Lighting Ideas for Portable Trade Show Booths
RTI Surgical Trade Show Booth

Portable trade show booths can be the right choice for exhibitors looking for inexpensive displays that they can easily and inexpensively transport. With numerous design options, it is also possible for exhibitors to create a powerful look that stands out on the trade show floor.

One way for exhibitors to create this impact with their portable trade show booths is to add the right type of lighting. Carefully crafted lighting can create the mood and appeal you need to compete alongside larger exhibits. Here are a few lighting ideas and options to consider for your next portable trade show booth.


RTI Surgical Trade Show Booth


Portable Trade Show Booth Lighting Idea 1: Floodlights

In order to combat the dim, fluorescent lighting that characterizes most exhibit halls, you will want to create bright and beautiful lighting in your portable trade show booth. One of the best ways to do so is to use floodlights.

This lighting option creates bright swaths of light that you can use to illuminate particular areas of your booth or to create general lighting for the entire booth. For example, illuminate your products; light up your literature table, or create a bright environment where your entire booth can stand out.

The best floodlights for  portable trade show booths are the ones that clamp onto tables or the sides of the booth. This feature makes them easy to install and allows them to be easily disassembled when it is time to move the display.


Portable Trade Show Booth Lighting Idea 2: Spotlights

For more focused lighting in your portable trade show booth, consider installing spotlights. These lights, instead of illuminating large areas, are designed to shed intense but narrower beams of light on particular areas, products, or people.

For example, you may use a spotlight to illuminate individual products in your product display. You may choose a spotlight to highlight a speaker in your portable trade show booth. You may even want a spotlight to show off your logo or other graphics.

The best spotlights for portable trade show booths, similar to the best kinds of floodlights, are those that clamp onto the walls, tables, or other parts of the booth. This feature makes the lights themselves portable and allows you to adjust exactly where the light falls.


Portable Trade Show Booth Lighting Idea 3: Mini LED Lights

One less common, but still powerful, lighting option for your portable trade show booth is the mini LED light. This lighting option consists of tiny LED lights arranged to provide intense illumination in a small package. They allow for dimming, as well as for high contrast. Like other lighting options, exhibitors may choose to install them through the use of clamps.

Mini LED lights serve a number of purposes in a trade show exhibit. For example, the mini lights can become part of a floodlight. They may appear in backlighting for banners. They can even be used in spotlights. Their advantage is in their tiny but bright size that provides a higher contrast lighting experience than regular floodlights, spotlights, or backlighting.


Portable Trade Show Booth Lighting Idea 4: Banner Stand Lights

Portable trade show booths often include banners. The exhibits use these banners as backdrops or accessories to further accentuate the brand and communicate the desired messaging to audiences.

Banner stand lights are designed to illuminate these banners. As clip-on lights, they provide the right amount of illumination to draw attention to the banners. As a result, they serve as an effective way to draw attention to your brand’s primary messaging and graphics.


Portable Trade Show Booth Lighting Idea 5:Track Lighting

Track lighting can be an effective addition to a portable trade show booth. This type of lighting consists of lights arranged in a row. This method of lighting allows for the gentle illumination of a larger but specific area of the booth. For example, you may choose track lighting to illuminate a product display, or even to illuminate a banner. With its longer area of lighting, it can illuminate a larger area than can a spotlight, but with less intensity than a floodlight.


Portable Trade Show Booth Lighting Idea 6: Lighting Variety

Chances are that not one single lighting solution will meet your needs for your portable trade show booth. In fact, the best lighting experience is created by implementing several types of lights throughout the trade show exhibit.

For example, perhaps you want to use track lighting for your banner, but implement spotlights to draw attention to individual products in your product display. At the same time, you may choose a floodlight or two in order to illuminate the rest of your booth and prevent unattractive shadows from dampening the effect of your design. The key is to find the mix of lights that most effectively communicates the mood, messaging, and goals of your portable trade show booth.

