Trade Show Labor | The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

My Boss Is Going to Murder Me

The show floor opens in three hours and your booth is only half built. How did this happen? What went wrong? Whose fault is this? Listen up – we might have an idea. There is a good chance it was your Installation and Dismantle plan.

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Experiential Marketing Agencies | Hitting The Streets

Experiences = Exposure2

Creating brand awareness and connecting with customers, both potential and current, is the ultimate goal of any marketing plan. Years ago this process was relatively straightforward, but today there are a lot more options to throw into the mix of your engagement strategy. One of the fastest growing tools in 2019 is delivering one of a kind experiences to draw attention and recognition to your brand. Creating these unique events is where an Experiential Marketing Agency comes into the picture. From planning to production to execution, the knowledge and support they provide is an absolute asset to this creative marketing approach.

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Custom Trade Show Booth Fabrication, Worth Every Penny?


Short Answer: Yes, but it doesn’t have to break your budget.

Every brand is unique. Every company has an identity of its own. Yet time after time we find an overwhelming monotony across trade show floors. There are many ways to break out of that cookie cutter mold, but the most effective, by far, is using custom trade show booth fabrication in your trade show booth or offsite events.

custom exhibit fabrication - savingsNow don’t freak out here, you’re probably thinking “Custom? Doesn’t that mean expensive?” The short answer is no. It truly does not have to break the bank.

Don’t get us wrong, you CAN spend an exorbitant amount of budget on custom work, and we welcome you to! But, you really don’t have to win the Powerball to go custom when you have the right game plan. What we suggest to our clients are ways to implement custom design and fabrication that won’t have you emptying your business’ 401k plan. Just one or two unique elements can be enough to change the dynamic of your design dramatically.



It’s The Little Things

Even a relatively basic trade show booth can really shine with a few minor custom exhibit pieces. Something like swapping a standard swinging door to a rolling barn door gives an inviting and fresh look at a relatively low cost. Even a wall can become the most interesting aspect of your booth. Throwing a custom veneer or faux material onto a span of wall space will instantly add value to your overall design. A little custom booth lighting can also go a long way in making your booth more inviting while also showcasing your product. Want to put a cherry on top? Try integrating a green screen photo opportunity you can make visitors feel instantly connected to your brand. We have had booths with a tiny footprint outshine the big boys with these tiny little tweaks. Below are a few examples:

We originally integrated this single barn door for Orb Toys. It created such a welcoming feel that it was mirrored throughout the entire booth the following year.Custom-Booth-Fabrication--Sliding-Doors-1

This custom build for Digital Trends booth is a prime example of the impact a few veneer and faux paneling additions can make to a booth’s overall vibe.Custom-Booth-Fabrication-veneer

A single L.E.D. lightbox wall, like this one for Park Mobile can draw the eye fast enough to deter attendees from entering one booth and go directly to another.Custom-Booth-Fabrication-lightbox

We love photo booths but they need to be done right. This interactive photo booth with custom props went a long way for Netflix. We were able to amplify the awareness with social media sharing options.Custom-Booth-Fabrication-photobooth



Obviously, event marketing is all about selling your brand, and when you’re at a trade show that’s what everyone else is doing too. So the number one custom element to consider is a hanging sign that lets everyone know you’re there. People are always looking up to find aisle numbers, restroom signs, or just to stare into space; so this is valuable real estate to showcase your brand. Don’t let the word “sign” fool you, we aren’t talking about just a plain banner. You can get a sign in almost any shape and size, even a 3D model of your logo. If you feel that the airspace in the exhibit hall is already a little crowded, you can add even more flair through lighting or having it rotate.

This sign we recently did for ORB at New York Toy Fair literally could not be missed, and sold the brand from across the Javits Center in New York.



