Lessons You Can Learn From Trade Show Banner Mistakes

Banners are an essential part of any trade show booth set-up. They’re the window into your business and have the job of being as informative as they are eye-catching.

Being such a prominent part of the display, it’s vital that they look the very best they can. Often, they’re the first thing people notice about a booth. If they’re looking great, they may prompt individuals to come and have a closer look at your booth. Get it wrong, however (and it’s shocking how many people do), and you’ll do a great job of turning heads in the wrong direction, away from your booth and straight for one of your competitors.

Banners are an investment for your booth set-up, so take the time to get it right in the first place.

Here are things that you need to avoid:

Being too “wordy” We get it. Banners are big. They cost money. It’s tempting to make the most of the space by filling it with information.

In our experience, this is a big mistake, though. The main reason for this is that most people will only glance at your banner for a few seconds before deciding to stay or go.

Those seconds are vital for making a great impression. If your banner is full of information, it can easily be off-putting. It may be too small to read from a distance. And a banner overloaded with information can look cluttered and complicated. None of this reflects well on your business.

When choosing the wording for your banner, therefore, we recommend that you keep it short and simple. Pick only your top two or three key points to place on the banner, and consider listing these ideas using bullet points.

When considering your banner design, remember that your booth staff is there to deliver the sales pitch, not your banners. Your banners can be used to grab attention, market your brand, and provide key information that encourages visitors to engage with your business.

Leaving off social media handles

Banners should be a “call to action” as much as a draw to your booth. People who don’t want to talk to you there and then, may want to find out about your business in their own time; banners that display social media handles solve this issue.

Better still, have your own hashtag or get a Q code so attendees can scan your banner with their phone to get direct access to your information.

You can keep these details subtle though. They don’t need to become the focal point of your banner.

Going DIY

While you may be a dab hand at DIY, it’s best to leave it at home and get professional banners for your booth. Not only will they look more polished and be of better quality, but they are made to last and withstand multiple trade shows.

The last thing you want is a home-made banner collapsing at your event or ending up with graphics that look blurred and unreadable text.

You’re a business professional. To build trust, your banner should reflect your professionalism.

Forgetting the grommets

Banners hung from the wall or ceiling can look fantastic, but not if you’ve forgotten to get them finished with grommets.

Grommets are the holes reinforced with metal rings that are used when hanging up banners. They allow you to hang the banner without damaging it or getting an uneven hang.

If you forget the grommets, you’ll likely find yourself stabbing the banner with a pair of scissors so you can hang it. This not only looks bad but also ruins the banners, leading to rips and tears.

Using a banner as a table cover

It’s surprising how often this is done considering how bad it looks. Using a banner as a table cover or tying it to a table looks messy and unprofessional. It may sound like a good idea, but it rarely looks like one.

Branded table covers can be very expensive, so we understand the temptation for using a banner instead. While it’s nice to have branded table covers, it’s not essential. A clean, simple plain tablecloths can look just as good as branded versions.

If you simply must have your logo somewhere on the table, however, a neat trick is to get vinyl stickers printed and attach those to your plain tablecloths. Alternatively, you could get some branded table-runners that can be used with any tablecloth or covering you choose.

Being too fancy

Since the information on your banners needs to be kept short and sweet, it’s tempting to go overboard with the graphics and fonts styles. Remember that your banner needs to be read from a distance so anything too fancy won’t be clear.

That means:
λ Script fonts and similar are out. Clean, clear fonts are in.
λ Pick graphics and colors that compliment your logo but don’t clutter the space with images.
λ Any images you use must be of a high enough resolution to be printed on large. If not, you’ll end up with grainy or blurry images that will not do wonders for your brand.

Going too big or too small

When designing your booth space, consider the size of the space and the banners that would look best within it. A banner that’s way too big will swamp the space and look too overbearing, whereas one that’s too small is going to look insignificant and may go unnoticed.

Also, decide how many banners will be appropriate for the space. Too many will overwhelm the area. Booth holders have been known to use so many banners that they run out of room for anything else.
If you already have banners and have realized you’re committing one or more of the above errors, it’s not too late to change!

A great banner display can make or break trade show success, so serious consideration is a must. Give them as much attention as the rest of your booth design.