Creating Custom Trade Show Displays: The Process

October 28th, 2015

While there are many different kinds of trade show displays from which you can choose, most of them are limited by the amount of customization they allow you to achieve. While not every situation requires a display in which every element has been designed specifically for you, there are many benefits to a specially built exhibit. For customers who need this type of total customization, custom trade show displays offer a smart solution. These displays are built specifically for you with the help of a skilled exhibit company like Imagecraft. The process we use is designed to create a high-quality display carefully tailored to meet each of your trade show needs. Following is our process for creating your ideal custom trade show exhibit.

CSC trade show exhibit


Once you contact Imagecraft about creating a custom trade show exhibit, we will begin the process of designing and building your booth. Our design services begin with discovery, which takes place about 4 to 6 months before the date of your trade show. In the discovery meeting, we will work with you to flesh out your ideas for your trade show exhibit.

Present in this meeting will be your account executive and the designer. Your account executive will be your point person for the project, responsible for serving as a liaison between you and Imagecraft. The designer will serve as the creative resource behind your design, responsible for developing a look that meshes with both your needs and your budget. The goal of the meeting will be to formulate a concrete vision we can use to create a trade show exhibit design that meets all of your display needs.

Our role in this meeting is to listen to and to guide your thinking regarding your trade show exhibit. We will take as much time as necessary to flesh out what it is you need from your trade show booth design. We will listen to your goals for the trade show you are about to attend and ask you lots of questions to help us understand what your needs are. For instance, do you want to bring in more leads for your company? Increase brand awareness? Close sales on the trade show floor? Do you want to provide a comfortable space for visitors to relax? Utilize technology to inform visitors instead of relying on brochures and other handouts? What colors do you want to use in your trade show exhibit? Should we use your logo colors or select a different color palette? Each of your answers will provide us with information we can use to create the right trade show exhibit for your needs.

In addition, we will discuss your budget. We will find out how much space you have to work with, how much money you have set aside for the building of the trade show display, and where you may or may not be willing to make compromises in order to meet your budget. This information will guide us regarding what materials and design techniques to use to meet your trade show exhibit needs.

Finally, we will make suggestions to help you think through your design options and preferences. For instance, the designer may be able to offer you options for the layout of your trade show exhibit, suggest materials to use, or inform you about features we can include that you were unaware of. Through the expert guidance of the designer and account executive, we will work with you to create a clear picture of your needs and design preferences.


Once we complete discovery, the designer will translate the information you give us into a stunning and functional trade show display design. This design will take the form of 3-D renderings. In order to give you the most accurate picture of your trade show display, these renderings will be extremely detailed. They will come with seven or eight panels that each represent the trade show exhibit from a different angle. For instance, you will be able to view the display from the top, from the sides, as an elevated picture, and so forth. The goal is to give you all of the information you need to know how your trade show exhibit design will look when it is set up on the display floor.

Often, you will receive one set of renderings that encapsulates all of the information discussed in the discovery process. However, in some cases, you may receive two different renderings in order to help you make an informed decision regarding your trade show display design. For instance, if the designer feels as if there is more than one workable design that will serve your needs, he may create renderings for both designs. Alternatively, if budget is a concern, your designer may send you two different renderings at two different price points in order to help you find a trade show booth design that you both love and can afford.

Once you receive the renderings, you will have the opportunity to make two sets of changes to the renderings. During this revision period, we will discuss every detail of the renderings with you, from the material used to the color palette to the furniture, floor space, and wall placements within the trade show exhibit. At the end of the revision process, you should have a set of renderings that quite nearly matches your vision and needs for your trade show display design. The entire trade show booth design and revision process should take about two weeks.

SEE ALSO: Six Steps for Choosing the Right Exhibit Company


We here at Imagecraft recognize that creating custom trade show displays that meet both your needs and your budget is an important element in earning your business. As a result, we will take steps during the discovery process to determine your budget, and then to create a trade show booth design that meshes with your finances.

For instance, when creating your renderings, the designer will take the cost of materials, construction, and other details into account in order to deliver a look that works for your budget. By default, he will strive to provide innovative and creative solutions to your trade show exhibit needs. We never hesitate to think outside the box in order to come up with solutions that will create an impactful display within budget.