Custom Displays

Coming back to the ground, custom booth fabrication can go in many unique directions. One of a kind furnishings will draw eyes to your booth. Custom displays, stands, showcases, and podiums increase product visibility as well as brand awareness exponentially. A distinct reception counter that is able to tell your brand’s story through design will draw attendees in. Even something as small as a custom shelf can have a huge impact on the look of your booth. The more custom pieces you add can dramatically increase your brand’s visibility, but the important takeaway here is that you only need one to start making a difference.

This Dark Horse Comics booth at New York Comic Con is a prime example of how custom displays can drastically improve sales and overall event ROI: Custom-Booth-Fabrication-displays


Sharing Space

All of the above goes for offsite events like pop-up shops and sponsorship activations as well. When you’re using a space that has an aesthetic of its own, you need to find ways to make it on brand for you. Custom signage is a great way to get the ball rolling here. The most common option we see used is posters and vinyl graphics on the walls. These are wonderful tools for increasing brand awareness, but there are even more unique routes you can take. Custom neon signs, backlit fabric graphics, and LED light boards have been showstoppers at a number of events we have helped produce.

Even if you’re under an escalator in Brooklyn you can create a truly custom experience as we recently did for the New York premiere of NBC Universal’s film GLASS.Custom-Booth-Fabrication-neon-signs


Getting It Done

So at this point there are some ideas and examples on what custom exhibit fabrication can add to your booth. Whether it be a custom hanging sign, a unique offsite event, small design tweaks, or a ground up fully custom design and build; execution is key. First you need to find a custom trade show booth fabricator. You may need a booth designer. We like to offer both services with a fabrication shop in San Diego, California and a management as well as a design office in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Within a couple weeks, your vision can be designed and built into a truly one of a kind experience.Custom-Booth-Fabrication-services



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2 Creative Trade Show Booth Ideas to Rock Your Next Event

Building a Unique Trade Show Booth

When you walk into an exhibit hall there are aisles upon aisles of booths. The majority follow a standard formula. Square or rectangle, tables and chairs. These are the boring modular exhibits that get passed over and over unless there’s something to really grab the eye. Whether it be bold branding, impressive tension fabric graphics, or most importantly a unique design, there is a huge importance of having creative trade show booth ideas and vision.

trade show ideas-1There are countless ways to come up with unique trade show booths that will ultimately stand out from the competition. We find most fall into two major categories; physical and experiential design. From a physical standpoint, strategies include booth elements that can be worked into an existing design to draw in traffic on a crowded show floor. From the experiential side, the underlining goal is to engage attendees and potential clients by getting them involved and, most importantly, giving them more time to explore the brand.


Part 1: Physical Standpoint

When it comes to the physical aspects we find there are many ways to boost the first impression value of your booth. Using unique angles and shapes like; curved walls, canopies and integrated signage will immediately draw eyes to the full exhibit structure.

Angles & Shape Characteristics:creative-trade-show-booth-ideas-3Strategic lighting is another great technique to make people turn their heads. Accenting with LED exhibit lightboxes, arm lights and overhead spotlights are relatively affordable ways to not only coax from outside the booth but to really showcase important elements inside the booth as well.

Lighting Characteristics:creative-trade-show-booth-ideas-4

One last major physical creative trade show booth idea, how you use different materials like exhibit graphics to both accentuate your brand and translate what your business is all about. Whether it be the relaxed, crafty atmosphere of warm wood, edgy and artsy bright polished acrylics, or a raw strength associated metal textures; all can help instill your brand image to trade show attendees while simultaneously holding their attention for longer. 

Material Characteristicscreative-trade-show-booth-ideas-5

 Want More Ideas?

Explore 100’s of Creative Trade Show Booth Design Ideas below 


2 Creative Trade Show Booth Ideas to Boost Your Brand -9


creative-trade-show-booth-ideas-6Part 2: Experiential Standpoint

The next major component of a truly unique trade show booth is how you engage attendees and customers. Capitalizing on the experiential aspect is truly a no-brainer tactic for your brand. Trade shows are after all – an experiential event in themselves. The main goal of conventions is to get a mass of like-minded people together in one place, socializing, interacting and experiencing what brought them there in the first place. 

