Types of Trade Show Display Lighting

December 4th, 2017

There are many decisions to be made when planning your trade show booth design. From the size and layout of the display to the messaging and graphics used to the flooring and furniture occupying the space, each decision contributes to the overall look and feel of the booth. However, one of the most important decisions you will need to make will be the type and placement of your lighting. While lighting does not immediately draw people’s attention to itself, it does play an important role in setting the tone of your trade show display design and drawing attention to the most important areas of the booth. To help you select the lighting that will best accomplish these goals for your exhibit, here is a look at a few of the major types of trade show display lighting and how they can impact the look and feel of your display.










Backlit Lighting

Backlit lighting refers to using certain types of lights to fill a large space with color and brightness. In particular, this type of lighting is placed behind panels or graphics or curtains and shines through them to create a diffused effect. Sometimes, you may choose to place the lights behind transparent graphics that allow the light to shine through almost uninhibited. At other times, you may choose to place the lighting behind opaque graphics or curtains. The latter choice gives your space a more modern feel that can highlight your company’s competence and professionalism. There are many choices when it comes to backlit lighting. For example, you may choose from many different colors, brightnesses, and graphics when back lighting your trade show display design. Often, the desired look is achieved through the use of a lightbox tower. Inside the tower hang ladder lights that, when turned on, create backlit effect within the tower. Tall and attention-grabbing, they work well for creating an eye-catching look that can be seen across the exhibit hall. However, you can also choose to backlight entire walls in your trade show display for an even more dramatic look.


Spotlights, as their name suggests, are intended to shine intense light on a particular area or item within your exhibit. The intense focus of light on one small area or item or person is an effective way to draw attention there. As a result, making spotlights part of your trade show display design allows you to emphasize certain areas, items, or presentations that you feel are most important for your booth visitors to see. For example, a spotlight might be a good way to illuminate the product you are unveiling at your next event. Or, it might be a good way to focus attention on the keynote speaker during one of your presentations. Spotlights, like backlighting, come with many options as far as the design and the look of the light. For example, you can purchase spotlights that mount on the wall, that have flexible heads so you can pinpoint where the light shines, that have adjustable arms so you can perfect the height and angle of the spotlight, and more. In addition, spotlights may be fitted with colored bulbs instead of just white ones. That way, you can set a certain mood or send a certain message by using colors in your trade show display design. Finally, some spotlights come as flood lights. These disperse their light over a larger distance, serving to light up larger areas (such as a podium or stage) where you want people to focus their attention.

Lamp Lighting

While you might most easily associate lamps with a living room at home, you can achieve an effective look by using them in your trade show display design as well. Because they tend to have a warmer and a more homey feel, they are a good choice for making visitors feel comfortable and emotionally connected to your exhibit. As a result, consider using lamps on tables or desks where you will be sitting down with visitors to discuss your business one on one. Include them in lounge areas where you hope visitors will take a few moments to relax. Put them wherever you want to create an especially welcoming atmosphere. And, if you don’t have tables to put the lamps on, you can always use floor lamps to cast that same warm glow throughout your custom exhibit.

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Display Case Lighting

When your trade show display design includes display cases that highlight the best products your company has to offer, you want to make sure that those items are easy to see, and that they are arranged so as to look appealing to visitors. To this end, display case lighting is a necessity. Display case lighting can be achieved through a wide variety of lighting types. For example, LED strip lights use strips of small, bright, and efficient LED lights to brighten the entire display case. Similarly, energy-efficient micro fluorescent light bars can improve the visibility of the products in your case. Other options for display case lighting include downlights (Lights placed in the top of the display case so as to shine light down on the products within), backlit display cases, and more. As with most other types of lighting for your trade show display design, you can choose different colors and types of bulbs to further customize your solution to your needs. While crafting the right trade show display design, do not forget to take lighting into consideration. Finding the right types of lighting, the right colors, the right intensities, the right types of bulbs, and the right placement of the lights can help you to create that showstopping effect you desire. And make sure that your exhibit space has the electrical outlets and capabilities you need to support the lighting you choose. If you need help with making these decisions, your exhibit company can provide you with options and guidance so that you end up with a look and a feel that is exactly the type of compelling branded message you need to reach customers at your next trade show.