When you are ready to illuminate your portable trade show booth, you may want to consult an exhibit company, like Imagecraft. They can help you to identify not just the right display for your needs, but also the right lighting to make it stand out on the trade show floor. In addition, they can serve as a resource for obtaining the highest quality lights to accompany your design and graphics, and they can provide the customization necessary for a display that pops. With the right design services on your side, as well as the right lighting, you can turn your portable trade show booth into a display you can be proud of.

Bartech exhibit with video

When it comes time to plan for a new trade show exhibit, you may not want to jump immediately into designing the specifics of the booth. Many of the booth’s details will depend in large part on the planning and visioning you complete before you ever sit down to discuss room sizes and display cases with your exhibit company. To help you create a display that works for your business’ unique needs, here are five steps to take before you hit the design phase of your trade show exhibit.


Bartech exhibit with video


Select the events where you plan to use your trade show exhibit.

One of the first steps you need to take when thinking ahead to a new trade show exhibit is what events you plan to attend with it. For example, do you plan to go to just one or two events a year, or multiple shows? Multiple shows are more cost-effective when you are considering the costs of purchasing a custom exhibit.

In addition, it is likely that who your target audiences are will depend upon the show you attend. For example, a show focused on healthcare equipment is likely to draw different attendees than a show focused on healthcare professionals. Knowing which shows you want to attend, and who will be going, can help you narrow down the focus and messaging your trade show exhibit should have. And that can help you create a design that speaks persuasively to your target audiences.


Reserve your booth space and note any special space needs you have.

Once you know which trade shows you want to attend, you will need to reserve your booth space for each. Doing so well in advance (often a year ahead of time) will help you to lock in the lowest rates and save the best spaces for your trade show exhibit.

In addition to reserving your booth space, you will need to note any special space needs you have. For example, be aware of any oddities in the shape of the space, and any regulations from the venue that restrict the height of certain walls, limit the types of lighting you can use, and so forth. Know where your electrical outlets are, and how high you can hang materials. All of this information will allow you to design a trade show exhibit that does not break any rules or prevent you from fully using the booth on the day of the show.


Identify the target audience you want to reach with your trade show exhibit.

This step goes hand-in-hand with the first step of selecting which shows you plan to attend with your display. As mentioned above, every show will have different audiences you may wish to target. Determining who will be attending your chosen shows, and who from those groups you most wish to target, is important to developing a trade show exhibit that will attract qualified leads.

For example, that healthcare event focused on professionals may attract both executives and doctors. However, your business may be most interested in attracting the executives who have the power (and the budgets) to sign off on the purchase of your medical equipment.

Knowing who you want to target can help you to develop a trade show exhibit that speaks to their pain points, needs, and desires in order to convince them to come find out more about the medical equipment (or other products and services) your company has to offer.


Create your trade show exhibit budget.

The cost of a trade show exhibit can vary widely, depending upon the type of display you choose, its features, its size, and much more. For example, a custom-built 20×20 display is going to cost more than a 10×10 portable trade show display.

Knowing how much you can spend on making your exhibit dreams a reality depends on your budget. As a result, before you sit down to design your booth, create a comprehensive trade show budget. Do not forget to add in major expenses, like display transportation, space reservation costs, and airfare and lodging for staff, as well as hidden costs of a trade show, such as drayage, cleaning services, and rigging.

It is not uncommon to spend anywhere from 30 to 40 percent of your total budget on the display itself. These percentages can vary depending on factors such as custom trade show exhibits vs. rentals, the cost of the hosting city, the distance to travel, the number of staffers, and other factors. Once you have that number, you can work with your exhibit company to determine the best (and most affordable) trade show exhibit options for your budget.


Clarify your trade show exhibit strategy and vision.

Finally, you will need to clarify your trade show exhibit’s strategy and vision ahead of time. For example, using the information you have about your target audience and your own company’s needs, you should be able to build a picture of what you want to accomplish with your display. Setting specific attendance, lead, and messaging goals can help you both to measure the success of your trade show exhibit and allow you to develop a look that makes it easier for you to meet your goals.