So what works? We consistently notice offering a photo opportunity with your products or branding is a great way to get people involved. When you couple this with social media, brand awareness and brand loyalty increase exponentially. We have a tendency to come up with very outside-the-box ideas with trade show photo booths and photo-ops in general. Case in point:



2 Creative Trade Show Booth Ideas to Boost Your Brand -10-100


Interactive Elements

If bathroom stalls are any indication of a basic human need to express themselves then using interactive walls, message boards or touchscreens is another experiential way for people to leave their mark and feel truly welcomed by your brand. The SXSW Lite-Brite Wall we did for Cool Effect was such a hit, it was featured in Exhibitor Magazine

Other creative trade show booth ideas for building a greater experience? Keep in mind; everyone loves free giveaways, there is an inner gamer in everyone, and live entertainment – good or just plain ridiculous – is always memorable.




Bringing It All Together

Designing truly unique trade show booths are one of the most important tools for building brand awareness. That being said, it can be a full-time job in and of itself. From the initial trade show booth design ideas, sourcing materials, experience planning, and the build alone take tons of effort to implement successfully.

A major consideration for anyone planning for an upcoming trade show is hiring an exhibit house with all the tools and expertise to give you a stress-free experience. We like to offer a full-service event management approach to our clients. Taking out the guesswork, handling all design and logistics, and providing a smooth process from start to finish. Whether it’s your first rodeo and you want a team that can get your booth to hit the ground running; or if you’ve been around the block and you’re looking to take a new direction, we can deliver.


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2018 New York Comic-Con Booth Recap

Over 10 straight days of trade show event management accounting for approximately 1,600 employee hours worked, 4 football fields worth of trade show freight, 14,600 square feet of exhibit structure built, and 8 total New York Comic-Con Booths; A busy NYCC is an understatement but we’re not complaining.


Booth 1- Dreamworks | She-Ra and the Princess of Power

To promote the release of Dreamworks newest Series on Netflix we built this 30×30’ booth activation with multiple interactive elements. These ran like a maze through the entire comic-con booth which included a massive (and very heavy) 10’ tall She-Ra statue, Interactive throne, “Sword in stone” Photo-op and finished off with a gif photo booth integrated with social media posting.

She-Ra-1 (1)Throughout the booth multiple photo opportunities were placed in an effort to spread awareness and for comic-con attendees to share via social media.  

The first stop was a custom fabricated throne replica with sensors that illuminated the chair, snapped a photo and ran a brief clip when weight was added to it.

The second was a “sword in stone” photo op which was made using 3D printing as well as the actual sword being hand shaped using foam.

The last stop was a green screen gif booth where attendees could set themselves in a variety of She-Ra branded animations.



Booth 2 – NBC Universal | Glass Movie Promotion

For the NBC Universal release of M. Night Shyamalan’s new “Unbreakable” Sequel “Glass”, we put together a detailed 30×50’ movie set replica and activation. Being the movie was loosely based off a Comic book, New York Comic-Con was undeniably, the perfect place to promote and the lines proved it!

Glass1The movie activation included a spot-on movie set replica similar to the  Sony Pictures Spider-Man experiential display we did last year. The main attraction? An enclosed walk-through rooms set-up similar to the psych ward in the movie. Placed within each room were photo-ops, which spit out a personalized movie promo poster fans could retrieve upon exiting the activation.



Booth 3 – Bandai | Dragonball Z Crystal Palace Sneak Peak

Bandai has taken their presence to the next level with a nationwide one-year tour starting at San Diego Comic-con International , which we have been more than happy to help manage. NYCC was no exception.

This crystal palace (lobby) 30×30’ booth was the first thing attendees would see after passing through the entry gates. It was therefore, essential that it made an impact. The trade show exhibit featured original artwork, character statues and promo’s that led them to the massive 90×80’ exhibit inside the convention center floor.



