Transforming your trade show presence with interactive displays

Three seconds.

That’s about how long you have to make an impression on the people walking past your display at a trade show or expo. In the increasingly sophisticated and competitive world of trade shows, three seconds may be a narrow window to differentiate your company’s booth from other booths vying for participants’ attention—but with the strategic use of interactive displays, it’s all you need to attract and keep consumer interest.

Beyond Basic Booths

Interactive displays bring traffic to your booth because they provide the one thing consumers crave most: an experience. People are far more likely to stop and take notice if they are invited in to be part of your story, rather than just shown an example of your product or told about your services.

With an interactive display, your trade show presence is transformed from a basic booth to an experiential destination people make a point of visiting. Creating an interactive display opens up a dialogue between you and your prospective customers that highlights what’s distinct about your company, and gives consumers a chance to see how what you offer would fit into their lives and benefit them.

The Illustrated Designs, Inc. team created a hand crank generator to give event participants a real feel for the difference in energy use between standard and LED lights.

Avoiding the Go Big or Go Home Trap

There’s a tendency when it comes to interactive displays to think “the bigger the better.” Interactive trade show displays are not a one size fits all proposition, however, and the magnitude of the display is far less important than two other critical factors: originality and strategy.

It’s said the three most important things in real estate are location, location, location. With interactive trade show displays, it’s originality, originality, originality. Your company, your product, your services—your story—is particular to you. Consumers prize individuality, and want to be part of a unique story, not a generic one. Your marketing budget is far better spent on an interactive display that is tailored to your brand than on one that is simply as big and flashy as possible.

For this reason, it’s important to be strategic with your interactive display choices. You will make a more productive and lasting impression, and get a greater return on your marketing investment, with purposeful design that looks beyond size to take factors like durability and versatility into account.

How to Make Your Booth Interactive

Leveling up from a basic booth to a traffic stopping trade show destination may sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to be if you follow these three simple steps:

    1. The Plinko style game constructed by Illustrated Designs, Inc. supports engagement with all age groups.

      Set goals for what you want your company to accomplish at the trade show. Is it to attract new customers? How many? Is it to strengthen brand identity? How will you measure that? Once you know specifically what you want the results to be, and once you have a clearly defined method to measure them, you can begin to think about what kind of interactive display will get you there.

    2. Decide what kind of display(s) will get you the results you want. Is your goal to strengthen brand identity? A more educational interactive display may work best for you. Is it to attract brand new prospects? Your interactive display may include a greater focus on the benefit of your product or service.
    3. Consult an amazing design team to bring your vision to life. Besides having the technical skill and artistic imagination to create your interactive display, a top-notch design team will help you determine what will work best for your needs. They have the experience to think outside the box and offer you solutions you may never even have considered, from product demonstrations to games, giveaways, photo booths, working models, touchscreens, and even transforming your entire booth into an interactive display.


For trade show booths, the difference between forgettable and memorable comes down to engagement. Strategically designed interactive displays showcase your company’s unique brand, and invite consumers to make it their brand through the power of personal experience.


Illustrated Designs, Inc. has been creating displays for memorable trade shows and corporate events for 30+ years. From concept to installation, their innovative design team develops comprehensive experiences including design, print, fabrication, and installation of signs, banners, decor, and 3-D displays.

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