At Imagecraft, you always have the chance to sit down with our design services and flesh out your vision for your exhibit. This meeting allows you to communicate your company’s unique brand values and needs, as well as the specific goals you have for your display, in order to ensure that we design just the right look for you.

Planning ahead can save you a world of frustration down the road. And with an investment as significant as a trade show display, you want to be sure that it will effectively serve your needs for years to come. Do not hesitate to reach out to Imagecraft to get help planning for and creating a trade show exhibit that meets your needs in an effective, profitable, and long term way.

trade show display


Trade show displays are true investments. The money and effort you put into them up front will reward you for years with trade show traffic, brand awareness, leads, and conversions for your business. In fact, the average trade show exhibit lasts anywhere from 3 to 7 years. As time goes on, however, even the best displays wear out or lose their usefulness and must be replaced. Following are a few signs that it may be time to buy a new trade show display.

trade show display 

Wear and Tear on the Old Display

Your display’s appearance is vital in capturing the attention of trade show attendees. In fact, when you designed your display, you and your exhibit company likely spent a great deal of time creating a look that would stand out on the exhibit floor. Because your display’s appearance plays such a large role in convincing trade show attendees to visit your booth, anything that detracts from that look can potentially harm your trade show success.

This is why signs of wear and tear on your display signal a need for a new trade show exhibit. While some things (such as burned out light bulbs) can be fixed, other kinds of damage (such as stains, dents, and scratches) become permanent parts of your display. And, a damaged display can call your professionalism and expertise into question in visitors’ minds. As a result, if you notice wear and tear on your display that cannot be easily fixed, you may need to consider replacing the display.

New Products and Services

Chances are, your current display is focused on specific products and services offered by your company. This focus is a smart marketing choice, because it allows you to inform visitors about the specific benefits they can gain from your company. People will naturally be drawn to a display that represents new, innovative, and unique products and services that they can take advantage of.

However, if your business releases new products and services, your display may quickly become outdated.

An outdated display is a reason to purchase a new one, because it is an inaccurate representation of your business. By using it, you will miss out on customers who could use your new products, and you may attract visitors who are looking for something you no longer offer. As a result, consider a new display anytime your company’s offerings begin to differ from what is represented in your display.


New Branding

If done correctly, your trade show exhibit should reflect your company’s branding and personality. Logos, colors, and overall feel should all accurately represent what your company is about. If your branding changes, therefore, it is likely that your display will need to change as well. There are a number of reasons that your branding (or messaging) might change.

For instance, occasionally, businesses will undergo a rebranding that introduces a new logo, changes the colors or styles of the original brand, etc. In these cases, your old display will quickly become outdated. In addition, you may occasionally find yourself with a new marketing message that can change the overall appearance of your display.

You may also find that your branding changes when your business undergoes major changes, such as mergers and acquisitions. These changes mean that your business becomes part of another business. It may adopt the branding of the other business, or receive entirely new branding that merges your company’s brand and the other company’s brand. In these cases, your display will need to change in order to reflect these shifts in your brand.


Competition Success

Even if your booth is up to date and reflecting your most recent products and services, you may still need a new trade show exhibit if your old display is not meeting your marketing goals at trade shows. In particular, you may need to consider a new display if you find that your old display is being ignored in favor of your competition’s booths.

If you notice that your competitors are regularly bringing in noticeably more business, visitors, and attention to their booths at the same trade shows you are attending, you may need to revamp your own display in order to better compete with theirs. You can do this by using an exhibit company’s design services to create a new display that incorporates and improves upon many of the features that make your competitors’ booths stand out.



Finally, you may need to consider replacing your current trade show display if you find that it is inconvenient to transport, install, or dismantle. For transportation, drayage, and other trade show expenses, pricing is often based on weight. The heavier the display, the more you will pay. If you want to cut down on the expense of getting your trade show exhibit from place to place, you may want to consider a new display that is lighter and easier to move.