Booth 4 – Bandai | Monstrous 90×80’ Indoor Experience (2)


One word – “colossal”. This was no ordinary trade show booth. This was it’s own venue inside a venue and absolutely nothing that was left out. Bandai had the space and they took full-advantage of every last square foot.

Bandai pulled out all the stops with a two-story Dragonballz custom fabricated exhibit structure reconstituted from their outdoor San Diego Comic-Con Outdoor Marketing Display and blended it with their indoor San Diego Comic-Con Booth.

The 90×80′ trade show booth design was sprinkled with everything from multiple photo ops, a full retail store, character and set replicas all the way down to interactive gaming and competitive arenas.



Booth 5 – Imgur | Press Lounge Photo Booth Activationimgur-1 (4)


New to us and NYCC this year was online entertainment and all-out daily comedic relief website, Imgur.  Their 10×20’ booth space was tucked away upstairs in the press lounge in what we thought was a nice quiet corner.

We were wrong. Imgur’s gif based booth drew one hell of a crowd with fans lining up for free swag and a personalized gif of their choice.

We always love see our booths drawing traffic in spots that were not meant to and this booth did just that!



Booth 6 – Dark Horse Comics & Umbrella Academy

Relatively unchanged from years passed, Darkhorse Comics did have some small changes and fun additions. Their base 30×50′ island booth featured a forward facing signing counter that has sat some of the biggest names in entertainment including Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson and the late Anthony Bourdain. The standard giveaway counter was ever present and has always been a necessity to the team.


Multiple integrated displays lined the booth showing off the newest offerings and limited releases. A full retail store lined the back of the booth. Meeting space and press lounges surrounded the center structure, which featured a full break and A/V room.

New this year was the addition of The Umbrella Academy section promoting another new series on Netflix. The corner featured a 3D photo-op shareable in gif or standard picture formats.



Booth 7 – Konami & Yu-Ghi-Oh

We hear it all the time: “ Konami has a Primo spot” and we agree. We also think they have a “primo” exhibit. The 30×60′ exhibit was custom fabricated a few years back and has stood the test of time with features like full-length canopies wired for lighting, A/V and more, custom integrated display cases, touchscreen gaming stations and much, much more.

konami1New this year was enormous two-story LED lightboxes and acrylic side panels that were swapped in to replace older worn exhibit graphics. Regular maintenance is a must for any booth. This booth, fortunately, does not need much. 

We love how versatile this modular booth is. It’s seen multiple configurations over multiple shows over countless trade shows and conventions and still looks brand new.konami2


Booth 8 – IDW Publishing

Save the best for last? One of our favorite clients, IDW Publishing has great booth design ideas that are simple yet highly effective at shows like comic-con. We packed it all in; storage and break room, signing counters and full retail area all in a compact 20×20’ booth space.IDW

This was our biggest New York Comic-Con yet and we could not be any more proud of the Marketing Genome team that helped make it all run flawlessly. Here’s to another great year and many, many more to come!  



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8 Ways to Design Your Trade Show Booth

The average trade show has dozens upon dozens of booths. If you want to stand out from the crowd, your overall booth design has to have a number of elements that make it special. You have a very limited amount of time to grab the attention of event attendees.

Designing your trade show booth starts long before you create graphics or a layout for the booth and ends with the impact it has on your target audience. Here are eight different factors to consider when designing your trade show booth.


trade show booth design


1. Choose an Objective

Before you design a booth, you need to figure out who your target audience is and what your objective is once you attract their attention. It might seem obvious, because you likely already know your objective and target audience for your business. However, the attendees at a trade show may be a bit different. You really have to put yourself in the shoes of your target audience and figure out what would make someone come to your booth.  



trade show booth design

2. Figure Out Your Layout Early

Some booths are difficult to reserve, because the same businesses attend year after year, or they are prime locations and very costly. If you do get any say in the booth, choose the best location available. Try to get on a corner or near the front of an aisle, for example.

