise the return on investment (ROI) having clearly defined objectives on paper ensures you know exactly what you want to achieve, you can then plan your exhibition stand design to help you get there. We recommend setting SMART objectives.

What are SMART objectives?

  • Specific – What you’ll do, use action words
  • Measurable – How it will be measured, using metrics or data
  • Achievable – Make sure it’s possible to accomplish,
  • Relevant – Does it make sense for your company, product, or industry?
  • Time specific – What’s the timeframe?


For example, if your objective is to generate more leads for your business then your SMART objectives would look something like this…

  • Specific – Generate new business leads
  • Measurable – How many leads do you want to generate and how will this be measured?
  • Achievable – Is this number achievable?
  • Relevant – Is this relevant for my business, product, or service?
  • Time specific – What’s the timeframe? Is it just on-stand or follow-ups afterwards?

Top tip if your objective is to generate leads: Knowing your conversion rate will give you a good indication of how many leads you need to generate.

Know your audience

Having a good understanding of who your audience is super important when designing your exhibition stand. After all, you’ll want to create a stand design that appeals directly to them.

Take a step back and look at the event you have signed up to and ask yourself who are the typical visitors? Who is it that attends an event like that? What’s their age? profession? What are their interests? Having a good idea of this information will help you to create an exhibition stand design that is not only appealing but attracts them onto your stand at the event.

You might find that the event has a few different types of visitors. Maybe they have their own interests independently, or their job roles and needs differ slightly. That’s okay! You can build a good idea of the audience and create a stand design that appeals to them all.

Brainstorm ideas to create a stand focus

This one is also closely related to knowing your audience. Sometimes a branded stand isn’t enough to attract your target audience onto your stand. So, once you have a good idea what your audience’s interests are, you can come up with a list of things that you can feature on your stand that helps you to stand out from your competition.

A stand focus could be anything from a product launch or promotion, a game for visitors to take part in, a competition to enter or a giveaway.

A great example of this is when we exhibited at the VM & Display Show in April 2022. This event is a leading retail industry exhibition that attracts retail designers, marketers, visual merchandisers, and everyone in-between. Working with a number of clients already in the retail sector, we knew that sustainability and environmental retail design was a HOT topic, with brands and retailers all looking for ways to be more ECO in their stores and displays. With this in mind, we designed an ECO focussed bespoke exhibition stand that was made from sustainable materials and also completely recyclable. Not a thing went to landfill. We even offset our carbon emissions from being at the show using the tree planting scheme.

KGK Genix ECO Exhibition Stand

Look & Feel

Your company branding, personality and style should certainly not be forgotten during the exhibition design process. Just because your stand has a particular message or focus, you still want to be recognised as the company you are there championing.

Sharing your brand guidelines with an exhibition designer is super important, they’ll get valuable insight into your business and come up with some creative ways to incorporate it into your exhibition stand design. If you don’t have a brand guideline for your business, share any other literature you can to bridge the gap.

Another thing to think about is the type of environment you want to create on your stand. This is where the ‘feel’ comes in. Do you want visitors to come onto your stand and sit in a lounger and sip on fancy coffee, or do you want them to prop themselves up at a bar-like counter and have an informal natter. The personality of your brand may interpret which of these options may be right for you.

Consider the different types of exhibition stand

There are four main types of exhibition stands to choose from when planning your exhibition stand design. Typically, budget will guide what option is most suited for you, as well as the space that is on offer.


Temporary pop-ups and banners

Roll-up banners or pop-up graphic displays are quick and easy to assemble. Your exhibition space will have impactful graphics in a matter of minutes. Temporary exhibition displays such as these are also easy to pack up and carry, so you don’t have any costly logistics fees as they can simply go in your car boot.


Shell scheme display

Exhibition shell scheme displays are the metal structure, fabric wall booths that you find in many exhibition halls across the globe. These are often put in place by the exhibition organisers and at the point of designing your exhibition stand, you will probably know if the space that you have booked is a shell-scheme booth or space-only option.

There are some limitations with shell-scheme display, as it’s likely that you cannot affix anything directly to the fabric walls of the booth. That said, there are many display options available where exhibition stand graphics can be fixed to the booth structure without causing any hard-fix damages. It’s completely possible to line your shell-scheme with graphics that transform the look of this booth display.

Shell-scheme displays are often smaller in size than space-only stand space and are typically cheaper in price too.


Modular exhibition stand

Modular exhibition stands are constructed using metal components, typically aluminium that link together to create exhibition stand displays. The ability to link display pieces together make it possible to create scalable exhibition stand displays easily and also reuse them for multiple events. Modular exhibition stands are a great sustainable option.

As your exhibition stand designer knows what can be achieved with modular exhibition display, they will ultimately be the best person to bring your ideas to life. These displays are often interpreted from initial stand design concepts, as the modular designer will know how to use the system to create the best execution of the desired concept.


Bespoke exhibition stand design

A bespoke exhibition stand design is the ability to create something that is totally unique and tailored to you and your brand. Custom exhibition stand designs can range in size, from something only a few square metres right up to huge hundreds of square metre pavilions.

Exhibition stand designers will take a brief from you, asking all the questions that you have answered if you’ve followed the points in this article. By understanding your objectives, your target audience and their interests, an exhibition stand designer will create a unique design, layout, and stand message for your stand.

Many exhibitors who are conscious of their impact to the environment will opt for custom build exhibition stands. This is because materials can be selected with an environmental focus, creating a sustainable stand design that can be recycled or repurposed after use.

If you have the budget to go bespoke, exhibition stand design the possibilities really are endless.

Designing an exhibition stand is no quick process. Careful consideration should be given to the factors that we’ve outlined in this article to ensure that you create the best possible exhibition stand design that drives a return on investment for your business.

Looking to create an exhibition stand design for your next event? We can help! Email us on or call us on 01920 461244.

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