In addition, set up time can cost you money (and stress) on the exhibit floor. If you find that your display is taking a long time to set up, or causing headaches during installation and dismantling, you may need a new trade show exhibit. Exhibit companies today can create relatively lightweight and portable displays that can make your set up and tear down experiences much less stressful.

If you think you might benefit from a new trade show display, consider hiring an exhibit company to help you think through the possibilities for a new display. Whether you choose a rental exhibit, a portable display, or custom exhibits, obtaining a new display can help you to better meet your marketing and trade show goals.

Venique trade show exhibit

Purchasing a trade show display can be a significant investment. In addition, because these displays are responsible for making positive first impressions with trade show attendees, their design is extremely important. That is why it is essential that you select an exhibit company that offers you comprehensive services to support every stage of the design and display process. If you use a company that offers the following services, you will be far more likely to receive a stunning and effective display for your next trade show.

exhibit display

Design Guidance

In order to obtain a trade show display design that works for your business, you must be able to clarify your design needs for the exhibit. Often, this can be difficult to do on your own. If you do not have exhibiting experience, you may not know what design elements will support your goals. Even if you have exhibited before, you may not be aware of the latest developments in exhibit design. In addition, you may not know what options are available within your particular budget, or whether or not certain elements can be modified to make them affordable for you.

This is why it is essential to find an exhibit company that offers design guidance as part of their process of creating custom trade show displays. For instance, at Imagecraft, we sit down with you in a discovery meeting to help you flesh out your vision for the display. In this meeting, we learn about your goals for your exhibit, and we offer design suggestions that might work for you. The result should be a clearer picture of what you need in your display so that the trade show display design we create meets your needs.



Each business’ display needs are different. Sometimes, they need a stellar design on a shoestring budget. Other times, they need a unique meeting area or are dealing with a difficult display space. Addressing these individual needs requires creativity. As a result, you should look for an exhibit company that is capable of innovation when it comes to meeting your specific design needs.

For instance, if you find that a certain material is too expensive for your budget, the designer should be able to create a solution that works for your budget and for your overall design. If you need a lightweight display, the designer should be able to locate materials that look stunning without weighing too much. It is the ability to creatively solve problems and manage budgets while delivering a stunning display that sets the best exhibit companies apart.


Budget-Friendly Options

Another service to look for in an exhibit company is an array of budget-friendly options for your design. Often, especially in today’s marketing world, businesses find themselves working with tight budgets. At the same time, a trade show exhibit must have a compelling design that will allow your business to meet its marketing goals. Finding the sweet spot between meeting a budget and meeting your marketing goals will require an exhibit company that is creative and flexible when it comes to its design options.

For instance, you may want to consider using a company that offers options such as custom rental exhibits or modular displays. These types of displays often allow you to customize their look without costing as much as a custom trade show display. Alternatively, you might consider a custom design that has been carefully crafted to minimize expense and maximize impact. Regardless of the choice you make, finding an exhibit company that can meld style and budget can make the entire design process less stressful.


Transportation and Storage

Once your trade show exhibit has been designed and built, you will need to undertake the sometimes-mammoth task of getting your display to the exhibit floor. Custom exhibits can be heavy, and you typically need to arrange for two types of transportation: From storage to the exhibit hall, and from the exhibit hall to your display space (called drayage). In addition, you will need to have your display installed and dismantled, and you will need a place to store it once the trade show is over.

While you can arrange for these services separately, some exhibit companies offer transportation services, trade show services, and storage for your display. This means that they will oversee your display’s transportation and drayage, help you set it up and take it down, and provide you with a safe, long-term storage area. The advantages of selecting a company that offers all of these services include convenience and peace of mind. The best people to handle your display are the people who built it and know what it needs to be safely transported, set up, dismantled, and stored. In addition, when you keep your display in the care of the company that built it, you may find it easier and less expensive to perform maintenance on it and to make tweaks to it, because it does not have to be transported back and forth from the exhibit company.