Once you know the size and location of your booth, you can figure out the best way to lay it out so it draws people in but has good traffic flow. Think about how people will maneuver around your booth if it gets particularly crowded.



trade show booth design


3. Think Bigger

Think about ways you can make your booth attractive both up close and from a distance. You are competing against other booths, presentations and events at the typical trade show. Hanging large-scale vinyl banners from the ceiling can draw extra attention to your booth. If the banner has a pop of color on it, so much the better. A splash of red text can really draw the eye, for example.





trade show booth design4. Limit the Number of Colors

You might want to add a splash of color, but don’t want your booth to look like a rainbow. Just as you’d do when designing a website or print ad, stick to a palette of two or three different colors. Otherwise, you risk your message getting lost in the bursts of color. It is easy for people to get distracted with the design, when the design should actually complement your message.



trade show booth design


5. Choose Your Typography Carefully

Think about which fonts and type to use in your displays. A good vinyl sign supplier will help you with this element of your overall trade show booth design. However, you have to consider how different fonts might look in larger print and in smaller print, as your booth is likely to have both. How will the font look from a distance? How will it look up close? Artsy fonts and scripts sometimes do not translate well for signage.




trade show booth design6. Keep Text at Eye Level

Think about the impact your signage has as people approach your booth. While you want to place signage high to be seen from a distance, you also want to place it up close and personal for floor displays. You don’t want to put text down at people’s feet. Instead, you should put your tagline right at eye level. Test this out by setting up signage and approaching it in a similar fashion to the way traffic will come up to your booth at an event. Make any adjustments as needed. Keep in mind that a table banner might look nice when the exhibit is empty, but when an aisle is crowded, the back wall of your booth is the only thing attendees are likely to see over the sea of other people.



7. Bring Your Own Lighting

trade show booth design

It is impossible to know how well lighted an event might be, even if you’ve been there in previous years. Things can change, light bulbs can go out and other booths can cast a shadow over your space. Because of this, it is important that you bring your own exhibit lighting and plan to have a well-lit booth that is easy to see.

As a rule of thumb, plan to add lighting every two or three feet within your booth. This will ensure people can see your displays and signage clearly, no matter what the lighting situation is within the exhibition area itself. You may also want to throw a spotlight on some of your back wall signage to make sure it is easy to spot.



trade show booth design8. Use Quality Images

It is important to use the highest-quality images possible. Remember that the image is often blown up to a much larger size, so think through how that will translate. You don’t want a giant family towering over people as they enter the booth. If your company is fairly well known, you might be able to simply use your logo and tagline.

If your company isn’t well known, then try to use images that show your product in action. Consider a photo of someone using your product, or a problem your product or service solves. You also want a nice balance among text, graphics and white space within your booth. Think about how people will move around your booth when choosing graphic floor displays. Make sure you allow enough room for foot traffic. 



Make an Impact

An excellent trade show exhibit design makes an impact on visitors. Every element of your booth must work to meet the objective you’ve set for that particular event. From the promotional items you hand out to the floor displays to the signage at different levels, everything should leave a lasting impact on booth visitors. A well-designed booth will help you meet your trade show objectives. trade show booth design



Lexie - 1-221105-edited



About The Author

Lexie Lu is freelance designer and writer. She loves creating design mockups and working with HTML code. To connect with Lexie, check out her website Design Roast and follow her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.





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2017 New York Comic Con Booth Wrap-up

A busy week at NYCC17’ indeed for Marketing Genome! 8 straight days of work and 8 separate NYCC booths and displays. We’re so proud of our work and the success of the show, we decided to show it all off. Here’s a little snippet of the action from NYCC17. Enjoy!