Once the designer has created an initial design, we will bring in an estimator to provide an estimate of the expense required to build the trade show display. We will then use this information to tweak the trade show booth design into a look that works with your budget. The end result will be a quote that reflects our efforts to deliver excellent results within your budget. You will receive this quote when we send you the 3-D renderings for your trade show exhibit.

Once we provide you with the estimate for your design, we will work with you to further mesh the design and your budget. For instance, we may provide you with a couple of design options with different costs from which you may choose. We may determine, in conversation with you, that certain design elements can be eliminated to save money, or, you may find that a particular design is worth a little extra money. Once a price is agreed upon, you will sign a Letter of Agreement (LOA) that encapsulates the final trade show exhibit design and price and that allows us to begin crafting your custom trade show exhibit.


Once you sign the LOA, approving of both the trade show booth design and the cost for building it, we get to work turning the 3-D renderings into a stunning finished product. The larger the trade show exhibit, the longer this step will take. However, in general, we will ask for 6-8 weeks to complete the manufacturing process. There are two steps to this process, both of which are essential to producing custom exhibit displays that exceed your expectations.


The 3-D renderings you viewed as part of the design process gave you a detailed visual of how the trade show exhibit would look once completed. In order to build the display, however, our shop needs detailed instructions regarding the placement, size, and color of every every wall, every sign, and every piece of furniture. These instructions come in the form of blueprints, much like the blueprints used for constructing a house. They provide the shop with all of the information they need to build the trade show exhibit design exactly as planned.

Booth Construction

Once the shop has the blueprints in hand, a team of experts comes together to build your trade show exhibit. Engineers, carpenters, and other experts comprise this team, all of them with the knowledge and skill in their field necessary to create carefully crafted custom exhibit displays of  the highest quality. They will use whatever materials are called for in the blueprints and design, from aluminum to wood to fabric, to construct a trade show exhibit that exactly matches the blueprints, and your specifications. Because your trade show display design is a custom job, we create every piece, from the ground up. These include the framework, conference rooms, hanging signs, towers, product displays, walls, meeting areas, and more. The result are trade show booth displays that reflect high quality expertise and meet your specific display needs.


Typically, your custom exhibit displays will be constructed in sections. Once these sections are completed, we will check our work by putting the trade show exhibit together in our staging area. In this step, we construct the trade show display as it will be on the display floor. The goal is to make sure that every piece of the trade show exhibit fits together properly. For instance, we will align segments of the trade show display, make sure the graphics fit, and try to anticipate any problems that may occur.

We will also send you previews of the display or allow you to come visit the staging area so you can see your trade show exhibit coming to life. All of this takes place within the 6-8 week manufacturing period. Once we are finished, you will have a complete custom trade show display, ready to be crated and shipped to the display floor, where it can begin earning you leads and business.

Transportation and Storage


Once your custom trade show display is complete, we take steps to ensure that it makes it safely from our warehouse to the display floor and back again. To do so, we craft custom   crates specially designed to protect all the pieces of your trade show exhibit. We then ship the crates directly to the trade show. The exact cost for these services depends upon the number of crates you have and how much they weigh, though we will have provided you with an estimate for these services in your LOA. In addition, we arrange for drayage (the transportation of the trade show exhibit from the truck at the conference center to your display space).

Installation and Dismantling

We also provide installation and dismantling services for your trade show exhibit. We bring in a crew to build your trade show exhibit on the floor. Once the show is over, we come back and dismantle the trade show display in order to transport it back to our warehouse for storage.


Custom exhibits are generally meant to be kept for at least three or four years. However, most companies lack the space to store custom trade show displays in their own facilities, and do not wish to pay for the shipping back to the exhibit company for the regular touching up and inspection that is necessary to keep the exhibit in good shape. As a result, we offer you safe storage in our warehouse for a minimal monthly fee. Before your next trade show, we will bring the trade show exhibit out to check for and repair damage, rework any messaging you wish to change, and make any other tweaks you desire.

Creating custom trade show displays requires careful planning and skillful execution. Through our discovery meeting, we learn what you need from your trade show exhibit. In the design process, we turn these needs into a detailed plan. In the manufacturing process, we create the finished product. From staging to transportation and storage, we make sure all the details come together to create a smooth display experience. From beginning to end, your input and needs take center stage, as we create a custom trade show exhibit that will contribute to your trade show success.