There are many qualities to look for when choosing an exhibit company. When it comes to the particular services a company offers, however, it is important to pinpoint a company that provides design guidance, innovation, budget-friendly options, and transportation and storage services. By doing so, you can be sure that your exhibit company is equipped to offer you a compelling design and convenient services to make your next trade show a more successful event.





Abila Trade show services

There is little doubt about the effectiveness and profitability of trade show booth displays. Up to 49 percent of trade show attendees plan to purchase a product or service from one of the exhibits they saw at a trade show, and 48 percent of attendees engage seriously with exhibitors while at the show. These statistics mean lots of leads and a favorable ROI for many exhibitors. However, in order to enjoy these benefits for your own business, you first need to locate an exhibit company that can help you create an attention-grabbing, profit-building display. Following are a few of the steps you should take as you search for the right exhibit company.

Abilia Booth design

Start researching exhibit design companies early.

The process of researching and choosing from among exhibit design companies can take some time. In addition, you will need to leave enough time to design and build your trade show exhibit after choosing a company. As a result, you should begin your search for the right exhibit company well ahead of the start date of your next trade show. The amount of time you allow will depend upon the type of exhibit you want. A large display may require 12 to 18 months of lead time, while a smaller display requires only 6-12 months of lead time. By leaving yourself enough time, you will be able to carefully consider your options and choose an exhibit company with whom you can have a successful working relationship.

Confirm that the exhibit company you choose offers the services you need.

An exhibit company can only serve you well if they offer the services you need, so research each company’s abilities before you hire one. For instance, if you want completely custom trade show displays, eliminate from consideration those companies that only offer rentals. In addition, restrict your search only to those companies that can handle a business of your size. If most of their other customers are larger than you are, you may find that the company will not prioritize your needs. If most of a company’s customers are much smaller than you are, you may find that the company is not equipped to handle your needs. Finally, ensure that the companies you consider can meet your budget and time frame. The best way to do so is to be upfront with each company regarding your budget and deadline. By doing so, you ensure that your project will be completed to your satisfaction.

Consider the exhibit company’s experience.

Another step you should take once you begin the search process for a trade show company is to consider the experience of each of the companies under consideration. Experience is an important attribute in any area, but is especially important in the trade show display field. For instance, an exhibit company with many years of design services experience will possess a thorough knowledge of the trade show industry that will give you an edge in designing and building your display. In addition, the best exhibit design companies are comprised of teams that have been working together for a long time. By choosing a company with long-serving teams, you benefit from the team’s cohesiveness (which leads to a smoother design process) and their creativity (from which you can draw as you brainstorm your trade show exhibit design).

Research the exhibit company’s references.

Once you have narrowed down the list of exhibit design companies to those with the most experience and the longest-serving teams, you should obtain and follow up on references from each company. Doing so will give you a good idea of how satisfied the company’s former customers are. Speaking with former customers also allows you to pinpoint how experienced the company is in the particular design services you require, how closely they can follow a budget and deadline, how they handle issues that arise during the design process, and what kind of customer service they provide. This information will give you a clearer idea of how efficient, professional, and capable the trade show booth design companies you are considering are. Choosing the companies who have the best references will help you to obtain a positive experience for your own business.

Choose a company that offers excellent customer service.

Finally, you should choose a trade show company that offers you excellent customer service. As the customer, you should never feel as if you are irritating or unimportant. Instead, the exhibit company you choose should make you feel as if your business is valuable and that they are willing to work with you to create an attention-grabbing display that meets your needs. You should come away from your initial meetings with the right company feeling as if they take you and your ideas seriously and will be easy to work with. As a result, the ease with which you find yourself connecting with the company, as well as their friendliness and helpfulness in the face of challenges, should play a significant role in which company you ultimately choose.

Selecting the right exhibit company does not have to be a guessing game. Instead, by starting your research early, making sure the company offers the services you need, selecting an experienced and highly recommended company, taking advantage of comprehensive services, and looking for excellent customer service, you can more easily find an exhibit company that will help you meet your trade show goals.