1. Sony Pictures – “#HangLikeSpidey”

To promote the launch of Spiderman Homecoming on Blue Ray & 4k DVD, Sony Pictures reached out to Marketing Genome with a completely upside down idea – literally. We designed and fabricated an EXACT set replica of Peter Parker’s Room from the Major Motion Picture. When we say exact, we mean every little detail; the lamps, blankets, Lego Deathstar, even limited edition posters were individually sourced and then… assembled completely upside down.Sony_nycc_booth.jpg

TheNew York Comic Con booth (and room) was complimented with a data capture strategy in the form of social media posts. Each attendee was given a video of them crawling upside down on Spideys’ ceiling. After exiting the activation, attendees had the opportunity to throw on a VR headset and swing around in cyberspace as if they were Spiderman himself. We think this is the closest you’ll ever get to being Spiderman without getting bit by a radioactive spider.



2. Konami –Yu Gi Oh

If you follow Marketing Genome at all there’s no doubt you’ve seen our Konami booth. Complete with custom canopies, floor to ceiling card product displays and storage/retail rooms this booth was very much the same as what we’ve done in the past… except. The booth was rotated 180 degrees for a more inviting arrangement since the booth is optimally placed right in front of the main entry doors.

It may sound easy but every little move comes with re-configuring countless elements of the booth. This is amplified when you consider a booth of this size.Konami_nycc_booth.jpg


3. Dark Horse Comics

NYCC wouldn’t be the same without one of our oldest clients, Dark Horse Comics. These guys have it all; massive retail space, enormous break/ storage/ media room, giveaway section, multiple signing stations and much more. This year very little changed but, the booth was as effective as ever. We personally liked the curiosity surrounding the signing of a new Graphic Novel by celebrity guest (and hometown hero) Anthony Bourdain.Darkhorse_nycc_booth.jpg


4. Project Triforce

A complete overhaul this year! It seems almost every year these guys are coming up with a new way to reinvent themselves and their booth needs to follow suit. This year was no different. Complete with a tunnel connecting a gaming section and display section, this exhibit was on fire the entire show. Triforce added a photo-op where attendees could snap shots with their favorite replica. Of course the booth wouldn’t be complete without a dedicated meeting and retail room. Come on it’s comic con. We all need a way to duck the crowds from time to time…Triforce_nycc_booth.jpg







5. Lootcrate

A few slight changes this show for Lootcrate. At SDCC Lootcrate was backed up against another booth. This year, their NYCC booth space was expanded to an island exhibit. So the back end of the booth was branded with a bump out wall and multi-linked monitors pushing out promos on repeat. The front photo booth was converted into a t-shirt printing area. Again, a storage room was dedicated for the huge inventory of product that they sold throughout the 4 days of the show.










6. IDW Publishing

What can we say about IDW that hasn’t already been said? A crew so great they don’t need a booth to sell! But in this case they choose to have a little backup. Working within a somewhat confining space (20’x20′ booth) we were able to fit a storage room, signing counter, custom displays and retail. The cherry? A huge rotating hanging banner.






7. NHK –Domo

This year NHK didn’t need much to promote itself. Nothing more than one of the worlds very few large screen 8k TV’s and a DJ-Domo – DJ Booth. But just in case we added a few little additions. Full length storage and break room, greeting counters and display cases. The 8K monitor looked flawless but DJ-Domo was responsible for drawing in the crowds.NHK_nycc_booth.jpg


8. Madefire

Lot’s of stanchions, and for a reason! Madefire, who combines VR and Comics draws a ton of interest. One half of the booth was dedicated to Demos. Whilst the other was info desks and sales. With 4 enormous pillars in the middle of the booth space, we capitalized on the intrusion by creating a storage space within.madefire_nycc_booth.jpg

Without writing a novel that’s the gist of it. Building 8 New York Comic Con booths was hectic and a TON of work but like all our shows, we look back while walking off the show floor for last time and can’t help but be proud of what the Marketing Genome Team accomplished.


Considering Exhibiting or Redesign an Existing Booth At Comic Con? 

Fill out the consultation below and we’ll be happy to brainstorm some ideas!


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